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Coronavirus - updates

Coronavirus - Update


What To Expect In Our Libraries  

Libraries will begin to reopen with a limited number of services from Monday 6th July.

Brixham library in Torbay, will reopen from Monday 6th July as a pilot with public access to choose books from the shelves and use the computer facilities.

A ‘Choose and Collect’ service starts from Monday 6th July, at Churston, Paignton and Torquay libraries, telephone or email your local library and arrange a collection date for titles selected for you.

The Books on Wheels in Torbay have resumed deliveries from the most libraries. Please contact your local library or email for further details.

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

Choose and Collect  
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.

Digital Library 
Download and stream free eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines from our extensive collection. You can use our online resources from home and access to Ancestry Library Edition has been extended to Torbay Libraries through to the end of September.

Library Service at our pilot library
From Monday 6th July, we will offer a limited service our pilot library (Brixham) and will roll out opening across Torbay over the following weeks.

What to expect in our Pilot Library

Opening Times
Libraries will initially offer limited opening times and reduced services.

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.

Signs and queue management
To keep everyone safe we have installed safety signage throughout our libraries. Safe queuing will be in place to enter the library. We have 2m social distancing measures, hand sanitisation stations and one-way systems to help the safe flow of customers through our libraries.

Customer Numbers
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.

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 public computers and self-service kiosks. Each library has been cleaned in advance of our return and has regular cleaning in place.

Test & Trace
You can voluntarily provide Libraries Unlimited with your name and telephone number to support NHS Test and Trace. Please speak to a member of staff if you wish to do so. 

For more information about NHS Test and Trace  

Click here for full details of Libraries Unlimited’s Test and Trace privacy policy 

Social distancing
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.

Face coverings
The government announced on Friday 31st July that members of the public must wear face coverings in libraries from Saturday 8th August.  Unless a customer is exempt from wearing a face covering, we would ask that everyone complies with this as soon as possible to keep everyone safe.  Always maintain social distancing in our libraries and follow our 2m guidance.  For government guidance on face coverings click here.

Quarantining returned books
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 discharged 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.

Browsing books – quarantining
We recognise that libraries are places where you enjoy browsing and that glancing through a book before is often an integral part of the experience.

In the event you change your mind, we have installed ‘browsing trolleys or boxes’ where you can safely leave a book or item you have handled and no longer wish to borrow. At the end of each day, stock from our browsing trolleys will be safely stored away for 72 hours to quarantine them from coronavirus transmission. This system is in place to support safety in our libraries.

Booking computers

Services such as computer access, printing and photocopying will be available in our libraries with a view to rolling-out these services as more libraries reopen.

Computer sessions may be limited to 1 hour and are bookable online, by phone, email or in person at your library.  Please speak to library staff if you think you may need extra time.

Please have the exact money to pay for any printing as there is currently no change available.

Computers are situated to allow for 2m social distancing and will be cleaned between every use. The numbers of computers available at your library will be reduced because of this safety measure.

Computer support
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’s libraries
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.

Brixham will invite families to use the library, however our children’s areas will remain closed at this time. Some stock will be available in the main library and we will be able to bring you any items that you require from the children’s library. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult in the library.

We encourage parents and carers to speak with their children before they visit the library, about social distancing and also to let them know that whilst the library experience will feel different their library still loves them and wants them to enjoy reading and learning! We very much look forward to the day when we can restart our events and activities and hear the sound of happy children enjoying their library once more. Please visit our social media and website for details of the amazing online programme we have available over the next few months.

We welcome feedback from you about your library experience.

Events in libraries will remain suspended for now but you can still enjoy the activities and events that we are streaming and sharing online.

We will continue to develop our online digital offer so you have plenty of choice from the comfort of your home. Find out more via or


Online reservations have been reintroduced and are available via our websites


Account limits
You can now borrow a maximum of 24 books. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed in December 2020.

Returning items
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.

Other 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.

Visiting us for the first time?
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.

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.

Which libraries are open?

‘Choose and Collect’ – from Monday 6th July at all Torbay libraries. Please visit your local library page for information.

The libraries listed below will be open with reduced opening hours, limited capacity and service.  Opening hours may change so we recommend that you check individual library pages before you visit.  

w/c 6th July 

w/c 27th July

Churston Library is currently open for Choose & Collect only and we are working on the date when Churston Library can open for public access.

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.

Meeting Room Hire
We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to our meeting rooms, and we are taking bookings now for meetings starting from 1st September.

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

  • All overdue charges incurred from Friday 20th March onwards have been suspended.
  • We are in the process of renewing all customer issues so that no item will need to be returned before 31st August 2020.
  • You will be able to view your new 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 Torbay 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.

Contact us

  • Via this website
  • 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.

Information and advice

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




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