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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 1 of the Library’s reopening plan. Measures will be kept under constant review.  We respectfully ask you to comply to keep everyone safe.

From 13 July, members only will be able to use the library as follows:

  • Please book a 30 minute slot (one per week) (Mon-Fri 10am – 12 noon & 1pm-3.30pm) to return & borrow books, periodicals & CDs only.  A maximum of 6 members will be in the library at any one time. All bookings must be made in advance: call 0191 232 0192 or email
  • 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 on entering the building, and observe social distancing whilst inside, follow marked routes & other instructions.
  • 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 only offer a very limited service, in order to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19:

  • No refreshments or daily newspapers will be available during this stage.
  • No access to the Gallery, Music/Committee Room or Reference Room – any items required will be retrieved by staff.
  • No access to pre-1850 material.
  • No photocopying in the building but members may request an email/scan service.
  • No cash handling – if you are renewing your membership whilst in the library, this must be done by card or cheque.
  • No private study.
  • 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.
  • Thanks to the Independent Libraries Association, we are able to offer you 3 months’ free access to Press Reader, giving you a choice of 7000 newspapers and magazines from 120 countries. Please email us with your Membership Number.

We realise that Stage 1 of our reopening plan is extremely limited and sincerely hope it is not too long before some of the rules may be lifted and we can slowly return to as near to “business as usual” as possible.

Our reassurance to you

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 from the 13 July, 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!

Your Lit & Phil team

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 closed until further notice because of the virus pandemic.

When we reopen we will still be a stone's throw from Newcastle Central Station...

23 Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 232 0192

Nearest Metro station: Central Station

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 closed until further notice. However, as soon as we can we will be reinstating our famous and popular guided tours.


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