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Keep Southwark Safe

Your stay at home library of things to do

Visit your stay at home library for learning resources and fun ideas for everyone.

Stay At Home Library

Update on re-opening of library and heritage services

Most of our libraries are now open and ready to welcome you back to browse books, collect reservations or mystery bags, use bookable PCs or bookable study space. We're now offering a reduced service from the following libraries with more to come soon. Please follow the links to check the services available at each site.

The following libraries remain closed for the time being. Please follow the links for further details.

Using study space and PCs

A limited number of study spaces and PCs are available at all of the libraries listed above. They must be booked in person and you'll need to be a full member of Southwark Libraries in order to do this.

Public PCs can be booked in the library for a 45 minute slot on the hour and will be cleaned after each use. Please bring your library card to book a slot.

Study spaces are limited and must be booked on the day on a first come, first served basis. Please bring your library card to book onto one of these sessions:

  • Monday to Friday: 10.15am-1.30pm or 2.30pm-5.45pm
  • Saturdays: 10.15am-1.30 pm or 2.30pm-4.45pm 

Find out how to join Southwark Libraries

Safety of visitors and staff in our libraries

The safety of visitors and staff remains our priority. So we've put the following measures in place to help everyone feel safe:

  • all visitors are required to provide test and trace information in order to visit our libraries
    • this can be done by scanning the QR codes at reception, using the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app on your phone; you can also provide your contact details to a member of staff
  • if you're visiting the library, you're required to wear a face covering by law, unless you're exempt
  • you're encouraged to use hand sanitiser and hand wipes - you'll find these in each library together with new protective screens around staff areas
  • we're also quarantining all returned books for 72 hours

Some services are currently restricted in line with government advice. We are aiming to resume a full service as soon as possible but are unable to offer the following services at this time:

  • events
  • café facilities
  • room hire

You can help by following social distancing rules and any guidance offered by our staff and signs around the libraries.  

Ordering books, CDs and DVDs

If you would like to pre-order items ahead of visiting any library, please search our catalogue and place a reservation on your chosen title(s) and we'll let you know when they're ready. If you don’t have specific titles in mind or need some extra help, email or phone us and make use of our Order and Collect service. There's no charge for either of these services.

If you had a reservation to collect from a library before we closed on 19 December 2020, this will be available for you until 30 April 2021.

Find out more about the Order and Collect service

Mystery book bags

Everyone loves a surprise! In addition to the order and collect service you can also drop in and borrow a mystery book bag when you visit a library. Choose the genre or subject that you want to read and see what you get, from children’s stories, adult romance, mysteries and more.

Home library service

The home library service has resumed for those that are unable to get to the library due to ill health, older age or caring responsibilities. We give priority to existing customers, but if you or someone you know requires the service let us know by calling 0207 525 7493. If you leave a message, we’ll get back to you.

Archive and heritage services

The Southwark local history library and archives search room on Borough High Street is currently unavailable. When it re-opens, the service will initially operate on revised hours with pre-booked slots for visitors. Further details will be provided soon. In the meantime, if you have questions email the archives team. You can also visit Southwark’s emuseum to explore heritage collections and find out about upcoming events.

Online borrowing services 

Our BorrowBox eBook and eAudio services are still available.

To become a library member and have full access to our online resources, visit our library joining page.

Find details of our online activities and events. You can find more resources on our Stay at Home Library of things to do

We're pleased to welcome you back to our libraries. Watch this space for more information.


Page last updated: 19 April 2021

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