Latest Library Services information

Last updated 12 April 2021

Government advice is that on-campus facilities should only be accessed where there is a genuine need, and this includes libraries and study spaces. Please consider if your trip is essential.

Study spaces are either bookable (Main Library, except the Wolfson Room and during the collection-only hour, see below) or managed by staff. This helps ensure they do not go over capacity. The Main Library Researchers' Suite is now also available for PGR students to book. There are several study spaces open on campus, as well as the Barnes Library and the OLRC. Please remember to cancel your booking if you can no longer use it, so it is available for someone who needs it. 

If you wish to return books or print, please note you can do this by visiting the Wolfson Room without needing to book a ticket. 

  • You must wear a face covering at all times unless you are exempt. If you are exempt, we strongly recommend you take advantage of the University’s participation in the ‘Hidden Disabilities’ Sunflower Lanyard Scheme. This will avoid your studies being interrupted by staff asking you to put a face covering on.
  • You must stay 2m (or more) distant from others, and sit in the designated places, even if you are in a bubble with those people at home or elsewhere.
  • Please use the hand sanitiser and wipes available in study spaces to ensure you stop the spread.
  • For all of our buildings that are open to staff and students, a full and recently reviewed risk assessment is in place to identify social distancing measures and local mitigation arrangements such as Perspex screens, ventilation, and room capacities. 

These measures are in place to ensure the safety of all members of our University community. 

Which libraries and spaces are currently open?

At present, libraries and several study spaces on campus are open, except for the Harding study lounge.

Please note however that due to current circumstances, services and opening hours may be subject to change at very short notice.

Note that you must book in advance before coming to the Main Library (except the Wolfson Room) and Cadbury Research Library.

Access is limited to University of Birmingham staff and students only.

Where is the Wolfson Room and what services are available?

The Wolfson Room is located at the side of the Main Library, facing the Teaching and Learning Building. Here you can:

  • collect a request (other than reference/library-use only items)
  • print a document

Booking is not required, and the Wolfson Room is open 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday.

The Wolfson Room will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 8:00-16:00  for collection-only hour. Normal hours are in operation on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Current services at the Main Library

  • Browse: you can browse the printed collections on floors one and two and three
  • Self-issue: you can borrow books using the self-issue machines
  • Study: a small number of study spaces will be available
  • Collection-only hour: see below.

See the FAQs below for a full list of services.

Collection-only hour 

We operate a “collection only hour” for University students and staff who only wish to collect books and other physical items from the library, without using a study space.

The hours are 8:00-9:00 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for collection only - no booking required. The building is fully cleared at 9:00.

Normal study bookings (via Eventbrite) begin at 9:30 on those days.

Book loans, returns and requests

A reminder that during this time we are being flexible regarding loans:

  • All loans will continue to renew automatically, if they aren't requested by anyone else.
  • We will not be fining anyone during this period.
  • We will cover the renewal of inter-library loan items from other institutions.

You may still request items which are out on loan, but you should be aware that others may be self-isolating or away from campus and unable to return items. Requests may take longer than usual to arrive.

If someone requests an item you have out on loan and you are not being taught on campus, do not make a special journey to return it. Please contact us to let us know.

All returned books are quarantined for 72 hours.

You do not need to book a visit to return items. Outside of our opening hours, you can return items using the external returns machine by the Main Library's front door.

Free scanning for distance learners and students who are shielding

 If you can't get to the library because you're a distance learner, or you're shielding, you can request scans of journal articles and book chapters for free.

Safety rules in our libraries

We need your help to maintain safety, by adhering to the following rules:

  • Please ensure that you are carrying your University ID card with you at all times and provide proof of booking
  • Unless exempt, wear a face covering at all times whilst you are in the library.
  • Use the hand sanitiser at regular intervals within our libraries. Stations are available throughout the building.
  • Clean your study desk before and after use using the wipes provided, and dispose of used wipes in the bins provided.
  • Only sit at desks with the “Sit Here” sticker displayed and maintain social distancing at all times. 
  • If you touch a book, keep it with you, then return it via the return machine as you leave. Do not put items back on the shelves or leave them on desks. This will help keep everyone safe.

Covid-safe notice by the gates of the Main Library.

Online services

We continue to offer a range of online services including:

Frequently asked questions

Can I borrow books?

Yes. Books and other items are quarantined for 72-hours after being returned before going onto the shelves. Find out more about borrowing from our libraries.

Can I access FindIt@Bham in the library?

Catalogue PCs will not be available on site, so you can look up shelf locations on your phone at or have them ready before you visit the library. While in the building, you can contact our Just Ask team online if you need help.

Can I request an item from the Research Reserve?

If you need an item from the Research Reserve, all you need to do is find the item on FindIt@Bham and request from there. You will need to book a place in the library in order to collect your item from an area next to the main desk. Please note requests from our Research Reserve can take up to 48 hours to complete, and you will need to book your visit to collect the item.

Can I return books at the Main Library? Do I need to make a booking just to return an item?

You can return books in the Main Library's Wolfson Room, Monday-Friday 10:00-16:00. You do not need to book a visit to do this. Outside of our opening hours, you can return items using the external returns machine by the Main Library's front door.

Will I be able to study at Main Library?

Study spaces are available on floors one, two and three. Spaces are limited to maintain social distancing and are clearly designated with “sit here” labels. Sanitising stations are available on all floors and we request that you clean work spaces before and after use with the wipes provided.

Please make a note of the desk number you use for track and trace purposes.

Will I be able to print or borrow a laptop?

  • Twenty-seven PCs are available in the Main Library
  • Printing is available in the Main Library, the Main Library's Wolfson Room, and the Barnes Library.
  • It isn't currently possible to borrow a laptop. 

I'm a researcher - can I use the Researcher Suite at the Main Library?

Please note that in order to observe social distancing, seating capacity has been reduced. 

  • There are nine PCs available in the suite.
  • The kitchenette, lockers and sofas are not available.
  • As usual, the room is accessible by swipe-card access only, and is not to be used by anyone other than researchers.
If you have any queries, you can chat with a librarian 24/7 or you can email us.


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