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QAHE - UR Library Guide





SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other UK academic libraries which belong to the scheme, or just the convenience of studying in a library closer to your home. It's completely free to join, so sign up on the SCONUL web site today.

The scheme works on a banding system:
Band A access is for academic staff and research students.  Almost all member libraries admit band A users.
Band B access is for part-time and distance learning students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and those on placement (such as PGCE in schools). You can borrow books from libraries in this band.
Band C covers full-time taught course postgraduate students, who can borrow books from libraries in this band.
Band R gives full time undergraduate students reference access to some libraries.

Not all member libraries allow access to all bands in the scheme.  Always check before you visit a library that they allow access to your band. To find out which libraries are part of the scheme, and the bands available in each, check the SCONUL website.

To use the scheme you will need to apply for access through the SCONUL website.  The application process is simple and after you submit your application it will be authorised by a member of Library staff. You will receive an email on your University account which you need to take with you when you visit other libraries.  Users must be in ‘good standing’ with the Library, that is, have no large outstanding fines, before they can join the scheme. 

When visiting other libraries please note:

  • The number of books you can borrow may be limited and you may not be allowed to borrow from some collections.
  • Access to electronic resources is likely to be restricted.
  • The library you visit may have specific rules.

British Library

The British Library at St Pancras, London is a national research library. It does not lend books nor does it aim to stock multiple copies of basic text books. If your research needs are not fulfilled by other libraries, try searching the British Library catalogue. For more information and to register for a  Reader Pass, please see the British Library website.

Other catalogues

JISC's Library Hub Discover (formerly COPAC) is a joint catalogue of many national, university and research libraries in the UK and Ireland.
Find your local public library by entering your postcode on this online guide from the Government. 
You can search the catalogue of the University of London's Library at Senate House which includes holdings of all their research institutes.