Welcome back to our libraries

Last updated 30 October 2020.

  • All our libraries, with the exception of the Dental Library, are open. Hours and services are restricted.

Note that you must book in advance before coming to the Main Library (except the Wolfson Room), Barber Fine Art Library, Shakespeare Institute Library and Cadbury Research Library.

You do not need to book if you're going to the Wolfson Room in the Main Library to collect a request (other than reference/library-use only items), return an item or print a document. However, if the item that you would like is on the open shelves you will need to book a ticket to come into the Main Library to retrieve the item yourself. 

Access is limited to University of Birmingham staff and students only. Existing fee-paying external members can visit the Main Library and OLRC (no SCONUL, no new external registrations, no day visitors).

See our opening hours.

We have worked hard to make sure our libraries are safe, and you will see a number of changes. These include the routes for entering and exiting the library, cleaning stations with hand sanitiser and wipes, socially distanced study spaces, and lots of extra signage to help you.

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

See the FAQs below for a full list of services.


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

  • All loans have been renewed.
  • We will not be fining anyone during this period.
  • We will cover the renewal of inter-library loan items from other institutions.
  • You will be able to place requests on items that are out on loan from Monday 5 October.

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. And rest assured that books and other items are quarantined for 72-hours after being returned before going onto the shelves. From Monday 5 October, you'll be able to request items that are out on loan. 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 findit.bham.ac.uk 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 and two. 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?

The Researcher Suite reopens on Monday 2 November. 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.


Professional Services