We have reopened some of our venues. Everyone who visits us will need a ticket in advance. Find out more

During your visit

Library

Opening hours
Photo of Barbican Library shelves

The Barbican Library is now open - find out more information about how to plan your visit. 

In this first phase of reopening, all UK public libraries will look and feel very different. We have prioritised the safety of customers and staff along with the restoration of borrowing. You will be able to borrow books, CDs and DVDs and return the items you currently have on loan. Staff will be available to answer your (quick) enquiries. If your enquiry is complex, we will take your telephone number and call you back when we have answers.

We are all looking forward to welcoming you back into our libraries. In the meantime, we hope you have made good use of our digital collections and online activities and will continue to do so.

When you visit us, you'll see a few changes to the Library:

- Our opening hours will be temporarily reduced. Transport for London (TfL) has asked that services planning to reopen stagger hours so as to avoid staff using the network at these (busier) times.

- All visitors to the Barbican will be asked to wear a face covering - this includes the library. Disposable masks will be offered at the main entrance on Silk Street if you haven't brought one with you. 

- All customers will be asked to use hand sanitiser when entering the libraries and the cleaning products provided for high touch areas such as the self-service machines.

- “Sneeze screens” will be installed on all counters.

- We will be limiting the numbers of people in our buildings and asking all customers to ensure their visits last for less than 30 minutes. You may have to wait in a queue.

- Some socially distanced computers will be available for essential use only and again, the time slot has been reduced to 30 minutes. If you are not very confident in using computers, please ask somebody from your household to accompany you when you visit. Social distancing means that staff will not be able to stand next to you and help.

- Study spaces, seating, pianos, and listening booths will not be available.

- Group activities are currently available online and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

- The reservation system has been suspended. We know that many of you are working from home and we are not going to make you take a non-essential journey on public transport just to return a reserved book.

- The “returned books” shelves will not be available as these items have to be quarantined for 72 hours

Returns & renewals

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. 

We have extended all loans until Friday 31 July. If you are not able to come and see us for a while, please start renewing your borrowed items on or just before Friday 31 July to prevent fines from accruing. We have temporarily lifted the upper limit on renewals meaning you can renew items indefinitely for the time being. Do check back as this will change in future. We will contact our users who have provided email addresses to inform them of this.

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.

Exhibiting in the Library

Due to COVID-19, the Library exhibition programme is currently suspended and it is hoped it will resume at a later date.

What's on in the Library?

Browse free events and workshops in the Barbican Library this month.

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