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New rules announced for Norfolk libraries

New rules on the number of books which readers can borrow from Norfolk's libraries are set to be introduced next week.

A limit is being re-imposed on the number of times items can be renewed, while the maximum number of books that one user can borrow is also being cut.

But officials have stressed the new rules will still allow residents to borrow more books for longer than they could under the rules that were in place before the coronavirus lockdown.

King's Lynn library (34640692)
King's Lynn library (34640692)

Libraries in West Norfolk were re-opened in phases during July and August , after the entire service shut down in March ahead of the lockdown.

At that stage, new rules were imposed allowing library users to borrow a maximum of 45 items at a time, three times more than normal, with automatic renewals.

Almost 180,000 items were issued or renewed in the week before lockdown.

But, from this Sunday, November 1, users will only be able to borrow up to 20 items and renew them a maximum of 12 times.

Before lockdown, the limits were 15 items and three renewals.

Jan Holden, head of Norfolk's libraries and information service, said today: “We have seen so many people enjoying the library service through extended borrowing and this has continued as we opened up each site.

"We want to ensure that even more people can benefit from our extensive range of books so I’d encourage everyone to begin returning reserved items when they can.”

Users will be notified via email when items are either due to be returned or overdue. Returns can be made using individual libraries' dropboxes or self-service facilities.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for people and communities, said: “Our library service has been vital to our communities throughout the pandemic and a more flexible borrowing system has been a big part of this.

"I’m encouraged that we can continue to offer everyone the opportunity to keep a number of books while ensuring that others can reserve and enjoy our collection.”

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