Delight as the gradual process of reopening libraries gets underway

People across Oxfordshire have been expressing their delight at being able to visit libraries for the first time since the Spring as the county council continues its programme of re-openings thanks to lockdown being eased.

Six libraries were successfully reopened on Monday, July 13 with a further five due to reopen on Monday, July 20.

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services said: “It has been a real pleasure to see those library doors reopened to the public and there’s more to come. It has taken a tremendous effort from so many members of staff behind the scenes and I would like to thank them all for their hard work.

“Our library staff have received a really positive response from the public. I know that one family in Didcot told our staff they hadn’t come out as a family to any public space during lockdown, but they knew that the library would get it right and so felt confident to visit Didcot library on Monday when it first opened”.

“Meanwhile up at Bicester our library staff received some written feedback from a mum who said “it was a joy to visit Bicester library with my daughter today thanks for the library being so well organised”. We’ve had really positive comments on social media too. Our staff have been delighted with the warmth from library visitors.

“There's been a huge number of books returned in the first two days so it really is beginning to feel like we’re back in business.

“We are due to open five additional sites next week and we are planning on future library openings on a week by week basis thereafter. However this is going to be a very gradual and cautious process. Next we need to have conversations with our friends groups in some of the libraries where our invaluable volunteers help us out.

“Other parts of the country are undertaking very similar gradual re-openings in a cautious way with safety in mind so we are happy that we are in a similar position to many other areas."

Our libraries will be adopting their pre-lockdown opening pattern but will all be closing at 5pm on weekdays. Please see our website for branch details and opening times.

What’s open and what’s due to open

Libraries successfully reopened on July 13:

  • Oxfordshire County Library
  • Abingdon
  • Thame
  • Witney
  • Bicester
  • Didcot

The following libraries will reopen next week (commencing July 20)

  • Banbury
  • Cowley
  • Carterton
  • Henley
  • Kidlington