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University Library

Using other libraries

As a distance-learning student you can gain access to a wide range of libraries to assist you in your research. Some of the options are listed below.

SCONUL Access scheme. Distance-learning students at Durham University are entitled to apply for SCONUL Access membership to use other university and higher education institution libraries throughout the UK and Ireland which participate in this scheme, which generally provides them with free membership and borrowing rights at those libraries. To be eligible to apply, you must be "in good standing" with Durham University Library, which means you will have no overdue loans or unpaid fines. Please ensure that all overdue books are returned and all fines paid prior to making your application to join. You will need to provide details of your Durham University email address as well as the Library barcode which appears on your Durham University campus card; this is a 14-digit number, beginning "20104". Apply in this way via the SCONUL Access website.

Public Libraries. You are entitled to become a member of your local public library and borrow books held in the local area, or order books which they do not stock through their Inter-Library Loan (or Document Delivery) Service.

National Libraries. These libraries provide reference access to collections of unique materials not otherwise available through the public library service or an academic library. You must apply for a reader's ticket to use any of the libraries listed below.

Letters of introduction. While most UK libraries will allow access with your Durham University Campus Card or SCONUL Access email there are libraries who ask for an official letter of introduction from your home institution. You can get letters of introduction from your department or fill out a letter of introduction application form to request one from the library.

Using library catalogues before your visit. Some of the databases that you use to find interesting books will also tell you which libraries hold them (e.g. COPAC or WorldCat). You can also view the online library catalogues of most libraries through the internet to confirm that they have the books you want to see before you visit (watch out for items held in special collections or off-site stores because the library may need notice to collect the book for you). An internet search by the library name should find their web page with links to their catalogue, but you may have to limit the search by country to ensure that you have the correct library.

SCONUL Access Contact

Dr Christopher Skelton-Foord
Head of Policy & Planning
Durham University Library
 & Heritage Collections

Bill Bryson Library
Stockton Road