COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries • Vision RCL

COVID-19 Guidance for Libraries


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

From Wednesday 2 December, Redbridge Central Library and South Woodford Library and Gym will operate for reduced hours.

  • Redbridge Central Library opening hours are Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-2pm
  • South Woodford Library and Gym opening hours are Monday-Friday 6am-7pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am-6pm

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 call 020 8708 2414 / 020 8708 2420 during opening hours or email central.library@visionrcl.org.uk

You can also contact South Woodford Library during opening hours on 0208 708 9067 or email southwoodford.library@visionrcl.org.uk

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.
  • Ready Reads’ – if you are happy for our staff to select books and DVDs from what we have available in stock then contact us with details 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 the library or call during opening hours.
  • Children’s Lucky Dip Bagswe 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.
  • ‘Adult Lucky Dip Bags’- we have a limited number of bags containing 6 pre-selected adult’s books to take away each day. On busy days we may run out of these.
  • 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.
  • Browsing – At Redbridge Central Library this is restricted to the ground floor only and not more widely across the library just yet. We allow maximum numbers of customers in the building at any one time. Customer browsing will be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes. We will have both children’s and adult’s books available for browsing.

For both the ‘Select and Collect‘ and the ‘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 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 in advance.
  • Appointments will be available on the hour.
  • Appointments are for a maximum of 45 minutes per library.
  • 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.