Wokingham Borough libraries start to reopen

Date:                   29 July, 2020

Issued by:           Communications Engagement & Marketing

Issue No: /20

Version:   0.2

Wokingham Borough libraries start to reopen

With national lockdown restrictions now being eased we’re happy to announce Wokingham Borough libraries will begin to reopen from next Monday 3 August, starting with Wokingham and Woodley.

National libraries guidance sets out a roadmap of phased re-opening of library buildings and their services along with reduced opening hours and of course strict Covid-19 public health measures to ensure we can safely open and run the borough’s libraries for both public and staff.

Wokingham Library will be open Monday to Friday, 1 to 5pm, and Woodley also weekdays, 9am to 1pm. They will only be open at this time for returning and borrowing books with other services such as public computer use, study space, and newspaper and magazine browsing not available.

During the coming weeks we hope to open more branches and increase opening hours. The reinstatement of other library services will be guided by safety management and public demand but it could be that we will have to introduce new ways of delivering these to keep everyone safe.

Hand sanitiser stations are in position at the entrances to Wokingham and Woodley for people to use as they enter and leave, and face coverings must be worn inside the buildings. One-way systems around the libraries have been introduced, and must be followed, and social distancing maintained at all times.

We urge people to minimise handling of books while browsing. If a book is touched, but not booked out, it must be taken to the returned books area where it will be put into quarantine for 72 hours before it can be returned to the shelves.

All books being returned to the libraries will need to be quarantined in this way. There are currently 37,000 books and other items out on loan but as overdue charges are currently suspended there is no need to rush to return books straight away.

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“Libraries are such rich and vibrant community focal points so their closure these past few months has been sorely felt by everyone,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.

“Our library staff have been working hard behind the scenes to get Wokingham and Woodley ready for next Monday. We listened to your concerns in our libraries reopening survey about interaction with other people and library book cleanliness and the new Covid-19 measures we’re introducing reflect these. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. These new measures are there for your safety and to also give you confidence to once again access and enjoy what our libraries have to offer you.

“Remember, of course, you can still use our online services for e-books and audio, and search our catalogue although this will always lag by 72 hours until returned items go back on the shelves. And many events and groups that moved online during lockdown are still happening there.”

To find out about online services and events visit: https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/

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 Further information:

  1. More from Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, by emailing: parry.batth@wokingham.gov.uk or call (07969) 683 595.
  2. Alternatively, email: cem@wokingham.gov.uk


Closure of the Loddon Reach Magazine

It is with huge regret that the Management Team at the Loddon Reach Magazine must announce the immediate closure of the Magazine. This has been agreed by the Loddon Reach Team Council and the four church PCC’s. There will be no further hard-copy or digital magazines produced as the finances make it unviable for the foreseeable future. This has been an extremely hard decision to make as the Magazine has been a success, providing a public voice to local community groups and winning numerous awards. We have made every effort to find ways to keep going by introducing a digital version, and thereby reducing our costs, but our income has continued to decrease as a result of our advertisers facing a difficult time due to Covid19 and many have not renewed. We have included members of the community in our discussions about advertising and helping to recruit new advertisers for the future, but this has been unsuccessful due to the difficult business climate. Our deliverers also face challenges delivering the magazine, but we would have found a way forward if this had been the only problem. Over the last year, we have sought and received grants/sponsorship from the Oxford Diocese, the Shinfield Parish Council, and others. Also, all four churches in the Benefice have contributed finance directly to the magazine, as printing costs escalated due to the influx of new houses. Sadly, due to the massively reduced income at our churches, with no fund-raising events and no services, they are unable to repeat this. The Team have met via zoom nearly every week since the beginning of March to explore all avenues, but sadly we have not found solutions to increasing income, this has left us with no choice but to close.

It has been a mammoth task, although a well-oiled machine, to produce, manage and deliver the free magazine to over 6,000 houses. The Magazine has been running for twelve years and we would like to extend our huge thanks to many people, past and current, for managing the magazine production; from our current Editor, Amanda Tripp, to our original Editor Gillian Steedman and Joan Woodroffe our Guest Editor, Louise Ogden our Advertising Manager, plus many volunteers who have contributed huge amounts of time: the Editorial Team: Amanda Tripp, Rev. Paul Willis, Rev. David Little, Jane Watkins, Barbara Stanley, Mary Sangster, Hayley Sheridan, Andrew Oughton and also the volunteer Management Team: Jess Dye (Current Team Leader), Kim Slater, Andrew and Trudi Oughton (Past and Current Treasurers), Karen Eaves, Tarnya Lansley and Jane Watkins, who has organised the many distributors, as well as all the distributors and the volunteers who deliver the Magazine. We would also like to thank all the contributors from the churches and community, because without them, there would have been no magazine and finally our community for reading it. Finally, we would like to particularly thank Rev. Paul Willis for his unfailing enthusiasm and support to ensure the team have tried every avenue before making such a difficult decision to close.

We are hoping that at some point in the future, when the pandemic is behind us and life returns to normal, that the Magazine will ‘rise again’ in some form, and we can again provide a platform for our community to advertise services and businesses and provide an opportunity for all those groups in our community and churches to tell their stories.

Finally, stay safe and well everyone,

Loddon Reach Magazine – Management Team – 27/07/2020

Looking for something to do and would like to help clean up your Parish?

Looking for something to do and would like to help clean up your Parish?

You can help by;

‘Adopting a Street’ usually your street to keep tidy on a regular basis
or take part by doing a ‘one off’ litter pick with the kids

For more information or to sign up, please email clerk@shinfieldparish.gov.uk

(Litter picks and high-vis jackets provided, along with waste bags and H&S instructions)



There is no place for racism in our society, and Wokingham Borough Council has a long-standing
commitment to tackling the problem and will be increasing its efforts in response to recent global
The borough has an active BME Forum that is supported to be a critical friend and advisor to the council
and a strong voice for the black, Asian and minority ethnic community. This forum has been in place for
about 18 years and is regularly consulted by the authority.
But in the light of the international outcry over the killing of George Floyd and the protests in the UK,
the council is strengthening its commitment to tackle racism. The council will be wanting to hear from
residents across the community about experiences of race and racism and also asking if there are any
monuments, places or road names which cause offence.
Council leader John Halsall said: “We have a proud record of tackling racism through our work with the
BME Forum and of celebrating the BAME community’s contribution to our society and history during the
annual Black History Month events.
“But we recognise that, like others across the world, we can do even better and we are committed to
doing so. We will do this with our established BME Forum and by listening to everybody in our
Ramnik Saund, chair of the BME Forum, said: “The tragic slaying of the unarmed black American George
Floyd by police in Minneapolis has once again raised the inequality and injustice that exists in society.
This has provoked anger around the world. Wokingham BME Forum has worked in partnership with the
Council to encourage the adoption of policies that treat everyone equitably, fairly and without

“This sad event has created an urgency to act and the Forum is encouraged by the Council’s
commitment to removing racism. It welcomes the initiative to remove such relics in public, which may
cause offence to the heritage of BME communities. The Forum supports the Council in its endeavours to
promote equality and remove racism. It is committed to working with the Council to achieve this.”
The council will work with the BME Forum to make sure it hears all voices and engages with the
community and have created an online portal for people to give their experiences.
The comprehensive survey of black and minority ethnic people’s experiences of life in the borough will
be used as a starting point to tackling the blight of racism head on.
The survey invites all people to share their experiences of race and community cohesion in the borough
and detail any specific racist incidents.
We will use the information collected, with representatives of the BAME community and the
Wokingham Black and Minority Ethnic Forum, to create a comprehensive action plan that will provide
real change where necessary.
Cllr Parry Batth, vice-chair of the BME Forum, said: “The BME Forum has been a strong champion for the
community for more than a decade and I know we will be able to work with it and other groups in the
community to gather a wide range of experiences and views. We are particularly interested to know if
there are any monuments, places or road names that cause offence so we can open up a proper debate
on this issue.”
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Further information:
1. More from Cllr John Halsall on john.halsall@wokingham.gov.uk
2. More from Cllr Parry Batth on parry.batth@wokingham.gov.uk