skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Your creative future starts here:


Libraries re-opening: what you need to know

Text Library Services on some glass doors
Text Library Services on some glass doors
LCC internal library doors to the study area Ana Escobar 2015
Written by
Rowan Williamson
Published date
14 September 2020

Libraries reopened for the Spring term on 8 March 2021

Library spaces are re-opening this autumn, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back from Monday 19 October.

Unfortunately, we are currently not open to all students yet but staff are online to help you use online resources, support your learning and answer your questions.

Students currently permitted on site at UAL include:

  • Pre-sessional students
  • Students invited back to college for 'Return to Make'
  • MA students graduating in December 2020 and PhD students
  • 2020 graduates

All continuing and new students will be able to visit their college library on teaching days from 19 October 2020. Students can only visit on the days they are designated to be on site between Monday and Saturday. On Sundays students can book to visit any college library.

We know that you will have questions about how it will all work so here is what you need to know.

We have adjusted our services to accommodate social distancing for Covid-19.  This means that although libraries are open we won’t be operating in our normal way. We have made some changes to our services which we have outlined below. Please read carefully and let us know if you have any more questions.

You will still be able to use the study spaces and computers but in order to manage occupancy in buildings you will need to book in advance to visit us, and you will only have access to your own college library. Book a study space or computer online and check in at your library Information desk when you arrive for your booking slot. We will ask you to wipe down your desk before and after use. You must not leave the space unattended or leave your belongings at any time.

To keep everyone safe UAL has implemented social distancing measures in line with government guidance, so to make sure there are enough booking slots for everyone to have a chance to use us we will be restricting bookings to 1 per day, maximum 2 slots per week.

You can borrow items from any UAL library by ordering them online using our Click and Collect service. As the virus can survive on our books for up to 72 hours there is currently no browsing the shelves to collect items for yourselves. To order an item just log in to Library Search, search and reserve a book or DVD.  We email you when the item is ready to collect from your library. We will keep them for you for up to 14 days, so please try and collect your items on days you are scheduled to be on site to avoid unnecessary journeys and make sure our buildings don’t go over capacity. Once you have returned or collected your items please leave the library promptly to avoid queues.

If you are returning items to the library please follow the directions at the library entrance and leave your books as directed. We will be quarantining all returned books for 72 hours before handling them, so they will stay on your account for roughly 3 days before they are removed. This won’t prevent you borrowing more books as items in quarantine don’t count towards your library allowance. We are no longer charging fines and our new fines amnesty means any older fines on your account can be removed once your account has been cleared and all books are returned.

Printing, copying and scanning is available in the libraries, however you will need to clean the machines before and after use. Wipes will be provided. We have introduced ‘one touch’ printing which means that as soon as you touch your ID card onto a printer all your jobs will begin printing. This is to limit the amount of times you need to touch the screens. Please make sure that you leave the library as soon as you have finished your jobs so we can avoid overcrowding.

All our libraries are now cashless so print credit and library debts are all payable online from the UAL payment portal or the 'Your Library' accounts.

We are still offering 1-2-1 support and advice from your course librarian as well as drop in and taught sessions through the Autumn term. These will all be online. Find out who your librarian is at Your Librarian or search on Academic Support Online to find drop ins and bookable sessions.

Finally, we realise there is a lot to take in and things can change at short notice. We are here to support you, so if you have any questions please check our FAQs, chat with a librarian or email us to make an appointment.

Related content

  • pink marbled paper
    Pink marbled paper. Credit Carmen Fernandez

    Technology training videos

    How to access and use iView Learning and InLearning training videos. Available for staff and Students at UAL

  • Man with laptop sitting near window surrounded by empty tables and chairs
    The book club cafe from UAL Image Library ID 53543 © Alys Tomlinson

    Free apps to help you focus and concentrate

    Links and information about apps for focus and concentration which are freely available.

  • Young man in a cap sitting in front of a computer screen
    Accessing resources online Photo credit Ana Escobar Chelsea Library 2018

    Accessing library e-Books

    Library Services at University of the Arts London provides access to a range of e-Books from various suppliers. Help to use and access them is provided in the LibGuide.