Barbican Library reopens its doors

Barbican Library will reopen to the public today following its temporary closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The library, which is situated at the heart of the Barbican’s complex, houses the Barbican Music Library and Barbican Children’s Library, and loans a wide range of books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and scores to all visitors who have joined its free membership scheme.

A raft of safety measures will be in place at this very popular City of London Corporation-owned library, in order to ensure a safe return for users and a COVID-secure working environment for staff:

  • All visitors will be asked to comply with NHS Test and Trace, ideally, by downloading the app to your phone and using our QR codes. A paper version is also available
  • Unless you are exempt from wearing one, or a child aged under 11 years, you must wear a face covering.
  • All visitors are reminded to observe the two-metre social distancing rule and follow one-way systems
  • Library users will be asked to use hand sanitiser on arrival and use the cleaning products provided to wipe down ‘high touch’ areas, including self-service machines, with which they have been in contact
  • You may have to queue - the number of people in the libraries at any one time will be limited and customers are requested to restrict their visit to no longer than 30 minutes
  • Socially distanced public computers will be available for one-hour slots
  • Transparent ‘sneeze screens’ have been installed on all counters
  • Newspapers, magazines, study spaces and seating will not be available
  • The reservation system which has been suspended for more than a year is being reinstated. However, after 2 June 2021 (i.e. the date on which all current loans are due for return), if a book is reserved for another customer, it will not be able to be renewed and will have to be returned.
  • Items on the ‘returned books’ shelves will not be available until they have been quarantined for 72 hours
  • Group activities will continue to be available online only

The library’s revised opening hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:00am to 3.30pm, and Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 to 6:00pm.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde, said:

Over the last twelve months, I have been hugely impressed by how our library colleagues have worked so tirelessly to provide a range of services, essentially, a library without walls, during the lockdowns, and I know that they are looking forward to reopening the doors next week.

“Everything will be in place to ensure that the libraries are safe to visit, so I hope that everyone will enjoy returning to the Barbican, whether they want to borrow a handful of books, a music score, or just one DVD.”

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Children’s and Community Services Committee, Randall Anderson, said:

“We know that the libraries, albeit, very necessary, closures over the last few months were felt keenly by many users, because these are very popular and relied-upon spaces.

“It will be a very welcome sight indeed to see people back at the Barbican Library from next week, whether they are book worms, music lovers, or young parents or children looking for inspiration.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Barbican Library, Barbican Music Library, Shoe Lane Library, and Artizan Street Library and Community Centre is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate, a multi-million-pound initiative to create a new cultural and creative destination for London. As part of this, the City Corporation is providing a £197m investment in the new Museum of London, which will open in West Smithfield in 2024.


Media enquiries:

Andrew Buckingham

Media Officer (Arts and Culture), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.