You are in:

Coronavirus COVID-19

Ministry of Culture and Sport publishes recommendations for re-opening library services to public

Thursday 21 May 2020

The Ministry of Culture and Sport has prepared a guide of recommendations to protect the health and safety of library staff and users of these services in territories in Phases 0, 1 and 2 of the de-escalation, based on Orders from the Ministry of Health for the transition towards the new normality.

These recommendations have been drawn up by the Directorate-General for Books and the Promotion of Reading, through the Sub-Directorate General for Library Coordination. In its preparation, international recommendations on good practices were taken into account in terms of handling books and other library materials during the COVID-19 crisis, and heed was paid to advice from the National Library of Spain and the Standing Committee of the Library Cooperation Council.

These recommendations establish the main measures for library staff on steps to be taken prior to re-opening to the public, on hygiene and prevention, on information, on home loans and book returns, on free access to collections and reading rooms.

In general, Phases 0 and 1 mainly cover the recommended conditions for taking out and returning books along with bibliographic and library information. Since 18 May, libraries located in territories falling under Phase 0 have been able to offer certain library services under the same terms as those in territories classified as being in Phase 1.

Under neither of these phases has it been possible to hold cultural activities, to study in the reference library or to lend books between libraries. Nor has it been possible to use library computers, IT equipment or have access to online or microfiche library catalogues normally available to the public.

However, in the case of the National Library of Spain and in certain specialist libraries or very old, unique collections and others that are excluded from library loans, it will be possible to consult certain publications which cannot be removed for home loans, with a reduced capacity in the reading room and only when considered to be absolutely necessary. These consultations will be restricted to old, special and unique collections and those that may not be removed from the library for other reasons.

As from Phase 2, public and private libraries may offer reference activities in reading rooms with a limited capacity and with extraordinary cleaning and disinfection measures, and loans will be permitted between libraries.

Non official translation