Ware Town Council

Serving the Local Community

Libraries in Hertfordshire

Over the last 3 months of COVID-19 lockdown, many Hertfordshire residents have been making full use of our library resources online, including e-books, e-audio books, digital newspapers and magazines, online courses and the Online Reference Library. Library staff have continued to engage with customers by providing live streaming of popular events such as Baby Rhyme Time, organising a virtual reading group Readers Connectedand setting a range of creative virtual challenges. We have also ensured that the Home Library Service continued to provide books for our most isolated and vulnerable customers.




Phase 1 Ready Reads a collection service

From 6th July, we will begin a rollout of a new service called Ready Reads; this will be the first stage of reopening of libraries in Hertfordshire. Customers will be able to order pre-selected packs of books to collect from one of ten libraries spread geographically across the county.  It will be a front door/lobby service and customers will not be able to access the rest of the building. Each themed pack will include a range of titles catering for either adults, children or teenagers. The service will launch initially in Watford, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage before quickly rolling out to St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Rickmansworth, Borehamwood, Bishops Stortford, Hoddesdon, and Royston. The service will be extended to Harpenden, Hatfield and other libraries across the county once safety measures are in place. Details will be regularly updated on the Hertfordshire Libraries pages at https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/libraries-and-archives.aspx



Phase 2 Limited public access for browsing and self service

Whilst we are offering the Ready Reads service, we will simultaneously prepare libraries for opening for limited public browsing, self-service and pre-booked access to a reduced number of public PCs. We will ensure appropriate social distancing measures are in place which will include limiting the number of people allowed in the building at any time and encouraging customers to keep their visits short. This means that we will be unable to provide newspapers and periodicals or study areas. We will provide access to public computers via pre-booked sessions.


Volunteer-supported Community Libraries will be in the latter stages of the reopening programme; Community Library Volunteers are being kept informed about our service resumption plans.