By Daniel Wood
Six libraries in Kirklees are set to take part in a “safe browsing” trial that will allow members of the public to scope out the books of their choosing.
The trial will commence on September 7, and it will be controlled strictly with browsing kept to a 15-minute maximum.
IT equipment will not be available for use, as well as magazines and newspapers. Visitors will also be discouraged from “dwelling” within library space.
It will be done as a one-in/one-out system to avoid contact between other members of the public.
Kirklees Council shut libraries across Kirklees to keep in line with the national lockdown with social distancing guidelines released by the Government.
Since July 20, readers have been able to return borrowed books, but they have not been able to take any out. This was part of a phased return to services.
Cllr John Taylor, who represents Kirkburton, welcomed the move.
His local library is one of the six to attempt the trial, and it is hoped that successful trials will lead to it being available for other venues in Kirklees.
He commented: “Libraries are a vital part of our communities, and I have struggled to understand why they had remained closed when bookshops had opened.
“I have been raising the issue at every opportunity for several months and am pleased that finally the council have listened and will be opening six libraries for limited hours to enable browsing to a Covid secure way.
“I am pleased that both the libraries in which I volunteer – Shepley and Kirkburton – are being included in this pilot.”
This week, Council chiefs announced the investment of almost £800,000 in a new purpose-built library for Birkby Fartown. Cllr Taylor said they had recognised that “all of our communities need their libraries back if they are to survive and thrive.”
He stressed that libraries have a role to play in supporting economic recovery and showing that Kirklees can remain accessible to everyone.
The other four libraries that are to take part in the trial have not yet been revealed.