Coronavirus library shutdown FAQs: staff

Last updated 28 May 2020.

Following the announcement that the University is moving to restricted campus operations, the Main Library and all site libraries are closed until further notice.

During this time, we are being flexible regarding loans.

  • Please hold onto books until we reopen. Nothing will be due back until further notice.
  • We will not be fining anyone during this period.
  • We will cover the renewal of inter-library loan items from other institutions.

While the Library is closed you can still access services online, including online skills support, e-books, e-journals and other online resources available via our website and FindIt@Bham.

For all information or questions relating to the wider University, there is separate guidance for staff and students provided centrally by the University of Birmingham.

Contacting Library Services

How do I get in touch with Library Services?

  • Our Just Ask! online chat service is available 9:00-18:00 Monday to Friday. 
  • You can submit a question to Library Services or email,we aim to respond to all enquires within 24 hours.
  • While the Main Library is shut the telephone service will not be available.
  • We will keep these FAQs regularly updated with the latest information about our services.
  • Our Library Engagement Advisors can still be contacted.

Access to Library collections 

What library collections can I use while the libraries are closed?

  • Access to e-books, e-journals and other online resources are unaffected.
  • See our guide to the key subscribed resources in each subject area.
  • Sign in via FindIt@Bham with your university username and password to search for resources.
  • You can use the drop-down filters to search for ‘online items: ejournals & ebooks only’
  • You can also use ‘Tweak my results’ within FindIt@Bham to limit your search results to resources with full text online, or to limit your results to e-books, e-journals etc.
  • Many publishers are making additional content freely available on a temporary basis, in response to the current health crisis. In addition there are many openly accessible educational resources and textbooks.

What should I do if I have trouble accessing online resources?

  • In a small number of cases, academic staff and postgraduate research students may have difficulty accessing online resources if you are using the VPN (Remote access client).
  • If you do experience a problem with accessing online resources via FindIt@Bham, please disconnect from the VPN and try again. 
  • If you continue to experience problems in accessing online resources, you can log a call with the IT Service Desk.

Can I borrow print books?

  • During the library closure, you will not be able to borrow print books from any of our libraries.
  • You will not be able to request an item which is out on loan to someone else.

How do I return books?

  • You do not need to return your books until we reopen.
  • All books have been renewed until 22 June 2020.

Will I be fined if my books are returned late?

  • Library Services will not be charging fines during this period.
  • All books have been renewed until 1 June 2020.

Can I request a book from the Research Reserve?

While the Main Library is closed, you will not be able to place a request for an item for the Research Reserve.

Can I request a book via a postal loan, or request a photocopy/scan?

While the Main Library is closed, you will not be able to request a postal loan or request a photocopy or scan of library material.

I have a disability. Will Library Services still provide me with a fetching service?

While the Main Library is closed, Library Services will not be able to provide a fetching service or assisted photocopying service.

I have a disability. Will I still be able to obtain accessible versions of my required texts?

  • Please raise your request for accessible texts as normal by contacting
  • Library Services do not have access to the library’s print collections during the closure period but the team are investigating other options for obtaining content.  
  • We only have limited access to software tools to support accessible texts so may not be able fulfil requests to our usual standard.
  • You can create your own accessible versions via the Sensus Access conversion tool.

Can I request or return an interlibrary loan?

  • You can continue to request interlibrary loans but we will only be able to fulfil requests which can be sourced digitally, for example online articles and book chapters.
  • While the Main Library is closed, you will not be able to request interlibrary loan items which require physical delivery, for example loans of books.
  • In order to facilitate access to content during the library closure and restricted campus operations we have removed the requirement for a voucher code when placing a request for an interlibrary loan. 
  • To request an interlibrary loan login to and click on the 'my.library' tab. From the 'Interlibrary Loans' section on the left, you should select the option 'Place an interlibrary loan request'.
  • If you currently have an interlibrary loan item in your possession, this will be renewed on your behalf until the library reopens

FAQs for academic staff


Can I still get access to research support?

The Research Skills team have a range of resources online and will continue to support academic staff and postgraduate research students via email and Skype.

Can I still order e-books and print books for the library?

You can continue to request books for library purchase via your usual channels, and we have guidance for you to find out what ebooks are available to order. Library Services will continue to purchase e-books where possible during the period of library closure. 

Print books can be requested but will not be available until after the Main library reopens.

Can I create or revise a resource list?

  • You can continue to request a new resource list be set up for your module as normal, and you can continue to request editing access to an existing resource list. See Resource Lists guidance.
  • Reviews will continue on resource lists. Please ‘request review’, and lists will be reviewed in the usual way for e-access. Orders will be placed and e-books enabled where possible, and print books held until normal campus operations resume.

Can I request digitisations via my resource list?

  • You can continue to request digitisations, but Library Services are not able to scan items.
  • If you have a copy of the text, or the extract you require, you can upload the scan (or a photo) of the extract via the ‘Request Digitisation’ process.  The system will run all of the usual checks and make it available if permitted.
  • Please contact if you have any queries.

Can I still get advice on open access publishing and request payment for APCs?

Library Services will continue to provide advice, review new PURE deposits and process requests for APC payments as usual. You can continue to send any queries to:

Can I still deposit datasets to eData?

Please continue to upload data sets as normal and one of our team will validate and give them a doi.

Can students still access support from the Academic Skills Centre and Digital Skills?

One-to-one appointments for the Academic Skills Centre and Digital Skills are available remotely via Skype for Business or email. Workshops are not available, but skills resources are available at the Academic Skills Gateway and LinkedIn Learning.





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