EVERY one of York's 15 libraries and three reading cafés will re-open on Monday. And there will be NO redundancies and NO reductions in service as a result of the prolonged closure forced on libraries by Coronavirus, says libraries boss Fiona Williams.

Every York library, no matter how small, will continue to have at least one paid staff member in charge.

Last week, City of York Council approved extra funding of almost £2 million to bail out the struggling York Museums Trust, which had been hit hard by the closure forced on the city's museums and galleries by coronavirus.

But Ms Williams stressed that, while money was tight, Explore York Libraries and Archives had a 'strong budget that will carry us through'.

"I would not say that we are rolling in money," she said.

"But we won't need to make anybody redundant or reduce services."

York's larger libraries re-opened on a limited, 'click and collect' basis in July.

But from next Monday, all the city's libraries will re-open, for book borrowing and for customers who want to access the internet on library PCs.

Ms Williams said that during lockdown, Explore had taken full advantage of all the government support on offer - including the furlough scheme. At one point, about half of all the nearly100 Explore staff were on furlough.

During August, library cafés were also able to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to bring in some much-needed cash, Ms Williams said.

As a result, while budgets were 'tight', the library service was able to carry on.

Ms Williams said staff had been working hard to get ready for next Monday's big re-opening.

It will be the first time since March that customers will be able to just drop in to their local library to browse for books. The partial re-opening of bigger libraries in July for 'click and collect' was by appointment only.

There will be social distancing measures in place from Monday.

Customers will be asked to wear masks, there will be hand sanitising stations, and 'soft' furniture such as sofas has all been removed, to discourage gatherings.

"So it will look a bit stark," Ms Williams said.

All libraries will close by 5pm, to allow for longer cleaning periods.

And for the foreseeable future there will be no live events such as book readings or author talks.

But at least the libraries will be open again, Ms Williams said.

."I was heartbroken when we had to close our libraries in March because of the pandemic," she said.

"We began to plan re-opening as soon as it was possible and ... have planned carefully, taking into account the safety of both staff and the public.

"We have trained staff and risk assessed our buildings, designing in social distancing.

"We look forward to seeing you soon.”