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Date created: 6/10/2020

Our libraries have now reopened

Please note the new (temporary) opening hours for your library:

Barbican Library (including Music Library)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11am – 3:30pm
Tuesday, Thursday 11am – 7pm

In this first phase of opening, all access to the Barbican Centre will be limited to the main Silk Street entrance.

If you have been to the Barbican Library you will know about the measures we have put in place to keep everyone safe. If you haven't been to see us yet, this video shows you what to expect when you do come to the Barbican Library.

 Shoe Lane Library

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 11am – 4pm
Tuesday 12 noon – 6:30pm

Artizan Street Library and Community Centre

Monday 12 noon – 6:30 pm
Tuesday to Friday 11am – 4pm

In this first phase of reopening, all UK public libraries will look and feel very different. We have prioritised the safety of customers and staff along with the restoration of borrowing. You will be able to borrow books, CDs and DVDs and return the items you currently have on loan. Staff will be available to answer your (quick) enquiries. If your enquiry is complex, we will take your telephone number and call you back when we have answers. Unless you are medically exempt or a child under the age of 11, wearing a face covering/mask in a public library will be mandatory for all visitors

In all our lending libraries the services will be limited (please see details below) but you will be able to return items and borrow more. We will require all customers to use the hand sanitiser provided and limit visits (one per day) to 30 minutes. Please do not visit if you are unwell.

The main changes you will see are as follows:

  • Our opening hours will be temporarily reduced. Transport for London (TfL) has asked that services planning to reopen stagger hours so as to avoid staff using the network at these (busier) times.
  • All customers will be asked to use hand sanitiser when entering the libraries and the cleaning products provided for high touch areas such as the self-service machines.
  • “Sneeze screens” will be installed on all counters.
  • We will be limiting the numbers of people in our buildings and asking all customers to ensure their visits last for less than 30 minutes. You may have to wait in a queue.
  • Some socially distanced computers will be available and the time slot is an hour. If you are not very confident in using computers, please ask somebody from your household to accompany you when you visit. Social distancing means that staff will not be able to stand next to you and help.
  • Study spaces, seating, pianos, and listening booths will not be available.
  • Group activities are currently available online and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
  • The reservation system has been suspended. We know that many of you are working from home and we are not going to make you take a non-essential journey on public transport just to return a reserved book.
  • The “returned books” shelves will not be available as these items have to be quarantined for 72 hours

We have worked very hard to make our buildings safe. We are running an ultra-low-contact service and encouraging all customers to grab what they need and go. We have put the necessary social distancing measures in place, we quarantine all returned items for 72 hours and we provide hand sanitiser for all customers. Unless staff are behind the Perspex screens we have installed on all our library counters, they are also wearing masks to keep you safe.

Returns and renewals

If you have moved house and/or are not planning on visiting the City for some time, you can return items by post. Alternatively, you can continue to renew items online or by phone. During lockdown we extended all loans until 31 July. If you are not able to come and see us for a while, please ensure you start renewing your borrowed items to prevent fines from accruing from 31 July onwards.

We have temporarily lifted the upper limit on renewals meaning you can renew items indefinitely for the time being. Do check back as this will change in future. We will contact users who have provided email addresses to inform them of this.

Online services

We are all looking forward to welcoming you back into our libraries. In the meantime, we hope you have made good use of our digital collections and online activities and will continue to do so.

Art Exhibitions

The Library exhibition programme is currently suspended and it is hoped it will resume at a later date.