Wigan's community libraries to shut so staff can help with second wave of coronavirus pandemic

Libraries across Wigan are closing their doors so staff can help to respond to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Wigan Council has announced its community libraries will shut next week until the New Year, as it adapts how it works due to rising infection rates.

The central libraries in Wigan and Leigh will remain open between 10am to 2pm on weekdays, offering access to network computers and council services.

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But community libraries will close from next week so staff can help to support the test and trace programme and other critical services.

Shevington Library is among those closing next weekShevington Library is among those closing next week
Shevington Library is among those closing next week

Since reopening in September, visitor numbers to these libraries have reduced on a week-to-week basis, a trend seen both regionally and nationally.

Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: "During the first wave our teams established community hubs, providing vital support to those that needed it, and hundreds of staff were redeployed to bolster our humanitarian response.

“It simply isn’t possible to offer business as usual now we are in this second wave – this move will help us focus our resources to essential services. These are decisions that have not been taken lightly.

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“Please continue to be kind as we all work together to keep our borough safe.”

Maintaining key services and supporting vulnerable residents are among the council’s priorities as it responds to this second wave.

Coun Molyneux has urged everyone to rally round their communities once again.

He said: “Earlier this year we saw an overwhelming response, highlighting the fantastic community spirit we have in our borough.

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“We are again at a critical point in our efforts to combat the effects of this virus and the steps we are taking will help us prioritise key services.

“I hope everyone understands our reasoning behind taking these steps. We can all play our part to help drive down our infection rates.”

Earlier this year, the council set out its five-point plan in response to Covid-19. The priorities were: the health of all people; support strong communities; support businesses; continue to work with you as a council; communicate to you. They will remain the focus of council efforts during this second wave.

In the months since, infections rates have risen and local authorities have taken on extra responsibilities, such as administering self-isolation payments and supporting local Covid-19 regulation compliance.

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Community libraries closing from October 26 include: Atherton; Golborne; Hindley; Hope; Ince; Lamberhead Green; Marsh Green; Platt Bridge; Shevington; Standish; and Tyldesley.

The volunteer-run library in Aspull will also close, while Ashton library is currently shut due to refurbishment work and will not open until the New Year.

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