Coronavirus information - libraries reopening

Westminster’s libraries and the Archives Centre are reopening in line with government guidance with heightened hygiene and social distancing measures in place to ensure residents can safely enjoy all that our libraries have to offer. 

Visitors to the libraries will be asked to observe the Government’s guidelines on social distancing, keeping two metres apart wherever possible and a minimum of one metre apart when further distancing isn’t possible. Safety measures will include:

  • hand sanitiser at the entrance and in other key areas of the libraries
  • perspex screens at enquiry desks
  • floor marking to direct flow and aid with social distancing 
  • limit on visitor numbers at any one time, with a clicker ensuring a safe number of visitors are inside at any given time.

Four sites - Charing Cross, Church Street, Paddington and Victoria – will reopen on Saturday 4 July. The remaining sites will be opening as soon as possible next week, once the extensive safety measures have been completed. Updates will be posted here as we confirm reopening.

Library Sat Sun
Charing Cross 10am - 5pm Closed
Paddington 10am - 5pm Closed
Victoria 10am - 5pm Closed
Church Street 10am - 5pm Closed

Not all of our services will be available initially and some services will look a little different. We will be prioritising access to computers, the internet, study space and books to best support our residents. Our online reservation system will be unavailable across our libraries, please contact the library via email or telephone if you would like an item put aside for collection and all returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours. Additional services will be expanded in a phased manner over the coming months to ensure the safety of all.

Our libraries offer many free online resources, including eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers and eAudiobooks which can be accessed with your Westminster library card. They also have special eResources for children and young people, both for fun and to help with school work like Britannica Library Junior.

The home library service is able to deliver books and other materials to vulnerable residents. Staff will be taking precautions, including speaking to customers before a visit and stepping back two metres from the door when making deliveries. Any returned items will also be subject to a 72 hour quarantine period before they are loaned out again. Please email or call 020 7641 5405 for more information about the service. The phone line is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday; it is not open on weekends or bank holidays.

If you’re not already a library member, you can join online and access these free resources straight away.

Computer and internet access

Some of our residents rely on using the public computers at our libraries, because they don’t have their own computer or internet access at home. During the lockdown, we have arranged for computers to be provided in special areas at Victoria and Church Street libraries to help those residents access essential services.

Residents can use a computer for up to 45 minutes from Monday to Friday, between 10am and 4pm. Each computer and work station is carefully cleaned after each customer and there is a 2 metre distance between desks. Staff are on hand to help with IT queries and to ensure that safe social distancing is observed at all times including queuing when demand is high.

The rest of the library will remain closed, and there will be no access to printers or other services.

Take part in our archive project

Westminster City Archives is developing a project to record the experiences of our residents, businesses, employees, volunteers and students, to show how the lockdown has affected them. We want to know how your life has changed, how you are adapting to new daily routines, and how living in Westminster currently feels.

You can contribute your experiences, thoughts and feelings in many ways:

  • photos and drawings
  • written or video diaries
  • poetry and prose

Anyone of any age can contribute.

As the archives are temporarily closed, please email us at and express your interest in the project. When we reopen, we will be in contact with everyone to discuss how they can donate to the archive.

Visit the archives showcase to read a range of online resources.

Last updated: 3 July 2020