SOMERSET County Council is looking at gradually re-opening Somerset's libraries from July 4.

Somerset Libraries confirmed it is looking to implement a phased return during July, with a reduced service in line with government guidance.

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "A good lead in time is needed to make sure we create a safe space for library staff and members of the public."

The current guidance offers a reopening of libraries from July 4, rather than June.

The guidance suggests: “Digital library services and those where orders are taken electronically, by telephone or by post may continue.”

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "A good lead in time is needed to make sure we create a safe space for library staff and members of the public."

"Somerset Libraries’ free online services are proving hugely popular, with new services introduced, attracting significant numbers of new users.

"We now have 28 social media accounts across four different platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

"The videos that library staff have been producing have attracted a significant audience with 56,000 views.

"This is a growing platform for libraries that has happened very quickly."

These videos include regular story times, health and wellbeing videos, top tips on cooking and gardening and of course some useful book reviews.

There have already been thousands of views for the different videos and the digital library offer has also been extended to include quizzes, podcasts and even a very helpful guide on what flowers to look out for in verges when walking the beautiful Somerset lanes.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “We really want people to engage with Somerset Libraries and even though the buildings are temporarily closed, we have a vast amount of online content for people to enjoy.

“The feedback and comments that we have received on social media so far proves that there is a growing demand for digital content, and it seems that people are really appreciating the many different aspects we can offer.

"This includes free books, audiobooks, magazines and even newspapers to download onto smartphones or tablets and laptops.”

Since lockdown Somerset Libraries has put extra investment into its e-resources, such as e-books, e-magazines and e-audio titles, which have all seen a significant uptake in use.

In April the library service also introduced Medici TV. Medici provides access to many performances, from opera to classical music and dance performances.

The Somerset Libraries spokesman continued: "Somerset residents have responded very enthusiastically with one of the highest levels of use for a libraries service attracting 1,653 views for an average of two hours each, showing that people are streaming the whole performance.

"All these resources are available free of charge via

"We are also in the process of contacting our more vulnerable customers to check on them, offer help to access library services and/or signpost people in need of further support.

"We will be issuing a survey shortly to find out which services people would like to see reopen and to gauge the appetite for new ways of providing library services that may be more personalised/tailored to people’s interests and needs."