Information Services

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, with over a quarter of a million items. Its large and rich special collections include the papers of Thomas Chalmers, J.H. Oldham and James S. Stewart.

Please note that as of 24th March 2020, all libraries (including the Main Library) will be closed until further notice. 

Please check the Covid-19 Library Updates page for further information.

Covid-19 Library Updates


New College Library opening hours


New College Library has now relocated to David Hume Tower for essential renovations of the original location from late December 2019 until June 2021.

 New College students and other researchers are still able to borrow, reserve or order books from other library facilities around the main University area.

Students will continue to have access to other study spaces in New College including Rainy Hall, as well as the new temporary library in the ground floor of David Hume Tower.

What this means for you

 New College Library on the Mound is now closed. All our current library services ,except for Special Collections and the Reserve collection, have been transferred to our new temporary library on the ground floor of David Hume Tower.

The General Collection, ie. all the usually accessible books, are available  in David Hume Tower:

  • David Hume Tower (for books on course reading lists, except 'Reserve' items)
  • The University’s Centre for Research Collections in the Main Library for New College archives

The high demand  ‘Reserve’ collection is now available from the Semple Room within New College . Opening hours are 11-3pm,Monday to Friday.

We are now operating a collection service for New College Special Collections and archives till April 2020. Some of the Special Collections as well as the archives will be available to use at the Centre for Research Collections, Main Library after that date. However, the bulk of the Special Collections will be stored off campus and will not be accessible while the library is closed. We will keep you fully informed as the project progresses. To arrange to consult New College Special Collections and archives, please email:

Further information

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, Alan Wigglesworth, is happy to be contacted if you have any further questions or concerns.





New College Library, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JU.


Access and opening hours

Staff and students of the University of Edinburgh have full access and borrowing rights.

Borrowing access is also available to ministers of the Church of Scotland and other denominations.

Visitors wishing to use Special Collections at the Centre for Research Collections will be required to present ID and proof of address dated within the last 3 months to register with the University of Edinburgh Library at the Helpdesk before registering within the CRC.

CRC is open for Special Collections services 9.00am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays all year round, except for University closed days at Christmas.

If you wish to donate books to New College Library, please contact the Academic Support Librarian before you bring books to the library. We are unable to accept donations at the New College Library Helpdesk.

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.