Current Covid measures and opening arrangements

In recent months we have been able to relax some of the Covid-related restrictions in operation across the Library but a number of measures remain in place for the time being. Our priority is to enable members and staff to use the building and collection safely and we want to ensure that our shared spaces provide a reassuring environment for everyone wishing to use them. We’ll be keeping all arrangements under review over the next few months and will announce any further changes in due course.

No need to book

It is will currently not necessary to book a slot in order to visit the Library. Members will be able to enter and leave the building whenever they choose during normal opening hours and will 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 in the Issue Hall and in and out of the building is no longer in operation.

Desk arrangements

Following our survey among members and consultation with staff we have restored the Reading Room, the Sackler Study and the 6th Floor Members’ area to normal, pre-pandemic seating levels, including the return of all of the armchairs to the Reading Room – something much requested in the survey feedback. These steps will increase capacity in the Library by over 37 seats. The Reading Room will remain as an area for laptop use while we continue to operate with lower capacity. We understand that a silent, laptop-free space is important to members and hope to restore it as soon as capacity allows.

Face coverings

Unless you are exempt, please continue to wear a mask on arrival at the Library, when moving around the building and in the stack areas, and when interacting with members of staff. Updated signage will be in place as a reminder and we shall keep a stock of face coverings at the Issue Desk in case members forget to bring one with them. 

Members are, however, not required to wear masks while they are seated in the main Reading Room, Sackler Study or 6th Floor members’ area. In the latter space members will also be able to consume food and drink. We hope that this will enable members to work comfortably in these large, well-ventilated spaces.

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.

Guests

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.

Services

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.

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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..