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University of York Library
Subject Guides

Coronavirus and the Library

Using our buildings

Changes for the January lockdown

The UK Government has announced a period of national lockdown for England, to last until at least February half term. We have reviewed the government guidance for university libraries and have updated this page with confirmed information.

Frequently Asked Questions on using our buildings

Using our buildings

Click on an FAQ to reveal the answer. Use the tabs at the top of this page to read further FAQs about study spaces, Book Takeaway and what to do if you're unable to visit the Library.

Can I study in the library?

Yes! During lockdown study spaces are available in the Morrell, Fairhurst and Burton on Campus West and Library@Piazza on Campus East. You can book spaces using our online calendar, which you'll need to do in advance before you visit the Library. Bookable spaces include PC study spaces, but not group study areas due to social distancing requirements. See our study spaces FAQs for more information.

Why is the library open during lockdown?

Government guidelines for the current lockdown stipulate that university facilities, including libraries, should remain open wherever possible to support the physical and mental wellbeing of students who have remained on campus. We will operate as many services remotely as possible and will have only a minimal staff presence in the building in order to ensure safe working. Whilst the library is open and you're welcome to use it, please do consider working at home if you're comfortable (mentally and physically doing so). We want to keep everyone as safe as possible.

What social distancing measures are in place in the library, and how will we be informed if these change?

We are making a mix of study spaces available all of which are 2m apart. In addition, all those using the Library are obliged to wear a face covering, to keep 2m apart wherever possible when moving around the building and to keep left. Please take note of instructions from the marshalls in the buildings. If anything changes we'll inform you via social media, these FAQs, and the News section of the Library homepage.

Can I browse the shelves in the Library?

You are able to browse the shelves at the main Library. You can then borrow items as usual using the self-service machines, or use books whilst you’re studying in the Library. We’ll ask you not to reshelve books once you’ve finished with them so that we can identify and quarantine them. Please take any items that you've consulted during your study booking to the Book Return point on the ground floor of Morrell. Use the Postal Loans or Scan and Send options if you’re unable or would prefer not to visit the Library to borrow books in person.

What should I do with books that I've used whilst studying but haven't borrowed?

Please take any items that you've consulted during your study booking to the Book Return point on the ground floor of Morrell. We'll quarantine them for 72 hours before returning the books to the shelves.

Are the toilets open as usual?

Yes, but with single occupancy in each block of toilets.

How often will the library be cleaned?

The Library is cleaned every day. A full clean is undertaken before the Library opens, additional checks and cleaning also takes place across the rest of the day e.g. of touch point areas and toilets.

Do I need to wear a face-covering, and will PPE be available if I visit the Library?

You are obliged to wear a face covering when visiting the Library buildings. If you don't have one or forget to bring it then we will provide you with one.


If I test positive for COVID-19 after recently visiting the library, do I need to let anyone know?

If you experience covid-symptoms you should follow the University guidance available here in relation to self-isolation

Can I bring food and drink with me to the Library?

Yes, our usual food and drink policies apply. The student kitchen in Fairhurst is open, and you can eat your food in designated areas nearby.

Will the Borthwick Institute for Archives be open?

The Borthwick Institute for Archives is not available on site during lockdown, but some services are being offered remotely.

Can I view items from Rare Books?

Rare Books remain accessible for essential and time-critical research needs on an on-demand basis whilst the Borthwick Institute for Archives is closed during lockdown. Contact the Borthwick to request access.

Can I use the storage lockers in the library?

The lockers in the Library are now available as usual.

Is the library cafe open?

Yes the library cafe is offering a takeaway service with a reduced menu. It is currently open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday.

How do I get access to a laptop?

Our laptop loans service is available from the Morrell Lounge in the University Library. Please make sure to use hand sanitiser before and after borrowing a laptop.

Can I access print services on campus?

Printers in the Library will be available. If you are only coming to the Library to print please use the printers located on the Ground Floor of the Morrell in the Consultation Area. Staff can help direct you if you aren't sure where to go.

Are King's Manor Library, the Library in the Piazza Building, and the Minster Library open?

King's Manor Library is closed during lockdown, but you can use Book Takeaway to request borrowable books from collections held there.

Study spaces are available in the Piazza building but need to be booked in advance. Select Piazza from the Locations menu on the study space booking calendar.

York Minster Library is closed during lockdown and until further notice.

Without the help desk how will Lost and Found be managed?

Lost and found items will be available from the Reception Desk at the entrance of the Library (before you go through the turnstiles).

If library users are making a complaint about someone's behaviour within the library (eg playing music, talking, not observing social distancing measures) how will this be dealt with?

Our text us service will now resume: just text 07919 293133 and a member of staff will come and assist.

Will there be an IT support for those using PCs within the library?

IT Support is available remotely. Contact them at

Will the lifts be available for use?

The lifts are available for use, one person at a time.

Can I access the Amazon Lockers in the Library?

You can access the Amazon lockers as normal - they're available for collections when the library is open, from 9am to 7pm, every day.

Are you open for visitors?

At the moment the Library is only open for members of the University of York or users with an External membership. Due to the restrictions on space caused by social distancing, we're only able to offer study space to members of the University of York, although those with external membership can browse, borrow and return books.

We're not able to offer access to other visitors at this time, but hope to be able to do so soon.

Contact us

We're updating these FAQs on a regular basis, so be sure to check here for the latest updates.

If you have a question but it isn't listed here, please contact us for further advice:

Our most recent update video from December is below: