The Main Library holds the University's primary print 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. The Main Library is the largest of Edinburgh University's Libraries.
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
Access and opening hours
Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh have full access and borrowing rights.
NHS Lothian staff can join University of Edinburgh Library as members of the public or apply for other UoE Library membership options if appropriate and on production of the required documentation. Information regarding UoE Library membership is available on the Joining the Library web pages, but please be aware that during exam periods access may be restricted.
NHS Lothian staff will continue to have access to a wide range of library and information resources and support from the NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Network (external site)
Access to the library is also available to other users but please be aware that during exam periods access may be restricted. Please note, that for some external users, the membership application process has changed. Please check up-to-date information on the Joining the Library web pages before visiting any library.
Covid-19: Please see the University's guidance on hygiene and safety measures when on-campus. The University also promotes the Scottish Government ‘Distance Aware’ scheme and expect all library users to respect those members of our community who are either wearing a lanyard or badge, or request that others keep a distance.
Collections and their locations
You can see the most up-to-date location of the collections using the link below.
Study space is available as a walk up service across the campus with the exception of a small number of bookable study spaces on the 3rd and 5th floors of the Main Library. There are also a number of group study spaces available within the Main Library. Please see the Study Space pages for information and guidance.
Help using the Library
- Main Library
- EH8 9LJ
EdHelp supports students in library, IT, student administration and finance. EdHelp is online, and also in-person at 10 libraries: Edinburgh College of Art Library, Art & Architecture Library, Law Library, Main Library, Moray House Library, New College Library, Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library, Royal Infirmary, The Lady Smith of Kelvin Veterinary Library and Western General Hospital Library.
Orientate yourself in The 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 University of Edinburgh students and staff. Keys will be issued for the day and are to be returned by 9am the next morning. From Monday 2nd October 2023 there will also be lockers which can be rented for the academic year.
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.