New College Library
Founded in 1843 as the library of the Free Church College, New College Library now serves the University's School of Divinity. It is one of the largest theology libraries in the UK.
New College Library holds the University's collections for Divinity and Religious Studies, containing literature covering:
- Biblical studies
- Christian ministry
- Church history
- Religious Studies
- World Christianity
New College Library relocation in 2020
New College Library on the Mound is now closed. All our current library services, except for Special Collections, have been transferred to our new temporary library at 40 George Square.
The General Collections, i.e. all the open access books and journals (including books on course reading lists), are available in 40 George Square. This includes the New College Library Reserve Collection which was transferred to 40 George Square in September 2020.
Students continue to have access to study spaces in New College Library at 40 George Square, as well as other study space facilities in the central area and at New College.
While New College Library is temporarily housed at 40 George Square, selected New College Library Special Collections, including the Archives, will be available to use at the Centre for Research Collections, Main Library. However, the bulk of the Special Collections will be stored off campus for the duration of the Estates project taking place in the New College Library building. We will keep you fully informed as the project progresses. To find out if the item you seek is accessible and to arrange to consult New College Special Collections and archives, please email: email@example.com.
Head of School, Professor Helen Bond, says:
“We have one of the largest theology collections in the UK and it is vital that we safeguard those quarter of a million books, manuscripts and other historic items for future generations. However, we understand the inconvenience these building works may cause and we are working very closely with student representatives, colleagues in Library and Information Services, the Estates Office, and Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programme Directors to minimise the impact on students, staff and our wider community.”
Our Director of Professional Services, Julie Robertson, is happy to be contacted if you have any further questions or concerns.
Advance notice : Temporary suspension to New College Library collections access
We’re working on collections projects this summer to get the New College Library collections ready for moving back into the Library at Mound Place. We are now planning the next steps of our project to carry out the re-labelling and re-sequencing of New College Library collections to provide a single Library of Congress sequence. We expect that this will make it easier for everyone to find and use the library collections once they’ve moved back.
To carry out the re-labelling and re-sequencing we will need to temporarily suspend access to some collection floors in 40 George Square. Dates are still to be confirmed but we expect access to some floors of the Library will be suspended from 1st August 2022 and that this will last into September, with all floors re-opening by the start of semester in September.
What you need to know
- We recommend that you collect any library items you know you may require before the end of July.
- Please look out for floor closure notices in the building.
- We may be able to retrieve books from closed areas in response to urgent requests, but not all items will be available at all times as items are packed, moved and unpacked.
- It is expected that there will be no access to New College Library journals during the collections work. If you require access to particular journals during August please let staff at New College Library know by 29th July and it may be possible to ensure these journals remain available.
- We will remove limits on interlibrary loan requests for Divinity staff and students to allow you to obtain inaccessible materials from other libraries during floor closure.
- There will still be access to 44 study spaces in G.04 plus 17 study spaces on the ground floor of the library.
Location and contacts
New College Library, 40 George Square, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JU. Tel: 0131 650 8957
Access and opening hours
Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh have full access and borrowing rights.
NHS Lothian staff registered as Library users according to the current service level agreement with the University of Edinburgh have full access and borrowing rights until the service level agreement with NHS Lothian will cease on 10 September 2022.
From 29 August 2022, NHS Lothian staff can join UoE 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.
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.
Visitors wishing to use Special Collections at the Centre for Research Collections please see the CRC webpages.
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.
There are a number of study spaces available in New College Library. Please see the Study Space pages for more information and guidance.
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.