Current Covid measures and opening arrangements

Face Coverings

Following the government’s recent announcement of new Covid restrictions, DCMS have confirmed that face covering restrictions in venues such as libraries will come into effect on Friday 10 December.

From 10am on 10 December, therefore, it will be a requirement for anyone visiting the Library – unless they are exempt from face covering restrictions - to wear a face covering in all areas of the Library, both when seated at desks and when moving around the Library building. While the restrictions are in force, we will no longer be able to offer mask-free working spaces in some of our reading rooms and members are asked to retain face coverings at all times when using these areas. Face coverings will also be a requirement in the 6th floor members’ area but may be temporarily removed during the consumption of food and drink.

A supply of face masks is available at Reception for those who need one.

No need to book

It is not necessary for members to book a slot in order to visit the Library. Members are able to enter and leave the building whenever they choose during normal opening hours and simply need to present their membership card at the automatic gate in the Issue Hall or at the Mason’s Yard entrance.

The one-way system that was in operation in the Issue Hall during the early periods of the pandemic has been withdrawn and members are able to enter and exit the Library from either the front door on St James’s Square or the Mason’s Yard members’ entrance.

Lockers in use

We are pleased to confirm that lockers are available, enabling members to store their personal belongings during their visit to the Library.

The return of locker space means that we have reintroduced the pre-pandemic restrictions on bringing large bags into the main body of the Library. Members will be asked to leave bags in the lockers, but will be provided with clear, reusable carrier bags if they need to keep small items with them in the Library. Members’ co-operation with the reinstatement of this arrangement – which helps improve access in narrow spaces like the stacks, prevents damage to the collection, and improves book security - is greatly appreciated.

Opening hours

For the time being we will maintain the slightly later 10am opening time that we introduced during the pandemic, to help staff and members – particularly those who have not had an opportunity to be fully vaccinated – to be as comfortable as possible with their travel arrangements into the Library. Opening hours are as follows:

  • 10am-9pm on Mondays to Tuesdays
  • 10am-5.30pm Wednesdays to Fridays
  • 9.30am-5.30pm on Saturdays

Continuation of free postal loans

Our free postal loans service proved to be a lifeline during the pandemic. We intend to retain a free service to members for the immediate future, recognising that many members are still unable or uncomfortable about travelling to the Library to pick up books in person.


Members are welcome to sign in guests once again to give them a brief tour of the Library. Please sign your guest in at Reception and remain together for the duration of your tour. Please also ensure that your guest wears a face covering during the visit.


Members will once again be able to use the photocopiers and there will be additional PCs replaced in the Catalogue Hall at the back of the Issue Hall.

We shall be keeping in place the glass screens at Reception and the Issue Desk, maintaining our enhanced levels of cleaning and continuing to provide hand-sanitiser. All our staff will also be wearing face-coverings throughout the Library.

Temporary Tickets

Temporary tickets will be available again, but where these are sought in order to view material under invigilation please contact us first as we are only able to offer a reduced service to non-members at the current time. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details and please note that we will need at least 72 hours notice.


We hope these arrangements will allow as many members as possible to feel both safe and comfortable when visiting the Library and we look forward to seeing you back here soon. If you have any feedback on the measures or anything else about the Library please contact the executive at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..