Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich borough

Greenwich libraries to reopen this week -though not all

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.

These are:

Woolwich

Eltham

Greenwich

Blackheath

New Eltham

West Greenwich

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.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Charles Calthrop

    I remember the computers at the Woolwich Centre being eagerly sought when I was on the dole, as the JSA portal had moved online and you needed to record your searches there (it didn’t store them automatically). This was a decade ago when they started moving away from genuinely trying to find you a proper job to sending you to work as a packer. Then you have kids doing their homework and those who have no choice but to use them for online services. Hopefully some reasonable accommodation can be made but I fear a lot of people will miss out on a lifeline.

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