COVID-19 latest updates

Protect and respect poster image

Updated Thursday 22 July 2021

Central and campus library buildings are open to current Imperial students and staff and NHS staff only.

For opening hours see Our libraries.

Due to the limited number of spaces at the Central Library, a queuing system is in place when the building is very busy. Please remember to take all your belongings with you when you leave. Some users may be eligible to book study space, see Priority space booking for further details.

From Monday 19 July please continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidance when visiting our libraries and help keep our spaces safe and open. This includes wearing your face covering when moving around our libraries and completing the contact tracing form each and every time you visit.

Our remote online services, including enquiries and workshops, continue to operate and you can also get in touch with your subject librarian for dedicated support.

For general enquiries contact:
020 7594 8810

Studying safely in our libraries

Please follow this guidance to ensure a safe study environment and help keep library buildings open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

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.

Study safe in our libraries - measures

Visiting the library

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

Check the visiting campuses safely page for more.

Face coverings

student wearing face covering

College guidelines state that everyone should wear a face covering in indoor settings unless you are exempt.

You should wear a face covering when moving around libraries or sitting near others.

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

Social distancing measures

Central library traffic light system

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
  • follow any one-way guidance 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.

Contact tracing and QR codes

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

You are encouraged to 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, log in using your College username and password 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.

We encourage users to maintain a safe distance from others and to fill in the online contact tracing form every time you use a study space.

Please respect our Silent, Quiet and Group study zoning and stick to the maximum occupancy indicated for room bookings.

Cleaning and sanitising

Cleaning and sanitizing station

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

From Monday 19 July we have ceased quarantining books.

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 provide stationery such as scissors, hole punchers or staplers – please bring your own
  • we no longer provide 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