Some Greenwich borough libraries will reopen from Monday 6 July as normality returns – sort of.
Initially only those libraries with sufficient space and staff to ensure social distancing will open.
Surprisingly Plumstead library is not on the list to reopen. The revamped centre and building only opened weeks before lockdown. I’ve been told by insiders staff problems were apparent even before March 23. It’s also surprising that leisure centre staff on site couldn’t shift to library working.
Staff are being shifted from closed libraries to opening sites to manage visitor numbers.
Users can use computers and borrow and return books. With many retailer keeping returned items for some days to mitigate against virus transfer, this appears somewhat of a headache for libraries if they follow similar practices.
Leisure centres and gyms remain closed.
There’s many questions on the future of the entire Better-operated service given how closely linked libraries and leisure centres are. Greenwich leisure centres were seeing large reductions in users over recent years. This story is one to watch in future.
Plans to merge services and close libraries such as Coldharbour estate and move to a nearby leisure centre have been mooted before lockdown with petitions presented at the last Greenwich Council meeting.
Services vital to so many face a precarious future.