Browsing available in some Bristol libraries from next week: Central Library - Children's area

09 Apr 2021

Browsing available in some Bristol libraries from next week

Four Bristol libraries will be expanding their services to include browsing from Monday.

Henleaze, Henbury, Stockwood and the Central Library are all set to welcome back customers from Monday 12 April, with Bishopston, Marksbury Road and Fishponds staying open for the Call and Collect service.

Then from Monday 19 April a total of 17 libraries will be open – with seven offering browsing and limited computer used, and 10 offering Call and Collect.

This staggered approach is to allow for a safe reopening, and to enable library staff, who have been supporting other areas of the council during the pandemic, to finish their current work and return to their library roles.

Kate Murray, Head of Libraries, said: “We are really pleased to be able to start safely re-opening and expanding our services and we are looking forward to welcoming people back.

“Library staff have taken on critical roles during the pandemic response, and they are now finishing off these jobs before coming back to the library service so that we can start to open more libraries around the city.

“We know how much our libraries mean to their local communities, and we are doing everything we can to reopen our libraries in a safe and responsible manner.

“We will also be looking to carry on with our excellent digital offering as we start to reopen our buildings.”

Libraries may look a little different when they reopen, as measures have been put in place to keep staff and customers safe.

Safety measures include; only allowing a certain number of people in at one time, signs to help with social distancing, Perspex screens and hand sanitiser stations, and restricted computer access, which must be booked in advance by phone. All toilets will remain closed.

Staff and members of the public will be required to wear face coverings and libraries will be well ventilated. All visitors will be required to check in with NHS Test and Trace via the app or using the simple paper form.

Books will be quarantined for 72 hours on return. All items currently on loan from closed libraries have been automatically extended, but reservations and charges for open libraries will restart.

The Call and Collect service allows people to request books over the phone or by email, with a maximum of five per person (or eight for children).

The library team will constantly review the government guidance as they work towards opening more libraries and increasing services – all in a safe and controlled way. Updates will be provided as they move forward.

Bristol Libraries offer a wide variety of services online for people to access at home. For a start there are eBooks which you can borrow from CloudLibrary and Overdrive. There is also access to eAudio books through BorrowBox.

Members can read 1000s of daily newspapers from around the world, as well as popular eMagazines, including; New Scientist, Gardeners World, Gracia and the Radio Times. Recently eComics have become available.

In addition, the library team are running a number of online events from children’s story time and quizzes, through to a virtual Lego club and a new podcast. These will continue while the library services start to gradually reopen.

It’s really easy for people to join the library online. For information on joining, new opening hours and all the services you can access at home, please visit or search Bristol Libraries online.

List of open libraries:

From Monday 12 April:

  • Libraries open for browsing and pre-booked computer access: Henleaze, Henbury, Stockwood and the Central Library.
  • Libraries open for Call & Collect: Bishopston, Marksbury Road and Fishponds.

From Monday 19 April:

  • Libraries open for browsing and pre-booked computer access: Henleaze, Henbury, Fishponds, Junction 3, Knowle, Stockwood and the Central Library.
  • Libraries open for Call & Collect: Bishopston, Marksbury Road, Whitchurch, Wick Road, Bishopsworth, Redland, Clifton, Horfield, Sea Mills and Shirehampton.