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Information on applying for / renewing your library access

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When can I come to register / renew my access?

Please note that it is only possible to register for or renew UCL Library Services membership between 09:30-17:00 Monday to Thursday and 10:00-17:00 Friday.


Are you eligible to use the Library?

Please consult the separate Membership web pages to find out whether or not you are entitled to use the Library.


What do I need to bring with me?

All non-UCL users (including UCL Alumni) applying for access to UCL Library Services must produce:

  • proof of address (home and institutional, where relevant) AND
  • photographic proof of identity AND
  • credentials to indicate status / eligibility for library use (e.g. SCONUL Access Band 'A' card, UCL Alumni Association card), when making their application

Acceptable proof of identity is:

  1. Valid photocard driving licence
  2. Valid passport
  3. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from another Higher Education Institution
  4. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from an M25 scheme affiliated Institution
  5. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from one of UCL's affiliated NHS trusts
  6. Valid British Library ID card

Acceptable proof of institutional address is:

  1. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from another Higher Education Institution
  2. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from an M25 scheme affiliated Institution
  3. Institutional ID, including the bearer's photo, from one of UCL's affiliated NHS trusts

Acceptable proof of home address is:

  1. Recent utility / council tax bill (no more than three months old)
  2. Recent bank statement (no more than three months old)
  3. Valid photocard driving licence

Applications will not be accepted without sufficient proof of identity and address. One form of ID can fill more than one role (eg. a photocard driving licence is acceptable both as proof of identity and address). Documents present must be the originals (photocopies are not acceptable). Please note that if your status and eligibility is not clear from the presented documentation, you will be asked to produce additional credentials to confirm (eg. official enrolment certificate from one's home institution). This includes students from other Universities where the department and/or degree studied are not indicated on the Student ID card.

Users applying for borrowing access must also provide a passport sized photograph. This is used to make up your Library card.


Checking the Library's catalogue before travelling

Please check the Library's online catalogue Explore before travelling to ensure that we have the material you require, whether it has to be ordered in advance and that you know which Library site to visit.

When you search for a book on Explore, the results displayed will tell you at which site the item is held and whether or not it is currently out on loan.

So, for example, "Main (1/0)" means that the book is held in the Main Library and that we have one copy, but none are out on loan i.e. it should be available. "Science (2/1)" would mean that two copies are held in the Science Library and that someone has borrowed one, and so on.

Ordering items in advance

Any book or journal with the shelfmark Store must be ordered 1-2 working days in advance. This can be done online using the store request form. You do not have to have already joined to make a request.

Going to the right Library site

UCL Library Services consists of a number of different sites. Most, but not all, are within walking distance of the main UCL campus. Maps and local opening hours are available.

Obtaining a Library card/Renewing a Library pass

When you arrive at the Library, you must first register and obtain a Library pass. This can be done at whichever Library site you intend to visit (see above). It is not necessary to arrange your visit in advance or to let us know that you are planning to visit unless you are intending to join on a paying basis for more than a month, in which case you must contact the Head of Membership first.

Your first visit must be made during Issue Desk opening hours or Main Library Information Point opening hours. However, please note that registration is not possible at the Science Library at weekends or after 1700 during the week, even though the issue desks are open. At other sites, Membership Services will be provided where possible after 1700 and at weekends but should be considered “at” risk. It is strongly recommended that users visit between 0930 and 1700 Monday to Thursday or between 1000-1700 on Friday when attempting to register.

Please make sure that you have all relevant documentation with you, confirming your identity, address and eligibility / status – please see What do I need to bring with me section above for details. If you are joining on the basis that you are from another university, or you are a member of an organisation which has an arrangement with UCL, the onus is on you to bring clear proof of this. You may be refused access if your status and eligibility is not clear from the presented credentials.

In particular, if you are a research postgraduate please make sure that the ID you bring clearly indicates your research status, as PhD and MPhil students are entitled to different library privileges from taught-course students. If this is not clear from your student ID card, you are advised to bring a SCONUL Access Band A card from your home institution.

Lost, stolen or forgotten Library cards for external users

Your UCL Library card is important - please take care of it. You will not be admitted without it and you will be charged for its replacement.

From 24th September 2007, UCL Library Services will charge a fee of £7.00 for the replacement of all Library only ID cards, reference or borrowing, that have been lost, forgotten or otherwise misplaced.

Note - Unless you belong to a category of user that must pay for access, no charge is made for the initial registration, only for the replacement of lost / forgotten ID cards. Replacement charges are not levied for the replacement of cards that have expired or are within one calendar month of expiry. Also, if a card has become damaged but can be returned to the Library, it will be replaced without charge.

Electronic resources and computing facilities

For licensing reasons, non-UCL members cannot consult UCL Library Services’ electronic resources offsite, but we do have a number of Explore Access Points in UCL Libraries, through which visitors can view many resources. Explore is a one-stop service solution for the discovery and delivery of printed and electronic resources. You can search for material within a single resource or across a range of resources simultaneously. Your choice of resources includes:

  • All resources: Search everything in Explore
  • Library catalogue: Printed and electronic book and journal titles from the UCL library catalogue
  • Journal articles: A remotely-held catalogue of millions of electronic journal articles and other full-text e-resources, most of which are accessible to visitors
  • Digital collections: UCL Library Services’ digital collections
  • UCL Discovery: Open access documents from UCL’s publications repository
  • UCL Exam papers: Electronic copies of UCL exam papers
  • UCL Archives: UCL’s archives catalogue
  • UCL Journals: Journal titles to which UCL Library provides access, print and electronic
  • Databases and other electronic resources: Use the Find Databases option in Explore

Most resources are available to members of the Library who are not otherwise UCL students or staff. Restricted resources will present a UCL login box.

We advise visitors to bring an unencrypted USB storage device with them if they plan to use eresources. Devices containing encrypted software cannot be used on the Explore Access Points. Subject to copyright restrictions (see Terms of access), users may save copies of documents, but there are no visitor printing facilities.

If, before your visit, you want to see which electronic journals are accessible to non-UCL users, check the listings of journals available to visitors on Explore

Most individual bibliographic databases and other resources may be accessed using the Find Databases option in Explore. The following are not available to non-members of UCL:

  • British Standards
  • Census data
  • Datastream
  • Digimap resources (including Landmap)
  • Lexis Library
  • Nexis UK
  • Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
  • RUDI (Resource for Urban Design Information)
  • SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts)
  • Westlaw

There are no PCs available for general use or internet access.

It is possible to bring a laptop into the Library with you.

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Last modified 06 September 2013

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