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 most of our libraries re-opened for browsing and borrowing library collections. Before you visit, please check the opening hours and available services for the library you wish to use.
Bookable study spaces opened on 14th September at the Main Library and at other libraries from 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.
- Items out on loan will have had their due date changed to the 15th October 2020. (This excludes laptop loans).
- 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. You can find more information on the Interlibrary Loans page.
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:
Requesting library purchases for teaching and research
University staff should follow the advice and links at Resource Purchase Requests to request books, DVDs and other items for the library.
Student Request a Book (RaB)
During the Covid-19 lockdown, the Library operated a limited Request a Book (RaB) service. RaB is now temporarily paused while Library teams focus on the provision of online access to resources to support the University's hybrid delivery of teaching for Semester 1, 2020-21.
Updates on timescales for the resumption of the RaB service will be provided here.
Interlibrary loans are currently offering a digital only service. Electronic versions of articles and chapters will be sourced where possible but users will not be able to request print materials. Please note that it may take significantly longer to process requests at this time.
Requests for scans of single book chapters or journal articles may be placed using the Interlibrary Loan Request Form by library users enrolled on an online programme.
No fines will accrue on items issued prior to the lockdown period and users will not be fined for the late return of items due to Library closures.
We are preparing to resume offering physical interlibrary loans from the Main Library on Monday 5th October 2020. For full details of the service and how to place a request please check the Interlibrary Loans page.
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: