Last updated 12/10/2020

Welcome to the guidance page on safety measures and rules in the Library. Here, we explain what we’ve done to make your Library a safer study environment and how you can help us to keep it open.

The guidance covers:

  • Face coverings
  • Social distancing measures
  • Contact tracing
  • Study spaces
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Book quarantine
  • Changes to borrowing
  • Change to items we provide

You should also follow general College guidance and the Code of Conduct for all staff and students working or studying on-site during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check here to find out when it is okay to visit a campus.

Study safe in our libraries - measures

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth at all times in library spaces.

Exemptions can be made for you on medical, health or other grounds – just let staff know or email us at

For more information on face coverings, please see College guidance.

Social distancing measures

Stick to our guidelines to maintain a safe distance from others in the library:

  • keep 2m apart from staff and other users, and follow the floor markings indicating 2m intervals
  • enter and exit the library using the one-way system indicated by signage
  • avoid congregating or waiting in areas such as the reception or staircases

We are keeping you safe by monitoring and controlling library occupancy levels. This means that you may need to wait a short while or come back later to use a study space if we’re at full capacity.

If you need to quickly speak to staff or collect a requested book, you can jump the queue.

Central Library

Check the traffic light screen before entering. It will tell you the current occupancy level of the library and whether or not you can enter.

Central Library is operating a one-way entrance and exit system across all floors:

  • enter the building using the ground floor entrance
  • to go up a floor, use the main staircase
  • to do down a floor or exit, follow the exit signs which will lead you to the back staircase.
  • onlyone person can use a lift at a time

Contact tracing

The library is a designated drop-in service, which means you do not need to pre-book to use our study spaces as long as you are visiting for a valid reason.

You must fill in our online contact tracing form every time you visit us to use a study space, including when you move to sit at a different desk. Do this by scanning the QR code displayed.

This will help us to keep your library open and reduce the number of users who will need to self-isolate in the event a COVID-19 case is confirmed.

This information will only be used by us to contact you in the event a local instance of COVID-19 is reported.

Study spaces

Study spaces in the libraries are arranged so that you will be seated apart from other users.

Do not sit at desks which have been marked with a cross, even if you are with a friend.

You must complete our online contact tracing form when you arrive at your chosen desk.

Room bookings

All our group study areas are now for individual silent study. You can book a room via the Library Bookings system. These hold up to one person per session.  Make sure you read the guidance on our Room Bookings page.

Group study

There are no longer any spaces for group study in the library. Check the breakout spaces page for a list of alternatives.

Cleaning and sanitising

We have enhanced our cleaning operations and the libraries will be cleaned overnight after the buildings are closed.

We are providing sanitisation stations with spray, paper towels and hand sanitiser for you to use.

Dispose of any used cleaning materials in the correct bins around the library. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

Book quarantine

Any books that are touched by someone or returned will be quarantined for 72 hours before reshelving.  This means there will be a slightly longer wait to get hold of some items.

If you remove books from the shelves but do not borrow them, please place them on clearly marked quarantine trollies.

Changes to borrowing

To assist with College’s multimode delivery and social distancing on-site, we have made changes to our borrowing policies so you can keep books for longer:

  • books will automatically renew for 3 weeks at a time
  • if your book is recalled, the loan period will not shorten
  • we have extended all automatic renewal periods from 12 months to 18 months
  • you will have at least a week’s notice to return the book
  • standard fines will apply if you return a recalled book after its due date

If there is a reason why you cannot return a book, please get in touch.

Changes to items we provide

We have reviewed and changed the items that are provided to you in the library:

  • you can borrow laptops and iPads
  • you can use our staplers, hole punchers and paper guillotines
  • we no longer loan out headphones

Wipe down all items you return or have used, so that it is safe for the next person that needs them. Cleaning supplies are available in all library spaces.

The following items do not need to be returned to us:

  • Whiteboard markers
  • Charging cables
  • Pens
  • Earplugs