READING’S Central Library has reopened to the public this week (Monday, July 27).

Reading Borough Council (RBC) said Reading’s Library Service has made the important first step towards the welcome return of its popular service, with the safety of the public and staff at the forefront of all reopening plans.

To begin with, the service will be operating at a reduced level to accommodate safety measures.

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The council is urging people to only come to the library if they have booked an appointment in advance.

People can now order books online via a click and collect service and collect them at Central Library.

To view new opening times and to use the click and collect service, visit or call 0118 937 5950 to place an order.

Access to book collections and to the building will now be via the rear entrance on Abbey Square with the exit onto Kings Road and the lift will be available inside.

The council said at present, there will be no access to browse shelves or newspapers, use toilets, access WIFI or use study spaces.

It is hoped these services will be reintroduced as soon as it is safe to do so.

There will be some limited access to computers – which can be booked in advance via 0118 937 5950.

Some computers have been turned off to allow for a 2m distance and keyboards will also be cleaned between appointments.

Visa appointments will resume from August 3.

To keep everyone safe library customers are asked not to visit if they are feeling unwell or have any coronavirus symptoms and to wear a face covering if you can.

Councillor Karen Rowland, Reading’s lead councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I am thrilled our much-loved Central Library is now open for bookings.

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"Whilst this is excellent news and an important step on our journey to recovery, we must, however, emphasise it will not represent a return to normality for some time to come, with the service operating at a reduced level to accommodate safety measures."

She added: “Our other branches remain temporarily closed for now, but we are working hard to reopen them all as soon as possible. "We need to be absolutely confident every preventative measure against the virus has been carefully thought out and implemented, to prevent any local resurgence originating at these locations.

"Don’t worry if you still have items outstanding.

"We estimate we have over 17,000 books still out in the community!

"We thank everyone for taking good care of them and we’ve extended all return dates.

"The Central Library book drop facility is open if you are able to access it."