When and how will public libraries reopen in England?

England – Listed by alphabetical order of council name

Boris Johnson announced on 22 February, that public libraries in England can reopen “no earlier than 12 April”.

In the meantime, the lockdown guidance published on Monday 4 January says that “Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services”. Decisions on what to actually deliver are made locally – in line with local circumstances, views and resources – so each of the 150 library services work out within this maximum what is best for it to do. Therefore, one library service may offer click and collect and another, even a neighbouring one, may not.

Please always check the library service’s own website and social media before planning a journey as things are subject to change and, while this page is the most comprehensive and up to date list publicly available, it is not infallible and may be considerably later in updating than the services themselves.

If nothing is mentioned in the list then the situation was not clear when the service webpage and social media were checked. Please note that the list shows what is available in at least one library. It is likely that many libraries in each service will be entirely closed, especially the smaller ones.

  • Click and collect – any form of requesting books / genre titles from a library remotely for picking up at a branch.
  • PCs – these are for essential use only.
  • Home library service – A delivery service to the door of those who cannot get to the library.

There is also a useful list by Libraries Hacked here.

Wales – 22 library services

Public libraries in Wales can officially reopen from 27 March. See library websites for up to date details.

Scotland – 32 services

All mainland services are currently in lockdown but the three island authorities (Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland) are not. Libraries can reopen from 26 April

Northern Ireland

  • Click and collect, IT and print services.

Elsewhere in the British Isles

  • Guernsey – open as normal
  • Isle of Man – closed
  • Jersey – click and collect, PCs, home library service

See also:

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