STAFFORDSHIRE’S Children’s Centre activities, libraries, the archive and heritage service and many day centres for older people are to close as the county steps up action in the coronavirus battle.
The move will help protect the at-risk residents and allow the county council to redeploy staff to support critical care services to support the county council’s commitment to keep vital services running.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “The challenge and the risks we face are significant and evolving quickly.
“Given the Government’s advice for the over-70s, the pregnant and those with underlying health conditions to minimise social contact our duty as a county council is to keep people safe and this is the most sensible way forward for the public, for staff and for the hundreds of people who volunteer.
“At the same time we will ask staff from those services, who are able to do so, to volunteer and help in other parts of the council maintaining essential services.”
Activities at children’s centres will close at the end of the day on Friday, 20th March.
And because the government has advised people over 70 to be largely shielded from social contact from this weekend, many of Staffordshire’s day centres for older people will not run after Friday 20th March, although they will offer people whatever support they can.
All libraries and the Staffordshire Record Office, the Lichfield History Access Point and the William Salt Library in Stafford will not reopen on Monday, 23rd March, after their scheduled weekend opening hours.
All library loans will automatically be extended until libraries reopen and no-one will face fines for late returns.
Last year the county council invested further in its eBooks service, resulting in an 80 per cent increase in stock.
Existing library members can download the BorrowBox app or visit its website at www.borrowbox.com and use their membership number and PIN to access what’s on offer.
New members can register online by going to www.staffordshire.gov.uk search ‘join library’ and follow the instructions, but are asked to be patient if many people are trying to enrol at the same time.
The BorrowBox system is used around the world, offers help to dyslexic and visually impaired readers and has an easy control system, including a snooze function for bedtime reading.
As well as the 43 libraries and mobile library service, the closure also applies to the Staffordshire Record Office, the Lichfield History Access Point and the William Salt Library in Stafford. If anyone has an urgent inquiry they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org .Alternative access to some collections is available by:
- Using Staffordshire Past Track to explore photographs, images, maps and documents http://www.staffspasttrack.org.uk/
- Accessing Staffordshire parish registers, wills, and marriage bonds on Find My Past: https://www.findmypast.co.uk/articles/world-records/search-all-uk-records/special-collections/the-staffordshire-and-diocese-of-lichfield-collections
- Exploring free indexes for family history on the Staffordshire Name Indexes site: https://www.staffsnameindexes.org.uk/
Philip Atkins added: “These are difficult times for us all however if we pull together and support one another, particularly the over-70s, Staffordshire will pull through this together.”