County council working towards reopening of library services


Libraries in Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Cliftonville and Birchington will be fully open in April as Kent County Council works to restore access to its Libraries, Registration and Archives service across the county.

Indication of when there will be a reopening at Westgate, Newington and Minster libraries has not been given.

The rate of progress will depend on a number of factors, including government guidelines on Covid restrictions; ensuring those libraries that have remained closed for many months are ready for use again and the availability of staff.

The council’s “roadmap” to full recovery of the LRA service was outlined briefly yesterday by Mike Hill, the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services.

He told the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee that the service was proposing a phased recovery programme, beginning with the immediate return to face-to-face birth registration appointments together with essential library computer use also returning from March 15.

In April libraries will be fully open for browsing and study space. Initially this will be at 35 libraries including those named in Thanet but KCC will work to reach 43 of its 99 sites while social distancing is still in place. April also sees the return of the Archive search room for bookable appointments.

Weddings and other ceremonies can recommence from March 29 with the numbers who can attend increasing in line with the government’s roadmap.

KCC hopes to return to a full service over the course of the summer.. Once all restrictions are lifted there will be a return of our events and activities. Alongside physical services LRA will continue to develop its virtual library and Archive services.

LRA has held vacancies across this financial year and will need to recruit staff to deliver the plan.

This plan represents an optimistic, positive recovery back to the delivery of a comprehensive service.

Initial libraries reopenings

AshfordAllingtonBirchingtonBorough Green
DartfordColdharbourEden Centre 
DealCranbrookFleetdownTotal Libraries open = 35
Herne BayHytheSandwich