Article Source: Glasgow Life
First Published: 23 March 2021 12:12
Updated: 23 March 2021 12:12
Revised Scottish Government guidance allows public libraries to open to provide free computer access only, in areas within level four of the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for managing Covid-19. Following the latest Scottish Government update, a further announcement on the re-opening of Glasgow Life venues will be made soon.
Gorbals, Ibrox and Pollokshaws libraries in the south, Bridgeton, Library at the Bridge (Easterhouse), Royston and Shettleston libraries in the north east, and Drumchapel, Partick and Possilpark libraries in the north west of the city are all set to re-open to provide free computer access.
A free, pre-booked appointment is required to use the library computers. Customers wishing to book PC access can do so either by calling or visiting one of the 10 libraries during opening hours. All PC sessions are limited to 60 minutes, to cope with expected demand.
Dr Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life, said: “While computers and internet access are an essential part of daily life, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we know that lack of access and understanding of technology continues to create huge divides across our city.
“Throughout the pandemic, Glasgow Life has been supporting people to access technology in their own homes, providing free-phone support on a range of digital applications from Zoom calls to email, as well as offering help and advice to Universal Credit claimants.
“However, we know that not everyone in the city has access to computers and the internet at home, and that’s why we are opening up 10 of our city’s libraries to enable the people of Glasgow to access vital online services safely.”
Prior to lockdown, many people across Glasgow relied on the free computer and internet access at the city’s libraries. In 2017, the Scottish Government estimated that over a third of households in lower income brackets in Scotland had no internet access at home. Across Scotland, research conducted by Inspiring Scotland concluded that around 800,000 people are estimated to face digital inequality across the country.
Using their position at the heart of the community, Glasgow Libraries are creating opportunities for residents to book an appointment to use the free library computers in 10 libraries city-wide for essential tasks, be that keeping in touch with family and friends, shopping online or making and maintaining Universal Credit claims.
All 10 libraries will be open from 2pm – 7pm on Tuesdays, 11am - 4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, 11am – 7pm on Thursdays and 10am - 2pm on Saturdays. They will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.
In all libraries, one way systems have been introduced, alongside hand-sanitising stations, screens, signage, and a PC booking system; all of which are there to help protect both visitors and staff. In every venue, capacity will be, by necessity, much lower than usual.
Printing, scanning and photocopying will be available to those with a pre-booked computer session.
Access technology will be available on request in all libraries, except Library at the Bridge, with Zoomtext readers that enlarge, enhance and read-aloud content on a computer screen, and Hi-Vis keyboards provided for customers to use with library computers free of charge. Free to use JAWS technology is also installed in Drumchapel, Gorbals and Bridgeton libraries.
The 10 libraries will be open for free computer access only. Customers will be unable to borrow books, or retrieve reserved items. All overdue library fines will be waived until 1 October 2021.
Further information on the services available in Glasgow Libraries, and information on other Glasgow Life venues and facilities, can be found at www.glasgowlife.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information.
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