COVID-19 and Visiting the Institute

Like all educational and cultural institutions, we are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation carefully and taking advice from the University of London and the British Government.

In line with the approach being adopted by the University of London, the Warburg Institute will keep Covid-19 regulations in place for the autumn term.

This is the current situation as of 4 January 2022

WAR - In this section

Visiting the Institute and using the collections

Institute opening hours:

Monday – Friday: 10.00am – 7.00pm

Saturday: 10.00am – 5.00pm

To use the Library and Photographic Collection, please book your desk in advance and read our FAQs on COVID-19 and Visiting the Library below.

The Archive is open to readers by appointment only. Please email to discuss available appointments.

Please do not visit the Institute without a prior appointment. If you are attending an in-person event at the Warburg Institute Lecture Room please make sure you book in advance. Events visitors must follow the same safety procedures as Library Readers.  

FAQs: COVID-19 and visiting the Library and Photographic Collection

What are your opening hours?

We are open to all readers Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 7.00 and Saturday, 10.00 - 5.00.

The collections are closed on Sunday.

Are you accepting new readers?

Yes, we are accepting new readers. Please check our Join the Library page to see if you are eligible to use the library. You will need to book your seat in advance, which you can do even if you don't yet have your library card.

When visiting the Institute for the first time, please make sure you bring your booking confirmation along with the necessary photographic ID stated on our admissions page and, if required, a letter of recommendation. A member of staff in the Reading Room will issue you with your Warburg library card and give you a brief guide to how to use the library.

How do I book a desk online?

You can book using our online booking system, LibCal.

Please note that, while you are welcome to browse and retrieve books from any floor, you should ONLY use your pre-booked desk while you are in the library.

Read our terms and conditions before booking

What should I do if I can't make my booked session?

You can cancel through the link in your booking confirmation email.

What do I need to bring with me when visiting the library?

Please bring your library card and a face mask. Dress warmly, as the library's windows must remain open to allow for good ventilation.

You will need to be able to access to your booking confirmation email in order to check in to your desk when you arrive.

If you are visiting the library for the first time, please bring the form of ID requested on our Join the Library page, along with a letter of recommendation if required.

How do I check in for my seat booking?

Check in on arrival at the Institute through the link in your booking confirmation email. Show your check in confirmation and library card at Reception before entering the library.

Do I need to put my belongings in a locker?

Bags should be left in the lockers in the Reading Room corridor and may not be brought into the library.

Suitcases, holdalls and rucksacks may not be brought into the Institute unless they can fit into a locker (41 x 24 x 42 cm). 

As always, you will need to show your bag at Reception when leaving.

Can I browse the shelves?

The stacks are fully accessible and all collections are open. Please wash or sanitise your hands before handling the books.

What COVID-19 precautions must I take in the library?

Please make sure you are wearing a face mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times when you are in the building.

You must only use the desk you have pre-booked and take care to observe social distancing guidelines while in the library.

Wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitizer provided, particularly before handling books.

Please follow the instructions on the signs and notices posted throughout the building.

What precautions are you taking against COVID-19?

We are limiting the number of people in the building to allow for social distancing.

All staff and readers must wear face masks covering the mouth and nose at all times while in the building.

We are opening windows and doors to allow for extra ventilation on all floors.

We are using a carbon dioxide monitor to monitor air quality in the library.

Hand sanitiser is provided throughout the library.

The building is cleaned daily and library staff regularly wipe down the Reading Room copiers, scanner and computers. Wipes are available for readers to clean surfaces before use.

Is there somewhere to eat and drink in the Institute?

The Common Room on the Lower Ground floor (accessible via the main stair from Reception) is open and available for use by readers. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to offer a lunch or tea service and the self-service tea and coffee facilities have been removed.

As always, no food or drink may be consumed in the library.

Do you offer a scan and deliver service?

No, we don't have the staff available to offer a dedicated scanning on demand service. If you require scans, please order them through Inter Library Loan from your home library. Please note that for copyright reasons we can only supply one article or chapter, or up to 5% of a book.

Do you offer a click and collect service?

No, the Warburg Library is reference-only and external readers may not borrow books

Studying and Researching at the Institute 

The Warburg Institute is encouraging all our students – current and incoming – to take up their full course of vaccinations when it is offered to them.

The University of London is planning to have social distancing measures and other Covid-19 restrictions in place after 19 July and throughout the autumn term.

In light of this, the Warburg Institute is planning that:

  • Some lectures, seminars and supervision will be delivered in-person and some will be online in the 2021/22 Academic Year.
  • Our Welcome Week will be a mixture of in-person and on-line events. The full timetable will be published in due course.
  • The Work-in-Progress Seminar, Tea Time Talks and wider events programme will largely be run online.
  • The Library, study and social spaces will be open for student use but with social distancing measures in place.

However, much can change in the next few months. Student support for self-isolation and testing will be important in order to avoid outbreaks, and even small changes in government guidance could have an impact on use of space, and could mean that aspects of this plan have to change.

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching would be moved online and access to the Warburg Institute and to the Library would further restricted. However, even under these extremely difficult circumstances, the Warburg has shown it can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

New situations that might fall between these examples could require a different response. But changes will be communicated as early as possible.

Studying and Researching at the Institute FAQs

Will I be able to access seminars online?

Some seminars will delivered online and full details of how your course will be delivered will be communicated to all offer holders by 21 July 2021.

Do I have to live in London?

Unless you are a distance learning PhD student, we do expect you to live in London (or within a commutable distance).

Can I choose to attend seminars remotely?

You will be expected to attend the in-person seminars in-person, unless you are unwell or asked to self-isolate via the NHS track and trace app. 

We are in discussions with the National Gallery and will advise in-coming students of the plans around teaching this module as soon as we can.

How would a further lockdown affect the Warburg’s teaching and learning?

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching and learning would be moved online and access to the Warburg Institute and the libraries restricted in line with Government guidance. We know from the past year that even under these extremely difficult circumstances, we can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

If you moved to online lectures, how much notice would I get?

We would endeavour to give you as much notice as possible, but experience has shown that sometimes these decisions need to be made very swiftly, to help keep our staff and students safe.

Will there be study space available?

We have offered study space either at Senate House or in the Warburg Institute for most of the pandemic period, to support students who could not work at home. We will continue to ensure student study space is available, unless we are instructed specifically that it must be closed.

What about events?

Most of our events programme will be delivered online. View a full list of our events

How will the Warburg help keep me safe?

We are committed to following the latest government guidelines and regulations and will ensure they are implemented in the Institute, particularly in regard to ventilation, cleaning, hand hygiene, contact tracing, testing and isolation.

How can I help keep everyone safe?

Guidance will be regularly issued to students. Even if all restrictions are lifted, please do not come to the Institute if you feel unwell or have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19. We expect testing to still be in place, and would ask students to be part of this programme. Most importantly, we encourage all of our students to take up their full course of Covid-19 vaccination when it is offered to them.

Will I have to wear a face covering?

This will depend on the latest university and government regulations and guidance, which we will expect all staff and students to follow. If face coverings are optional, we would also support any student or staff member who wished to wear them.

Will I have to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

We strongly encourage all students to take up the full course of Covid-19 vaccinations when they are offered to you, in order to keep everyone safe.

What will happen if international students need to go home, or can’t get here for the start of term?

If some students are unable to participate due to specific Covid-19 related circumstances, we will look to include them where possible via online routes. Our Library also has a huge range of online materials. However, we would strongly encourage you to plan to be here for the start of term.

What about students who need to self-isolate?

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. If you need to self-isolate, please contact so that we can ensure that you receive teaching and support where possible.

What about staff who self-isolate?

If staff need to self-isolate, but are well, we will look at rescheduling teaching or delivering this online. If staff are unwell, teaching will either be rescheduled or delivered by someone else.

What if I’m unwell and miss teaching?

We will provide you with every opportunity to catch up – information from each class or lecture will be posted on the VLE.

What if I have a disability – can I get extra support?

We are fully committed to supporting students with disabilities. Please contact to make an appointment to discuss how we can best support you.


The Warburg Institute events programme will continue entirely online, with a full range of lectures, seminars, short courses, reading groups, workshops and in-conversation events taking place largely via the Zoom platform. Please note, all events must be booked in advance in order to receive joining instructions.

Find out more about our events programme

Warburg room hire (external bookings)

At present we are unable to offer room hire for any of our spaces due to the current pandemic. 

View our rooms 

Further questions and how to contact us

If you have a general question, please check that it has not already been answered above or on the University of London FAQs. If it has not, please email your query to

For queries about the Institute's collections, please contact us at or

Visiting our building - NHS Test and Trace

The University is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its staff, visitors and the wider public health of the community.

As the University opens the library building to members, we will be collecting visitor information for the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

Your name, contact number, date/time of arrival and departure will be recorded and kept for 21 days. If, during that time, the University is contacted by NHS Test and Trace, we will provide that data securely to the NHS. If not, the University will delete that data after 21 days.

The scheme is voluntary, but we hope you will help us to support the NHS scheme and assist our staff through this unprecedented period and thank you for your assistance.

The UK Government’s Privacy Notice for Test and Trace.

Test and Trace and data protection

As set out in the government guidance, the legal basis for the University processing the data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 is where it is necessary for the legitimate interest of the University

to participate in the scheme to support the NHS in fighting the pandemic

to protect the health and safety of its staff and visitors

The impact on the rights and freedoms of individuals are balanced by the scheme’s voluntary nature and the limited scope of the data, purposes and duration of processing.

The Test and Trace scheme is separate to the way the Institute manages your student record or library membership.

Find out more information on data protection at the University.

View the current University of London FAQs