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Click and Collect to keep bookworms busy

National lockdown: Stay at home. You must not leave your home unless necessary. Find out what you can and cannot do.

Books galore are still available from Middlesbrough Libraries during the latest Covid-19 national lockdown.

Avid readers can't browse the shelves for the time being - but an innovative Click & Collect service is helping to keep the pages turning.

And for bookworms unable to leave the house, the popular Books on Wheels delivery service is ensuring tomes reach homes.

Click & Collect enables readers to browse the online catalogue and reserve the books they want to read - or for the personal touch they can ring or email their local library and staff will pick a selection of books just for them.

When the books are ready for collection, readers will be contacted to arrange a date and time when the books will be waiting at the Library door.

A wide range of both e-books and e-audio books are also available via Borrowbox, the service's 24/7 Digital Library - users can borrow up to four e-books and two e-audio books at any one time, free of charge.

The Books on Wheels delivery is open to anyone unable to access any other library services due to age or disability.  All deliveries are carried out in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

All books are quarantined for 72 hours on return, before being available for collection again.

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Communities & Education, said: "Books are a boundless source of education, entertainment and comfort for so many, and that's why access to them is so important.

"They're a lifeline, and never more so than during the periods of lockdown which we've all had to endure in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"Whether it's a rip-roaring page-turner for a little much-needed escapism during the cold winter months or perhaps something to help with home-schooling - we really do have something for everyone.

"Our libraries are a treasure trove of fiction and non-fiction titles to for all tastes and ages, and for children in particular there's a wealth of board and picture books and graphic novels to support and develop their reading.

"They are vital in helping children gain knowledge, deal with stress, overcome fears, not to mention providing an invaluable break from screen time."

For more information on library services currently available, visit the libraries section, email central_lending@middlesbrough.gov.uk, or call 01642 729001.

Book collection service at Central Library