Information Services

Main Library

The Main Library is the largest of Edinburgh University's Libraries.

The Main Library 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 further details about the Main Library Occupancy Traffic Light System data and privacy.


Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ

Map: Campus map

The Library is situated on the south side of George Square. You can find us on Campus Maps.

Main Library virtual orientation

Scaffolding works at the Main Library

Our contractor, Servest, will be on site at the Main Library from 4th August. Over the next few days they will be constructing scaffolding to allow for the essential repairs to masonry on the Third Floor West. Once the scaffolding has been erected, it may be another three weeks before the repairs are fully completed. While this work will cover the entire west side of the building, the contractors have assured us the emergency exits will still be accessible.

To ensure that the building is fully safe, a further investigation will be carried out on all levels of the library, including the main entrance. This may cause temporary disruption to both students and staff, but we will ensure that any changes to entry and exit routes are communicated well ahead of time.

Unfortunately, the initial scaffolding works will be noisy and likely to cause disturbance to any students studying on the west side of the building. Social media posts have been made to alert students of this disruption, allowing for changes to bookings ahead of time. Signs have also been posted at the main entrance to alert arriving students of the potential issue.  We recommend that students may wish to use the Hugh Robson Building (basement) - HRB - study space as an alternate study space, or to ask free ear defenders available at the Reception/Helpdesks.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Access and opening hours

Please note that access to all libraries is currently restricted to University of Edinburgh Students, Staff and Official Visitors, and NHS Lothian Staff.
Full details on using library and other centrally managed study spaces are available on the Study Spaces website.
Please note: when using these study spaces, you must pre-book, adhere to 2 metre physical distancing and wear a face covering at all times.

Collections and their locations

You can see the most up-to-date location of the collections using the link below.

Location of collections


Study space

As a result of the physical distancing measures required in light of Covid-19, there will be fewer study spaces available. In order to access centrally managed study spaces, you must book the space in advance. See the study space webpages to find out more.

Study space


Help using the Library

EdHelp service desk

Ground Floor 

Main Library

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 EdHelp service desk.


Day lockers are available for Univerisity of Edinburgh Students and staff. Keys will be issued for the day and are to be returned by 9am the next morning. Please ask at the EdHelp service desk for details.

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 for full details.



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