Library tour Issue Hall Currrent improvements webpage

Over the summer, there will be a number of works ongoing in the Issue Hall, Stairs and Reading Room.

While we will keep disruption to a minimum, and ensure that entrances, exits, and all services remain open, members may experience some disruption and the main Reading Room will be closed for a number of days.

All changes are detailed below, followed by the dates when members may experience disruptions.

Self-issue kiosks


The Library will be installing two self-issue kiosks as an option for members to loan and return books. This follows the Library’s introduction of RFID security for the safety of our book collection.

Staff will be on hand to help members use the kiosks for the collection, issue and return of books. There will still be staff at the issue desk for those who would rather have their books issued and returned there. 

We hope that this change will improve member service in two ways: it will ease the process for members who wish to issue/return books quickly, and it will provide Issue Hall staff more time to assist members with detailed collections requests and queries without causing queues.

Members will have noticed our RFID barriers at the doors. These will sound an alarm if a book has not been issued. Should this happen please return to the issue desk and ask a member of staff for help.

Keyless lockers


Recently, the Library introduced a new keyless locker system. Members can now use their membership card to access a locker, meaning that members no longer have to queue at Reception for a key, and Reception staff are freed up to deal with more detailed member queries.

Please remember to bring your membership card each time you visit the Library. If you have lost your card, please inform Reception so we can issue a new one.

The lockers automatically unlock at night. Please remove all items from your locker when you leave the Library. Any forgotten items will be held at Reception.

Improvement work in the Issue Hall, Stairs and Reading Room

reading room

To make room for the kiosks and returns trolleys, we are removing the old enquiries desk that has not been in use for the last few years. We are aware that members often use the surface to manage bags and move their items into the lockers. To accommodate this, the desk will be replaced with a table.

As the installation of the self-issue kiosks and removal of the old enquiries desk necessitates work and new flooring in the Issue Hall, we are taking the opportunity to replace carpets across several areas in the Library. As members who visit the building will know, the red carpet in the Issue Hall, main staircase and Reading Room is worn and stained.

The new green carpet was chosen from a limited selection due to the need for practical carpet tile. It was chosen by the Library’s interior designers to ensure it is in fitting with the building's look and feel.

Initially, the carpet will be laid in the Issue Hall and the old carpet on the main staircase will be trimmed while we take the opportunity to polish the wood.

The chemicals used for this process may cause a strong smell. We will install fans and open windows over the week to keep this to a minimum.

While the Issue Hall carpet is laid, one of the Library’s two entrances will need to be temporarily closed. 

Once complete, the carpet in the Reading Room will be replaced. During this time, we will also undertake some electrical work to improve power access for members in the Reading Room and remove the extension leads. This will necessitate the closure of the Reading Room for around two weeks. This will be done at a time when the Library is at its quietest in order to minimise disruption.

There are around 130 other spaces to use in the Library including The Study, The Writers’ Room, the Art Reading Room, or one of the many desks dotted around the Library.

Finally, we will be installing two digital signage boards; one in the Issue Hall and one outside The Study. These will enable us to communicate important messages to members to members more effectively than the current paper signage.

Key dates

key dates

There may be some disruption on the following dates. The Library will remain open with all services available.

Thursday 10th October – Maintenance work to the roof in The Foyle Lightwell Reading Room, the works being carried out will be visible from the Reading Room on this day. 

October – New carpet laid on the staircase