Temporary library opening hours
Unfortunately, due to unprecedented levels of staff shortages, a number of temporary library opening hours reductions have been introduced across East Lothian.
Whilst many other services are experiencing similar issues in relation to recruitment including a lack of applications and/or not being able to make appointments to posts, or having to re-advertise a number of times, as a public facing service, we feel it is important to advise our customers when we are unable to staff our Libraries for a period of time. We fully recognise that this can be frustrating but would like to reassure our library users that recruitment is ongoing and we do have some preferred candidates who will take up post in due course. However there will be a period required for essential training.
During this challenging time, you can visit other libraries across the county and can also access books, newspapers and magazines, training and research online. To see the full range of eResources available please click on Libraries | East Lothian Council. There are on average 1200 ebook issues monthly, 1500 audiobooks, and over 11,000 newspapers and magazines downloaded, all accessible from home, and our most visited pages include free access to Ancestry, Scran (which offers access to a range of cultural archived materials including newspapers, photographs and films) and Universal Class (500+ online courses on just about anything ranging from cake decorating to accounting and bookkeeping).
Games, groups, bookbug and class visits
Games, groups, and the ever popular bookbug sessions continue to be offered within our libraries and other community settings. We also continue to support primary schools with class visits which recently re-started after the COVID-19 restrictions lifted and we will shortly be launching the Summer Reading Challenge from 25 June 2022.
The library service
The library service is constantly developing in line with local needs, and our priorities going forward are supporting early years, children and families. Throughout the pandemic, when libraries were unable to open, staff supported people who were shielding, worked in schools over summer and Easter, have taken calls on behalf of other services to assist the Contact Centre and had staff working out of the vaccination centres in the Community Hospital at Haddington and more recently in the Corn Exchange in Haddington. Libraries were required to close for periods of time during the pandemic as a result of Scottish Government legislation and also towards the end of last year when the Council experienced a severe shortage of available cleaners. The larger Community Centres and Libraries had to reduce their opening hours in order to free up cleaning staff to carry out required enhanced cleaning of our schools which continued on into the Spring.
The Library and Customer Services Team
The Library and Customer Services Team operates across 21 different buildings: 12 public libraries, 6 Secondary School Libraries, the Area office of Brunton Hall in Musselburgh, Council HQ in JMH, Haddington and Library HQ (staff purchase all the stock for the libraries and support project boxes for all the schools in East Lothian). Staff have been very flexible in trying to ensure that we are able to maintain most of our services until we have an improved staffing situation and share in our customers’ desire to re-open all our facilities to pre-pandemic levels.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience the temporary library closures cause, and please be assured that we are doing all we can to re-open as soon as possible.