Low infection rate shows safety measures work, Libraries Connected says

Low infection rate shows safety measures work, Libraries Connected says

A survey of library services shows 1.4% of staff have tested positive for Covid-19 since reopening in July, suggesting safety measures have worked, according to Libraries Connected.

The online survey was carried out between 24th and 30th November, with 91 out of 176 public library services responding.

It showed that since libraries reopened in July through to November, 144 out of 10,254 library staff have tested positive. Four out of 87 library services had staff in the same branch or team test positive at the same time.

Just two out of 89 services have been told by track and trace that a library user had tested positive (2.3%). Nearly a third of library services, 22 out of 91, had to close a branch following an infection.

However, there were no confirmed reports of infections originating or spreading in a library building.

A further 11 out of 88 library services also revised their procedures or services following an infection. This included re-checking risk assessments, tightening cleaning and social distancing procedures, and responding to the emerging advice from Public Health England.

Isobel Hunter, c.e.o. of Libraries Connected, said: “Libraries have worked incredibly hard over the past few months to adapt their buildings and services to create a safe environment for their staff and their users. We are therefore delighted to see that their efforts have been successful with low infection rates and no evidence of positive cases originating in library buildings. We hope these findings will reassure everyone that libraries can safely remain open through this crisis.”

The findings have been published after figures last week showed investment in public libraries fell by £20m in the 2019/20 financial year. Libraries Connected has warned services face further cuts of 14% in the coming year.