We are continuing to work hard to provide the high-quality Library Services you expect remotely, whilst also carefully planning for phased reopening of our library buildings. We will, of course, follow Government and College guidance and will only reopen our spaces when it is safe to do so. The safety of our staff and library users is central to all our planning.

  • We’re ensuring that you can access as much content as possible online to minimise disruption to your studies and research. For example, we’ve increased our e-books by 13%.
  • We’re planning for the provision of a self-service ‘click and collect’ book service at all our campuses, as well as providing the facility to request scanned copies of book chapters. These services will be available to Imperial students, staff and NHS borrowers only.
  • We’re working to determine maximum capacity and safe use of study space. This will include marking desks and providing hand sanitiser, in line with work across College.
  • We’re preparing to implement a new security system for our books which will reduce contact with self-issue machines.
  • At our medical campus libraries and at the Silwood Park Campus Library we’re investigating ways for users to browse shelves safely

Our roadmap to reopening


Phase 0

We are currently in phase 0 with libraries closed to users and all services operating remotely. Visit Remote services and library closures to find out more about the services available to you now, including support from librarians and online resources.

Phase 1 - early August

In Phase 1 our libraries will remain closed for study, with no users entering our buildings and social distancing maintained by staff. We will process the backlog of returned books, removing them from your accounts. We will also be preparing our buildings for Phase 2.

Phase 2 - mid-August

In phase 2 all libraries will only be open for book retrieval and return via a ‘click and collect’ service. You will also be able to request scanned copies of book chapters and staff will be preparing for the re-opening of our study spaces. We will quarantine returned books for three days before returning them to the shelves.

During this phase we will be tagging books ready for the introduction of a new contactless security system.

Phase 3 - mid-September

In phase 3 our libraries will be open for socially distanced study for Imperial students and staff, and NHS staff only.

You can expect to see:

  • Deep cleaned study spaces and staff areas
  • Signage explaining social distancing and seating arrangements
  • Antibacterial gel dispensers and cleaning materials at key locations
  • Desks and PCs arranged to ensure social distancing is maintained
  • Cleaning materials and dividers at self-service machines
  • Protective screens at all enquiry desks

At the Central Library we will continue to deliver books on a ‘click and collect’ basis. At the medical campus libraries and Silwood Park Campus Library you will be able to browse the shelves.

We will manage the number of users in our buildings to ensure that social distancing is maintained and we may have to restrict access at times.

Face to face enquiry services may be reduced but staff will be available to answer your queries online.

Many of our staff will continue to work remotely and drop-ins and meetings with librarians are likely to be online. We will deliver library inductions and lunchtime workshops online.

Services or opening hours may change at short notice due to changes in Government guidance or staff availability.

The dates for each phase are not yet determined but we will let you know via our website and on Twitter.

We hope that this information is reassuring and we look forward to welcoming you back to our libraries when we can do so. In the meantime, we are continuing to provide the majority of our services online and are available for enquiries at library@imperial.ac.uk.