BOOKS could be "quarantined" for six days to allow people to access library services in Powys safely.

A click-and-collect service was launched today at six of the county's main libraries – Newtown, Brecon’s Y Gaer, Llandrindod, Llanfyllin, Machynlleth and Ystradgynlais.

And the council's economy, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee, on Thursday, June 18, heard that one way to ensure the safety of staff and clients will be to quarantine the books for three days at both the library and at people's houses.

Councillor Jeremy Pugh said: “Just in case we end up inadvertently causing a problem rather than solving one.

“How do you make sure the people who are distributing the books are not Covid-19 positive?

"How are you going to clean the books after they have been distributed?"

The authority's portfolio holder for culture, Councillor Rachel Powel, said that keeping staff, volunteers and the recipients of books, safe had been one of the main concerns with the scheme.

Principal librarian Kay Thomas added: “After the books are selected at the library and packed up they will be left for 72 hours before they are delivered.

“There is also advice for the reader again to leave them for a further 72 hours before unpacking them.”

She added that information on hand washing before and after reading was also given.

Ms Thomas told the committee: “We are also providing gloves for the volunteers and hand sanitiser to use, before and after every delivery.

“And it’s the same for the books coming back, they will be quarantined again before they are unpacked and checked in by library staff.

“We’re trying to build in those quarantine periods to make sure there’s no danger of remaining infection.”

Phase one is the first of four that will eventually lead to the full re-opening of libraries.

  • Phase two, will see limited access by appointment, for essential computer use and council enquiries.
  • Phase three, will see people allowed to browse the book shelves – with a limit to the numbers.
  • Phase four, is the full opening and re-introduction of activities and events.

No time scale for the introduction of phase two to four have been given yet.