We expect to reopen our doors to you on Wednesday 2 December. Find out more

During your visit

Library

Opening hours
Photo of Barbican Library shelves

The Barbican Library is expected to reopen on Wednesday 2 December and our team is looking forward to welcoming you back.

On Wednesday 2 December, London is expected to move into Tier 2 and our lending libraries will reopen with the same hours and services offered prior to the second lockdown. We look forward to welcoming you back.

Until then, our Select and Collect Service will be available:

1. Check the library catalogue to see if the books you would like are showing as being on the shelves in any of our libraries.

2. Then telephone the Barbican Library (020 7638 0569) between 11am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday, or email ([email protected]), to ask for the items.  Tell us exactly what you want (authors, titles or genres), give us your name, your membership number and a contact telephone number and we will be in touch.

3. We will find the items you want for you, issue them to your ticket and tell you when you can collect them. You can request up to 12 books. 

4. As the Barbican is currently closed, the Select and Collect Service Point for the Library is via the rear door of the Children’s Library (which opens onto Defoe Place, just beside the entrance to Frobisher Crescent). 

The Service Point will be open Monday to Friday between 11am and 3.30pm from now until 2 December.

5. You can bring any items you wish to return with you and please, bring a bag for your books.

For further information about Library services during lockdown please visit the Lending Libraries COVID-19 Updates page.

Safety during your visit

In order to comply with Government and Public Health England guidelines, we have put a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place:

  • All visitors will be asked to comply with NHS Test and Trace. If you can download the app to your phone and use our QR codes, this takes seconds.
  • Unless you are exempted or a child aged under 11 years, face coverings are mandatory in the Barbican. 
  • 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 1 hour slots
  • Transparent ‘sneeze screens’ have been installed on all counters
  • Newspapers, magazines, study spaces and seating will not be available
  • Library users can borrow books, CDs and DVDs – but please note: the reservation system has been suspended to reduce the need for users to make unnecessary journeys on public transport to return reserved items
  • 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

Returns & renewals

We have temporarily lifted the upper limit on renewals meaning you can renew items indefinitely for the time being, if you are not able to come and see us for a while. Do check back as this will change in future. We will contact our users who have provided email addresses to inform them of this.

If you have moved house and/or are not planning on visiting the City for some time, you can return items by post. Alternatively, you can continue to renew items online or by phone. 

Library Exhibitions

Due to COVID-19, the Library exhibition programme is currently suspended. This includes Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer - we hope to reopen the exhibition at a later date. 

Online Services

Our staff are working very hard to create a number of online experiences for you and your families during these extraordinary times. We have uploaded virtual Rhymetimes and at 11am every day on YouTube, 'Barbican Joel' is doing a streamed Rhymetime. There are resources for all the family so please check our Facebook page and Twitter accounts to keep up-to-date with all our virtual experiences.

We are doing our best to keep our enquiries service running. If you have an enquiry on any subject, please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] We will do our very best to answer you.

In the meantime, we already have a number of free online resources for you to use through the City of London Libraries eResources. You will find instructions on how to join and use your library membership to access eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eComics. You can also learn a new language or brush up your skills with our Transparent Languages online service.

For music lovers, have a look at Naxos*, our music and video streaming service which offers library members over two million tracks to listen to from over 800 of the world’s leading classical music labels, and over three thousand full length videos of classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts and documentaries.

*To log in to Naxos, enter CL followed by your library card number. 

Services

The Barbican Library is a vibrant public library in the heart of the Barbican Centre with books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and scores available for loan to all visitors

The Library prides itself on particular strengths in music (including listening facilities and practice pianos), arts, children's and financial sections as well as Internet access and self-service photocopying.

Within the Barbican Library, located on Level 2 within the Barbican, you will also find the Barbican Music Library and Barbican Children's Library, along with places to sit, read and work. 

Membership is available to those who live, work or study in the City of London, and regular visitors to the Barbican.

Visit us for:

  • A dedicated children's and music library
  • Special collections in art, music, finance and London
  • Graphic novels, books and audio books
  • A home delivery service
  • CDs, DVDs and language sets
  • Free Wi-Fi and computers with internet access
  • Reading groups
  • Friendly, expert staff

Search the Library catalogue, access your account and renew and reserve books online. 

Follow us on...
Facebook: Barbican Library
Twitter: Barbican Library @barbicanlib; Barbican Music Library @barbicanmusic; Barbican Children's Library @barbicankids
You can also find us on Instagram and Pinterest.

Listening Station

photo of listening booth

Listening Station

Visitors can now listen to a selection of both new and classic vinyl albums at the Barbican Music Library's listening station, kindly gifted to the library by audio-technica and naim.

 

Barbican Library