Cumbria Libraries locations and opening times

6 main library buildings to re-open in August 2020

We are pleased to confirm that we will be opening our 6 main library buildings on Monday 10 August 2020 in Barrow, Carlisle, Kendal, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington.

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers we will have new Covid-secure measures in place and our opening times and offer will be slightly different.

To welcome you back to our library buildings, Library Hosts will greet you on arrival and explain the new arrangements.  There will be clear signage throughout our buildings to help everyone find their way around safely and hand sanitisers will be located at the entrance and exit points.

In line with government regulations, the wearing of face coverings in libraries will be mandatory from 8 August, and as libraries are asked to assist with the NHS Test and Trace programme, you will be asked for a name and contact number when you arrive.

Not all of our usual activities will be available, but there will still be plenty of resources available for customers to enjoy.

From Tuesday 4 August a new Select and Collect Service will be available.  Library members will be able to order up to 6 books at a time by phone or email and book a slot to collect them from our main branches.

If you can't wait, our online services continue to attract more and more people, and all library members can get free access to a whole host of online benefits including e-book and e-magazines whilst the The Library Edit highlights some of the best websites and online resources - all chosen by library staff, and helpfully grouped by theme, so if you have not tried them don't miss out.

Join the library today and find our libraries on Facebook to stay up to date with their reopening preparations. We will continue to share more information, including our opening hours, on our website and Facebook pages as we get closer to reopening.

Find our libraries on Facebook:

Barrow Library Facebook

Carlisle Library Facebook

Kendal Library Facebook

Penrith Library Facebook

Whitehaven Library Facebook

Workington Library Facebook

We will continue to review the situation in relation to branch libraries and will keep you updated as things progress.

For the safety and protection of all, please do not enter the library if:

• You are living with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

• You are self-isolating

• You have a new, continuous cough

• You have a high temperature

• You are experiencing a loss, or change in your normal sense of taste or smell

Barrow 

10am to 1pm Monday to Friday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available 2pm to 4pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday

 

Carlisle  

9.30am to 1pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

1pm to 4.30pm Tuesday and Thursday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available Monday, Wednesday Friday 2pm to 4pm

 

Kendal 

9.30am to 1pm Monday to Friday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available 2pm to 4pm, Tuesday and Thursday

 

Penrith 

9.30am to 1pm Monday to Friday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available 2pm to 4pm Monday to Friday

 

Whitehaven 

9.30am to 1pm Monday to Friday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available 2pm to 4pm Monday to Friday

 

Workington 

9am to 1pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday 

1pm to 5pm Tuesday and Thursday 

Prearranged Select and Collect sessions will be available Monday, Wednesday Friday 2pm to 4pm


Frequently Asked Questions

Extensive preparation has taken place to prepare the libraries before re-opening them. All buildings have been cleaned, screens have been fitted at staffed points. Hand sanitisers have been installed. Signs to remind customers about social distancing and how to move round the building have been put in place, and each library will have a capacity of people who can be in it at one time. Appropriate risk assessments have been carried out and acted on. Staff will have appropriate PPE. We will be keeping all these measures under review

Yes. Opening hours will be posted on our website which will be kept updated. 

No, only 6 libraries will reopen on 10 August: Barrow, Carlisle, Kendal, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington.  We will continue to review the situation in relation to branch libraries and will keep you updated as things progress.  In the meantime, we have a range of resources that can be accessed digitally or your library membership card can be used at one of these 6 libraries.

Yes. Please provide identification of you name and address. 

If you only want to use our digital online resources you can get instant membership online.

The mandatory wearing of face coverings will be extended to further indoor settings, including libraries, from 8 August.

Rather than wearing gloves, the public will be asked to sanitise their hands on entering and exiting the library.

As each library will have to restrict the number of people to allow social distancing, we would encourage you to restrict your visit to once per day and to ask people to only visit the library individually, unless they are with a carer.  We also ask you to restrict your visit to 30 minutes (unless you are using a PC where session times are limited to 45 minutes).

All libraries are asked to assist with the NHS Test and Trace programme; you will be asked for a name and contact number when you arrive.

You and your family will be welcome back in household groups. Please note children aged 10 and under to be accompanied by an adult.  Like other areas of the library, the areas for children and young people have clear signage indicating flow and distance and where there have been changes to layout there may be are slightly fewer books. In order to reduce the potential for virus transmission, all toys and sensory resources have been removed for the time being.  

Summer Reading Challenge will only be online this year. The theme this year is 'Silly Squad' 

The Silly Squad follows the madcap adventures of a group of animal friends. 

Join the Summer Reading Challenge online, choose your own avatar, set your own reading goal for the challenge and you are good to go.  Record your books on the website, unlock rewards and new adventures as you go and print off a super certificate when you have completed your challenge! 

There are lots of book recommendations and fun activities on the website too. 

We have loads of silly books waiting for you right here on BorrowBox  

You just need your Cumbria Libraries card to start borrowing. If you don't have a library card get free instant membership.

Because of social distancing guidelines we have removed all chairs and tables. If you feel unwell and need to sit down please ask a member of staff who will be able to bring a chair for you. 

Public PCs are available, but numbers at each library have been reduced to ensure social distancing and we therefore recommend booking in advance directly with your local library (session times are limited to 45 minutes). There will be cleaning equipment available for user to clean the PCs before and after use. 

We advise you to book in advance in order to make sure you can access a PC as people dropping in may not be guaranteed a computer.  Please contact the appropriate library to book; you will be able to do this when Libraries reopen on 10 August 

You can use a PC for 45 minutes. Because of social distancing we have reduced the number of PCs available to the public so, in order to allow more people to access the PCs, we have reduced the time available per person.

Library contact details:

Barrow Library - 01229 407373  Email: barrow.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Carlisle Library - 01228 227321  Email: carlisle.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Kendal Library -  01539 713520  Email: kendal.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Penrith Library - 01768 812100   Email: penrith.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Whitehaven Library - 01946 506400  Email: whitehaven.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Workington Library -  01900 706177  Email: workington.library@cumbria.gov.uk

Photocopiers are only available in a limited number of libraries where they are coin operated. Unfortunately staff wont be able to give assistance.    Microfilm readers will not be available, nor will there be a scanning service at this time. 

We are not able to process Bus Pass applications but can give you a form to fill and give details of where to return it to. 

Parking Permits can be requested online or phone the Highways Hotline on 03003 032992 or by post at Parking Services, Cumbria County Council, PO Box 415, Carlisle, CA1 9GU


You can collect Hearing Aid batteries in person from the Library but we are unable to post them out. 

Toilets and baby changing facilities are not generally open to the public.

Drinks machines will not available and food and drink must not be brought into the library. 

We do not have a date yet when activities or drop-ins will start again, we will introduce our services gradually in line with the latest public health advice.  In the meantime, please see our library Facebook pages for digital versions of many of our regular children's sessions.

In the future we would hope to rearrange special events but we cannot guarantee this as the provider/ speaker (eg author events) may no longer be available. 


We are unable to give refunds at the moment as we are not handling cash. Please keep hold of your ticket and we will give a refund at a later date. 

Remote access to Find My past from home will end one month after the main Libraries reopen.

No, the request service is still suspended for the time being.


At the moment we are unable to accept new customers to the Home Delivery Service. We are keeping this under review. However, for library members that can't visit the library in person, a friend or family can collect a prepared selection of books from them using our Select and Collect service.

Cumbria Library Service is currently not operating book drops or Library Links. 


These 2 services are still suspended for the time being. Work is underway to return these services but it is being done in phases due to the health and safety and logistical challenges.

Our 4 Archive Centres remain closed and staff are not on site to answer enquiries; we are preparing to re-open to public access on a restricted basis later this year. A number of services you can access digitally are:  

Services that remain temporarily unavailable:

  • Personal visits/ Access to searchrooms
  • Events and Archive Discovery Evenings, tours, group and school visit bookings 
  • Depositing / donating records
  • Volunteer sessions
  • Record copying
  • Advice on research and record sources, whether by phone, email or post
  • Digitisation service except orders currently being processed 

You can see updates on our our Twitter feed @CumbriaArchives