Entrance to Southcote Library in Southcote Community Hub

Southcote Library Reopens Next Week

  • Southcote Library is now due to reopen next Tuesday, initially for 3 hours per week, from 1-4 pm
  • Palmer Park Library to reopen later in May

READING Council is pleased to announce the reopening of Southcote Library next week (Tuesday 4th May), following the successful return of five other library branches.

Southcote is now due to reopen initially for 3 hours per week, from 1-4 pm. Details of the reopening, including new opening times, can be found at: www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart

From Tuesday 4th May,  Southcote Library, which is located within Southcote Community Hub, will offer:

  • Returns – to entrance when the library is open
  • Order and collect (book online at www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart or via 0118 937 5950)
  • Limited computer bookings (via 0118 937 5950)

Visitors to the library will be reminded to follow safety precautions, including the wearing of face coverings inside the building and for the use of computers, test and trace registration will be required.

Whilst the libraries are currently operating on reduced hours, once all branches are open, the Library Service will look to extend the range of services and opening hours where possible.

With the reopening of Southcote, almost all library branches have now returned. The current plan is for Palmer Park library to reopen on Wednesday 19th May, also initially for 3 hours a week.

People can now book to visit their local library in Central, Tilehurst, Caversham, Battle, Whitley(and from next Tuesday at Southcote via www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart or by calling 0118 937 5950).

Simon Smith, Reading’s Library Service Manager, said: “I am delighted we are now in a position to announce the return of Southcote Library. With the reopening of Southcote, we will have six branches out of seven open and we are keen to promote the fact we are open for visitors again. We are slowly, but surely getting back to offering our much-loved library service.

“We are also confident we can reintroduce Palmer Park library soon after on 19th May – and once we have all libraries with some opening, we will look to progress with the services we can offer. Whilst we are operating on reduced hours at present, we hope to extend our library offer and opening as soon as possible once all library branches are open, where we are able.

“Since Central Library reopened in July 2020, our service has seen around 16,000 visitors in total across the network, with 32,000 new books issued and around 3,000 home visits. We hope to continue to build on these numbers.

“As ever, with the reopening of our branches the safety of the public and our staff remains our top priority and so these services may initially look very different to before the pandemic. We need to be absolutely confident every preventative measure against the virus has been carefully thought out and implemented, to prevent any local resurgence originating at these locations.

“Don’t forget to please make a booking ahead of visiting your local library at www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart  or by calling 0118 937 5950 to avoid disappointment.

“If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our online offering at www.reading.gov.uk/elibrary  – we are constantly curating and recommending new material and research pertinent to current issues. If you are not a member already, it is very easy to sign up online and access our online resources. Over the past year, we have had 2,623 people join the service and we’ve issued a staggering 65,000 eResources! We also have very lively social media channels that are very worthy of following.”

Borrowed items are not due back until all branches are open but book drops are currently available at Central, Caversham, Battle library - and no fines are being charged.

Since Central Library reopened, the service has seen around 16,000 visitors in total across the network, with 32,000 new books issued and around 3,000 home visits.

Reading Library’s popular e-service continues to be available. The virtual Reading Library www.reading.gov.uk/elibrary   boasts a huge range of instant access to free online resources, including eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio. New library members can register instantly online at www.reading.gov.uk/libraries  and there are lots free online learning resources at www.reading.gov.uk/online-learning

For the latest information and updates, visit: www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart