Welcome to the guidance page on safety measures and rules in the Library. Please read it through carefully and follow the rules as this will ensure a safer study environment and help keep your Library open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Users in breach of the library regulations may be dealt with in line with student disciplinary procedures

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact library@imperial.ac.uk

The guidance covers:Protect and respect poster image

  • Visiting the library
  • Face coverings
  • Social distancing measures   
  • Contact tracing and QR codes
  • 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

Visiting the library

The Library is a campus ‘drop-in’ service. You do not need to pre-book.

You can use our study spaces if you already have a valid reason to be on-site, such as attending timetabled in-person teaching or a pre-booked appointment.

Check the visiting campuses safely page for more.

Face coverings

In line with Government guidelines, you are legally required to wear a face covering at all times in an indoor setting. This applies for our library spaces too.

Your face covering should cover your nose and mouth; only remove it when eating or drinking.

Exemptions can be made for you on medical, health or other grounds – just let staff know or email us at library@imperial.ac.uk.

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

student wearing face covering

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
  • 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.

You may need to wait a short while or come back later 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.
  • only one person can use a lift at a time

Central library traffic light system

Contact tracing and QR codes

Contact tracing is a vital part of the College’s COVID-19 safety measures.

You must fill in the online contact tracing form every time you use a study space.

When you arrive at your chosen desk, scan the displayed QR code or navigate to the URL:

  • at Central Library, login using your College account and enter the duration you plan to stay in this location
  • at campus libraries, fill in the short form which also asks for your desk number
 Fill in the form again when you:
  • stay longer than you had planned
  • move to use a different desk
 At Central Library, QR codes and URLs are unique for each study space.
Completing the form will help us to:
  • keep your library open
  • reduce the number of users who will need to self-isolate if a COVID-19 case is later confirmed
This date will only be used by the College’s CCT Hub for contact tracing purposes if someone in the same location later tests positive for COVID-19.

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.

Cleaning and sanitizing station

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
  • we no longer loan out stationery such as scissors, hole punchers or staplers – please bring your own
  • we no longer loan out headphones
  • paper guillotines are available
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.

We give away the following items:

  • Whiteboard markers
  • Charging cables
  • Pens
  • Earplugs
  • Note pads