COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries • Vision RCL

COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries


As the threat of Covid-19 still exists amongst our community, to keep our customers and staff safe, we have begun a phased approach to re-open our libraries in line with the latest government guidelines.

Phase one saw Redbridge Central Library re-open on Monday 6 July. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Phase two saw the following libraries re-open:
South Woodford Library & Gym re-opened on Monday 3 August
Goodmayes Library and Wanstead Library re-opened on Thursday 6 August.
Fullwell Cross Library re-opened on Monday 10 August.

Please visit the individual library pages for contact information, and new temporary opening hours.


Services available

The following services are currently available:

  • ‘Browsing’ – from Monday 27 July, customers will be able to browse. This will be restricted to the ground floor only and not more widely across the library just yet. We will still be operating maximum numbers of customers in the building at any one time. Customer browsing will be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. We will have both children’s and adults books available for browsing.
  • Drop and Go’ – you can return any borrowed item belonging to any library service in the Libraries Consortium. A book drop will be available by the entrance during opening hours.
  • Select and Collect’ – customers will be able to pre-order books and DVDs for collection. You can use our library catalogue, contact form, or email central.library@visionrcl.org.uk, or call 020 8708 2420 / 020 8708 2414 during library opening hours.
  • Ready Reads’ – if you are happy for our staff to select books and DVDs from what we have in stock then contact us with of your favourite authors or the types of books you enjoy and we will put together a selection for you. You can use our contact form, email central.library@visionrcl.org.uk or call 020 8708 2420 / 020 8708 2414 during library opening hours.
  • Children’s Lucky Dip Bagswe will have a limited number of bags containing 6 pre-selected children’s books to take away each day. On busy days we may run out of these.
  • Home Library Service’ – for vulnerable customers and those that are temporarily shielding we are offering a home delivery service. We will prioritise those who are already registered with the service.

For both the ‘Select and Collect‘ and ‘Ready Reads’ 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.


PC bookings, printing and photocopying

From Monday 3 August, public computers, printing and photocopying will be available at Redbridge Central Library only.
From Monday 24 August, public computers and printing will also be available at Fullwell Cross, Goodmayes, Wanstead and South Woodford libraries.

  • Appointments can be booked by phoning the library in advance.
  • Appointments will be available on the hour.
  • You can also drop by to use a PC during our opening hours but you may need to wait if there are no PCs available.
  • Appointments are for a maximum of 45 minutes a day.
  • There is a 15 minute space between bookings to allow for cleaning of equipment, desks and chairs between customers.

WIFI, study desks, seating, help with computers (including blue badge applications and schools admissions), 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 introducing the following measures:

sanitising station in library entrance
  • New queuing systems to maintain 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 service 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.
  • We will have 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.
  • 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 15 minutes.
  • You will need to use the self-service machines to issue and return your items.
  • We will only be able to accept card payments for any existing fees and charges on your account.
  • 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 to the end of September. This is to support people who may not be able to return items to the library straight away.
  • 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 again, we encourage you to continue to use our Virtual Library.

We will keep branch libraries closed for the time being. But we are working hard to make them safe so that you can visit them as soon as possible.


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.