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.
Although our Library buildings have been closed since late March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Library has been open to provide access to a wide range of digital resources and services to support teaching, learning and research. We are now in a phased re-opening programme for Library buildings and services.
On the 14th September the Main Library and the Lady Smith of Kelvin Veterinary Library will open more fully, and most of our other libraries will re-open for browsing and borrowing library collections between 10am- 4pm.
Bookable study spaces are available from the 14th September at the Main Library. Study spaces at other libraries will be opening after the 21st September. For further information see:
Your University student card is also your library card, you will need it to access library buildings and borrow print materials. Cards will be sent out for September 2020 starts.
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.
For further updates please see the Joining the Library page.
The impact of Covid-19 means that the Library will have to change the way users access Library print collections in 2020/21 in order to support social distancing.
- From September most of the libraries will have walk-up access to print collections within library occupancy limits.
- Items previously in 'Reserve' collections (3 hour loan) will become one week loan items as the provision of highly circulating print collections is not possible.
- All face-to-face services at School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library, and the University Collections Facility are closed.
Updates will be posted on this page.
From 14th September you will be able to return your library books to the Main Library and the site libraries. Please check library opening times for your site.
Please be aware that due to the quarantine process, returned books might not be removed from your library record for 5 working days.
University of Edinburgh loans
- Please see Borrowing books and other resources for guidance on borrowing and renewing library items.
- All items which were on loan during the Library's closure period will have had their due date changed to the 30th September 2020.
- No fines will be accrued for the items borrowed during the period when the libraries were closed.
- Library laptops may be returned during service desk hours to the issuing library as of the 14th September.
No fines will accrue on items over this period and users will not be fined for the late return of items due to the current Library closures.
Face-to-face services at the CRC have now resumed as a limited, appointment-only service, with priority given to University of Edinburgh staff and students. Please read the guidance on the CRC webpages:
The Click and Collect service has now closed as user access to the print collections in our libraries has resumed.
Help and support
Frequently Asked Questions about our current library services . These FAQs are being regularly added to and updated.
Using the Main Library:
Will the study spaces in the Main Library be bookable?
Yes, you will be required to book the study spaces in the Main Library from the 14th September. Please see further information at Study Spaces webpages.
Will Main Library bookable study rooms be available?
No, Covid-19 social distancing requirements mean that these rooms are not currently available for group use. We encourage you to arrange group study sessions online using software such as Collaborate, Teams or Zoom.
Will there be tours of the Main Library for new students?
No in-person tours of the Main Library are planned, due to Covid-19 spaces and physical distancing restrictions.
Are study spaces being cleaned?
All study spaces within the University will be cleaned at least once a day. Self cleaning materials will be available for student use.
Will uCreate facilities be available this semester?
Yes, the uCreate Studio will be available. For more information see: https://www.ucreatestudio.is.ed.ac.uk/
Using print library colletions
Can I borrow printed books from the library?
Teaching materials are being provided online wherever possible, but print collections are also available to be borrowed.
All library items will be quarantined for 72 hours on their return. The quarantine period has been determined through assessment with Health and Safety teams and will be reviewed regularly.
How many books can be borrowed in total?
Borrowing limits remain at their previous levels - see the borrowing a book pages for more information.
What are the loan periods for Reserve, Short and Standard loan?
Our loan periods for Reserve items are being extended to one week. Loan periods for other items remain at previous levels.
Please see 'How long can I borrow a book' for further information.
What is available via the interlibrary loan service?
We are resuming wider interlibrary loans services from the 21st September. Further updates will be posted on the Interlibrary Loan pages.
Using the Centre for Research Collections:
Can I just come to the CRC or do I need to book?
Appointments may not always be possible on specific dates due to the availability of space and priority will be given to University of Edinburgh students and researchers. We also ask if you can register online before coming to the CRC for your appointment if possible and we are also operating under reduced hours and are currently only open from 11am to 3pm Monday to Friday. You can find more information about visiting the CRC on our website here.
Can I access CRC resources remotely?
We are aiming to have a teaching suite with a number of visualisers and webcams ready to be booked by educators from the start of term. We are also working on setting up a remote consultation service whereby readers can request to view individual items from our collections via a variety of different online methods. For more information on both services, please contact email@example.com
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: