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Hubs and libraries set to re-open

Middlesbrough's community hubs and libraries will start to emerge from lockdown next week.

The move is the latest step in the town's gradual return to normality following four months of sweeping Covid-19 restrictions.

From Tuesday, August 4, a phased programme will see a number of venues re-open part-time, albeit with a different look and feel in order to ensure a safe environment for staff and visitors.

Library users will be able to return books and pick up something new to read using a ‘click and collect' service.

Bookworms can email or call their branch in advance to let them know the kind of books they like to read, and staff will choose a selection of titles which will then be available to collect from the library entrance.

For the time being there will be no book browsing, access to public computers, Wi-Fi, printing or photocopying. 

And there's no need to worry about having to rush back with returned books - Middlesbrough Libraries are not charging fines during this time.

Although the Reference Library remains closed members of the public can call or email with family or local history inquiries after Tuesday (August 4) - email or call 01642 729001.

An announcement relating to the re-opening of libraries at the Neptune and Rainbow Leisure Centres will be made in due course.

Community Hubs will be open to provide information on community services and, in the coming weeks, access to advice services on an appointment basis only.

A system of social distancing will be in operation while waiting/queuing outside venues. Further details will be made available on the Middlesbrough Council website and libraries' social media channels.

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: "Our hubs and libraries are hugely important to the communities they serve, and they've been greatly missed over the last four months.

"Their closure was sadly unavoidable as part of the nationwide fight against this dreadful disease, and I'm grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

"I'm delighted to see these vital elements of community services beginning to return in a safe and planned manner, and we'll do everything we can to get as many venues back up and running as soon as possible."

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