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Books on a bookcase

The SCONUL Access scheme is a reciprocal national agreement which allows staff and students access to other UK university libraries.  

Members of Durham University can access other academic libraries across the UK and Ireland through the  SCONUL Access scheme. This means, for example, you can use a local academic library in your hometown for study during the vacation. If you are on a distance-learning course, you can borrow from a local library rather than having to come to Durham.  

Key messages for Access Scheme users

You must reapply for library access if your approval has expired. You won’t be able to visit an institution until your new application has been approved, which will be processed by us here at Durham University. All information about applying for the scheme is available on the SCONUL website – please check this information before making an application.

Allow time for your application to be processed. An extremely high volume of applications is being processed and in some cases, you may need to wait up to four weeks.

Check on the day whether the institution you intend to visit is participating. You can check online on the SCONUL Access webpages.

Prior access does not mean current access. Some institutions are not participating at this time – you can check the list of SCONUL Access member libraries to see which institutions are currently participating.

How can I apply for SCONUL Access? 

  • Apply online via the SCONUL Accesswebsite.
  • To be eligible, you must be "in good standing" with Durham University Library, which means you will have no overdue loans or unpaid fines. 
  • For the online application, you should use your Durham University email address,as well as the Library barcode on your Campus Card. This is a 14-digit number, beginning "20104".
  • Once your application has been accepted, save a copy of the verification email. 
  • You need to submit only one form to apply for access to all libraries in the SCONUL Access scheme. You do not need to re-apply to access another library It is always best to check what the requirements are at each library before visiting. Some libraries may apply their own restrictions, including periods of the year when SCONUL Access members cannot visit. 

Which libraries can I use? 

Use the SCONUL Access website to find institutions near you.  

When visiting another library, make sure you take any required documentation or identification with you. In all cases, you will need to take:  

  • the e-mail verification sent to you when you applied via the SCONUL Access website, and  
  • your Durham University Campus Card  

Additional identification may be required – please check with the library you want to visit.  

What can I do? 

Type of user 


Access allowed 


All University staff  


Research Postgraduates  

Students registered for a PhD, MPhil, or similar qualification awarded for research  


Taught Postgraduates  

Students registered on a taught course offering a Master's or Certificate-level qualification  


Part-Time and Distance-Learning Undergraduates  

Undergraduates registered on a part-time or distance-learning course running for at least one year  


Full-Time Undergraduates  

All full-time undergraduate students  

Reference only  

Please be aware that not all universities accept all users: for example, some may allow access to academic staff only. When registering to use the scheme you will be able to check which universities you can visit.