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Reopening libraries

Southampton City Libraries are pleased to be able to extend services as we move to the next phase of reopening libraries. 

Our priority remains staff and customer safety and as such the service offered may be limited. This webpage will be continually updated to reflect changes in service availability and opening hours.

Central, Bitterne, Woolston, Lordshill, Shirley and Portswood libraries will be offering book browsing, pre-booked public computer access and study space (study space not currently available at Shirley library), photocopying, select and collect services and returns.

Our community partners in Burgess Road Library, Cobbett Hub & Library, Thornhill Community Library and YMCA Weston Community Library will be reopening and offering a Select and Collect and returns service.

With Select and Collect, customers can reserve items online or via telephone on 023 8083 3007 (option 1, then 3), Monday to Friday - 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm. Items will then be prepared for collection. 

Return bins remain available at the entrances of libraries for those wishing to just return items quickly. All returned books are quarantined for 72 hours and borrower accounts may not show returned items for 5 working days. No overdue fees will be charged until further notice.

We are delighted to open our libraries and welcome customers back to browse for books. With fewer people allowed in the library at one time to enable social distancing, browsing will be limited to a 30-minute stay. We ask that any books you have handled whilst browsing are placed on tables or areas labelled for this purpose and not returned to shelves. If possible, please bring your library card with you.

With physical newspapers and magazines currently unavailable, many can be read online via the Digital Library. Our Digital Library also includes e-books and e-audiobooks as well as many other resources. 

Computer access and study space must be pre-booked and are restricted to 1 hour. To book either a public computer or study space contact libraries via telephone on 023 8083 3007 (option 1, then 3), Monday to Friday - 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm or visit us in branch. Please bring correct change for copying or printing as no change is available. 

Pre-booked access to materials located in the Local Studies and Maritime Library will be available from Tuesday 4 August and can be done via email, local.studies@southampton.gov.uk and via telephone on 023 8083 3007 (option 1, then 3), Monday to Friday - 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm.

Many of the events and group activities that would normally take place physically in our libraries will continue to be offered online including Rhyme time, Story time and the Summer Reading Challenge. To ensure you don’t miss out, follow us on social media, @SouthamptonCityLibraries on Facebook and @SotonLibraries on Twitter.

Appropriate measures will be in place to ensure staff and public stay safe, you can expect the following at our libraries: 

  • To comply with government regulations, from Saturday 8 August 2020 customers are required to wear face coverings when visiting our libraries unless an exemption applies.
  • Staff will be here to welcome you but may be behind perspex screens 
  • Hand sanitising stations, staff in personal protective equipment and additional cleaning measures 
  • Queue management and fewer people in the library at any one time to allow for social distancing 
  • We also ask that children under 12 are accompanied by an adult 
  • Different layouts and reduced furniture 
  • Public toilets and other supplementary services will be temporarily unavailable, but this will be reviewed frequently so that they can be offered again as soon as it is safe to do so

In order to assist the NHS’s Test and Trace service, the Council is maintaining a temporary record of our visitors. This information will be shared with the NHS if needed, in order to help contain clusters and outbreaks during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information check our data and privacy policies.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us online or via telephone on 023 8083 3007 (option 1, then 3), 10am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm.

All libraries open will continue to operate for limited hours, detailed below:

Opening Hours

Please note last entry admitted into the building will be 15 minutes prior to closure.

Central Library
Closed Friday 30 October 2020 due to staff shortages.
Monday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Thursday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm 
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Shirley Library
Monday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 7pm
Thursday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Lordshill Library
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 7pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Thursday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 4pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Bitterne Library
Monday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 4pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 7pm
Thursday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Portswood Library
Monday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 7pm
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm 
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Woolston Library
Monday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 7pm
Wednesday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm 
Friday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 1pm

Burgess Road Library
Monday: 10am to 12.30pm 
Wednesday: 2pm to 4.30pm
Friday: 10am to 12.30pm & 2pm to 4.30pm 

Cobbett Hub & Library
Monday: 1pm to 4pm 
Friday: 1pm to 4pm 

Thornhill Community Library
Monday: 2pm to 4.30pm
Friday: 9.30am to 12noon

YMCA Weston Community Library
Monday: 10am to 12noon & 1pm to 3pm
Tuesday: 10am to 12noon & 1pm to 3pm
Wednesday: 10am to 12noon & 1pm to 3pm
Thursday: 10am to 12noon & 1pm to 3pm
Friday: 10am to 12noon & 1pm to 3pm

Libraries operated by our community partners are being fully supported by the city council and we are working with them to reopen at their own pace.