Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

Library branches reopening 

Central, Southsea and North End libraries are now open. The Portsmouth History Centre, at Central Library, is also open. You can also call 023 9268 8046 or email portsmouthhistorycentre@portsmouthcc.gov.uk with any questions or enquiries.

Cosham library will re-open on Monday 17 August.

Opening hours

Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm

Plan your trip

  • Check government guidance if you feel unwell and only go to the library if it is safe for you to do so.
  • Plan the best way to travel - if possible walk or cycle. Check our guidance for more information.
  • Check the Official Portsmouth Libraries Facebook page for latest information before visiting to avoid disappointment. 
  • Consider the time of day and avoid peak times.
  • Give yourself plenty of time as you may need to queue.

    Safety guidelines

To meet coronavirus safety standards, cleaning stations will be provided and staff and public will be expected to follow social-distancing guidelines.

Visitors to the library will need to wear face coverings. Some people are exempt, including children under the age of 11 - you can find out more on the government's website.

Visitor numbers will be limited in the library and will be asked to adhere to social distancing. Staff will manage the foyer area and any queues and will ask you what you would like to access during your visit so they can help you get what you need as quickly as possible.

Test and Trace at the library

In line with government guidelines, libraries will ask visitors to provide Test and Trace information. This is to help contain clusters of outbreaks and minimise the onward spread of COVID-19. We will record name, contact telephone number, date and time of visit and will share this information with NHS Test and Trace if requested, to help identify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

We will destroy all records after 21 days. We thank you in advance for your support.

For more information on Test and Trace at the library, please visit the government website.

Changes to library services

There will be a 'returns' box for you to place your returned books and items.

You will be able to browse books and borrow them. There will be a browsed books trolley for any books you look at but decide not to borrow.

Computer facilities are available, but there will be less computers in operation. Session times will be for a maximum of one hour. Printing will be available.

You can purchase residents parking permits - we can currently only accept card payments but have lowered our minimum card payment limit to £1.

Lily and Lime café will be open at Central Library.

Toilet facilities will be available in all open library branches.

Groups and activities cannot be accommodated in the library for the moment. However, events will continue on our social media platforms - Official Portsmouth Libraries Facebook page.

Reservations and requests cannot be accepted at this time.

You can order up to 10 documents in advance. There is a limit of 6 volumes for Kelly's Directories or Electoral Registers.

Ask a librarian

So fewer people need to handle reference books, a new email enquiry service will start on 6 July. Residents can email askalibrarian@portsmouthcc.gov.uk and find out information they need for study, research or casual enquiry.

Online library services are available to residents at home, by using a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can download books, comics and newspapers and listen to music – all for free. There's more information on our Free Fun page.

The home-delivery library service , aimed at helping vulnerable people during the pandemic, is still operating, too. The service, run with HIVE Portsmouth, can deliver books, DVDs, and games for adults and children. The number to call is 023 9261 6709. 

For more information on library services, residents can email libraries@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call 023 9281 9311.

 Mobile Library

The mobile library has restarted.

Clear safety guidelines will be in place, and we ask visitors to adhere to them. Please note the following when planning your visit:

  • Take a face covering with you as you will be asked to wear one in line with government guidelines before entering the vehicle. Some exclusions apply. Check the latest guidelines on face coverings
  • You will be asked to use the hand gel provided before handling books
  • One person or one group of members of the same household may board the vehicle at any one time
  • Follow safety guidelines marked on board the mobile library
  • Visitors will be asked to provide Test and Trace information 

 
Mobile library schedule:

  • Mondays
    9.30am-12.30pm: Drayton Lane / Havant Road

1.30pm-4.30pm: Victory School and Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove

  • Tuesdays
    (9.30am-12.30pm: Individual deliveries)
    1.30pm-4.30pm: Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney
  • Wednesdays
    9.30am-12.30pm: London Road (opposite Amberley Road)
    1.30pm-4.30pm: Mayfield Road / Copnor Road
  • Thursdays
    9.30am-12.30pm: Sainsbury’s, Farlington
    1.30pm-4.30pm: Morrison’s, Anchorage Park
  • Fridays
    9.30am-12.30pm: Mayfield Road / Copnor Road
    1.30pm-4.30pm: Canoe Lake

Library delivery service available through Hive Portsmouth 

The library service is working with HIVE Portsmouth to offer a new delivery service.

If you are staying home they can bring books, DVDs, and games to your door to help keep you entertained.

Simply call the HIVE community helpline on 023 9261 6709 to arrange a delivery and tell us what you would like.

You can choose from the following:

  • Types of books: adults, children; large print; audio books; theme; fiction, non-fiction; thriller / romance / adventure; favourite authors;
  • Other items:  jigsaws, games, children's DVDs, crafts, colouring sheets etc.

A volunteer will pick a selection of books and other items for you from the library and drop them off at your address - following social distancing guidelines.

Your books and other items will be picked up again after 4 weeks and a new selection delivered if you want to swap.

If you're a fast reader or would like a collection earlier than 4 weeks - you can call the Hive community helpline back on 023 9261 6709 to arrange an earlier pick up and swap.

Unfortunately we can't take request for specific books but our library staff can consider favourite authors and themes and provide a selection around what you are interested in.

Blind and visually-impaired residents will be put in touch with a member of library staff who will be able to advise on the many resources available for them.

All books, games, DVDs etc. will be sanitised in line with Public Health England guidance before they are delivered and when they are returned.

Social distancing measures are in place at libraries to ensure the safety of volunteers and library staff.

Libraries also have a huge online range of free resources, accessed with a library card and password, including eBooks; eAudiobooks; comics; magazines; newspapers (including The Portsmouth News) and music downloads. Visit our Free Fun page to find out more. 

You can find out more about HIVE Portsmouth at on the HIVE website.

Summer reading challenge: Silly Squad 2020 

Children are invited to join the Silly Squad for the summer reading challenge!

All Portsmouth pupils in Year R - Year 6 should have received a Silly Squad summer reading challenge pack from their school.
Find out how to register and take part.

Virtual reading club 

Portsmouth City Council is running a virtual reading group for adults.

If you're interested in joining, please email libraries@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. The reading group meets monthly via Zoom to discuss a chosen book. Readers can download the chosen book from ebook app Borrowbox. Book lovers looking to join the club will need to know how to use Borrowbox and Zoom to participate.

A library staff member will support the group for the first three months until it is self-sufficient.