Coronavirus: Libraries, archives and museums

Libraries

(updated 29 October 2020)

Following a programme of reopening, all our libraries are now open with the exception of Savick Library.

Unfortunately we have not been able to make Savick Library Covid-19 safe, as there is ongoing investigative work being carried out by the owners of the building, and Lancashire County Council design and construction colleagues. This work will continue and we will reopen the library as soon as it is safe to do so.

All our reopened libraries have reverted to their usual opening hours except that they will close for lunch from 1pm to 2pm. The lunch hour will not apply if the library is opening later, for example 1pm to 7pm.

Any future closures or additional restrictions to libraries will be dependent on consultation with the GovernmentRead the latest update about coronavirus restrictions in Lancashire.

Find a library.

You can browse and borrow without an appointment, but may have to queue. 

If you still want to use our Six of the best collection complete the request form with details of the type of book you like to read and the number you would like to collect or phone 0300 123 6703 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. 

45-minute sessions on public computers are available on the hour on a first come first served basis.

In some of our libraries we have been able to make a space available for you to sit and study or use our free Wi-Fi.

Customers are encouraged to renew their books before Tuesday 1 December, as charges for overdue books will be reinstated from this date. Books can be renewed online or by calling 0300 123 6704. You will need your library card number and PIN. If you have forgotten your PIN you can reset or request one.

All book reservations collected after Tuesday, 1 December will incur the 75p charge.

Self-service machines, where available, will also be reintroduced from Tuesday 1 December. Card payment will also be available on the self-service machines from this date.

Find out more before you visit.

The Harris is open Mondays to Saturdays 9am-5pm.

Temporary library closures for essential work

Some of our libraries need to have essential work carried out to support their computers. Unfortunately, a few will need to close temporarily for this work to be carried out.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Please be aware that these arrangements may change at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control:

Reading groups

(updated 1 October 2020)

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer loans of sets of books to reading groups again.  Although we are still unable to welcome reading groups back into libraries to hold their meetings, we appreciate that some reading groups have been able to or intend to resume their meetings virtually. We can provide an exciting range of reading group titles to our members.   

To see the list of the titles available in our reading group collection please contact readinggroups@lancashire.gov.uk

If you haven’t used the service before and wish to set up a reading group you will need to appoint a co-ordinator and you can register now or request more details

Mobile library service

(updated 21 September 2020)

We are delighted to inform you that we have resumed our mobile library service on a phased basis, with the mobiles based at Clayton Green, Garstang, Heysham and Ormskirk.

Visits are limited to one person or household at a time on the mobile at each stop. Our customers are able to browse the stock and make their own choice.

Please be aware that this may make the stops last longer and affect the times of arrival and departure.

All our existing customers for these mobiles have been contacted to let them know the service has started again. Customers will be asked to wear a face covering. Exemptions to wearing a face covering.

A timetable of the mobile routes will be available here once we have fully tested the timing of our new routes.   

Home library service

(updated 23 September 2020)

Over 300 of our home library service customers across the county have received a new bag of books chosen by our staff and delivered by our library service drivers during September.  They were delighted. 86 year old Terence Warburton said: "The home library service makes a massive difference to my life. It's marvellous. I really missed it when everything was closed down."

88 year old June Dearden explained: "Unfortunately, I can't get to the library myself now, and it isn't always possible for someone to take me, so I really value this service."

We are working with the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership in order to start using their volunteers again soon.

A third of our home library service users are also using Lancashire Volunteer Partnership's telephone befriending service. This means that a volunteer rings them on a regular basis to have a friendly chat and make sure they are well.

This service is still available to all people in Lancashire who may feel lonely, isolated, vulnerable or in need of support. If you know someone who you feel would benefit from a welfare call why not refer them but please ask their permission first. You can find the referral form on the volunteer partnership's website.

Music and drama collections

We are now in a position to offer our subscribing societies the opportunity to request sets from our music and drama collections by placing orders via the online requests page. This service will be limited to our collections only and we will not be able to obtain sets from other library authorities at the present time.

If you have sets to return you can now do so via your nearest open library or directly to Lostock Hall library.   

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer an onsite browsing service at Lostock Hall library because of restrictions on building capacity due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

EU Settlement support

We are unable to provide the We are Digital assisted digital support at the moment. Find out how to get help with your Home Office application.

What else you need to know

Here is feedback from some of our lovely customers who have returned to our reopened libraries.

"I just wanted to thank everyone for my Six of the best books. The books were ready for me on arrival and the whole process was stress free for me. The selection of books is fantastic and has encouraged me to try some different authors."

"We are very happy parents as we now have some different books to read to our son at bedtime. It was very well organised and the staff were fantastic as always."

"All staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, brilliant all round."

"It felt so safe and was an extremely pleasant experience."

The usual opening hours now apply except that libraries will close for lunch from 1pm to 2pm. The lunch hour will not apply if the library is opening later, for example 1pm to 7pm.

You can browse and borrow without an appointment, but may have to queue.

Six of the best – we will select up to six books for you to collect from the library. Complete the request form with details of the type of book you like to read and the number you would like to collect or phone 0300 123 6703 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

No unaccompanied children are allowed under the age of 12.

You are required to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.

Please be ready to provide your name and contact details to our staff to support the NHS Test and Trace service. If you have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app you will be able to check-in at the entrance. If you just want to return your books then you can place them in the returned books container at the library entrance for quarantining.

You will appreciate that each reopened library will not look and feel the same as when it closed in March.

Public computers, flatbed scanners, printers and photocopiers are available at all open libraries. 

45-minute sessions on public computers are available on the hour on a first come first served basis. Sessions can be pre-booked.

If no-one else is waiting to use a public computer we may be able to extend your 45 minute session by an extra 15 minutes if you ask us.

Should you need another session later during the same day, you can book one provided there is a session available.

We would appreciate your cooperation with our staff so that this can work fairly for everyone.

In some of our libraries we have been able to make a space available for you to sit and study or use our free Wi-Fi.

Please ask your local library for details as arrangements vary depending upon the amount of space available.

We would appreciate your cooperation with our staff so that this can work fairly for everyone.

Public computers, printers and photocopiers are available at all open libraries. 45-minute sessions on public computers are available on the hour on a first come first served basis. Sessions can be pre-booked. You will be limited to one session per day.

The School Library Service is now open and schools are able to access reading and library services.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

Renewals and returns

You will still not be charged for the late return of any items until Tuesday 1 December.

You can return items you currently have on loan to any of the reopened libraries. 

Please help us by renewing online or using the automated phone line 0300 123 6704. You will need your library card number and PIN. If you have forgotten your PIN you can reset or request one.

Where possible, your items will be renewed to the first week in December. If you have items that cannot be renewed please contact us with details and include your library card number. 

Reservations

(updated 1 October 2020)

We are now in a position to accept new requests for books and we will make every effort to source the books that you ask for.

However, please be aware that not all other library authorities are providing a full inter-library loans service. This may affect our ability to be able to supply certain titles.

We are now processing outstanding reservations and you will be notified when you can collect them.

From Tuesday 1 December we will be reintroducing charges for reservations. Any item collected after 1 December will incur the 75p charge.

Online services

We've got lots of great things for you in Your library at home.

Download eBooks, eAudio, newspapers, magazines and comics using BorrowBox, RBdigital and Press Reader.

Use our online reference resources including information, facts and figures, family and local history, newspapers old and new, school homework and study, music and literature.

Archives

(updated 29 October 2020)

The Archives remains open. Any closures or additional restrictions will be dependent on consultation with the Government. Read the latest update about coronavirus restrictions in Lancashire.

We are pleased to announce that Lancashire Archives will be open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am until 12.30pm and 1.30pm until 4pm. 

Please note the building will close from 12.30pm until 1.30pm for essential cleaning between sessions.

You can visit us by advance appointment only. All books, maps and documents that you want to look at must be ordered in advance.

Find out more before you visit.

Our copying and enquiry service is still available and our catalogues can be searched online.

We will email you our monthly News from the Archives if you contact archives@lancashire.gov.uk

(8 May 2020)

We're creating a new Covid-19 pandemic archive collection so that future generations can understand the effect of Covid-19 on everyday life in Lancashire. Contributions are welcome from all ages including children.

Museums

(updated 29 October 2020)

Our museums remain open. Our museums remain open. Any closures or additional restrictions will be dependent on consultation with the Government. Read the latest update about coronavirus restrictions in Lancashire.

We are now implementing a phased reopening of our museums across the county.

Clitheroe Castle, Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham, Burnley, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale and Judges' Lodgings in Lancaster are now open. Usual admission charges will apply.

All four can only be visited with pre-booked appointments.

We look forward to welcoming you to our museums. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that your visit will definitely go ahead should there be last minute changes due to staffing shortages or new lockdown restrictions. We will do our best to contact you in advance should the museum need to be closed at short notice.

Lancaster Castle guided tours

Due to major refurbishment works taking place in the Shire Hall Complex, we have suspended our guided tours at Lancaster Castle until January 2021.

Queen Street Mill Museum

We are working hard to reopen Queen Street Mill Museum as soon as it is safe to do so and will keep you updated here.

Read our new blog Stories from Lancashire Museums or look at our collections online.

Volunteers and Friends' groups

Our volunteers from the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership and the libraries and museum friends' groups were put on hold at the start of the pandemic.

They are all vital to our services and we will be welcoming them back as we reopen our libraries, museums and the archive service. Our volunteers at Gawthorpe Hall, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and Judges’ Lodges are supporting us.