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Information for members & visitors

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.

If you are worried you may have contracted the illness, call NHS 111 or use 111 online 

How to find us

The Lit & Phil Library is Newcastle’s exquisite secret library but is currently open to members-only because of the pandemic.

We are a stone's throw from Newcastle Central Station...

23 Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 232 0192

Nearest Metro station: Central Station

Current opening hours for MEMBERS ONLY (see restrictions here)
Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri: 
10am-12pm & 1pm-4pm
10am-12pm, 1pm-4pm & 5pm-7pm
(12 & 26 Sep only): 10am-1pm

Stone bust
Architect's drawing of the Lit & Phil
A very old interior photograph of the Lit & Phil
Lit & Phil wall plaque showing roll call ex presidents

Book a Tour

The library is currently closed to non-members as part of our gradual reopening programme. However, as soon as we can we will be reinstating our famous and popular guided tours.


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