Somerset libraries reopen and launch Reading Friends service

Close up of books on desk in library.

Initially, libraries will open in the mornings for people to collect books from the Library Choice service. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Almost all Somerset libraries have reopened this week, offering a limited-service as lockdown measures start to ease. 

This includes the buildings in Burnham and Cheddar, in Princess Street and Union Street respectively.  

A Reading Friends befriending service has also been launched for those feeling lonely or isolated in the area.  

The People’s Network computers may also be booked in most libraries. 

The People’s Network computers may also be booked in most libraries. - Credit: Pixabay

Initially, libraries will open in the mornings for people to collect books from the Library Choice service. This involves staff picking a selection of titles based on people's preferences about what they like to read, watch or listen to. 

In most libraries, the People’s Network computers may also be booked if people need to look for a job, access housing, or other government services online.  

Somerset County Council cabinet member for economic development and community infrastructure, Cllr David Hall, said: “Somerset Libraries have been continually supporting the community both online and in libraries even during lockdown. Now, customers throughout the county will be able to once again come along to their local library. 

“We also know lockdown has been particularly difficult for people living alone or feeling isolated. Funded by the Reading Agency, Somerset Libraries has recently launched its Reading Friends service.  

One Reading Friends group is aimed at new parents and other groups are for anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated.

One Reading Friends group is aimed at new parents and other groups are for anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated. - Credit: Pixabay

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“If you like to talk about books, or spend some time reading with others, we can match people to a member of staff for a regular catchup. Alternatively, we are also setting up a number of virtual Reading Friends groups, where you can chat to other people about reading or just share stories.  

"We have one group aimed at new parents and other groups aimed at anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated. Reading can be a good way to share thoughts and ideas in a way that feels safe and supportive.” 

For regular updates on library opening times and services on offer, log on to www.somersetlibraries.co.uk or via social media.

To participate in the Library Choice service, fill in the online form at the same website listed above with types of books you like to read and favourite authors. Alternatively, contact 03001 232224.

If you or someone you know would like to take part, or have any questions, about Reading Friends or other library services, email librariesmail@somerset.gov.uk or phone the number listed above.

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