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Libraries to re-open next week

ALMOST all libraries in Somerset will be re-opening on Monday (March 8), offering a limited service as lockdown measures start to ease.

A new ‘Reading Friends’ befriending service will also be launched for those who may feel lonely or isolated in these continuing times.

Libraries will initially be open in the mornings for people to collect books from the popular ‘Library Choice’ service.

This is where staff pick a selection of titles based on what customers say they like to read, watch or listen. To participate, fill in the online form at www.somersetlibraries.co.uk advising types of book you like to read, favourite authors etc or contact 0300 123 2224.

In most libraries the People’s Network computers may also be booked from Monday 8 if people need to get online to help look for a job, access housing, or other government services.

Online, at https://LibrariesWest.org.uk reading fans can download a wide selection of e-Books, e-Audio titles, e-Newspapers, e-Magazines & e-Comics. These collections have proved to be particularly popular and the collections have been enhanced to help keep pace with all the new interest.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Community Infrastructure, said: “Somerset Libraries have been continually supporting the community both online and in libraries even during lockdown. Bridgwater, Frome, Taunton and Yeovil libraries have continued to operate throughout the latest lockdown, but now customers throughout the county will be able to once again come along to their local library.

“We also know lockdown has been particularly difficult for people living alone or feeling isolated. Funded by the Reading Agency, Somerset Libraries has recently launched its Reading Friends service. If you like to talk about books, or spend some time reading with others, we can match people to a member of staff for a regular catch-up.

“Alternatively, we are also setting up a number of virtual Reading Friends groups, where you can chat to other people about reading or just share stories. We have one group aimed at new parents and other groups aimed at anyone feeling lonely or isolated. Reading can be a good way to share thoughts and ideas in a way that feels safe and supportive’’.

If you or someone you know would like to take part, or you have any questions, about Reading Friends or other library services, email librariesmail@somerset.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 2224.

For regular updates on library opening times and services on offer, visit www.somersetlibraries.co.uk or via social media – see Somerset Libraries UK on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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