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Coronavirus - updates

Coronavirus update

Phased re-opening information

Update on library services across Devon (updated 29 September 2020)

All our libraries are now open to the public with a range of services, except for Salcombe and Chulmleigh. Totnes and Topsham are offering Choose and Collect only at this time.

Libraries are open at different times to usual and some of our smaller libraries are accessible by appointment only. For up to date information about your local library please check opening times.

We are pleased to let you know that our libraries are starting the phased reopening plan. Here’s what we are doing to welcome you back safely:


Our Services

To use our new free of charge ‘Choose and Collect’ service telephone or email your local library, we will select your books or DVDs and you can collect them from the library entrance at a pre-arranged time.
Exeter library only. Our local Book Delivery service allows you to borrow books, DVDs and other library stock from Exeter library if you live within 5 miles. Simply telephone or email, we will select items based on our discussion and make a delivery to your home.

For books not currently stocked in your local library or if you live further than 5 miles from Exeter Library please contact us regarding our Books by Post service. Due to a kind donation we are able to offer this postal service for free until further notice.
Mobile Libraries are also welcoming customers back on board their vehicles to pick their own books. Mobile Libraries will be following their usual timetables but are unable to visit schools, nurseries and care homes for the time being.
The Home Library Service have resumed deliveries from the most libraries. Please contact your local library or email for further details.

What to expect in our libraries

Opening times will vary for each library and may change over future weeks, so do check opening times for your local library before you make your journey.
To keep everyone safe we have installed safety signage throughout our libraries. Safe queuing will be in place to enter the library. We have 2 metre social distancing measures, hand sanitisation stations and one-way systems to help the safe flow of customers through our libraries.

Our libraries vary in size, and we will limit the number of customers at any one time. Factors such as layout, number of floors, staffing and services available may play a part in our safety management.
Our libraries vary in size, and we will limit the number of customers at any one time. Factors such as layout, number of floors, staffing and services available may play a part in our safety management.
We have invested in hand sanitiser stations for each library, enabling you to sanitise when entering the library. Cleaning will be in place for services such as our public computers and self-service kiosks. Each library has been cleaned in advance of our return and has regular cleaning in place.
The NHS Covid-19 app launched on 24th September and each of our libraries will be displaying the QR code poster for our customers to scan and self-register for Test & Trace. The app does more than the QR code check in, it also allows you to:

Trace – For contact tracing, the app detects and logs other nearby app users using random unique IDs.

Alerts – When you register for the app you supply the first part of your postcode, it then alerts you to the risk in your area. Symptoms – If you feel unwell, you can use the app to check if your symptoms could be related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Test – If you have symptom it will allow you to book a test. Isolate – If you have been advised by the app to self-isolate, the app provides a countdown timer so that you can keep track of how long you need to self-isolate. As libraries are supporting the Check-In scheme by displaying QR codes you may receive enquiries specifically about this. We can inform customers that: The app stores all your check-in data locally on the phone and does not send it to a third party.

Your check-in data will be deleted after 21 days. You will receive an alert if somebody who has tested positive for Covid-19 has been in the same venue as you.

A NHS guide to the app can be found here.

Click here for full details of Libraries Unlimited’s Test and Trace privacy policy
Each library has changed layouts to ensure adequate space for you to move around in safety. We have marked up our floor space to support social distancing and we request that 2m social distancing is observed by all staff and customers.
The government requires all members of the public to wear face coverings in libraries.

Hand sanitiser and cleaning We have invested in hand sanitiser stations for each library, enabling you to sanitise when entering the library. Cleaning will be in place for services such as our computers and self-service kiosks.

For government guidance on face coverings click here.

Using the library

We recognise that libraries are places where you enjoy browsing and that glancing through a book before choosing to take it home is often an integral part of the experience.

In the event you change your mind about an item you have picked up, we have installed ‘browsing trolleys or boxes’ where you can safely leave it. At the end of each day, items from our browsing trolleys will be safely quarantined for 72 hours. This system is in place to support safety in our libraries.

For safety reasons libraries may initially be offering a more limited selection of stock for people to choose from. All books and items returned to the library will undergo 72 hours quarantine before they are removed from your account and returned to the library shelves. We will be asking you to place returned items into a box near the library entrance to keep them separate for quarantining.
Computer sessions may be limited to 1 hour and with less computers available (in order to maintain social distancing) booking is advisable, particularly in smaller libraries. Computers are bookable by phone, email or in person at your library. Please speak to us if you think you may need extra time. Every computer is cleaned between customers.

Please see the new links available on the public computer desktops for help with computers and IT queries. We will not be able to give assistance with the computers at this time.
Children and families are very important to us and we want to make sure children continue to have a positive experience from their local library.

Our offer for children and young people will vary from library to library, based on space and local arrangements.

We welcome feedback from you about your library experience.
Events in libraries remain suspended for now but you can still enjoy the activities and events that we are streaming and sharing online. Find your local library on social media (Facebook and Twitter) to enjoy these events.

Visiting us for the first time or wanting to use our online services?

Please join online and you will receive a temporary [UNREG] number. You will be able to use our digital services immediately. If you wish to borrow books or use other services in the library please bring this number with you and speak to a member of staff when you arrive. We will provide you with your library card.
Online reservations have been reintroduced and are available via our websites

You can now borrow a maximum of 24 books. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed in December 2020.
For all items borrowed prior to lockdown, we have extended loan dates through to the end of August 2020. We welcome your visit to your local library and you can return books, CDs and DVDs. Please check your local library opening hours. For libraries currently offering the Choose & Collect service you will need to email or telephone to arrange drop off. There will be no fines as your current loan period has been extended.
We encourage you to make payments via our self-service kiosks, and in libraries where we have contactless payment via card. We will only take cash payment where card payment is not possible and will not be able to offer change.
The Hayridge Café in Cullompton is open Monday – Friday, 9.30am-3pm and Saturdays, 9.30am-12.30pm.

The Owl and the Pussycat Café at Exeter Library is open 10am-4pm Monday – Saturday. The Owl and the Pussycat Café at the Passmore Edwards Centre (Newton Abbot) is open 10am-3pm Monday – Saturday.

Our Facilities

Our customer lifts will be limited to one person, or one family group at a time. Our customer toilets will remain closed until further notice to maintain a safe environment. Seating areas in most libraries will be limited or removed due to space restrictions and social distancing.
If you are visiting us for the first time please join online in advance. You will be able to use our digital services immediately. When you come to the library please bring your temporary [UNREG] number and we will provide you with your library card.
Download and stream free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and e-newspapers from our extensive collection. You can use our online resources from home and access to Ancestry Library Edition has been extended to Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries through to the end of September.
Meeting rooms across libraries in Devon are available for hire. We’re keeping a close eye on any changes to Government guidance, so please understand that if this changes, we may need to be in touch to advise you if this affects your booking.

To make a booking or for room hire enquiries please call 0333 2342123 or email

Lockdown - Library Service FAQs

Maximum number of book loans has increased to 24 books (19/06/20) This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed in December 2020. Renewals, reservations and charges

You will be able to view your return date online by signing into your library account and proceeding to "My loans". If you have forgotten your PIN please click the 'Forgot PIN' option to get a PIN reset sent to your registered email address. If you need assistance please email your local library stating your name and library card number.
Digital Library Download and stream free eBooks, eAudioBooks and eMagazines.

- We have added 3,500 titles to Overdrive (eBooks and eAudiobooks)
- We now have 1,000 unlimited use eAudiobooks through RB Digital
- A selection of eMagazines are available on RB Digital
- Access eAudiobooks via BorrowBox
- Access the ‘Reading Well’ collections on our digital platform Online Reference resources
- Access to Ancestry Library Edition has been temporarily extended to Devon Library members at home, courtesy of ProQuest and its partner Ancestry.
- Our libraries are creating fun online content and live streaming events. Check out individual library Facebook pages for more information.

Join the Digital Library

You can join the library by visiting this page. Once you have completed the online joining form, you will be given a temporary [UNREG] number which will enable you to access our digital library immediately. As and when our libraries re-open we will process all temporary memberships registered during this closure period and we will issue a library card to you.uff
General telephone enquiries 0345 155 1001 Contact your local library by email for assistance with renewals or any other enquiries.

Please bear with us, at this time, as we are receiving an increased number of enquiries We can also answer general enquiries and/or forward on general enquiries to the relevant member of the team from our info@ inbox. Please email Please note that we aim to respond to all enquiries within 5 working days, but due to the current high level of enquiries and fast-moving national picture, we cannot guarantee this.

The safety of both our staff and our customers are important to us, and we are working hard to ensure libraries provide a safe and protective environment. Following government guidance our staff are provided with safety equipment and you may see us wearing gloves, masks or visors. All members of staff have completed Health & Safety training on how to work safely in this new environment.

Information and advice

Reliable and up to date information about the coronavirus situation is available from:

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