City of London libraries offer limited services during second lockdown


The City of London Corporation’s family of public lending libraries are providing a range of limited and Covid-19-secure ‘hyperlocal’ services while lockdown restrictions are in place.

Although libraries have been instructed to close from 5 November until 2 December, there are exemptions that are enabling libraries to offer a handful of ‘essential services’ that cover Home Library Service (doorstep delivery, no-contact service); School Library Service (doorstep delivery, no-contact service); Order & Collect services; Access to PCs for essential purposes; Digital and remote services including eLending, online events and activities and keep in touch calls.

Select and Collect
If a book is showing in a library’s catalogue as being on the shelves in any of the libraries, library members can phone during opening hours or email at any time – clearly stating their, and the book’s details – and the book will be found, issued to the user’s ticket, along with details of how it can be collected safely in person. Library users can request to borrow up to 12 books.

At Barbican Library, this service will be operated from the rear of the library, opposite Shakespeare Tower on the Barbican Estate. Staff will give directions when they confirm that the books are ready for collection. At Shoe Lane Library and Artizan Street Library, staff will meet people at the main entrance.

Essential use of PCs:
This service is available at Shoe Lane Library and Artizan Street Library only. If library users need to get online, the two libraries’ public computers will be available from Monday to Friday for one-hour slots during the library opening hours. To avoid disappointment, library users are strongly advised to phone ahead and book a session.

Library users will not be able to wait inside until a PC is free, and staff require 15 minutes between each booking to clean the equipment. The Barbican Centre is currently closed to the public so is unable to offer this service at Barbican Library.

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Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde, said: “My colleagues at our libraries across the Square Mile are in no doubt that the services that they provide can be a lifeline for many of those who use them, never more so than during these very challenging times.

“We are making available book lending and essential computer use services, both, safely and efficiently, and I feel sure that many library users will want to benefit from them.”

During the libraries’ temporary closure until early December, library users can still download eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and eComics on to their own devices and they are available any time 24/7.

Library staff will continue to run virtual clubs, groups, talks, and children’s activities.

Barbican Library
Tel: 020 7638 0569 / Email: [email protected]
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 11am-3.30pm

Shoe Lane Library
Tel: 020 7583 7178 / Email: [email protected]
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 11am-4pm / Tuesday, 12pm-6.30pm

Artizan Street Library
Tel: 020 7332 3810 / Email [email protected]
Opening hours: Monday 12pm-6.30pm / Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm

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