COVID-19 Libraries, Culture and Leisure

FAQs on libraries and heritage houses

How will the libraries and heritage houses be made safe for visitors?

All library spaces and heritage houses are regularly cleaned during the day. We have introduced a number of new systems, including one-way queuing systems, perspex screens, sanitiser at entrances and exits, quarantining returned books, pre-booked visits for heritage houses and clear signage to ensure social distancing. We will continue to review our systems and services daily and make any changes necessary to ensure that staff and public safety is maintained at all times.

Will I be able to browse books in the library?

General browsing is not available in Sutton libraries. We encourage you to explore our online catalogue of over 6 million items and publications and reserve them with our Select & Collect service detailed below.

Will I be able to borrow physical books?

Library books can be borrowed through our ‘Select & Collect’ service. Your library card number and PIN will be required; new users can register for a library card number and PIN here. To receive books from one of our open libraries, you can: 

1. Select your book via:

  1. The online catalogue
  2. My Library App (Android / Apple)
  3. Email
  4. Call 020 8770 4744

2. Receive confirmation saying your books are ready to collect.

3. Collect your books in the library within 14 days.

Will I be able to borrow children’s books?

Lucky Dip book packs for preschoolers and young children are being pre-selected. These are packs of 6 books perfect for younger children to enjoy reading. To register your interest in a Lucky Dip book pack, send an email to

How do I know that the books are safe to borrow?

Books will be quarantined for 72 hours when they are returned and will be handled with protective equipment (e.g. gloves). 

Will I be able to read newspapers and/or magazines in the library?

We will not be holding hard copies of newspapers or magazines in the libraries as we cannot quarantine them for 72 hours between users as we will do with books. We have a wide range of digital newspapers and magazines available via Pressreader.

Will I be able to use the study spaces in the library?

Study spaces are available by advance booking. Please call 020 8770 4740 or send an email to

Will Rhymetime be on again?

Rhymetime will continue to take place online. Why not join us for one of our daily Rhymetime or Storytime sessions - we’ve been viewed over 40,000 times since lockdown began. They are a great way to keep kids entertained. 

Will the library cafe be open?

The cafes in Whitehall Historic House (Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm) and Honeywood Museum (Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm) are open for takeaway services only. Cafes in Sutton Central Library, Wallington Library and Sutton Life Centre are currently unavailable.

Can I use the library computers/printers?

Limited IT facilities (e.g. public computers, printers) are available for emergency and essential use only, and need to be booked in advance by sending an email to or
calling 0208 770 4740. Visitors will not be permitted to use I.T. equipment without a pre-arranged appointment time. Time slots are strictly 45 minutes only, and once elapsed the user will be required to vacate.

Printing must be processed and paid through the Princh app (Android / Apple). Photocopying requires exact change. This is to mitigate contact by removing the handling of cash.

Will I be able to use the toilets at the library?

The libraries will have public toilets available upon request either within the library or, in the case of Sutton Central Library, nearby in the reception area of the Civic Office. Toilets will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.