Prince Philip - Duke of Edinburgh

1921 - 2021

It is with deep sadness that the Council and residents have learned of the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.

COVID-19: Libraries

We’re reopening more of our libraries for longer with increased services in-line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. 

From Monday 12 April, Brompton Library and our Local Studies will join North Kensington Library, Kensington Central Library and Chelsea Library in opening to the public.

We are welcoming back customers with heightened hygiene and social distancing measures in place to ensure everyone can safely enjoy all that our libraries and Local Studies have to offer.

Brompton, Chelsea, Kensington Central and North Kensington libraries will be open to provide:

  • Browsing
  • Answering enquiries
  • Limited study spaces
  • Access to computers, which can now be booked in advance
  • Reservations, which are still free of charge for the time being

Note: Kensal and Notting Hill Gate libraries are still closed.

Click on the drop downs below to find more information about libraries in Kensington and Chelsea.

Opening hours

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10am to 6pm
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Sunday: 1pm to 5pm (Chelsea Library only)

Local Studies opening times

Book renewals and returns

During library opening hours, you will be able to return books at returns boxes located near the entrance to the library. There is no need to join a queue to return books. You can also return books through the out-of-hours slots available at Kensington Central, and North Kensington libraries. Return dates for loan items have been extended and overdue fees have been suspended so you do not need to renew.

Library items on loan will continue to be automatically renewed, there will be no overdue or reservation charges during this period and any account which has been suspended will be temporarily reinstated to ensure everyone can access the library items they need.

Computer use

  • Essential computer use is available, with social distancing measures, at our three open libraries.
  • Advanced bookings have been reinstated, book a computer online.
  • Computers are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each use and are cleaned at the end of each day.
  • A two-metre distance will be kept between all staff and visitors and computer desks are spaced at least two metres apart.

All computer usage will be monitored by staff to ensure these rules are adhered to:

  • Computer numbers in our libraries are limited to ensure social distancing can be observed
  • If the library is at capacity, customers must wait in the designated area with enough space to ensure social distancing measures
  • Customers will be limited to an hour a day and extra time is not available to allow fair access to the computers
  • Please remember to bring your library card and PIN to book a computer using our self-service machines or book a computer online.

Online resources and virtual library

Our libraries service offers many free online resources which are available 24/7. Visit the online resources page to find out how you can study, learn, and engage with everything your library has to offer without leaving the house.

You can also access our virtual library through social media apps for book recommendations, online events and much more.

Home library service

Our Home Library Service delivers books and other reading materials to vulnerable residents. Do get in touch to see if you or someone you know can benefit from this service. Visit our Home Library Service page for further details.

​Local Studies

Local Studies will re-open on a limited appointment only basis to facilitate safe access to the collections. For more information view the Local Studies page.

Study spaces

To ensure social distancing can be observed we have a limited number of study spaces available at our libraries.

You will:

  • Only be able to use a study space once you have been issued with a wristband from a member of library staff
  • Wristbands will only be issued 10 minutes before each available session
  • Need to leave the study space promptly at the end of your session to allow our cleaners time to sanitise surfaces in between use

Study spaces are available at the following times:

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
  • 10am to 11.45am
  • 12 noon to 1.45pm
  • 2pm to 3.45pm
  • 4pmto 5.45pm
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
  • 10am to 11.45am
  • 12 noon to 1.45pm
  • 2pm to 3.45pm 4pm to 4.45pm
Sunday (Chelsea Library only)
  • 1pm to 2.45pm
  • 3pm to 4.45pm

What safety measures will be in place?

Visitors to the libraries will be asked to observe the Government’s guidelines on face coverings and social distancing, keeping two metres apart wherever possible and a minimum of one metre apart when further distancing isn’t possible.

  • Returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours and hand sanitiser will be available at the entrance and in computer areas
  • Perspex screens at enquiry desks.
  • Limit on visitor numbers at any one time, with a clicker ensuring a safe number of visitors are inside at any given time.

Following Government’s guidelines, library visitors are required to wear a face covering on entering our libraries. All visitors, apart from children under 11 and those who have reasonable cause should wear a face mask, scarf or other covering. Not all exemptions are visible, so please be understanding of other library visitors.

We are participating in the NHS Test and Trace.


Contact us

  • Call the library phone line on 020 7361 3993 which is open Monday to Friday, 9am and 6pm to speak with our library staff about books, events or technical support.

  • For general enquiries, call 020 7361 3010, or email libraries@rbkc.gov.uk

  • Local studies and archives will only be offering a remote enquiry service until further notice. For more information, please email centrallocalenquiries@rbkc.gov.uk