Downpatrick and Portaferry libraries to reopen next week

Downpatrick and Portaferry libraries to reopen next week

29 July 2020

DOWNPATRICK and Portaferry libraries are to reopen to the public from next week.

They are among 12 libraries across Northern Ireland which are to welcome visitors after being closed at the end of March as part of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Downpatrick Library is set to reopen open next Wednesday, August 5, while Portaferry Library opens two days earlier.

The reopening dates have been confirmed by Libraries NI which has confirmed that the facilities in Downpatrick and Portaferry will be offering limited access to IT. 

The local libraries are included in the second phase of a larger pilot to test a new approach to service delivery, designed to keep customers and staff safe, whilst also learning lessons to facilitate the smooth reopening of other local libraries as soon as possible.

Libraries NI says that a customer charter has been developed to help people understand the new operational measures that will be in place for their safety. 

In order to maintain social distancing, there will be controls on the number of people allowed in libraries at any one time and customers may be asked to limit themselves to 30 minutes browsing and/or 30 minutes’ computer use initially. 

Toilet facilities will be closed during the pilot phase and printing or photocopying will also be unavailable. As public health guidance changes, this preliminary service offering will be reviewed.

In a similar approach to safety, library staff will be equipped with relevant PPE and screens will be installed at customer desks.

In addition, hand sanitiser will be available for all customers entering the library and a high level of cleaning will take place throughout each of the libraries. Returned books will also be stored for a period in each library before being returned to the shelves.

Libraries NI says it is asking customers to work with it to make the reopening a success, reminding them to follow the guidance, maintain social distancing while inside and stay at home if they have any coronavirus like symptoms.

There are revised opening hours at the Downpatrick and Portaferry libraries.

The library in Downpatrick will be closed on Monday and open between noon and 7pm on Tuesdays. From Wednesday to Friday it will be open between 9.30am and 4pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

In Downpatrick every Wednesday, an hour has been set aside between noon and 1pm for older and vulnerable customers to visit.

In Portaferry, the library will open on Monday between 1pm and 8pm and close on Tuesdays. Wednesday and Thursday opening hours are  10am to 5pm and 1-am to 2pm respectively. The library will be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.