WILMSLOW Library is to reopen on July 6, followed by Knutsford and Handforth libraries on July 13 and Holmes Chapel on July 20.

Owing to the difficulties in ensuring safe social distancing Alderley Edge Library will open at a later date as conditions allow.

Cheshire East Council is preparing to reopen its 16 libraries and library services, but only on a phased basis. People wishing to use public computers or access customer service points will have to book an appointment in advance.

Strict deep cleaning and quarantining of books will become routine and the number of people allowed into a library will have to be limited. Opening hours will also be reduced to allow the extra precautionary measures to be carried out.

Newspapers and magazines will not be available for the foreseeable future and some seating areas and meeting spaces have been removed. Group activities cannot go ahead and meeting rooms for public gatherings will be closed.

Cllr Mick Warren said: “Our library services are going to look a lot different sadly, but social distancing and the safety of our library members and users and our staff is paramount.

“There is a required 72-hour quarantine period for books and with all the deep cleaning and other measures we need to take, this is bound to impact on the service and our ability to operate in the way we are used to. I would like to thank the public and our staff for their understanding.”

Customers with books to return can do so by depositing them in drop boxes outside the following libraries: Alsager, Congleton, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow. Any overdue charges are suspended until August 31.