The Main Library is the largest of Edinburgh University's Libraries.
Visitor card application/renewal restrictions- Saturday September 7th-Friday 20th September
Due to the busy start of semester activities within the Main Library, we are unable to issue new or renewed cards to external users( inc. Reference, SCONUL Access etc.) This will be for the period Saturday Sept. 7th till Friday 20th September.
From Monday, September 9th during this restricted period, visitor cards may be issued at any of the alternative Card printing Helpdesks (exc. New College Library):
We apologise for any inconvenience.
It holds the primary collections in arts, humanities, social sciences, medicine and informatics.
It also houses the Library's general collections of books and periodicals, older books in all subjects, most of the special collections of rare books and manuscripts, the University archives and the Lothian Health Service Archive.
Main Library occupancy traffic light system
Updated every five minutes you can see here an indicator of occupancy of the Main Library based upon library entries and exits using anonymized and aggregrated card data recorded at the barriers. See section on Study Space below for more information.
Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ
Phone: 0131 650 3409
The Library is situated on the south side of George Square. You can find us on Campus Maps.
Access and opening hours
Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh have full access and borrowing rights. NHS Lothian staff may register as users according to the current service level agreement with the University of Edinburgh and upon production of current ID documentation.
Access to the library is also available to other users but please be aware that during exam periods access may be restricted.
Collections and their locations
You can see the most up-to-date location of the collections using the link below.
As part of the Main Library work over the summer to create additional study spaces for Library users, the existing New Journals and New Books displays on the first floor has been removed.
New journal issues and newspapers are available within their sequences on the 4th floor and new books are interfiled directly into the book sequences on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
A wide range of study space is available in the Main Library. Use the study space webpages to find a space to suit your needs.
Main Library occupancy traffic light system
Making Main Library study space availability levels more visible and accessible to students and other library users
Our Main Library has a finite number of study spaces and we know that often you are looking to use them at the same times as other library users.
So we are providing a traffic light system that can be accessed online as an indicator of how busy the Main Library is at any given time, which may be helpful when planning your visit.
Updated every 5 minutes, you can see here an indicator of occupancy based upon library entries and exits, using anonymised and aggregated card data recorded at the barriers.
The data is derived from existing information sources: card identity when the University card is used to enter and leave the library. Encryption methods and de-identification processes ensure privacy is protected.
See further details about the Main Library Occupancy Traffic Light System data and privacy.
Study desk availability on the Lower Ground Floor
A library study space occupancy monitoring system is currently operating on the Lower Ground Floor and in Group Study Room LG.03. Live data showing the number of study desks currently available for use on the Lower Ground Floor is available on the study desk availability webpage.
Reporting noise and other inconsiderate behaviour in the Main Library
Please note that the anonymous report form is no longer available but you may report any problems to the Main Library Helpdesk.
There are lockers within the Main Library that are available for University of Edinburgh students to rent.
Lockers which can be rented are located on the Ground Floor, Floor 1 and Floor 5. There are also 'daytime' use lockers on the Ground Floor which can be rented by all library users.
To apply to rent a locker, please ask at the IS Helpdesk in the Main Library.
Bookable room in the Main Library, First Floor
There is 1 training room on the First Floor of the Main Library which is available to book for University of Edinburgh staff.
Help using the Library
British Sign Language support
A video relay service is available, enabling British Sign Language users to contact public bodies and vice-versa.
This service operates from 8am to 12 midnight, 7 days a week.
Please visit https://contactscotland-bsl.org for full details.