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Joining and Using the Library

A guide to visiting, finding library collections, using the photocopiers and printing, and how to contact us

Reopening FAQs October 2020


When is the library re-opening?

We are looking forward to welcoming external readers back to the library from Wednesday 30 September. New readers may also register to join the library. We will be open Wednesday-Friday, 11am – 3pm.
Current Warburg students are encouraged to use the library on Tuesdays, when entrance is restricted to Warburg staff and students.

Due to the need for social distancing, we can only accept a limited number of readers at any one time. It is necessary to book online before visiting the library.


Can I browse the shelves?

Yes, the stacks are fully accessible and all collections are open. Please wash or sanitise your hands before handling the books. Books left for reshelving will be quarantined for 72 hours before being returned to the shelf.


What are the opening hours?

Tuesday 11am – 3pm for Warburg staff and students only.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11am – 3pm for all readers.

Once you have booked your desk for the day, you can arrive or leave whenever you like within library opening hours.


Are you accepting new readers?

Yes, we are accepting new readers. Please check our admissions page to see if you are eligible to use the library. You will need to book your seat in advance using our booking system LibCal, which you can do without already having a library card.

When visiting the Institute for the first time, please make sure you bring your booking confirmation along with the necessary photographic ID stated on our admissions page and, if required, a letter of recommendation. A member of staff in the Reading Room will issue you with your Warburg library card and give you a brief guide to how to use the library.


How do I book online?

You can book using our Booking System, LibCal, here.

External readers may book a desk on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Please note that, while you are welcome to browse and retrieve books from any floor, you should ONLY use your pre-booked desk while you are in the library.

Read our terms and conditions here.


Can I book multiple sessions?

Yes, but please only book if you know you will turn up. You can book one desk per day up to two weeks ahead.


What should I do if I’ve booked a session and then can’t make it?

You can cancel through Libcal.


What do I need to bring to the Institute?

Please bring your booking confirmation email, your library card and a face mask. We are limiting the number of bags allowed in the stacks, so please only bring one bag per reader.

If you are visiting the library for the first time, please also bring the form of ID requested on our admissions page, along with a letter of recommendation if you are an MA student or independent scholar.


What do I do when I arrive at the Institute?

Show your booking confirmation and library card at Reception before entering the library.

Please make sure you are wearing a face mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times when you are in the building.

Wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitizer provided, particularly before handling books.

Please ONLY use the desk you have pre-booked and take care to observe social distancing guidelines while in the library.

Please follow the instructions on the signs and notices posted throughout the building.


What about Track and Trace?

You can check in using the NHS app when you enter the Institute, or log your presence through the University of London's own track and trace app. This is a voluntary system, but you are encouraged to use it. You also have the option to check in on LibCal when you arrive at your pre-booked desk.


Do I need to put my belongings in a locker?

No. The lockers have been removed to allow for social distancing in the Reading Room corridor. You are currently allowed to take your bag and coat into the library. Please note that because of this, you are asked to take only one bag to the Institute with you. Suitcases, holdalls and rucksacks may not be brought into the Institute unless they are smaller than 41 x 24 x 42 cm. As always, you will need to show your bag at Reception when leaving.


What are the copying options?

We have two copiers in the Reading Room corridor for photocopying and limited scanning. You will need to register for a PaperCut account to use the copiers. See here for more information on PaperCut.

We have moved the overhead scanner into the Reading Room. Using the scanner remains free. You will need a USB stick to save your document


Are all the usual services available?

Certain services may not be available or will be slower than usual as they are affected by Coronavirus precautions or by staff working from home. 

Reshelving: all books left for reshelving will be quarantined for at least 72 hours before being returned to the shelf. If you plan to use a book on your next visit to the library, please reserve it in the Reading Room. You can reserve up to 10 books for a week.

Electronic resources: we have reduced the number of computers available in the library. If you need to consult electronic resources, please use the Reading Room computer to access them. 

Missing books: please email us at if you can’t find a book. We will search for it and email you if we find it. Please do not ask at the Reading Room desk, as the member of staff there cannot leave the Reading Room during their shift. 

Microform and microfilm reader: staff will not be able to offer help with viewing microfilms and microfiche. 

New Acquisitions: we have a huge backlog of new books and periodicals to process. We will be sending these straight to the shelf when they are ready rather than displaying them in the Reading Room. 

Reproductions requests and Inter-Library Loan requests: we are accepting requests for reproductions and Inter-Library Loans, but the wait time is likely to be much longer than usual.

Food and drink: As always, no food or drink may be consumed in the library. The Common Room is closed and there is longer any lunch or tea service. The self-service tea and coffee facilities and the water fountain have also been removed.


What extra precautions are you taking against COVID-19?

All books left for reshelving are quarantined for at least 72 hours before being returned to the shelf. Library staff wear gloves when shelving.

Hand sanitizer is provided at the entrance to the building, the Reading Room and at the entrances to all floors in the library.

All staff and readers are wearing face masks covering the mouth and nose while in the building.

Where possible, we are opening windows and doors to allow for extra ventilation on all floors.

The building is cleaned daily and library staff are regularly cleaning the Reading Room copiers, scanner and computers. Wipes are available for readers to clean surfaces before use.

Librarians are working in bubbles and are limiting interaction with readers and fellow Warburg staff members.


Updated 14 October 2020

Terms and Conditions for use of the Warburg Library, September/October 2020


  1. Seats must be reserved in advance. You can book up to the time you arrive at the Institute, but you must have a seat reservation in order to use library collections. 

  2. We are limiting the amount of bags allowed in the stacks, so please only bring one bag per reader.

  1. Please show your booking confirmation and your reader’s card at Reception when you arrive at the Institute.

  1. You can choose your seat at the time of booking, but we cannot guarantee that readers can use the same seat every day if it has been booked by another user.

  1. If you can no longer attend, please cancel your booking so that it can be allocated to someone else. 

  1. While you may only use the desk you have booked in advance, you can browse the stacks and retrieve books from any floor to bring to your reserved desk.

Coronavirus measures 

  1. Face masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn at all times while in the library. If you do not wear a mask and you are not in an exempt category, you may be asked to leave immediately.

  1. Social distancing rules apply in the library. Please keep two metres away from other readers and staff. 

  1. Please wash your hands thoroughly and often. Hand sanitizer is provided at the entrance to the library and on all floors. Please use it regularly, particularly before handling books.

  1. Please keep to the left in corridors and on stairs. The lift can only be used by one person at the time.

Using library materials 

  1. Books left on desks or for re-shelving will be quarantined for 72 hours before being re-shelved. They will be inaccessible while they are in quarantine.

  1.  If you wish to use the same books at the Institute on subsequent days, you will need to reserve them. Up to 10 books can be reserved on the Reading Room reserve shelves. Please make sure that you have put a marker card on the shelf for all reserved books.

  1. Failure to comply with the terms and condition may result in you being asked to leave the library. You may subsequently have the ability to book a study space withdrawn if we conclude that your conduct may endanger the safety of others.