All libraries in Bromley have now been closed in response to the coronavirus threat, but not before the worker’s union slammed them for staying open for a week after libraries in neighbouring boroughs were closed.

Greenwich Leisure Limited and Bromley Council shut down the authority’s libraries on Monday until further notice, with the operators saying it was done for staff and visitor safety.

Greenwich Leisure Limited said library staff working from home due to Covid-19 would be paid, while support for customers would include waiving fines, extending borrowing options, and supporting families with online education and entertainment services, such as Facebook Storytime.

“Libraries are a vital public service of great value to all members of the community at this difficult time and GLL will continue to work with the Council to maintain these services in whatever form we can wherever possible,” a spokesperson for Greenwich Leisure Limited said.

The announcement has seen all 14 of Bromley’s libraries close indefinitely in response to the outbreak of the deadly virus.

It came after worker’s union Unite had accused management of “being contradictory in its approach to coronavirus for library staff in Greenwich and Bromley”, after the former’s library services were shut last week.

Unite said that GLL had adopted a contradictory policy by closing all the 12 libraries it runs in Greenwich, while keeping eight of the 14 libraries in Bromley open.

“What is the difference for people in the two neighbouring boroughs?” Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said last week. 

“This complete lack of co-ordination is exactly what causes so much worry and concern for the public and staff.

“If it’s not safe in Greenwich then it’s not safe in Bromley.”

All items currently on loan at Bromley libraries have been renewed until April 18.