A NEW order and collect service has been launched to help book lovers use the library service as it slowly returns to normal.

You can pre-order up to eight paperback, hardback and/or talking books at a time.

You can choose your own books, request a selection from a specific genre or author or, if looking for inspiration, opt for a 'lucky dip' where the council's team of librarians will hand-pick a range of three to four surprise titles.

The Order and Collect library service is available online at wirral.gov.uk/collect or by calling the library team from Thursday on 0151 606 2114 for Birkenhead Central or 0151 929 7724 for West Kirby.

Council leader Pat Hackett said: "The launch of order and collect means books can be collected from the library in a quick and safe way, that is in line with government guidance.

"This service is not only a solution to help keep members safe when they visit the library but is another string to our libraries' bow helping residents around the borough to enjoy reading in an accessible and helpful way."

Books ordered today will be available to collect from Thursday.

When collecting items from the library, separate entrances and exits will be marked, with a one-way system around the building and hand sanitising stations available. No toilet facilities will be available, except in emergencies.

Residents are asked to adhere to the safety measures in place to help protect themselves, staff, and other visitors to the library.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering in public buildings including libraries.

Birkenhead and West Kirby Libraries will only be offering and order and collect Service at this time.

No other library services will be available at these sites, including the one stop shop service at West Kirby. E-books and e-audio can still be accessed online through the online offer.

The launch of this alternative service will expand to further sites over the coming months.

All books will be handled in line with government guidance and not redistributed for 72 hours, but residents will not be charged any fines due to this.