We are delighted to announce our plans to reopen the Inner Library for research, the Courtenay Room for refreshments, the Reading Room for quiet study and the Outer Library for reading and relaxation.  We are also re-introducing some parts of our programme and making use of the Institution garden.   The following information will help you to plan your visit and ensure that staff and members stay as safe as possible.

Opening hours

From 18th May the Institution will be open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00am to 5.00pm.   The Inner Library and all collections will be open for research by appointment.  We now offer a bespoke library service, so please book before you come and we will have your books ready for you when you arrive.   Bookings can be made via WebCollect or via telephoning the office. 

Study spaces

For those wanting a quiet space to work, we have four seats available in the upstairs Reading Room and two seats available in the Stirling Room.  Currently, these are available on a first come first served basis.   (Study spaces will be limited on Saturdays, in order to run member events and workshops).

Outer Library

Our current book exhibitions are ‘Out of the Woods’ and ‘Trade and Exchange’.   We are also offering our usual range of newspapers and magazines, now including the New York Times.     Members are no longer to required to wear gloves to access newspapers.

Programme of events

We hope to resume live talks and lectures later this year, in line with public health guidance.  We will re-introduce our Wednesday public tours (1.00pm – 3.00pm) but these will be taking place outside the building, along the side passage and in the garden, with a brief look inside the building.   The Saturday programme will be taking place in the garden and will move into the Upper Reading Room and Stirling Room if the weather is inclement.

Our schools programme will remain online this term and we will re-establish a live outreach programme in the community as soon as feasible.    We continue to contribute to city wide initiatives including Heritage Open Days and City of Literature events.

Current exhibition

Our current art exhibition ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ is displayed in the hallway, stairwell and Courtenay Room corridor.

Courtenay Room refreshments

We will be offering complimentary tea and coffee between 18th – 29th May.    The Courtenay Room will then be available for members wishing to purchase self-service refreshments, or you can bring your own.   We hope to resume a lunch menu, later in the year.

Entry procedure

Key fobs are temporarily deactivated to enable us to manage the number of people in the building so please use the buzzer to enter. You will be greeted by a member of staff in the front hallway and signed in. On your first visit to the Institution you will also be taken through a short induction. You will be required to use the hand sanitiser provided immediately on arrival. In line with government advice for our sector, we politely request that you wear a mask and observe social distancing while you are in the building.   We will review this at the end of June.

Personal belongings

Please leave coats and large bags in the cloakroom.


Our contract cleaners will be cleaning all areas of the building at the end of every day.


And finally…

If you are unable to visit the Institution we are continuing to operate a remote enquiry service for members via email to: [email protected]   If we can help in any way please do let us know.

We are continuing to keep a close eye on the situation, both locally and nationally.  Please be aware that we may need to change our plans at very short notice should circumstances require us to do so.

We look forward to seeing you.

The DEI staff team