Wiltshire Council leader Philip Whitehead has promised that all town libraries will re-open and stresses that consultation on the service was not a forerunner to closures.

He said: "All the town libraries will re-open at some point." But he said that some of the very small libraries run by volunteers could become click and collect services based in village shops.

He said: "During lockdown we have had a 14 per cent increase in the use of our services through on-line service. People have been downloading books, games and videos. A click and collect service could also help to boost the small shops.

"The consultation was just aimed at finding out what people want from the library service. There is no hidden agenda."

He spoke as Wiltshire Council prepares to open libraries in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury from next week.

More than 7,000 people took part in the library consultation. Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, cabinet member for libraries, said: “We thank the thousands of people for taking time out to respond to our consultation, which shows huge and passionate support for our libraries. It was clear that people wanted some libraries to reopen so we’re working hard to get three of our biggest ones ready and safe for people to visit.

“We are making a careful phased return of some services during the pandemic and that’s to ensure the safety of our staff and the public, while making the best use of our current resources and finances. We’ll have more details soon on the other services and libraries returning, but in the meantime, we’re looking forward to welcoming people back and seeing some of our libraries once again become a focal point in their local communities.”

Trowbridge will open from Monday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday and Chippenham and Salisbury from Tuesday during the same hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Loan items will continue to be renewed automatically until end of September. People will be able to attend for up to 30 minutes to browse and use computers and a number of safety measures have been put in place.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: "In looking through the feedback throughout the duration of the consultation, it was quickly apparent that people are keen for some libraries to reopen as soon as possible.

"Therefore the council will open three of Wiltshire’s biggest libraries first, with more expected to follow in due course.

Here’s the key information customers need to know:

• Opening hours will be:

- Trowbridge - Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm .

- Chippenham & Salisbury - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm.

• Loan items continue to be renewed automatically, currently to the end of September, so there is no rush to return items

• People can attend one of these libraries and browse for up to 30 minutes

• People are advised to be sensible and not pick up and put back lots of books

• Social distancing measures will be in place, with clear signage

• Hand sanitiser will be available at each library

• Depending on how many people are using the library, people may have to queue outside upon arrival

• Computers in the libraries can be used for 45 minutes, but people must book them in advance. They can be booked by phoning the relevant library during their opening hours

• People should bring their library cards

• Returned books will be stored for 72 hours before being put back on shelves

• Screens will be in place at main customer service desk

• People will be asked to provide contact details as part of the COVID-19 test and trace system. Details will be handled in accordance with GDPR laws

The following will not be available at the three libraries for the time being:

• Toilet facilities

• Group activities such as book clubs and rhyme time sessions

• Newspapers and magazines

• Reservation service

The online library content, which has proven to be hugely popular over the lockdown period, will continue. So far, there has been more than 100,000 views of library videos, such as rhyme and story time, since March.

More information about library services can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-home