COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries • Vision RCL

COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries


As the threat of Covid-19 remains within our community, we will be reintroducing services in line with the latest government guidelines to keep our customers and staff safe.

From Tuesday 1 June, Gants Hill Library will re-open with opening hours Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-4pm.

At present, five of our libraries have re-opened with the following opening hours:

Reduced book browsing, PC use and limited study spaces are available. PC use and study spaces will need to be booked in advance, please scroll down for more information.

All other libraries in Redbridge are temporarily closed for now. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please visit the individual library pages for further information.

If you have any other questions, please contact the individual library via phone (during opening hours) or email.

Services available

The following services will be available:

central library - keep your distance banner
  • Drop and Go’ – you can return any borrowed item belonging to any library service in the Libraries Consortium. A book drop is available by the entrance during opening hoursStaff will discharge the books off your account but please be aware that these items will remain on your account for up to 3 days as all returned items must be quarantined first.
  • Select and Collect’ – customers can pre-order books and DVDs for collection. You can use our library cataloguecontact form, or email central.library@visionrcl.org.uk, or call the library during library opening hours.
  • Bookstart Baby Packs – we have a limited number of bags containing Bookstart Packs for any new parents. On busy days we may run out of these.
  • Home Library Service’ – for vulnerable customers and those that are temporarily shielding we offer a home delivery serviceAs the service is reliant on volunteers, we prioritise those who are already registered with the service.

For ‘Select and Collect‘ services we will contact you when your order is ready for collection. Please DO NOT try and collect an order unless you receive this confirmation. We will hold items for a maximum of 10 days.

Study Space bookings

Limited study spaces are now available. Study spaces for library members will be offered as bookable sessions for up to 2.5 hours daily per customer. Study spaces are available for individual study only – there are no group spaces available so a space needs to be booked for each student.

Sessions can be booked up to one day in advance -please see timings below:

Redbridge Central Library sessions:
10.30am-1pm, 1.30pm-4pm

South Woodford Library sessions:
Weekdays: 7am-9.30pm, 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm, 7pm-9.30pm
Weekends: 8.30am-11am, 11.30am-2pm, 2.30pm-5pm

Fullwell Cross, Gants Hill, Goodmayes and Wanstead sessions:
Weekdays: 10.30am-1pm, 1.30pm-4pm
Weekends: 10.30am- 12.30pm, 1.30pm-3.30pm

There is a 30 minute space between study sessions to allow for cleaning of desks and chairs before next bookings.

To book a study space or if you have any other questions, please contact the individual library via phone (during opening hours) or email.

PC bookings and printing

Public computers and printing will only be available for essential activity such as applications for jobs, benefits, schools, visas and accessing council services.

WiFi printing from your own devices will also be available.

  • Appointments must be booked by phoning the relevant library one day in advance.
  • Appointments will be available on the hour.
  • Appointments are for a maximum of 1 hour 45 minutes for South Woodford and Wanstead / 45 minutes for Central library and Wanstead.
  • There is a 15 minute space between bookings to allow for cleaning of equipment, desks and chairs between customers.

WIFI, study desks, general seating, 1-1 help with computers (including blue badge applications and schools admissions), photocopying and events are temporarily unavailable across all of our libraries. We will review these services so that they can be offered again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Safety measures

To ensure the safety of our visitors and staff, we are maintaining the following measures:

sanitising station in library entrance
  • Queuing systems to enable physical distancing.
  • Everyone attending the library must wear a face covering unless they are exempt.
  • All visitors must sanitise their hands on entry to the building. We will have some available at the door.
  • As part of the government Test and Trace programme 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 entering the library. You can also download the NHS app to quickly and easily scan the QR code which will be displayed throughout the library.
  • We have maximum limits on the number of people allowed in the building at any one time so come on your own if possible.
  • We may refuse entry if you have not received confirmation that your order is ready.
  • All children aged 11 and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
  • We may refuse entry to groups of more than 4 people at busy times. All members of the group must be from the same household.
  • We may refuse entry to anyone displaying signs of the virus. Please do not visit us if you are feeling unwell.
  • We will limit your time in the building to 30 minutes.
  • We are not accepting cash payments. All fines and other charges on your account can be paid by card at the self-service kiosks or welcome desk.
  • You will need to use the self-service machines to issue and return your items.
  • All new library memberships must be completed online before visiting the library.

Other services

self service machines in library

We will also:

  • Automatically renew books and suspend new fines until further notice. This is to support people who may not be able to return items to the library at this time.
  • Allow you to borrow up to 20 items.
  • Quarantine all returned items for 72 hours.
  • Continue to host online activities and allow you to join the library online
  • Send out library cards to anyone who has registered online to join the library.

Although we look forward to seeing you, we encourage you to continue to use our Virtual Library and restrict in person visits for now.

Stay up to date

For the latest information please continue to visit our impact on services page, our facebook and twitter social media, or subscribe to our newsletter.