Library Services Update 2020-21
Information about Library & University Collections services in response to COVID-19
This page will be kept up to date with information about Library & University Collections facilities and services.
Changes to Library services from 26 April 2021
As part of the Scottish Government’s planned route map out of lockdown, Edinburgh moved to restriction Level 3 from Monday 26th April.
All remaining libraries (with the exception of The School of Scottish Studies Archives and Library) have reopened. Barriers to print collections have been removed and self-issue book machines restarted in order to give University library users self-service access to print collections.
The Click & Collect Service is now closed as user browsing and borrowing of collections has resumed. We continue to provide access to the Scan & Deliver service.
All centrally managed study spaces have opened and full details are available on the Study Spaces website.
Please Note: when using these study spaces, you must pre-book, adhere to 2 metre physical distancing and a face covering worn at all times.
The Click & Collect Service is now closed as user browsing and borrowing of collections has resumed.
Items that were requested through the Click & Collect Service will be available for collection from the Main Library until Thursday 6 May 2021.
After 6 May, any uncollected items will be removed from borrower records and returned to the Library shelves.
The Library continues to operate the Scan & Deliver service.
Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh can request scans of one book chapter or 10% (whichever is the greater) or one article from a single issue of a journal via DiscoverEd. We’ll email you a link where you can view and download the scan requested.
- Scan & Deliver requests will be placed via DiscoverEd. You will need to log in to DiscoverEd using your UUN in order to see the option to request a scan. Please do not contact EdHelp to make Scan & Deliver requests.
- Some limits apply when using this service - for full details see the Scan and Deliver page.
From 26th April 2021, all site libraries (with the exception of the School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library) are open for browsing and borrowing of print collections and for access to study spaces.
For full details of library site opening, please see Library Opening Hours.
For further information about accessing study spaces not in libraries please see the Study Spaces website.
The School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library at 29 George Square will remain closed until further notice.
The Library continues to offer a full range of online library services including:
All centrally managed study spaces (with the exception of the School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library) are now open.
There are fewer study spaces available due to physical distancing measures required in light of Covid-19.
Study spaces must be booked in advance.
We have reactivated “book on the day” functionality to ensure cancelled spaces can be booked and utilised.
When using these study spaces, you must adhere to 2 meter physical distancing and a face covering worn at all times.
The Scottish Government has made the wearing of face coverings in libraries, reading rooms and study spaces mandatory.
Unless you are exempt, please wear your face covering.
From 26th April 2021, all libraries (with the exception of the School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library) are open for browsing and borrowing of print collections.
When visiting libraries, you must adhere to 2 meter physical distancing and a face covering must be worn at all times.
- The Scan & Deliver service provides some additional access to our print collections if you are unable to visit libraries in-person
- All face-to-face services at School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library are closed until further notice
- Access to material held in the University Collections Facility is through the Centre for Research Collections.
University Collections Facility
We have now resumed our request service at the University Collections Facility, providing access to general collection items for University staff and students. Please check our web pages for details of service delivery:
While processes are reviewed to consider the impact of Covid-19, we are not currently resuming a full inter-site lending service between the different University of Edinburgh libraries. The further resumption of inter-site lending will continue to be assessed and further updates provided.
For more information on availability at specific sites, please use the links below:
Bookable study spaces are available at the Main Library and at other site libraries:
The CRC are now operating a limited service, with priority given to University of Edinburgh staff and students. Please read the guidance on the CRC webpages:
Books from library sites can be returned to their home libraries.
Please be aware that due to the quarantine process, returned books might not be removed from your library record for 5 working days.
For guidance on borrowing and renewing library items, see: Borrowing books and other resources
We automatically renew your loans, unless another user has requested them or your account has been blocked.
We will continue to automatically renew your loans for a maximum of:
- 18 months for Reserves, HUB Short Loans, Short Loans and Standard Loans
- 28 days for Laptops.
After this time you will need to bring your loans into the library if you wish to renew them. If you have any difficulty with renewing items please contact EdHelp.
You will receive an email if your loans are needed by someone else. Fines apply if you do not return items when asked, so it is important that you check your University email regularly.
Your University student card is also your library card, you will need it to access library buildings and borrow print materials. If you are an on campus student or are visiting campus and have not yet received your student card, please visit a Library Helpdesk in person where library staff will be able to print one for you.
Please note that access to all libraries is currently restricted to University of Edinburgh students, staff, official visitors and NHS Lothian staff. It is not currently possible to join the library or renew memberships under any other category.
Requesting library purchases for teaching and research
To request books, DVDs and other items for the library, University staff should follow the advice and links at:
Student Request a Book (RaB)
The RaB service has resumed and is accepting requests via the form linked below.
Please be aware that it will take much longer than normal to provide new resources whilst there continues to be demand for new online teaching resources for Semester 2.
For more details about the RaB service and how to place a request please see:
In response to the Scottish Government’s revised COVID-19 restrictions starting on January 5th 2021, Interlibrary loans will be offering a digital only service until further notice. Electronic versions of articles and chapters will continue to be sourced where possible but users will not be able to request print materials.
The ILL service is restricted to University of Edinburgh students, staff, official visitors and NHS Lothian staff. Please note that it may take significantly longer to process requests at this time.
No fines will accrue on items over this period and users will not be fined for the late return of items.
Help and support
Some online content was made freely available by its publishers to support teaching , learning and research during COVID-19. Access to some of this content was already bought by The Library but some may cease to be available when the publishers remove the free access.
DiscoverEd tells you what you can access, online and in print or physical copy, because The Library has bought it. It also tells you where you can access it, whether that is a particular building or an online site which may not be the publisher site.
For information on finding academic literature, referencing and more for all subjects:
For guidance on preparing for online exams:
For sessions on using the Library's online resources:
Events @ Edinburgh event booking: Library Bitesize - Using the online Library (University login required)
Online learning pages
For information about how to use online resources, including prerecorded Bitesize sessions:
Help from Academic Support Librarians
For library-related support for teaching, learning and research, Academic Support Librarians are available for all subject areas. For resources and guidance see: