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.

Important Notice-

New College Library will be closed and relocated to David Hume Tower for essential renovations from late December 2019 until June 2021.

The collections will be carefully moved so that, from January 2020, New College students and other researchers will still be 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

From January 2020, New College Library will be closed. All our current library services ,except for Special collections, will be transferred to our new temporary library on the ground floor of David Hume Tower.

The General Collection, ie. all the usually accessible books, will be available  in George Square:

  • David Hume Tower (for books on course reading lists, except 'Reserve' items to be confirmed)
  • The University’s Main Library (for New College archive collections)

We hope to arrange for ‘Reserve’ books to be available from New College, more information on this to follow when available.

Some of the Special Collections will be available to use at the Centre for Research Collections at the Main Library. 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.

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.



Enter by the eastern side of the quadrangle, behind the statue of John Knox.


New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LU.


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 New College Library 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.

New College Library is open for Special Collections services 9.00am to 5.00pm 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.