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Coronavirus Response in Bedford Borough Libraries

Following the Government’s confirmation of the next step in easing lockdown restrictions, we are pleased to share our plans for a phased reopening of our libraries and reintroduction of our services.


What’s the plan?

All libraries are open for limited browsing and essential PC use. Select and Collect is only available on the mobile library.
Although staff selected bundles will not be available, you’ll still be able to request individual titles for free here using Arena, the library app, or by calling the library.


What does limited browsing and essential PC use mean?

We have developed a phased approach to reopening in line with national guidelines for the safe reopening of libraries; the library has been rearranged to allow social distancing and there is a one-way system in place.
We are keeping this plan under continual review and will reintroduce other services when it is possible to do so safely for both customers and staff. Please check here for updates.

You will be able to visit for:

  • Limited browsing of the shelves and issuing using the self-service kiosks
  • Essential use of the PCs - limited to one 45 minutes session per day
  • Printing


Find out more about what you can and cannot do when you visit using the links below:

There will be a limited number of people allowed in the library at one time, so you may be asked to queue.


What should I do when I visit the library?

When you visit the library please make sure you:

  • When queueing keep at least 2 metres between you and the next person
  • Wear a face covering, unless you have a legitimate reason not to - find out more about face coverings here
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided
  • Scan the NHS Test and Trace QR poster using your smartphone, or complete a NHS Test and Trace form - find out more about Test and Trace here
  • Follow social distancing rules
  • Help other customers be able to use the library by not staying longer than you need to.


You must not visit the library if you, or anyone in your household, have had any Covid-19 symptoms in the last 14 days.
Just contact us or call the library and we will happily extend the collection date for your books.


Can I use the computers?

Yes, the number of PCs will be limited to enable social distancing and you will only be allowed one session of 45 minutes per day; printing will be available. Please book your session using the online booking form here.

Cleaning materials will be provided; we advise that you clean the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and PC both before and after your visit.


When can I use Select and Collect?

Select and Collect is only available on the mobile library. Check the revised Mobile Library timetable here.

Select and Collect staff selected bundles have stopped at all libraries, however, you will still be able to request individual titles for free here using Arena, the library app, or by calling the library. These will be issued to your card when they are ready to be collected, so all you need to do when you visit is pick your books up from the collection shelves in the library.


What services are not available yet?

The following services are not available at the moment:

  • Some areas of stock will not be accessible;
    For example the board books, picture books, early readers and beginning to read books will not be accessible, however there will be bundles of books available to borrow
  • Photocopying
  • Study space
  • Seating - please do not sit on the floor
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Activities
  • Room hire
  • The Heritage Library
  • Reading Group Service
  • Inter-Library Loans

There is still an amazing range of library services you can access from home via the Virtual Library, including eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers and music.


What is Test and Trace?

We are required to ask each visitor aged over 16 to provide their name and contact details. This information is stored for 21 days and will only be shared with the NHS if they contact us because a customer has tested positive.

When you visit please scan the NHS Test and Trace QR poster using your smartphone, or complete and return a NHS Test and Trace form.

Find out more about NHS Test and Trace at the NHS website.


Can I join the library?

Yes, you can join the library. We would recommend that you join online first as this will speed the process up.

Once you have joined you can follow a link in the confirmation message to request a physical card to borrow books or use the computers. This will send a message to your library of choice and they will make the card up ready for your visit. Then all you need to do is visit with proof of your name and address to collect the card.


I have lost or mislaid my library card, can I get a replacement?

Yes, just visit your local library with proof of your name and address and the library staff will transfer your details to a new card.
Please be aware that once the library has created a new card for you your old card number will not allow you to log in to Arena and the library app, BorrowBox, Freegal, Libby and PressReader.


I have a Select and Collect bundle waiting for me, can I still collect it?

Yes, your Select and Collect bundle will be waiting for you on the collection shelves at your chosen library until the collection date has passed. If you would like us to extend the collection date please Contact Us and we will be happy to do so.

You will not be able to request more bundles after the 12th April at Bedford Central and Kempston Libraries,

However, you will still be able to request individual titles for free here using Arena, the library app, or by calling the library. These will be issued to your card when they are ready to be collected, so all you need to do when you visit is pick your books up from the collection shelves in the library.


I don’t want to visit the library and choose my own books yet, what should I do?

Please don’t worry. Your loans have been extended to the 1st June or later, and you can renew them here using Arena or by telephone.

Though staff selected bundles will no longer be available, you’ll still be able to request individual titles for free here using Arena, the library app, or by calling the library. These will be issued to your card when they are ready to be collected, so all you need to do when you visit is pick your books up from the collection shelves in the library.


If you have any questions then please Contact Us.

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