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Information for part-time students

This page brings together information which may be of benefit to students who are part-time or who attend UCL outside of "office hours":

  1. Opening hours
  2. Managing your library account
  3. Electronic resources
  4. Store service
  5. Inter-library loans
  6. Contact us
1. Opening hours


During term-time and the Easter vacation, the Main and Science Library Assistance Desks close at 18:45 but the Reading Rooms (including the computer clusters) remain open until 22:30 (Monday - Thursday). On Fridays, and during the Christmas and Summer vacations, both libraries close at 19:00.


During term-time and the Easter vacation, both libraries open on Saturdays between 09:30 and 16:30 (the Issue Desk closes at 16:15) and are open for reading only on Sundays between 11:00 and 17:00. During the summer, neither open at weekends.

A complete list of opening hours is available.

Most other University of London libraries will admit UCL students throughout the year, some of which have more favourable opening hours for part-time students (e.g. Birkbeck College).

2. Managing your library account


If you will only be visiting UCL infrequently, it is very important to get into the habit of regularly checking your UCL e-mail account. This is the way that the Library will inform you, for example, if books are about to become overdue or if an item you have requested is ready for you.

If you have difficulty accessing your UCL e-mail account, it is possible to have mail forwarded to a private e-mail address. To arrange this, you must send a message to postmaster@ucl.ac.uk from your main UCL account (not a departmental account) stating what you would like done.

Further information.

Self-service and checking your library record online

As well as regularly checking your UCL e-mail, you can also keep an eye on your library account online by clicking on the 'Your account' option on the front page of the Explore and entering your barcode number (on the back of your ID card) and your PIN code (if you don't know what this is, ask at any Issue Desk).

In this way, you can monitor when your books are due back, renew them, and make reservations on books in use by other students. Library staff may occasionally place messages here for you as well.


Each book in the Library is assigned a loan type which determines the period it can be borrowed for. These periods are indicated on the Library's catalogue and should also be displayed clearly on the cover of the book itself by a coloured label. The most common loan periods are one week and eight weeks (the "standard loan").

It is important to bear in mind that other users can recall books at any time. If this happens, the due date of a standard loan will be shortened to one week from the date of recall and we will advise you of the new return date by email. One-week loans will become non-renewable if recalled.

We understand that this can be problematic if you only attend UCL once a week, but unfortunately, we cannot be flexible with the actual return date. It is therefore very important that you check your account regularly (ideally before travelling) to make sure you are aware of any recalls.


As well as being able to renew books online, you can also telephone us to do this.


At UCL we have a 'tolerance' limit of £20.00. This means that you will still be able to renew books online if you have a small fine below this amount.

Courtesy notices

The Library sends out reminders to your UCL e-mail account. For standard loans you will receive a notice three days before the item is due, for one-week loans you will receive notification on the day it is due.

Returning books out-of-hours

If you need to return books when the Issue Desks are closed there are "book bins" in both the Main and Science Libraries. The Science Library bin is situated on the right as you enter and is open until the building closes at 22:30. In the Main Library, the bin is located immediately outside of the Issue Desk doors on the right hand side. It can, theoretically, be used at any time of the day or night, although there is no library security after 22:30. These bins are emptied every morning before 10.00. Fines from books due the day before but returned after the Issue Desks have closed will be waived.


At certain points during the year, usually before a holiday where the Library is closed -
e.g Christmas and Easter - our due dates will be altered so that all books are due back on the first day of term. However, some loans are due back during the vacation so please check the date stamped inside the book. Eight week l oans will normally be available throughout the vacation period and are usually due back on the first day of term.

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3. Electronic resources

Library catalogue

The library catalogue is publicly available. For library members, this includes access to the self-service functions described above.

Electronic journals

UCL subscribes to a large number of electronic journals. Some of these are only accessible from computers on the campus network, but others are available to UCL members from any computer with web access.

You can find out whether an electronic journal is available off-campus by going to the electronic journals web page and selecting the journal you are interested in via either the 'List of titles in alphabetical order' or the 'List of titles in subject order'. Those journals labelled "Offsite..." (in the second column of the table) are available outside UCL. If a password is required, this will be indicated in the same column.

Bibliographic databases

UCL subscribes to a number of bibliographic databases, which can be used to search for journal articles and sometimes full-text resources. To find a list of databases in your subject area, some of which may be available off-campus, select your subject. Click on the database you are interested in to discover whether it is available from outside UCL.

A good general database, Web of Science, covering all subject areas (not just science), is available from outside UCL. This requires an Athens username and password (see below).

Passwords for off-campus access

There are two distinct types of password you will need to access electronic resources from outside UCL.

  • Your UCL userid and password. See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/is/register
  • Other passwords, often unique to the particular resource:
    these are listed on a special passwords page, which can be viewed only from within UCL.
    You can print this page for future reference, but remember that the list is regularly updated.

Exam papers

Exam papers can be accessed over the web. Your UCL email username and password are required for off-campus access.

Subject guides to web resources

If you are looking for information in your subject area from the World Wide Web, try searching or browsing Intute, a group of databases of high-quality internet resources of relevance to UK academic users. Intute also provides online tutorials on finding information on the web in your subject area.

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4. Stores service

Items with the shelfmark 'Stores' need to be ordered at least a day in advance of your visit. Requests can be made online or by email.

Ordered material is held for collection on the ground floor of the Science Library - usually for a week, although we can hold it for longer if you ask us to.

Further information.

5. Inter-library loans

If you need material that isn't available at UCL, and not held at the other libraries you are able to use, we can try to obtain a loan for you from another UK Library.

It is possible to make requests from home via your Library account, collection is from the Science Library Assistance Desk.

Please note: each request costs £3 and this is added to your user record. This may mean you are temporarily unable to renew books online.

Further information.

6. Contacting us

The Library has a member of staff with responsibility for services to part-time students:

Mat Reynolds
020 7679 7953

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Last modified 20 January 2010

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