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.


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New College Library holds the University's collections for Divinity and Religious Studies, containing literature covering:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Ministry
  • Church History
  • Religious Studies
  • Theology
  • World Christianity


New College Library relocation in 2023

All our current library services, except for Special Collections, were transferred to our temporary library at 40 George Square in 2020.

A schedule for the move of New College Library services and collections back to New College Library, Mound Place in 2023 has now been agreed. The main expected dates are :


9 August 2023 : New College Library, 40 George Square closes for General Collections moves.

11 September 2023 : New College Library, Mound Place opens for access to services and collections.


Until 9 August 2023, NCL General Collections and Library services will remain fully available for students in the library at 40 George Square.

New College Library @ 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:

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, Julie Robertson, is happy to be contacted if you have any further questions or concerns.


Location and contacts

New College Library, 40 George Square, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JX. Tel: 0131 650 8957

Campus maps and travel information

New College Library virtual orientation

Access and opening hours

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

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, 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. 

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. 

Distance Aware scheme


Joining the Library

Study Space

There are a number of study spaces available in New College Library. Please see the Study Space pages for more information and guidance.

Study Space

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.