The Core and Solihull’s libraries will reopen to the public during September.

In order to ensure the safety of customers and staff there are lots of changes – including new opening hours and a new ‘Grab and Go’ service to encourage people to leave as soon as they have selected books.

Customers will also need to wear face coverings and sign in, in line with the NHS Test and Trace system. Staff will be wearing transparent visors to make communication with visitors a little easier.

Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Cllr Alison Rolf, said:

“Staff have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that we can increase our library offer without jeopardising people’s safety.

“Book loans and small library spaces are a particular challenge as we find out more and more about Covid-19 and how it spreads. We need to ensure that we have sufficient space for people to visit safely and that our working practices include time to quarantine books before reissue.

“The new Grab and Go system means that visitors can select books from shelves, however they will need to process them for loans fairly quickly rather than finding a table for a leisurely read as we have been used to in the past.

“The new services that will start from Monday 7 September are well thought out and strike a careful balance between giving people vital access to books and other services such as computer use and making sure we all keep safe. Later in the month we will also be starting appointments for heritage and reference services at The Core. Grab and Go will be rolled out to our community libraries as they reopen.”

For further information about changes at The Core and Solihull Libraries see – https://www.solihull.gov.uk/thecore and https://www.solihull.gov.uk/libraries

Here’s an outline of what to expect:

The Core Library ‘Grab and Go’ system will start on Monday 7 September and the last date for ‘Click and Collect’ collections will be Saturday 5 September. 

Opening hours at The Core Library will be 9.30-4pm Monday to Saturday. The ground floor will be open for:

  • Up to 30 minutes of stock browsing
  • Up to 45 minutes of PC use. Computers can be booked by calling 0121 704 6977.
  • Joining, renewing and replacing library cards.
  • Limited space for social distancing – so no areas for reading.
  • No printing, photocopying or scanning services.
  • Appointments for the heritage and reference services at The Core starting from 21 September, bookable three days in advance  at heritage@solihull.gov.uk or 0121 704 6965.

Community Libraries and The Core:

  • A new Grab and Go service will start at Balsall Common and Knowle libraries when they reopen on 14 September and at Castle Bromwich and Hobs Moat when they reopen on 21 September.
  •  The Click and Collect service will continue at Chelmsley Wood Library until 21 September and then they will start the Grab and Go Service.
  •  Click and Collect will continue at Shirley Library until further notice.
  • *Of the remaining six libraries, five are too small to enable current social distancing measures. In addition, Olton Library has received Community Infrastructure Levy funding and is closed for refurbishment until November.
  • Encore Café Bar will reopen with table service, a reduced menu and less tables.
  • Core Theatre will reopen for classes and courses which need to be pre-booked. Weekly classes should be booked online at www.thecoretheatresolihull.gov.uk or by phone and will be available a week prior to the date of the class. The Box office is currently not open for counter purchases, but will be staffed for phone purchases from 9.30am – 2pm, Monday to Saturday – 0121 704 6962.
  • Solihull Connect will offer an appointments based service from 28 September. Customer services is also available online, through LiveChat services, by phone and by email. See –  https://www.solihull.gov.uk/About-the-Council/Customer-services/contacttelephone

For guidance on face coverings see – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

For information about Test and Trace see – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace