Orkney Library and Archive reopens

Orkney Library and Archive reopens
17 August 2020

Orkney Library and Archive

Orkney Library and Archive, in Kirkwall, will reopen to the public on Monday 17 August, with some restrictions in place.

Users will be asked to book a time slot in advance as admission into the building will only be possible by booking. These can be made via phone on 01856873166 or by email  library@orkney.gov.uk or archives@orkney.gov.uk.

Unfortunately, the main entrance is currently closed for repairs therefore users have to use the temporary back entrance. Please note this is not an automatic door. A one-way system around the building is in place from the customer carpark to the temporary entrance. There is also a one-way system in place within the building which will lead users throughout and towards the new exit which is at the side of the building.

Users are requested to use the hand sanitiser provided outside the building before using the door handle.   A member of staff will be inside to welcome visitors and a one-way system will operate around the shelves in the Library and around the inside of the building.

All users need to:

  • Wear a face-covering when inside the building.
  • Use hand sanitiser - frequent use is encouraged.
  • Maintain physical distancing from other users during your visit.

Library users can choose from a range of books, CDs and DVDs to borrow and staff will be at the usual desk to issue items. When purchasing items, payment by card is preferred.
To ensure that government guidelines are adhered to there will be no use of public computers, the reference room/study area or the coffee machine, this will be reviewed on a regular basis. 


Visitors to the Archive will be allocated a table in the searchroom or the Orkney room depending on their needs which will be discussed with Archive staff prior to their visit. A member of staff will be on hand to help at the desk. Face masks or coverings may be removed when seated at the tables. Users will be encouraged to wear disposable or cotton gloves when handling archives and desks and chairs will be cleaned between each booking.

Request and Collect Service

We are pleased to confirm that the Request and Collect service will continue in Kirkwall and Stromness, meaning users can continue to request books online using the Library Catalogue or by telephoning or emailing either the Orkney or Stromness Library. Users will be contacted to arrange a time slot to collect the books from the Kirkwall Library at the temporary entrance or at the Stromness Library the collection point is the courtyard door. Users can also return items during these opening hours without booking.

Home Library Service

Home Library Service is available for users that live on the Orkney Mainland who are elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating and unable to travel to Orkney Library and Archive.
A tailored selection and quantity of items to meet each users’ personal requirements will be delivered to their homes.
For more information either contact the library by phone or email or check out their website.

Mobile Library Service

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer our usual Mobile Library service right now but by working with our colleagues in Democratic Services we are able to offer a revised service.
From 12 August, this service is available to residents on Stronsay, Sanday, Hoy and Eday. This service is limited to users who do not have access to the E-book online service and cannot use the other services being provided.  This will be expanded to other island in the coming weeks.

A selection of 6 books per person will be selected to meet each users personal requirements. These will be shipped out to the island Link Officers, who will then deliver the bags to the residents.

For more information either contact the library by phone or email or check out their website.

Bookbug Sessions

Bookbug sessions will continue online for the foreseeable future.

Sandy Cowie, Vice Chair of the Education, Leisure and Housing Committee said: “We are very happy that we are moving forward with the reopening of The Orkney Library and Archive.

"During lockdown, the library service provided many different options to try to deliver something to their users since they were not able to visit the building. We want to thank all the staff for their hard work in preparing the building for reopening and for their continued effort in providing an alternative service.

“We want to remind folk to continue to follow the government guidelines, ensure they are physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.”

Reviews of the whole library service will be carried out regularly and adjustments made to allow more customers access to the libraries and the services they provide whenever it is safe to do so.  Check the website for updates.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

Translate this website

Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS