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Coronavirus/covid 19

In these unprecedented times we have decided to close the Library until further notice for the time being.  This will be kept under constant review.

This is not a decision we have made lightly as we are aware of the important role we play in the North East community, hosting events and classes and ‘feeding minds and souls’ with music, ideas and literature. However, the risk to the UK has been raised to high as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates and it is critical that we play our part in helping to reduce the danger of further human-to-human transmission.  It is the Society’s utmost priority to protect the wellbeing of our staff, visitors and members above all else. 

We are closely monitoring the fast changing situation and while we are shut remain committed (more so now than ever before) to communicating with you regularly.  We will be embracing technology by sending you regular e-newsletters and frequently posting across our social media channels. Our aim is to play a small role in giving something of value to entertain and inspire you and lift your spirits during this troubled time.  We are also considering other ways we can galvanise our resources and volunteers and support you remotely while you self-isolate and our doors remain shut.  We will keep you posted with our plans as and when they come to fruition.

In the meantime, please be reassured of the following:

We have relaxed all our loan periods, and would urge you to please not post books back to us. Do hold onto them as long as you need to while this situation is upon us (and as you already know we never charge fines).

All books we are coming into contact with now and over the coming months will be cleaned with antibacterial wipes.

We are committed to working through this together in the most responsible and compassionate way we can, just as you would expect us to.  While uncertainty abounds, please know that our commitment and loyalty to you, our valued Members, visitors and supporters remains as steadfast as ever.

Take care, stay strong and keep reading!


The Lit & Phil’s Annual General Meeting is usually held in late May, and this year is supposed to be held at the latest by Sunday 23 August (in practice, by Thursday 20 August).

Under the Coronavirus Regulations, however, it is illegal for us to hold the AGM at all.

We all hope, of course, that the emergency will be over in time for us to hold the AGM some time between May and August.

If it is not, however, we shall have to wait until the Government lifts the emergency, and then arrange the AGM for as soon as possible after that.

comic drawing of lots of girls

What's on

Comedy, concerts, jazz, talks & readings, classes & workshops, storytelling, lectures, author events, poetry & theatre...

Cup of black tea and open book blue background

Visit us

We've no entry fee and are open six days a week, often til late.  We've 200,000 books, 20,000 CDs & LPs, tea, coffee and cake!  Come in & unwind in a magical & beautiful place...

pile of books

The Catalogue

Have we got that book you've been searching for?  Almost certainly.
From 18th century volumes to the current top bestsellers & so much more...

Oil painting of Robert Spence Watson

Our illustrious past

Our beautiful neoclassical building is a short walk from Newcastle Central Station. Since 1793, it's hosted lots of very important folk doing very exciting scientific things... 

The benefits of membership

Why not become a member?

The Lit & Phil is free and open to all,
but if you would like to support us by becoming a Member, you can:

Take home from over 200,000 books & CDs, no fines for overdue books, very generous loan periods, exclusive Members' Only events, priority booking, access to secret rooms, free WIFI, our Member's Magazine posted to you as well as regular news and offers.

​To buy or find out more please call us on: 0191 232 0192 (Online purchase available soon!).

Alternatively email us and we'll call you back.

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