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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) library shutdown

We have been running as many alternative and online services as we can during this time and have managed to establish deliveries and customer collection so that books can start circulating again. Buildings remain shut.

The Scottish Government Route Map has set 15 July for Libraries reopening, but public assess will be very limited for some time. Please therefore continue to take advantage of all the non-contact services listed below, and we will update you as plans progress.


Connect and Collect:

Begins 29 June. Phone or email us to request a selection of items be made ready for you to pick up from Lerwick Library. Let us know your preferences e.g. format, genre, and age if for children. We may not be able to get particular titles for you at this time but can make you up a good selection of up to 20 books.

Collection is from the front door of the library at these hours, Monday - Saturday:

  • 11am - 12 noon
  • 3pm - 4pm

Staff will let you know when your order is ready to be picked up.

Collection is non-contact and you do not need to bring your library card as we will pre-issue the books to your account.

You can return items in the 24-hour returns point by the door.


Home deliveries:

We can now deliver bags of books to so customers on a monthly rota covering the Mainland, Unst, Yell, Whalsay and Bressay. We particularly want to make sure we are getting books to customers who have no Internet, are visually impaired or shielding. We have contacted existing housebound or mobile customers individually and are now happy to hear from more people who would like this service. Please note we are still working in a very restricted way so we can't always fulfil requests for individual items, but we can make you up a selection


Talking Newspaper:

This is for the visually impaired and is still being posted out and also online. More details here.


Using computers:

Sorry, our public PCs and printers are not available just now. However we can still offer help with using your devices - just email or phone and a member of staff will get back to you.

We can lend tablet computers.

We can also do printing for collection if you email us.

If you have your own device you can use our free wifi in the Lerwick library grounds, but please always follow distancing rules.

If you are making a benefit claim, rules about logging on have been relaxed - please check the DWP website /


Returning books:

You can return books at the 24 hour returns point outside the Lerwick Library. All current loans have been renewed till 31 August, so just keep them safely at home if you can't bring them yet.



We won’t be able to fulfil inter-library loans at this time, and reservations are restricted to six at a time. Stock in our school and community branches is not available.



We have FREE eBooks, eComics, eMagazines, eAudiobooks and eNewspapers, you can borrow from home via the RB Digital app, and even more on our new BorrowBox app. We also have online reference sites to browse - just click on the 24 Hour Library page on our website.


Joining the Library:

If you live in Shetland and want to join the library so you can use our eBooks, please email us the details below. Our staff can email you out your borrower number and PIN so you can start using eBooks. Eventually they will post you out your membership card too!


Date of birth:



Phone number:

Email address:


School libraries:

Our school library staff can be contacted on GLOW, email or in some cases phone while the schools are shut. Please check the school libraries page for contact details. Some staff have also created new school library websites - check your school's own webpage.


Mobile libraries:

Suspended for the forseeable future. We are doing non-contact deliveries to those customers..


Social media:

We are putting a lot of news and new video content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Please follow us to keep up with what's happening - there is an awful lot going on although our doors are still shut - storytimes, book groups, Bookbug and more.


The future:

We hope to keep increasing non-contact services wherever we can. School libraries will open in August with safety procedures in place. Public libraries can open to the public in Phase 3 of the Scottish Government's Route Map out of Lockdown. Safety procedures will need to be in place so public access will be limited.


We will post more updates here as soon as we can.


Last Updated on 26 June 2020

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