This is when libraries in Scotland could reopen

By Rhona Shennan
Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:35 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:35 pm
This is what you need to know about libraries reopening (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is what you need to know about libraries reopening (Photo: Shutterstock)

Libraries closed across the country back in March as part of the government's efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.

As Scotland enters phase one of its coronavirus route map, businesses and other venues have begun to tentatively reopen their doors to the public.

But when can we expect libraries to welcome the public again?

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This is everything you need to know.

When will libraries reopen?

The route map laid out by the Scottish government to ease lockdown restrictions operates in four phases, with Scotland currently in phase one.

Libraries, as well as museums, galleries and cinemas, can expect to reopen in phase three of the route map, subject to physical distancing and hygiene measures.

Phase three would also see pubs and restaurants open their indoor spaces, subject to physical distancing and increased hygiene routines, as well as personal retail services such as hairdressers and salons.

Live events could also be permitted in phase three, subject to restricted numbers and physical distancing.

When will Scotland reach phase three?

Scotland entered phase one on Friday 29 May, which means that lockdown rules in Scotland have officially begun to ease. The next review cycle will conclude on 18 June.

There are no firm dates given for when Scotland might reach phase three of the lockdown route map.

A document published by the Scottish Government explains that to move from phase one to phase two, “we would need to have seen the R number consistently below one and the number of infectious cases showing a sustained decline”.

The R number refers to the reproduction number as a way of rating the virus’ ability to spread. It’s the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to, on average.

To move into phase three, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) six criteria must continue to be met and the R number should be consistently below one, with a further sustained decline in infectious cases.

The WHO six criteria for lifting lockdown are:

  • That the transmission be controlled
  • Health systems capacities are in a place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact
  • Outbreak risks are minimised in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes
  • Preventative measures are in place in the likes of workplaces, schools and other essential places people need to visit
  • Important risks can be managed
  • Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to “the new norm”

Can I use any library services right now?

The Scottish government website displays a list of businesses that should be closed, with libraries included in this list.

There is an exception to this rule, which says that libraries can remain open “insofar as they can provide a delivery service”.

Many libraries offer online services and delivery services.

You can find out more about your local library using the Scottish government website here.

The National Library of Scotland also boasts a wealth of online resources that you use, including eResources.

The eResources are available to access from your computer if your main address is in Scotland.

You can access things like:

  • Full text reference works
  • Full text newspapers, journals and reports
  • Digitised books, periodicals and manuscripts spanning over five centuries
  • Records and abstracts via online services and databases

You can access these by registering online here.