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Covid - latest information

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across the country – here’s the latest information on our services.

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Smart Libraries

From 1 April 2019, the following libraries will be self-access Smart Libraries: Ashby De La Zouch, Birstall, Blaby, Broughton Astley, Coalville, Earl Shilton, Glenfield, Hinckley, Loughborough, Lutterworth, Oadby, Shepshed, Syston and Wigston.


Please note, smart library access is currently unavailable, to comply with government guidelines and social distancing guidance. 

Self-access means that library members will be able to use their library card to access the buildings outside of staffed hours.

During self-access hours, Smart Library members can:

  • Borrow, return and renew library books using the self-service kiosks
  • Pick up and borrow reserved items awaiting collection
  • Use public computers, photocopy, print and access Wi-Fi
  • Access the public library catalogue
  • Meet as a group free of charge in the open library space
  • Hire a meeting room (pre booking required)

When in Smart Library mode staff won't be on site to help with the computers, answer enquiries about books and other library resources or provide general information, but you'll still be able to do all of the above.

Who can use a Smart Library

Smart Library membership is available to people 16 and over. Young people under 16 can still access the library during self-access times if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18.

Existing library members who want to make use of self access opening hours need to ask for Smart Library membership.

Book groups and other community groups (such as ‘Knit and knatter’, craft clubs, history societies) are also able to use the library at these times. Anyone wishing to set up a community group can use the library as a meeting space within Smart Library hours.

When Smart Libraries are being introduced

The installation work at most of the 14 libraries is now complete and we will be moving to a new timetable of opening hours from 1 April 2019.

In the meantime libraries are starting to operate a limited smart library service outside of current staffed hours. To see if your local library is doing this please visit your library web page.

The rollout plan follows a successful trial at Syston Library which ran from early 2017, known by the previous name of Library Plus.

In order to use a library in smart mode you'll need complete a Smart Library induction (temporarily suspended due to COVID-19).

What is a smart library?    Opens new window

Changes to staffed hours

When Smart Library technology has been installed across all 14 libraries, we'll be moving over to Smart Library hours.

We recognise that some library users might need more support in order to make full use of library facilities, so we are proposing to concentrate the staffed hours at times when these customers are more likely to use the service. From analysis of usage patterns we know that:

  • Mornings are generally a more popular time to use the library for people over 60 and people with a disability,
  • Afternoons are more popular with children and young people under 16,
  • Saturday mornings are a popular time for all user groups.

To see the proposed Smart Library opening hours for your library, visit your library web page.

For more information about Smart Libraries check back to this page for updates or ask at your local library.

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