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UCL Library Services


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Explore the Library’s books, journals and online resources. Find out more


Getting Started

Which Library do I need?

A valid UCL ID card will allow access to any of the UCL Libraries, several of which are located on the central Bloomsbury campus:

Main Library

Art, Classics, Economics, English, History, Jewish Studies, Law, Modern Languages, Philosophy and Public Policy

Science Library

Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Geography, Library, Archive and Information Studies, Life Sciences, Management, Mathematics, Medical Sciences, Physics and Psychology.

Bartlett Library

Architecture and Town Planning

Institute of Archaeology Library

Archaeology and Egyptology

Cruciform Library

General Clinical and Medical Sciences

School of Slavonic & East European Studies Library

Eastern, South-Eastern, and Central Europe, the Baltic States, Russia and the former Soviet Union

See the location and opening hours for more information and for details of Libraries located away from the central campus.

The Libraries can also be located using the general UCL maps.

Where do I find resources for my subject?

There is a guide for each subject on the Library website.

Each subject has a Subject Librarian who can help you use the library and electronic resources.

Your induction programme will probably include a tour of the relevant library and/or a talk by the Subject Librarian.

Your Subject Librarian may also offer subject-specific training later in the term or give a lecture as part of one of your courses.

How do I find books?

Search Explore to find books in our libraries (select ‘Library catalogue’ from the drop-down menu). Explore can be accessed online from any pc, laptop or other mobile device and there are also dedicated access terminals in the libraries. Journal articles, conference papers, audio visual material and other resources can be found as well as books by selecting 'All resources'. Guides to help with finding material are available online and staff can help you in all our libraries.

Location information is given in Explore – a library location, subject collection and a Classmark or journal holdings will help you find material on the library shelves. Many resources are available electronically.

You may have online Reading Lists for your courses (your Course Tutors will tell you more). These have details of material that you may need to read before lectures or seminars, can help you to locate it, and in some case allow you to link to online versions.

How do I get online?

Use your UCL userid and password to access the internet, your email and ebooks, ejournals etc.

The Bloomsbury campus has WiFi throughout. There are computer workrooms all over the campus and you can view the current availability of pcs.

Your userid and password will become valid for using electronic resources after your enrolment process is completed (after the 23rd September).

What about electronic resources?

As well as printed books, journals and audio visual materials, the Library provides access to a wide range of electronic resources, including e-books, e-journals, and online newspapers. A range of databases will allow you to search the content of many different journals and other publications. Many databases are subject specific – see the relevant subject guide for further details. More information on searching databases can be found in this Guide To Finding Material for Essays.

Many of the Library’s electronic resources can also be searched by using Explore, which finds journals, books, articles etc. in both print and electronic formats. Explore can be used from any of the dedicated access terminals in the libraries, or elsewhere from any pc, laptop, tablet etc. with an internet connection.

This introduction to Explore will help you get started.

If you are using a pc in one of the UCL computer workrooms, access to the Library’s electronic materials is usually automatic. If you are working elsewhere, you will need to log in using your UCL userid and password.

Many courses also have electronic reading lists which provide easy access to key texts.

Your userid and password will become valid for using electronic resources after your enrolment process is completed (after the 23rd September).

How do I borrow books?

Your UCL ID card is also your Library Card and you’ll need it to gain access to UCL Libraries Assistance Desks or Self-service Machines.

Search for books using Explore, our online search facility. Once you’ve found the location of a book, collect it from the shelf and then borrow it at the Assistance Desks or Self-service Machines.

There are fines for late returns so be careful to note due dates and check your account online on a regular basis.

Within Explore you can access your Library Record (or Library Account), where you can see which books you’ve borrowed and renew them. You need the barcode on the back of your ID card and a PIN to login – 4 digits representing the day and month of your birthday (DDMM).

For more information see further details about Borrowing and Renewing and Reserving.

Opening hours for all UCL Libraries are given online.

The Library Regulations are also available online.

Can I print, photocopy or scan in the library?

All libraries on the Bloomsbury campus have machines where you can print, photocopy and scan to your UCL email account by swiping your ID card. You receive £12 free credit per year for printing and photocopying. You can top up your credit with cash at machines in the library, or with a credit or debit card online.

For more information see Photocopying, Printing and Scanning Services.

There is a Photocopy Help Centre in the Main Library.

Video: Print@UCL - Guide to printing, scanning and copying

How do I get help?

Feel free to ask any member of library staff for help. There are dedicated Enquiry Desks in the Main and Science Libraries.

You can also make enquiries by phone or email.

Each subject has a Subject Librarian who can answer enquiries in person, by phone or by email.

You should receive a Library Essentials guide when you enrol; if not you can pick one up in any Library. There are lots of other leaflets available in the libraries or on our website. There are also detailed guides for each subject.

The Library offers lots of training to help with your studies.

What do all these words mean? (Jargon buster)

  • Article – a short text published within a journal
  • Classmark/location/call.no. – the series of letters and numbers which you will see on the spine label of a book. It will help you to find a particular book on the shelves and collects together books on the same subject.
  • Database – a searchable collection of references to published literature, including journal and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, reports, government publications, books, etc.
  • Ebook, ejournal, eresource – electronic or digital materials which can be viewed online.
  • Electronic resources – material that is available electronically rather than in print – this can include books, journals, and databases.
  • Explore – a tool for finding books, journals, articles etc. in print and electronic formats. Explore includes access to the Library Catalogue of printed and electronic books and journals.
  • Journal – usually published in regular issues and focused on a particular subject area, journals contain articles by a number of different authors. Another name for a journal is a periodical.
  • Journal holdings – the volumes or issues of a journal that are held by the Library.
  • Loan Type or loan period – the length of time a book can be borrowed. A loan type of ‘Reference’ means the item cannot be removed from the Library.
  • Resources – a general term which covers anything the library makes available to its users, either in print or electronic form. This includes books, journals, audio-visual material and databases.
  • Subject Librarians – Librarians who are responsible for specific subject areas in the Library. They can recommend the best electronic resources and help you use them.

Contact Us!

Find out Who’s Who in the Library, or contact your Subject Librarian. For general enquiries, contact library@ucl.ac.uk. To keep up to date with all the Library news, follow us on Twitter @UCLLibraries

Last modified 23 September 2013

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