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.



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 2020

New College Library temporarily relocated to 40 George Square in January 2020 to enable essential renovations of the original New College Library  building on the Mound.

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

What this means for you

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, ie. 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, Louisa Grotrian, 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 9JU. Tel: 0131 650 8957

Campus maps and travel information

New College Library virtual orientation

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.

Access  will require an ID card or official letter confirming status if not UoE staff or students. We recommend that you phone the New College Library Helpdesk number above in advance of your visit for more details of access arrangements and new safety protocols.

Visitors wishing to use Special Collections at the Centre for Research Collections please see the CRC webpages 

Centre for Research Collections

Joining the Library

Study Space

Study space is available from 28 September. See the study space webpages to find out more:

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.