Lockdown in the libraries

We know that libraries are essential to so many people, and so we will be keeping some services open during the third national lockdown from 6 January 2021.

Which libraries are open?

Explore Centres at York, Tang Hall and Acomb will be open from Monday to Saturday starting from Wednesday 6 January for pre-booked appointments. There will be access to PCs and printers and pre-ordered books for collection at all three sites.

Rowntree Park Reading Cafe will be open 7 days a week 9am to 4pm for takeaway.

All items on loan will be renewed automatically until 30 April 2021 so you don’t have to worry about overdue charges.

We will keep our opening times and services under review. We aim to support communities and be responsive to the needs of all our users during this period.

There’s information below about the ways lockdown will affect our libraries, archives and reading cafes.


Open Libraries: Explore centres at Acomb, Tang Hall and York will be open for appointments only from Wednesday 6 January. All other libraries are closed. Please be aware that there will be no drop-in or browsing at any library.

Opening Hours: Acomb, Tang Hall and York will be open Monday – Friday 10am – 3pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm

Click and Collect books will be available from Acomb, Tang Hall and York. You can reserve books from our catalogue as usual and we will contact you when they are ready to collect. The lucky dip offer will be available up to 7 April only, as we prepare to re-open on 12 April. Please be aware that the Toy Library is not included in Click and Collect.

Computers and Printing will be available at Acomb, Tang Hall and York. Bookings will be for a maximum of two hours and must be made in advance either online or by phone to the library you want to use.

E-library: books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines are all free to borrow and available 24/7.

Library at Home: we have gathered together a treasury of online links and information for Children and Families, about Reading, Culture and Creativity, and Archives and Local History and to support Health and Wellbeing

Events: we have a full programme of online live events and activities with authors, artists, poets and makers for adults and children.

Enquiries service is operating as normal during office hours.

Home Library: A doorstep delivery service will continue for our vulnerable and housebound Home Library Service customers. Contact Tang Hall library for more information.


Our Archives and Local History Service is currently closed in line with government advice. Staff are working from home, and are able to answer archives-related queries remotely, where possible. Our Paid Research service is currently suspended. Please contact us for further information.

Reading Cafes

The reading cafe at Rowntree Park will be open 7 days a week 9am to 4pm during the lockdown operating a takeaway service.  Reading cafes at Hungate, York, Acomb and Tang Hall will be closed. 

Frequently asked questions

How do I make an appointment?

Just email or call your preferred library.

Is there a charge for reserving books?

No – you may reserve books for free during the lockdown.

I reserved some books from a library which is now closed – can I collect them from one of the open libraries?

You can only request books from the open libraries. Any reservations from other libraries will be supplied when we re-open.

Can I book a space for private study?

No. Under government guidance we can’t offer study space at the moment. We will reintroduce study access as soon as we are able.

Can I still take part in the Bloodaxe Challenge?

During the current lockdown we will be running the Bloodaxe Challenge slightly differently. If you need extra books to read you can still visit Acomb, Tang Hall or York to borrow books using click and collect or join our e-library and borrow from there. E-books and e-audio books count towards the challenge too.

You can tell us about what you have been reading by emailing your name and the information about the book/s you have read and you will be able to come in and collect your stickers and certificate once the library opens again. If you prefer you can just come in when we re-open after lockdown and tell us then.

Can I still collect a Bookstart pack?

Yes – you can collect Bookstart packs from Acomb, Tang Hall and York during the lockdown period. You will need to book an appointment to do this by phoning or emailing your preferred library.