Coronavirus: Libraries

(Updated 12 August 2020)

We are now implementing our phased reopening of libraries across the county. If you only want to return books, you can drop them into a returned books container during the revised library opening hours, without an appointment or entering the library building.

From 19 August, a further 14 libraries will reopen.

View the 12 libraries which have reopened.

We are offering two book borrowing services by appointment only at our reopened libraries:

Six of the best

Complete the appointment form giving us an idea of the type of books you like to read. We'll pick up to 6 books for you to collect safely from the library. We can't guarantee that you will get books you like or haven't previously read but we will try our best. You will have a 15 minute time slot to collect them from the library. Books will be in a paper bag for you to take away and keep. We are sorry, but you cannot ask to exchange or swap any and have to take the selection you are given.

Browse and borrow

Following a strict one way system and social distancing guidelines you will have 30 minutes to browse, select and borrow books.

Public computers

From Monday, 17 August, our public computers will be available at the reopened libraries, with 45 minute appointments available. The number of terminals available to book will be fewer than we usually have because of social distancing.   

Guidance for visiting a library:

  • Visits to the library for borrowing books are by appointment only. Please read the guidelines carefully before booking your appointment.  
  • Do not visit a library if you are self-isolating or showing any symptoms of COVID 19
  • You must pre-book an appointment. Visits are by appointment only, subject to availability
  • Bookings can only be made by people aged 12 and above
  • A group booking can be made for up to 4 people, from the same family/support bubble for Browse and borrow appointments
  • You should attend a six of the best appointment alone
  • You should attend a public computer appointment alone
  • You do not need an appointment to return books but will be asked to maintain social distancing, wait in the queue and follow instructions from staff
  • Everyone attending a Browse and borrow and public computer appointment must wear a face covering. Exemptions to wearing a face covering.

Book an appointment

Further information

We have reopened 12 of our libraries, one per district, in the first phase to make sure there is a good geographical spread of libraries across Lancashire.

The following libraries are open Monday to Friday between 10am–1pm.

  • Accrington - Hyndburn district
  • Ansdell – Fylde district
  • Chorley – Chorley district
  • Coal Clough - Burnley district
  • Fulwood – Preston district
  • Garstang – Wyre district
  • Leyland – South Ribble district
  • Morecambe – Lancaster district
  • Nelson – Pendle district
  • Rawtenstall – Rossendale district
  • Skelmersdale – West Lancashire district
  • Whalley – Ribble Valley district

From Monday 17 August, these libraries will also be open from 2pm to 4pm.

Appointments can now be booked for our Six of the best service for these afternoons and appointments for Browse and borrow will be available shortly.

Also from Monday, 17 August, our public computers will be available at different libraries, with 45 minute appointments available. The number of terminals available will be fewer than we usually have because of social distancing.   

From Wednesday 19 August the following libraries will also reopen.

  • Bacup
  • Barnoldswick
  • Brierfield
  • Clayton Green
  • Fleetwood
  • Freckleton
  • Great Harwood
  • Heysham
  • Lancaster
  • Longridge
  • Lostock Hall
  • Ormskirk
  • Ribbleton
  • St. Anne's

They will be open Monday to Friday between 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.

In addition the following libraries will also open on Saturdays from 22 August between 10am and 2pm

  • Accrington,
  • Chorley
  • Fleetwood
  • Lancaster
  • Leyland
  • Rawtenstall
  • Skelmersdale
  • St. Anne's

The Harris library has re-opened and you can find more details on the Harris library website.

Appointments are released every morning. Slots may become available during the day if appointments are cancelled.

We expect appointments to book up quickly. If no appointments are available please try again at another time. The booking system or an advisor will confirm where appointments are available. You can make an appointment at any open library so you may have to consider visiting one that isn't your closest or usual library.

As part of the government Test and Trace service we will be keeping a temporary record of your name and contact details for 21 days. The NHS Test and Trace service may request those details. We will ask you to provide details before you enter the library for your Browse and borrow or public computer appointment.

Please use the link in your confirmation email to cancel your booking. If you don't have email you can phone 0300 123 6703 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).

When you visit the library you will be asked to join the queue and respect social distancing. A member of staff will check your details, and with your agreement record them for the NHS Test and Trace system, then direct you to the route inside the building. The layout will be different from what you will have been used to. Where possible, there will be separate entrances and exits.

We are offering a limited number of appointments to allow you to browse the shelves, choose and borrow books. One booking per day is allowed and you can make a booking for a group of up to 4 people from the same family/support bubble. You must be aged over 12 to make a booking. Everyone attending a Browse and borrow appointment must wear a face covering.

This service allows you to book a collection time for a bag of up to 6 books which our library staff will select for you. Select a genre and format and we will have them ready for you. We aim to find you books that you will really enjoy reading, and maybe to introduce you to some new authors. (If this does not appeal and you only want a specific title please login to your account and place a reservation for collection at one of the 13 open libraries, and we will do our best to supply). We can't guarantee you won't have read any of them previously. We need 48 hours' notice for this service.

You can collect for yourself and up to 3 additional people with their permission but must attend the appointment alone.

You can return books at any time during our revised opening hours. You may have to queue and will need to maintain social distancing. Staff will direct you on how to return your books. All books will be quarantined for 72 hours before going back on the shelves.

We are not currently loaning DVDs or CDs. We hope to offer this service soon.

Please be kind to our library staff. Lancashire County Council operates a zero tolerance policy for aggressive, abusive or threatening behaviour. Action will be taken against anyone who is abusive or aggressive which may include permanent exclusion from all of our libraries. 

We appreciate that many of you will have reserved books. When you make an appointment we will check if any of your reserved books are ready for collection so you can pick them up when you visit.

Before visiting the library to collect a reservation, please wait until staff have contacted you to advise that your item is ready to collect and an appointment for a 6 of the best or Browse and borrow slot has been made so that you can collect the item. You may receive an automated notification from Library Elf but please wait until staff have also contacted you.

If you are placing reservations online please select a library that is open as your collection site, and wait until staff have contacted you to advise that the item is ready to collect even if the item shows as "available" in the catalogue.

There will be no fines or reservation charges at present. Charges will be made for printing and photocopying.

We are following guidance from Public Health England. We are quarantining returned books for 72 hours, staff will be washing their hands regularly and making sure they do this before handling books.

Our libraries are designated as COVID secure and we are following national guidance on safety and cleanliness. Hand sanitiser will be available. Please follow the instructions of the staff to ensure we all stay safe.

Computers, printing and photocopying will be available from 17 August and 19 August. Computer sessions must be booked and attended alone. Only one booking per day is allowed. Sessions will be for 45 minutes to allow time for computers to be cleaned between bookings.

Please book a Browse and borrow appointment for photocopying.

Unfortunately we do not have an area where people can sit and use the Wi-Fi.