CULCHETH Library has reopened its doors as part of Phase 2 of LiveWire’s plans to reopen libraries following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new opening hours for Culcheth Library will be, Monday, 2pm until 6pm, Thursday, 12pm until 4pm and Saturday, 9.30am until 1pm.

These new reduced opening hours are in line with guidance and designed to help ensure the safety of customers and staff at the site.

The times are not permanent and will continue to be monitored.

LiveWire says the procedures put in place to safeguard the safety of customers and staff has worked very well since the first seven libraries were reopened earlier this month.

If all continues to go to plan, the next phase of library reopening will see the remaining four libraries – Birchwood, Padgate, Penketh and Westbrook reopen in September and October.

Emma Hutchinson, managing director of LiveWire, said: “We are so pleased to be able to reopen Culcheth Library, following the successful reopening of seven of our other libraries across Warrington.

“Staff have worked very hard to put in place a range of safety measures at the library, and we can’t wait to welcome the people back as we know how important this service is to the community.

“Culcheth Library is a fantastic example of how LiveWire and the dedicated Friends group can work together to promote and grow the library service – and we thank them and Warrington Borough Council for all their support during the past few months.

"And thank you to our customers for their patience during the period we were closed.”

Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, said: “Culcheth Library is well-used and valued by local people, so I’m delighted it is opening its doors once more. It’s great news for the community and the latest success story in our ongoing work to safely re-open every library in Warrington.

“There is a real commitment from the council, LiveWire and the community to work together towards the safe re-opening of our libraries. I’m delighted that this work is paying off, and I’m looking forward to the re-opening of our remaining libraries in the near future.”

Cllr Ben Alldred, the chair of the Friends of Culcheth Library, added: “We are delighted for the reopening of Culcheth Library. Although FoCL cannot currently restart all the activities taking place before the pandemic, we will be supporting the library to welcome back residents. We want to see our library as well used as possible."

Health and safety measures put in place included social distancing for customers and staff, one-way systems around parts of the buildings, hand sanitiser at entrances and exits and the quarantining of books for 72 hours after they are returned.

The library service has seen a huge increase in the number of e-books borrowed during the closure period, and the focus on the digital offer will continue. Also being expanded is the Library at Home offer for vulnerable customers, and a new order and collect service.

Other key points to the reopening of libraries are:

• There will be no charges for overdue books and other items issued from March 1.

• Items on loan have had their loan period extended until September 30.

• Social distancing in all areas of the library to keep both customer and staff safe.

• Restrictions on the number of people accessing the library at any one time and the duration of visits will be limited.

• A contactless returns and issue process.