Shetland Library Coronavirus updates

UPDATE Thursday 25 February 2021

From Monday 1 March 2021 customers are welcome to come into the Library to browse, as well as book computers in the Learning Centre. Opening hours

We are also continuing our Connect and Collect services for customers who prefer to pre-order books.  You can collect ordered books in the morning by ringing the doorbell, as well as at the front desk during normal opening hours.

Please note that while we are at Level 3, there are extra restrictions:
There is a limit of 12 customers in the main building and 4 in the Learning Centre.
Visits should be kept to 20 minutes, but you may book a study table or computer for up to an hour.
Just phone us with any queries and check social media for updates.

More information on Library services during the pandemic:

Covid-safe rules if entering the Library or Learning Centre

  • Do not enter if you, or anyone in your household, has Covid-19 symptoms, or if you are isolating because of NHS contact tracing.
  • Wear a face covering at all times - these are mandatory unless you are under 5 or exempt.
  • Keep 2 metres distance from other customers and staff.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands frequently, including on entry and when leaving.

Test and Protect

To assist with NHS contact tracing, the library collects contact details from customers who spend time inside the premises.  This is your name and phone number.  Further details here:

The full Scottish Government guidance on Test and Protect can be accessed at the following link: Scottish Government guidance on Test and Protect

The Council's Privacy Statement relating to Track and Trace information can be found on the Council's website COVID-19 Track and Trace - SIC Premises (general).

Connect and Collect

Phone or email if you would like staff to make up a selection of items to collect.  This can be books, DVDs or CDs (please note all DVDs are now FREE to borrow).  Let us know your preferences e.g. format, genre, and ages if for children.  Each member can take up to 20 items.  Staff will let you know when your order is ready to be picked up.

Staff follow careful hand hygiene when making up orders and returned books are quarantined before recirculation.  However, you should not assume materials are virus free and should follow the same level of precautions as you would when e.g. collecting your grocery shopping.


Reservations can be placed as normal on our online system There may be some delays due to school branches being closed and supplier issues caused by lockdowns.  If you want to request or suggest items not in stock, just phone, email or let staff know.

Home deliveries

We are delivering bags of books on a monthly rota covering the mainland, Yell, Unst, Whalsay and Bressay.  Please get in touch if you need this service - we are not operating the mobile library at present, so are happy to deliver to any household that cannot easily come to the library.  You may also want to use this service if you have to shield or self-isolate.

Staff follow careful hand hygiene when making up and delivering orders and returned books are quarantined before recirculation.  However, you should not assume materials are virus free and should follow the same level of precautions as you would with e.g. deliveries of shopping or mail.

School Libraries

While schools are shut (January 2021) please don't hesitate to contact your school library staff for assistance.  The best way to contact them if they are working from home is by email or via GLOW.  Email addresses for each school library are on our website here:  School Libraries

Also try our virtual school library here: Virtual School Library


Books can be returned at any time via the returns point outside the public library in Lerwick.  If you get home deliveries please have your bag of returns ready to be picked up when you get your delivery.  If school libraries are shut, you can return books to the public library, or contact your school librarian if this is not possible.


Borrowing periods are back to normal now.  Please return your books on time as there are often queues for popular items.  Overdue notifications are sent by email and the third will be sent by letter if you have not responded to the first two.  You can renew your books online or by phone if nobody else is waiting for them.

Please note that because of Covid safe working practices, returns are not always processed right away.  They might remain on your account for a few days.

Using computers

Access is limited to one hour a day.  As well as spot cleaning between customers and standard Covid safety precautions, keyboards and mice are swapped over and quarantined at the end of each day.

Book online here, or by phone.  Booking is recommended as we currently have only four computers in use.

There is free wifi 24 hours a day in the library grounds, so feel free to bring your own device and use it outside.

We can do printing, scanning and photocopying for you if you get in touch.

Borrowing computers

Tablet computers are available for loan - just ask staff.

Mobile Libraries

The mobile is not going out yet as there is so much demand for home deliveries, but we hope to have it back on the road later this year.

Bookbug and events

Sorry, currently suspended.  Keep an eye on our website and social media as we hope to start these when Shetland gets back to Level 1.

eBooks, video, and online study

Just browse this website to find out more about our huge selection of online books, magazines, audiobooks, comics and newspapers.  You will also find study resources including local history for young people and excellent online referene books.  Check our YouTube channel for Bookbug videos and other Library films.  We have increased our online offer a lot during the pandemic - remember everything is free for members and if you are not yet a member you can also join online.