When and how will public libraries reopen in England?

Current situation

The restriction on opening eased from July 4. This meant that councils can reopen libraries on that date and are free to do so at a time and in a way suitable for them. Libraries Connected is supporting the process by sharing best practice and have produced a recovery toolkit. There is also a DCMS Taskforce set up to aid sector recovery.

England – Listed by alphabetical order of council name

The following is a list only of those library services which have announced their intentions publicly that I have noted. None will be offering physical events as yet and all have heightened hygiene measures in place. I have used the term “click and collect” in most cases where you need to order books in advance, although it may well have a different name in the service you’re interested in. Also, please note that “open” almost always means with reduced hours. The date of last update is in brackets, taken from social media and news reports, and it is possible that there have been developments since the last check.

10 (out of 150) English services have not yet indicated how and when they will reopen or won’t be open until September: Barking and Dagenham (opening 1st September), Bedford and Central Bedfordshire (“later in the Summer”), Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Derby, Ealing, Leicester, Sandwell and the Wirral.


Most library services are starting “click and collect” services in June but some (Cardiff, Torfaen) considerably earlier than others. All Welsh public libraries are using the same model, with pre-ordering being the first step.


See Re-opening libraries – Summary of current guidance – CILIPS for current guidance.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland – Just the ticket… Northern Ireland libraries reopen their doors – Belfast Telegraph. “A new book and collect service is being provided to customers in 90 libraries. Five will fully reopen for book browsing and limited IT access. Omagh library and Lisburn City library opens today and Bangor Carnegie, Derry Central and Belfast Central open on Thursday.” (26.7)

Elsewhere in the British Isles

See also:

Matt Finch on what Coronavirus means for public libraries in the future