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Coronavirus/covid 19

We are very pleased to let you know that we can now go ahead with Stage 2 of the Library’s reopening plan. Measures will be kept under constant review.  We respectfully ask you to comply to keep everyone safe.

Members only can use the library as follows:

  • Members may now book up to two consecutive hours in the library up to three times per week on different days.  (All bookings must be made in advance: 0191 232 0192 or Advance booking also applies to return books/CDs only, or pick up pre-ordered books or CDs. This is of vital importance as we must keep accurate records of who is in the building and when.) 
  • Our new opening hours will be:
    Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri: 10am-12pm & 1pm-4pm
    Wed 10am-12pm, 1pm-4pm & 5pm-7pm
    Sat (10 & 24 Oct only) 10am-1pm
  • You may now use some tables and chairs in the main library (clearly marked) and can also read current periodicals. The Music Room is available on request, and pre-1850 material may be requested in advance to be read in the library.
  • Please arrive on time & leave by or before your allotted slot expires. The Lecture Room will be used as a waiting room if absolutely necessary.
  • Please wear face coverings and observe social distancing whilst inside the building, follow marked routes and other instructions. Face coverings/masks covering your nose and mouth are required by law, unless you are exempt.
  • Books & CDs must be returned to a member of staff in the Joseph Swan Room on the ground floor. These will then be quarantined for 72 hours.
  • Please use the hand sanitising stations on the ground floor & before browsing. The browsing of books and periodicals should be kept to a minimum.

Unfortunately at this stage we can still only offer a limited service, in order to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19:

  • Refreshments & daily newspapers will still be unavailable during this stage.
  • No access to the Gallery, (except the Music room) or Reference Room – any items required will be retrieved by staff.
  • No photocopying in the building but members may request an email/scan service.
  • No cash handling – but we can take a card or cheque.
  • No use of public catalogue or computers – staff will help you find items. 

Additional services:

  • Members may request books and CDs in advance. 
  • Books & CDs may be posted to members on request.
  • Members may request a home delivery service.

We realise that although Stage 2 of our reopening plan is still limited we sincerely hope it is not too long before some more rules are lifted and we can slowly return to as near to “business as usual” as possible.

In the meantime, please be reassured of the following:

Measures will be kept under constant review and will be relaxed or tightened according to government advice and regulations. The Society’s priority is to protect staff and to mitigate risk to them and to members. Members are respectfully asked to comply with the measures set out in this initial reopening phase.

We have relaxed all our loan periods, and if you don't yet feel able to book-a-slot, do not feel you need to 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 and CDs 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 took place on Wednesday 14 October, 6pm in the Lecture Room of the Lit & Phil. 

There were 18 nominations for five vacancies on the Board, and the following Members received the highest number of votes and were elected:

Judy Carrick
Mary Durkin
Paul Gailiunas
Pat Lowery
Claire Morley

A new section detailing the Board, its role, Members (and their biographies) coming to the website soon.

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.

We offer a variety of Membership packages to suit all ages and interests, starting from £12 per year.

​To buy or find out more click here
Alternatively you can call us on: 0191 232 0192, or email us and we'll call you back.


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