Plans announced to reopen five libraries after covid lockdown

Weeks after other London boroughs reopened their libraries following the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Croydon has announced that five of its dozen public libraries will begin operating again with a reduced service from next Monday, July 20, including offering a home library delivery service for some.

The shutters will go up at Central Library next week for the first time in almost four months

The public libraries’ annual reading challenge for youngsters, encouraging them to read more books over the summer school holidays, will also get underway.

A new Select and Collect service will allow library members to reserve books and collect them from one of five libraries in specific time slots. Items can be reserved through a phone call, email or online application.

The libraries offering Select and Collect are:

  • Central
  • Selsdon
  • Coulsdon
  • Ashburton
  • Thornton Heath

At the same time, a home library delivery service will resume for 200 registered members who are unable to visit a branch in person.

Other library services, including access online using the library computers, “will be reintroduced in due course”, according to the council.

“To make things easier for residents, all current library loans have been extended until Tuesday September 1,” the council adds.

Croydon’s libraries, and the multi-faceted services they provide, have been in greater demand than ever during the coronavirus emergency. There was a surge in membership as more than 1,000 residents signed up to access eBooks and eAudiobooks. These digital collections were a lifeline for many, with the number of these items borrowed tripling compared with last year.

The figures place into stark focus the repeated “consultations” conducted by the council over the past decade whenever trying to make an argument for the closure of public libraries.

The Silly Squad (not to be confused with the mob in the Town Hall)

In a press release announcing its post-lockdown library plans, the council said, “The reopening of some libraries for Select and Collect will help residents without digital access reconnect with their libraries. This includes helping families without access to digital books join in the Summer Reading Challenge 2020.”

The challenge is for children aged four to 11, who need to read six books in two months. This year, the council says, it “follows the adventures of the Silly Squad, a team of six fun-loving animals who love to laugh and read books”.

Young bookworms and parents can register at

“Readers can choose an avatar, unlock new characters created by children’s illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, discover games and upload badges for each book they finish.”

For more information on how to access the council’s Select and Collect service, click here.

To discover if you qualify for the library home delivery service, and how to access it, click here.

And to sign up, free of charge, as a member of the Croydon public libraries service, click here.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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