MOST of Hampshire’s libraries reopened on Monday and are now welcoming visitors back inside.

Hampshire County Council said its priority is “to keep you and our staff safe” and it has been working hard to put necessary safety measures in place.

From temporary opening hours, to changes to its services, the Hampshire Libraries website has details on the various new measures in place.

Here is an overview of the main changes that are now operating across Hampshire libraries.

Social distancing

Visitors may be asked to queue outside libraries following safe social distancing guidelines, as libraries will have limits on the number of people who can go inside at any one time.

Hand sanitiser will be available. However, people are asked not to visit a library if they feel unwell.

Basingstoke Gazette: Social distancing at Chineham Library, which on MondaySocial distancing at Chineham Library, which on Monday

Ready Reads

This offers people the option of having library staff handpick a selection of books for customers, after completing an online form or calling 01962 454747. These can be collected, along with any reserved items, without having to queue or come into the library.

Shorter visits

To reduce wait times and allow as many people as possible to Hampshire libraries, people are asked to limit their visits to a maximum of 30 minutes and to keep browsing to an absolute minimum.

Newspapers and magazines won’t be available for the time being.

Library self-service app

Customers are asked to use self-service machines to borrow items where possible or download the new Spydus Mobile app to check out books using a smartphone.

Returning books and overdue loans

Libraries are now accepting returned library books, but current opening hours are slightly different to normal and you may be asked to queue outside the library. If your local library has a book return slot you can use that at any time. All returned books are quarantined for 72 hours before they go back into circulation.

Shared computers and places to study

Computers are free of charge to use for all library card holders; to secure a session you must book in advance by calling 01962 454747.

Study places will be available from July 13; to secure a session you must book in advance by calling 01962 454747.

Events and activities

Events, activities and groups won’t be able to meet in libraries yet, but you can access a full online timetable of events and activities including baby rhymetime, story time, bedtime stories, the Summer Reading Challenge and podcasts on Hampshire Libraries website and its Facebook page.