All Explore library buildings, Reading Cafes, and the City Archives were closed to the public from 12 noon on Saturday 21 March following advice from the government. We don’t know yet when we will be opening again.

We know that our libraries are an important source of reliable information during this challenging period. We have made it easy to find the information you need.

Get information and support during the Coronavirus crisis

Join the library online

Get ebooks, eaudiobooks and e-magazines and newspapers for free

Visit our new York Images site and explore the history of the city through photographs, illustrations, maps and archival documents

Start your family tree and find reliable information about everything on our Online Reference pages

We are looking at other ways we can support you as you Stay Safe at Home so look out for regular updates.

Explore at Home: Reading links to bookish things for readers and book groups.

Explore at Home: Children links to activities and information for children and families.

Explore at Home: Archives and Local History links to activities and information for anyone interested in local history.

Explore at Home: Health and Wellbeing links to information and support

Explore at Home: Culture and Creativity links to activities and information

Questions you may have Do you have other questions? You can email us and we’ll get back to you.

25 thoughts on “Coronavirus: information and support for our communities

  1. What a relief my current books have been renewed toll end of June.I am in vulnerable group and didnt want to go on bus at present time.Thank you so much and everyone, keep well x

  2. Very impressed!
    Impressed with this comprehensive advice and info on what services you can still provide at present. I’m going to reacquaint myself with the eBook system. I hope you all stay well and, if not, wish you a speedy recovery.

  3. Just like to say a big thank you to all the York Explore staff for keeping services running so long. Many of us rely on libraries to get online at all. If there are any alternatives could these be publicised somehow?

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks Martin. We are very aware of how many people are dependent on libraries to get online. We are noting all questions and issues raised by our users and will be publishing solutions as we have them.

    1. Hi Helen. Most libraries have a letterbox or dedicated book returns post box and you can return items there where staff will be able to discharge them in due course, though you may still see them on your card until staff are able to be physically present in our buildings again. In case you are worried about books being due back and having to pay fines, we have renewed all items currently on loan until June 30, and obviously we will extend this date if necessary in the light of changing information.

  4. Thank you for keeping us informed. I run a book club in Wheldrake and Dean does a great job delivering sets of books for us to read and discuss. I picked up the latest set on Friday – just in time! Thanks Dean. Our book club will not be meeting until it is safe to do so but I shall deliver the books to the individual members with a note of explanation. Lets hope that libraries don’t have to stay closed much beyond the end of June.

    1. Hi Selina Thanks for your kind remarks. At the moment we don’t know when normal service will resume, but we will be following government advice and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. Loans have been extended until 30 June, but we hope that things will have improved before then.

  5. I’ve got three books on reservation one to be collected by the 21/03/20 and 2 to be collected by the 25/03/20 how do i get to receive them please can you let me know how I can get them thanks

    1. Hi Michael. Reservations waiting to be collected will be available when normal service resumes. At the moment we don’t know when this will be, but we will be following government advice and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

  6. Hello, Are there any plans to make the Ancestry library edition, Find my Past and the British library newspapers, which are currently only available on library computers, available for home use, during the closure of the libraries.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Louise Good news! Ancestry is now available from home, you can access it through the usual link on our website. We are still waiting to find out about Find My Past. Look out for further announcements over the next few days.

  7. My library card is due for renewal soon will you be extending these so that people can still access on line books?

  8. I have a book to pick up how is this now going to work seeing that you are closed to June?? Book should be picked up by last Tuesday.

    1. Hi Alison Reservations waiting to be collected will be available when normal service resumes. At the moment we don’t know when this will be, but we will be following government advice and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. Loans have been extended until 30 June, but we hope that things will have improved before then.

  9. Hi.

    Is there any chance of you getting more audio books on your e service? I am an avid listener! (Having a 4 year old I can listen to snippets when he is busy). However I often have to wait weeks for a title to become available. I assume this wait will get longer with more people accessing the service. Getting more titles would be fabulous, maybe even a few for young children (i had a look last week and struggled to find anything gor my son) keep up the good work!!

    1. Hi Jenny
      Thanks for getting in touch. We are reviewing our elibrary in view of the current situation and will update as we make any changes. We will also be posting some links shortly with reading and other ideas while you Stay at Home with Children. I hope this helps.

    2. Hello. Just following up to say that today’s batch of new e-audiobooks includes quite a few younger children’s titles so you might want to have a look and see if your son might enjoy any of them.

  10. During this corona virus outbreak is it safe for me to receive books from my brother he has already read can books carry this virus

    1. Here is the Public Health England statement on the safe handling of library books:
      During the COVID-19 emergency every person, including librarians, is being encouraged to wash their hands more frequently to protect themselves from any contaminated surfaces. The risk from books covered in a plastic cover handled by someone who is a possible COVID-19 case is negligible after 72 hours. The risk from books with a cardboard/paper cover is negligible after 24 hours.

  11. Hope everyone is keeping well during these difficult times. I’m really missing my visits to the library. I’ve got a book currently on loan and am thankful that the loan period has been extended. I’m not very good with all things IT but I’m going to try to access some e-books on my tablet.
    Thanks all.

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