Libraries Reopening Plan

On Monday 13 July we reopened five libraries in East Sussex in Battle, Hastings, Eastbourne, Newhaven and Crowborough.

The remaining 12 Libraries reopened on October 19 after a positive customer response to the measures in place at five facilities which reopened in July.

Due to the additional staff needed at each site and enhanced cleaning necessary, the opening days and hours for the currently closed libraries will be significantly reduced. Please see the following page for the updated hours.

We are not able to offer a full library service due to the need for social distancing. The layouts of the libraries have changed to enable people to easily follow social distancing guidance, which means fewer books and computers are available. Please continue to use our eLibrary where you can so that we can manage customer numbers safely.

If you have any questions regarding the reopening of libraries or available services, please contact us via our eform or on the enquiries phone line 0345 60 80 196.

What Services Are Available?

We currently offer limited browsing, essential computer sessions, reservations from the library catalogue and a Select + Collect service. 20 items can be borrowed, and you can keep them initially for at least 6 weeks, however we are keeping return dates under review to ensure items don’t become overdue. Further details of the available services are outlined below:

Reservations: Choose specific titles from our library catalogue

  • From October 19th, customers can place Reservations for items on our library catalogue, except for DVDs and Music CDs.
  • Reservations can be made either online or by phone on 0345 80 60 196. Reservations will be limited to 6 items per customer and there will be no charge for this service for the time being
  • Reservations can be picked up from any of the 17 East Sussex County Council libraries across East Sussex and you can pick up your items from the front entrance.

Select + Collect: Have a member of staff pick items for you

  • Choose to have books picked by library staff from the type of book/author you like or use the online catalogue to see which books are available.
  • Complete the eform on our website or phone our enquiries line, 0345 80 60 196, to order a selection of books for collection at one of our libraries.
  • Your books will be ready for collection after 5 calendar days and we’ll notify you when they’re ready to collect from your chosen library.
  • Pop along to the library you selected as your pick-up location to collect your books. You may have to queue outside at busy times.
  • Please let the staff on the door know that you are there to pick up your books and show your library card for identification. The books will already be issued to your account and, unless otherwise required, you won’t need to go into the library to collect your books.
  • Books can be returned via the bookdrops outside the library you collected them from.

Public computers

1 hour computer sessions are available at the libraries. Each terminal is cleaned between uses. The number of computers available at each location has been reduced so please book where possible and end sessions when no longer in use. Bookings can be made via the website or by a member of staff at the entrance.

Support for customers using our public computers is limited due to social distancing, however one to one support is available from 19 October and if you have Internet access, a phone at home and need help, we may be able to support you through our IT4U at home scheme. For more information call our enquiries line 0345 80 60 196.

Parking permits

We are providing click and collect services for visitor and hotel parking permits at Eastbourne and Hastings Libraries. Once your permit is approved and paid for online it will be available to collect after two working days. At this current time, we are unable to accept cash payments. This will be available from Battle, Bexhill, Lewes and Rye from 19 October.

We are working to restore a safe method of one to one support for customers, but in the meantime if you require any assistance, please contact the Parking Information Team at or by telephone on 01273 335500.

What are we doing to keep visitors safe?

We have put things in place to keep people safe.

We are limiting the number of people in the libraries and you may have to queue to go in at busy times. You should follow signs and instructions from staff. Hand sanitiser is at the door, and we have rearranged the rooms, added hygiene screens at counters and increased cleaning. Social distancing is in place. and there is no seating, meeting rooms, toilets or events. We aim to offer study space in some libraries.

Books are quarantined on return and you’ll be using self-serve machines where possible. DVDs, newspapers and periodicals have been removed.

In line with Government guidance, we are asking all customers to a wear a face covering and will ask you for your name and phone number at the time you go into the library. As set out in the Privacy Notice, we will keep this information securely and it will only be shared with the NHS Test and Trace programme if we are asked for it. If you prefer you can scan the QR code to submit your NHS Test and Trace information instead of giving your name and number to staff.

All of our libraries are operating new opening times to allow staff to restock the shelves and prepare reservations. These are set out on the individual library location pages.