COVID: latest library news


Last updated 22 September 2020.

Note that you must book in advance before coming to the Main Library and the Barber Fine Art Library.

Access is limited to University of Birmingham staff and students only. Existing fee-paying external members can visit the Main Library and OLRC from 28 September (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.

Services available

  • Browse: you can browse the printed collections on floors one and two
  • 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.

For general enquiries please continue to contact us via Just Ask, available 24/7. Many of your questions can be answered by our team without you needing to enter the library.


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.

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

There are also specific FAQs for students/postgraduate researchers and staff with more detailed information.

When will the libraries be reopening?

The Main Library and the Barnes Library are both open again, with restricted hours. The Dental Library will reopen on Wednesday 16 September, and the Cadbury Research Library on 5 October. We will update you with information about our other libraries soon.  

When will I be able to borrow printed books?

You will be able to borrow books from levels one, two and three using the self-issue machines. Please note that catalogue PCs will not be available on site, so you can look up shelf locations on your phone at or have them ready prior to your arrival at the library. While in the building, you can contact our Just Ask team online if you need help.

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.

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

You can return books outside the Main Library, without the need to enter the building. You do not need to book a ticket 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 and the Barnes Library
  • It isn't possible at the moment to borrow a laptop.

If you have any queries, you can chat with a librarian 24/7 or you can email us.


Professional Services