New access agreements with SOAS and M25

Two new agreements have been made which will considerably expand the range of library resources available to UCL students and staff. One is a reciprocal arrangement with a near neighbour, the second a scheme that has evolved from links with other libraries in the South-east region.

With the sum of human knowledge ever-growing and the range of available information sources increasing dramatically, academic libraries need to adopt imaginative strategies if they are to continue to deliver the best possible service to their users. Sharing access to collections - at the same time as ensuring core course material remains available to the home student - is an obvious way forward. UCL members have traditionally benefited from historical links with the University of London, which have allowed access to the collections of other college libraries. These new agreements seek to build upon this model, and to further extend opportunities for staff and students.

The first agreement, with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), allows students and staff special privileges over and above those usually offered between University of London libraries. The arrangement allows academic staff to borrow ten books at a time, research postgraduates six, and taught postgraduates three. Undergraduates cannot borrow but may use SOAS on a reference only basis throughout the year. Current UCL student or staff ID is all that is required to join.

The Library at SOAS is the leading national resource for material on Asia, Africa and the Middle East and this agreement will be particularly good news for people in departments as diverse as History, Archaeology, Geography, Jewish Studies and Anthropology, although the scheme is open to all members of UCL.

SOAS is located a short walk away from UCL, on Thornhaugh Street, off Malet Street, between Birkbeck College and Senate House. The Library is on the ground floor of the main building there.

The second agreement is a result of UCL's membership of the M25 Consortium. This is a group of higher education libraries which was formed in 1993 and aims to promote greater co-operation between members. As the name suggests, it consists of institutions based in and around the capital, including most University of London libraries as well as those of places such as City University, the Universities of North London, East London and Westminster. A full list of members is available from the Consortium's website

UCL has agreed to participate in a pilot scheme that enables staff and research postgraduates to borrow books from other M25 libraries. Previously only reading access was allowed. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of this scheme needs to obtain a special M25 card before visiting another library. These cards are available at the Membership Desk in the Science Library, any Enquiry Desk, and from local site Issue Desks. To collect one, applicants need to show current UCL ID.

As well as listing all the libraries involved, the M25 website incorporates a new service called Inform25, which allows users to cross-search up to 39 M25 library catalogues simultaneously from their desktop and so discover the most appropriate library for their needs.

More information about the above agreements and other resources open to UCL members is available. Alternatively, contact the Head of Membership: peter.williams; 020 7679 7953.