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University Library

Visiting Other Academic Libraries (SCONUL Access)

Durham University Staff and Students

Members of Durham University are normally allowed access to academic libraries across the UK and Ireland as part of an access agreement called SCONUL Access. This means you could use a local academic library in your home town for study during the vacation, or, if you are on a distance-learning course, borrow from a local library rather than having to make a trip to Durham, for example.

Which libraries can I use?

You can access around 180 other university and higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Use the SCONUL Access website to find institutions near you that allow access and please follow carefully our procedures below on how to apply for access.

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

  • a print-out of the email verification sent to you when you applied via the SCONUL Access website (or, for those who joined the scheme earlier by issue of a SCONUL Access card, your SCONUL Access card), and
  • your Durham University Campus Card.

What can I do?

All University members are generally allowed reference access to participating libraries. Borrowing from them depends on your status - whether you are an undergraduate, a member of staff, a taught postgraduate, and so on. 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 see which universities you can use. Here is a summary of what is generally allowed:

Type of userExamplesAccess allowed
Staff All University staff Borrowing
Research Postgraduates Students registered for a PhD, MPhil, or similar qualification awarded for research Borrowing
Taught Postgraduates Students registered on a taught course offering a Master's or Certificate-level qualification Borrowing
Part-Time and Distance-Learning Undergraduates Undergraduates registered on a part-time or distance-learning course running for at least one year Borrowing
Full-Time Undergraduates All full-time undergraduate students Reference only

How to apply for access

  • 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.
  • For the online application process, 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". Please ensure you enter the full 14-digit number.
  • Apply online via the SCONUL Access website.
  • Once your application has been accepted, print out the email verification document you will receive.
  • You need to submit only one form once to apply for access to all libraries in the SCONUL Access scheme; you do not need to re-apply to access another library.
  • You will need to register at each library you want to visit. It is always best to check what the requirements are at the library in question before your first visit, as some libraries will require a passport photo, for example. The library you are visiting will generally issue you with a library card, so that you can borrow books or gain reference access until your SCONUL Access membership expires. Some libraries participating in the SCONUL Access scheme may also apply their own restrictions, including periods of the year when SCONUL Access members may not visit or may not register, so contact the library in advance of setting out on any potential visit.
  • At the least, you will need to take with you to that library the email verification document you have received and printed out (or your SCONUL Access card for those who joined the scheme by issue of a SCONUL Access card), as well as your Durham University Campus Card, which carries your Library barcode.
Library bookshelves

SCONUL Access Contact

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

SCONUL Access
Bill Bryson Library
Stockton Road
Durham
DH1 3LY