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
Main Library lights up for festive celebrations
The Main Library will light up again to celebrate the festive period, providing a warm welcome to all students, and particularly those students unable to travel back to their home countries over the winter break.
From 9 Dec to 5 Jan, an exterior light installation will illuminate the building, and there will be a Christmas tree and decorations inside the library. Library staff will also be creating a fun festive book tree sculpture.
Also, look out for local publicity coming soon promoting free festive refreshments from the Library café and 40 George Square café for a limited time.
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, Edinburgh Theological Seminary Staff & students (Free Church of Scotland College), Free Church of Scotland Ministers, retired ministers and staff, Church of Scotland Ministers, retired ministers & staff, Alumni, SCONUL Access BANDS A, B, & C only, Friends of the Library and Life members of the Library.
Before you arrive at the library, or any study spaces you must download the Seated app. 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. This means that you do not need to book study space unless you wish to. All desks are assigned with a unique QR code and you must check in and check-out of the desk by scanning the QR code. This is for the purpose of NHS Test & Protect - Scotland’s way of putting into practice the test, trace, isolate, support strategy - and is not a study space booking.
Full details on using library and other centrally managed study spaces are available on the Study Spaces website.
Collections and their locations
You can see the most up-to-date location of the collections using the link below.
Before you arrive at the library, or any study spaces you must download the Seated app.
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. This means that you do not need to book study space unless you wish to. To facilitate the re-opening of all study spaces we have put some measures in place to keep our students safe. All desks will be assigned with a unique QR code and you must check in and check-out of the desk by scanning the QR code. This is for the purpose of NHS Test & Protect - Scotland’s way of putting into practice the test, trace, isolate, support strategy - and is not a study space booking..
Help using the Library
EdHelp service desk
- Main Library
- EH8 9LJ
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 https://contactscotland-bsl.org for full details.