Information Services

Staff and students from other universities

Membership to University of Edinburgh Library is available to staff and students of other universities through the reciprocal access schemes mentioned below .We have certain ID requirements depending on membership (see link for relevant group and accepted ID) .Reference access is available to all on production of appropriate ID and proof of current address. Borrowing rights may be available to some students and staff via the local and national reciprocal agreements and schemes such as SCONUL Access. We ask that all Visitors email us at before visiting.

Library Membership

From Monday 7th February 2022 University of Edinburgh Libraries are fully open to all categories of external membership.

Please apply to access the library by e-mailing: (Please include in your email your existing card reference number starting ‘200..’ if applicable).

We will reply to you with important information for access within 7 days. Please wait for our reply before visiting our libraries.*

*We may not be able to process your membership if you do not follow these steps.*




Restricted access to the Main Library and the Law Library for Reference users during exam period 


From Friday 2 Dec - Sunday 18 Dec inclusive, access to the Main Library and the Law Library will be restricted for Reference users. This also includes those with SCONUL Reference Only cards. This is due to the revision and exam period at University of Edinburgh and consequent high demand on study spaces. 
Centre for Research Collections (CRC) users are not affected by this. 
Normal access arrangements will resume on Monday 19 December 2022. 
If you feel an exception should be made in your case, please email stating the reasons for an exception to be made:.


Reciprocal access agreement used by the vast majority of university libraries in the UK and Ireland. If you are a student or staff member from a UK or Irish university you should obtain your approval through the SCONUL Access website before emailing us at

Scotland's Rural College Library (formerly Scottish Agricultural College Library)

University of Edinburgh Library has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with Scotland's Rural College Library (formerly Scottish Agricultural College Library).

Scotland's Rural College Library

Open University staff and students

OU staff and students can join the library through the SCONUL Access scheme, additional ID may be required.


Students and staff of participating institutions in the SHARES program can get reference access to University of Edinburgh Library with the required ID. Most UK and Ireland participating institutions now use the SCONUL Access scheme instead.


SCURL Research Extra

Staff and postgraduate research students from any other  SCURL institution can join University of Edinburgh Library. Most participating universities now use the SCONUL Access scheme instead.

SCURL Research Extra

 All others

If your university or college does not fall under any of the above reciprocal access schemes you can still join the library as a member of the public.

Joining as a member of the public



Services for external members

Although, as a University service the library is partly funded from central government, it is not a public library. The extent to which it can offer facilities to external users free of charge is limited.

The library can offer some services only on payment of subscriptions or fees, which are set at realistic but reasonable levels. Income derived from these subscriptions and fees is used to maintain and develop collections and services.