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 December 2020
Due to the Scottish Government tier 4 restrictions, browsing access and borrowing of all physical/print items is suspended. We are developing a new Scan & Deliver service which will provide some access to our print collections, more information will be provided as this becomes available. A revised library opening programme will be in place for the start of semester 2.
The new Scan & Deliver Service will provide online access to scanned book chapters and journal articles within copyright limits, where these are not already available online.
- Extracts from print items at the Main Library, UCF and site libraries will be available for request.
- The service is expected to launch on Monday 18 January at 9am.
- Scan & Deliver requests will be placed via DiscoverEd. Please do not contact EdHelp to make Scan & Deliver requests.
- This digital service can be accessed by all staff and students whether they are in Edinburgh or not.
- Full information about how to use the service will be available shortly.
In light of tightened Scottish Government restrictions due to the increasing covid infection rate, ISG has reviewed the opening of libraries, study spaces and associated services across all campuses. The detail below sets out the opening of study spaces and libraries to serve existing on-campus students already in Edinburgh, and the staggered return of students throughout Jan/Feb 2021.
- The Main Library and CMVM library sites will remain open for access to study spaces.
- Main Library, 10:00- 23:59 (Mon- Sun)
- Lady Smith of Kelvin Veterinary Library, 09:00- 17:50 (Mon- Fri)
- Western General Hospital Library and Royal Infirmary Library, 09:00- 16:50 (Mon- Fri)
- Other library sites are currently closed and will re open in a phased programme from late Feb 2021
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 Library continues to offer a full range of online library services including:
- Digital library resources via DiscoverEd
- Scan and Deliver service to provide access to print collections (launch date t.b.c.)
- Centre for Research Collections – remote only service
- EdHelp (both in person and online)
- uCreate studio
In light of tightened restrictions due to the increasing Covid infection rate, ISG has reviewed the opening of study spaces across all campuses, and planned a revised opening programme in line with the staggered return of students throughout Jan/Feb 2021.
There are fewer study spaces available due to physical distancing measures required in light of Covid-19.
Study spaces must be booked in advance.
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.
Before you visit please check the opening hours and available services for the library you wish to use.
To support social distancing, The Library has had to change the way print/physical collections are accessed in 2020/21.
- Due to the Scottish Government tier 4 restrictions browsing access and book borrowing of library collections will be suspended.
- A new Scan & Deliver service which will provide some access to our print collections is in development, more information will be provided as this becomes available.
- All face-to-face services at School of Scottish Studies Archives & Library are closed.
- Access to material held in the University Collections Facility is through the CRC.
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:
To return what you have borrowed, please check the opening hours of the library from which the items were borrowed.
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
For guidance on borrowing and renewing library items, see:
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
- 9 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.
No fines will have accrued on items issued prior to the lockdown period and users will not be fined for the late return of items due to Library closures. For full details please check the ILL page:
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:
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.
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.
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: