Making Book Returns Easier for Schools & Public Libraries


Although levels of implementation vary depending on the country, many libraries across the UK are adapting to the third lockdown by introducing click and collect services. This means hygienically managing returns has never been more important. Being mindful of quarantine periods, increased returns and out of hours management, a returns trolley system that can be placed outside of the building could be an invaluable asset to public libraries but also school libraries alike.  

For school libraries, it may be that your library facility is being used to accommodate students who need to attend school throughout lockdown. There is even talk of some independent schools using their facilities for community vaccinations which could well include the library space and limit its use for students in school 

Where access to the library is restricted, whether that is in school or a public library providing click and collect services; weatherproof trolleys are a fantastic option to ensure patrons are still able to use library facilities and return books when space is not in use.  

24-hour book returns

A large number of patrons cannot access the library on weekdays, during office hours: workers, schoolchildren and students may not have the time to visit the library to return borrowed items. COVID-19 and the need to quarantine materials has meant that book return boxes have become a real asset. Often placed in front of the library, sometimes even on the wall, in the entrance hall, these return boxes allow your patrons to return materials 24 hours a day. A real plus, and a service that many users appreciate.  

What about librarians? Fears of vandalism were quickly dissipated, the collection of the cart (often full!) to return the returns can be done outside of public opening hours and thus allows better management of the collection. Another point to consider if you want to acquire one of these models: some have a locking system for the slot where to insert the returns, so you can lock it when the bookcase is open to prevent the box from becoming full before the end of the day.  

Gresswell offer a wide range of return boxes, including NEW weatherproof trolleys perfect for outdoor, out of hours use. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out which model is the most appropriate, we can guide you according to your number of users, your opening hours, where to position the box – plenty of factors to consider before choosing your model. 

Check Out The NEW Outdoor Book Return

Please Note: This video comes from our sister company Demco FR. Gresswell is offering a UK version of this product in English.

Allow books to be returned by library users outdoors and out of hours, which will help with social distancing for click and collect services. Books are instantly quarantined and can be placed into storage quickly and easilyLockable features will help manage units being stolen, becoming full and investing in several units can also help with capacity. 

Maintaining damage-free books and media is the foundation of any successful library. our exclusive Demco Outdoor Book Returns ease the worry by providing innovative features to ensure the highest protection of your returned materials.  

Aluminised coating on all surfaces and a stainless steel kick-plate wrapping around the bottom of each return maintains the integrity of its construction and keeps rain and snow out of your returns. 

Hood opening:
350mm(W) 89.5mm(D)

CD/DVD opening:
250mm(W) 89.5mm(D)

An extended, sloped hood with a slight lip provides a weather barrier, directing moisture away from the chute door and down the sides of the return.  

The pull down chute door will not flap open in the wind, further protecting matrials housed inside from weather exposure. Locking chute and collection doors offer an additional layer of security.  

Available in textured 2mm Zintec steel, powder coated with a mid texture Epoxy Polyester finish. Includes assembly instructions for bolting to the ground and self applying transfer graphics. 


  • Outer Unit: H1217mm x W964mm  x D964mm (D1090mm Including Hood)  
  • Inner Cart: H891mm x W810mm x D820mm (H1016mm Including Hood)
  • Clear lacquered letter box for extra protection  
  • Stainless steel piano hinges resist rust  

Book return carts are constructed from 1.2mm Steel CR4 Grade, finished with a zinc rich primer and powder coated with mid texture epoxy polyester RAL8014.

Spring loaded tray topped with 18mm foam reduces impact to the media when posted and ensures that you never have to bend far to retrieve your books, CDs or DVDs.  


  • Antidrill radial cam locks
  • Concealed hinges  
  • Lockable letter boxes  
  • Spring loaded tray inside the cart topped with 18mm foam to reduce impact to books when posted  
  • Roller cradle and drop guides assist the book into the trolley
  • Holds approximately 250 books and 750 DVD’s in separate compartments  
  • Our blog from lockdown one focused on how libraries can reopen safely but the following are also relevant for staff working in libraries whilst in lockdown number three:

Quarantine for the Recommended Time Before Re-shelving

Currently, there are various guidelines for how long to quarantine library materials. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. The coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. How long it survives depends on the material the surface is made from. 

Research is ongoing; however, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that tested how long the virus can remain stable on different kinds of surfaces. They found that it was still detectable on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours. 

With this in mind, we would suggest a quarantine period of not less than 72 hours for paper and cardboard materials. Depending on the surface, items should be quarantined for the recommended number of days, with plastic items quarantined for seven days. 

Limit Transfer of Germs

It is recommended that staff should wear gloves to transport materials into quarantine and to remove them immediately after to avoid transferring the virus to other surfaces. Staff should also wear masks when working with quarantined materials and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds after handling materials, as per government guidelines. 

Surfaces such as tabletops, chairs, door handles, book returns, book trolleys, bins, and any other surfaces that have been touched should be disinfected thoroughly between the transfer of materials. 

Regular household cleaners are effective, including bleach solutions and alcohol solutions of at least 70% alcohol. 

Maintain a Procedure for Returning Items to the Library

Dedicate specific book trolleys or boxes for quarantined items or place them in bags for the quarantine period. They should be marked clearly and labelled with the date they were placed in quarantine to help track when they can be re-shelved again. 

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