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Libraries - COVID-19 updates

Westminster’s libraries and the Archives Centre have reopened 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. Due to essential building maintenance, Victoria Library is only open for computer access and enquiries. Paddington Children's Library and Westminster Music Library are currently closed.

Visitors to the libraries are 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 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

Face coverings 

Following the government’s recent decision, from Saturday 8 August 2020 library visitors will be required to wear a face covering on entering our libraries.

All visitors, apart from children under 11 and those who have reasonable cause should wear a face mask, scarf or other covering. Not all exemptions are visible, so please be understanding of other library visitors.

NHS Test and Trace        

We are participating in the NHS Test and Trace. Our customers are the heart of our service and we want you to enjoy summer safely. In order to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus we are encouraging customers to give their contact details when entering our premises.

In line with guidance issued by the government, we will keep your details for 21 days. We will only share them with NHS Test and Trace, if asked, in the event of someone who has been in the library testing positive for coronavirus. Please help us keep our customers, staff and the wider community safe by cooperating.

Library services

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.

Reservations

Our library members can now reserve books and other items from our libraries via our online reservation system. Reservations can be placed online via our library catalogue or in person at our libraries. For more information, please speak to a member of staff or email us at: libraries@westminster.gov.uk 

Study spaces

Due to social distancing, we have limited study spaces in our libraries. You may only be able to stay for a limited time and in some libraries there may not be access to a power supply. For more information, please contact the individual library.

Library Study spaces available
Charing Cross Library 3
Church Street Library 3
Maida Vale Library 4
Marylebone Library 2
Mayfair Library 1
Paddington Library 3
Pimlico Library  2 (adult/ young people) 3  (children)
Queen's Park Library 0
St John's Wood Library 0
Victoria Library 2
Westminster City Archives 4
Westminster Reference Library 6

Online resources

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.

Home Library Service

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 homelibraryservice@westminster.gov.uk 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.

Last updated: 8 September 2020