Main Library

 Course books with yellow labels

News about Main Library closures

This exam period will be the last that our current Main Library building will see, having supported 60 years' worth of students through their degrees. Work to construct a new Main Library for the University is entering its final stages and the process of relocating the collection will begin in earnest once the exams are over. This is an exciting time for the library, and for the University, but unfortunately there will be a lot of disruption and this can’t be avoided. To find out which buildings will be affected please go to the New Library Project pages where there is detailed information.


See our opening hours.

About the library

The present Main Library building opened in 1959 and was further extended in the 1970s. Books donated to the Mason College Library over a century ago laid the foundation of the University Library.

The Main Library holds most of the University of Birmingham's Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering material.

Study spaces

The Main Library provides a variety of both individual and group study spaces throughout the building.

Except for on the ground floor, all study areas are in ‘Quiet Zones’. This means that noise should be kept to a minimum and that mobile phones should be on silent. (You may use your phone in all areas on the ground floor except the computer cluster at the rear of the building).

Group study rooms may be booked for up to 2 hours. Please ask at the Reception and Information Desk in the foyer if you wish to do this. From Monday 11 January 2016, you will be able to book group study rooms online, up to two weeks in advance.

A Researchers’ Room at the front on the building on the 3rd floor is reserved for use by postgraduate research students and academics only. It is equipped with 2 PCs, study desks and 2 microfiche readers.

PC Facilities

There are over 230 general use PCs in the Main Library, mainly on the ground floor as well as a smaller number on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Floor. 

You can print from PCs on the ground floor as long as you have print credit on your ID card.

Charges for printing and photocopying are identical. 

If you wish to use your laptop, there is wireless access throughout the building. You should check on the IT Service Desk pages for how to set up your laptop for use in the library. 

Location of Printers

All the printers are on the ground floor in the following locations:

  • Zone GC Main Hall
    Network location - ML GC A on corp332
  • Zone GC Main Hall 
    Network location - ML GC B on corp332
  • Training room 
    Network location - ML TRAINING ROOM on corp332
  • Purple room 
    Network location - ML PURPLE ROOM on corp332
  • Green room  
    Network location - ML GREEN ROOM on corp332
  • Orange room
    Network location - ML ORANGE ROOM A on corp332
  • Orange room
    Network location - ML ORANGE ROOM B on corp332

All computers will default to the printer located in the same room. If that printer is out of order, you can send your printing to one of the other printers.

The Main Library clusters use standard IS printer credit. You can top up printing & photocopying credits on a machine located on the ground floor by the IT Service Desk and at the Lending Desk. 

Please see arrangements for studying in the Main Library over the summer.

Service hours 


Monday to Friday

  • Self service book issues and returns - 08:00 - 24:00
  • Reception Desk Services - 08:00 - 24:00
  • Roving Library Help - 09:00 - 24:00
  • Staffed Lending Desk - 08:30 - 21:00
  • Stationery Sales - 08:30 - 21:00
  • Information Desk - 09:00 - 19:00

Saturday and Sunday

  • Self service book issues and returns - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Reception Desk Services - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Staffed Lending Desk - 08:30 - 20:00
  • Roving Library Help - 10:00 - 20:00
  • Stationery Sales - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Information Desk - 10:00 - 18:00


Monday to Friday

  • Self service book issues and returns - 09:00 - closing
  • Reception Desk Services - 09:00 - closing
  • Staffed Lending Desk - 09:00 - closing
  • Roving Library Help - 09:00 - closing
  • Stationery Sales - 09:00 - closing
  • Information Desk - 09:00 - closing

Saturday and Sunday

  • Self service book issues and returns - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Reception Desk Services - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Staffed Lending Desk - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Roving Library Help - 10:00 - 20:00
  • Stationery Sales - 08:00 - 20:00
  • Information Desk - 10:00 - 18:00





Subject and classmark guides

For an overview of the classmarks, subjects and arrangement of the library please refer to the guides below: 

Please note: Handouts are available at the Information, Reception and Lending desks. 


If you need help finding a book in the Main Library, you can use the bookfinder search to find the right zone.


The Main library consists of 8 floors. To view a Floor Plan of a particular zone click on the links below:

  • Ground Floor: GAGB and GC
  • Lower Ground Floor: LGC and LGD
  • Upper Ground Floor: UGD
  • First Floor: 1A1B1C and 1D
  • Second Floor: 2A2B and 2D
  • Third Floor: 3A3B3C and 3D
  • Fourth Floor: 4B and 4D
  • Fifth Floor: 5C and 5D


General facilities

The Main Library offers a range of facilities for students and visitors.  


There are photocopying facilities on the ground (including in the Short Loan Collection), first and fifth floors. Additional information on credit charges, reporting problems and disability support can be found on the photocopying in the library page.

Assistive technology

Users who register with Disability and Learning Support can book one of our Assistive Technology Booths.

The booths are set aside for people with visual impairments or conditions such as dyslexia and who need specialist equipment and software to support them in their studies. They are located next to the IT Service Desk at the rear of the building.

If you need more help and you are a student, please contact the Disability and Learning Support Team.

If you are a member of staff, supporting or working with a student or students with a disability, please contact the Assistive Technology Officer.

Disability support

All libraries and resource centres offer the following services:

  • Book fetching
  • Extended loans
  • Help with catalogue
  • Stock transfer
  • Text Relay

Physical space and access to building

  • Accessible toilets
  • Parking for people with disabilities
  • Quiet/Silent Study area
  • Wheelchair Access

Additional information

Just Ask!

If you have a question why not speak to a librarian with our online chat facility?

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Developing these intranet pages will be ongoing and, if you share your view and ideas, it will help us to continue to improve this important resource for the benefit of the entire University community.

We also welcome your comments on university internal communications in general. Email the team or pick up the phone 0121 414 6680. You can also tweet us. Whichever way you decide to get in touch we look forward to hearing what you have to say.

If you have a technical question you can contact our IT colleagues as they are much better at that stuff than we are!