Institute of Archaeology


Archaeology library FAQs

The IOA Library current looks and functions very differently, owing to our need to keep all our customers and library team safe during COVID-19.

The Q&A below provide you with easily accessible information about the changes we’ve made to services, space and facilities and also reassure you much is still the same. We’re still here to help you with your research.

Using the Institute of Archaeology Library in term 1, 2020-2021

What will the opening hours be?

Archaeology Library opening hours will be:

Monday – Friday: 9.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Saturday: 11.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

The main door to the IOA building is locked. How do I get in and out?

You will need your ID card to gain access to our building which will remain locked at all times.  To unlock the front door Archaeology students should scan their ID card on the card reader at the right of the front door.  (To exit the building press the Green door release button to the left of the door).

Students from a different department, Alumnus, University of London borrowers and visitors please see information in the ‘visitors’ section about gaining entrance to the building.

What do I need to do to enter/exit the IOA Library?

We have disabled the entry facility on the IOA library turnstile as part of our one-way system. Library assistants will let you in through the security gate manually once you have shown your ID. You exit through the turnstile as previously.

How can I return books?

You can return books using the red book bin outside the IOA Library in the 5th floor foyer while the building is open. Staff will be emptying the bin regularly. 

Why are the books I returned still on loan to me/active loan? 

In accordance with Public Health guidance, all books returned to the Library Services need to be quarantined for 72 hours (3days).  To limit handling and prevent new reservations being generated before the quarantine period is completed, books are not being returned. They will be returned once the 72 hours quarantine is completed. Please note fines are not being charged on any late returns this term. 

How can I use the IOA Library?

We have changes in place in order to keep you safe and maintain social distancing.

You can only use the library space if you are collecting books you have pre-ordered through the ‘click and collect’ service or have pre-booked one of our 10 study spaces. 

The stacks, side rooms and group study room are not available to use. The self-issue machine has been suspended. Only one MFD is in use for customers who have pre-booked study spaces. All customers are requested to social distance and follow the route system put in place.

Can I still borrow books?

Yes, but you will need to order these in advance using the online ‘click and collect’ service from the library catalogue. You are no longer able to browse the shelves yourself.


Can I still borrow books from the Issue Desk and Teaching Collection?

Yes. But you will again need to use the online ‘click and collect service’. You will not be able to scan/photocopy these materials in the library space as previously.

Please be aware that books are being quarantined for 72 hours, so there may be a delay in fulfilling your request for Issue Desk/Teaching Collections if we cannot wipe the books down safely for you.

Can I still use a PC or library catalogue in the library?

We have one PC and Explore terminal available to use with pre-booked study space only. We advise browsing on phones or asking the IOA Library team to look up resources for you.

Can I borrow a laptop?

Yes. ISD have worked to make all UCL laptops COVID-safe. All laptops are automatically quarantined for 72 hours on return.

Can I still use the library MFDs?

Only if you are using the library in a pre-booked study space. Other MFDs are available in the computer rooms on the 5th and 1st floors. Further information on the location of MFDs on campus is available here:


Can I borrow phone chargers and staplers from the Issue Desk as before?

We are no longer able to loan out shared equipment, including staplers, phone chargers and headphones.

How can I communicate with the Library?

You can phone us on 020 7679 4788

You can email us at lib-archaeology@ucl.ac.uk

You can message us or our wider UCL Library Services Enquiry team:


You can also find answers to library FAQs there.

You will also receive automated notices from the Library Services system about book loans, reservations, etc. as previously.

General Library Services loans and Procedures

Where can I get information on UCL Libraries?

We are no longer able to provide paper leaflets, so please consult our web site for information:


Are books still being recalled and are fines being charged?

Books are still subject to recall from 1st October. Fines will not be charged on late book returns across all UCL libraries through term 1. 

How many books can I borrow?

There are no changes to the number of books you can borrow. Details are available here:


Can I still reserve books?

Yes, you can still reserve books on loan to other customers.

How can I get access to a paper journal in the IOA Library?

These are reference only items, so I can’t borrow them.

Please email us on ioa-archaeology@ucl.ac.uk to order in advance.

How can I book a study space? What spaces are available? For how long?

Bookings are now available in 2.5 hour slots, with 30 minutes allowed at the end of each slot for sanitisation and to avoid crossover. Help on booking study spaces is available here:


You can book online here:


Please note that we have only 10 bookable study spaces in the IOA Library and study spaces are in high demand across UCL. You will need to check in and check out of your study space.

You can have 2 bookings per day across all locations Students and staff can place a maximum of 2 bookings per week, across all locations. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance.

Can I get books from Stores?

Yes. The delivery days are as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Can I use other UCL Libraries?

Yes. But you are advised to check the UCL Library Services webpages for details before visiting, as opening hours and access arrangements currently vary:


How can I get to materials if I need to shield at any time in the future?

Please talk to our Membership team in the first instance for advice:  lib-membership@ucl.ac.uk

Keeping Safe

How is the library working to keep customers safe?

The IOA Library is committed to keeping all staff and customers safe. We have introduced a range of measures including cleaning rotas, social distancing, a one-way system, special book handling procedures, quarantining of materials and provision of hand sanitiser and wipes. Please see the ‘Keeping Our Community Safe’ pages for further details:


 If you have any concerns, please contact the Librarian and Services Manager on our IOA email in the first instance. We’ll happy to discuss these with you.

Do I have to wear a mask in the IOA Library?

Yes. You do need to wear a mask in the library, even while using your study space. If you forget your mask, we have spare disposal ones for your convenience. If you are not able to wear a face covering, please use the Government's exemption badge, an exemption card from TFL or a Sunflower lanyard.

Do I need to practice social distancing in the IOA Library?

Yes, all staff and customers are expected to social distance in the library space.

Visitors to the Library

Can I use the library if I’m reference user, a member of the public, from another university or visiting from overseas?

Owing to limitations on numbers in the building and university spaces, no reference users, visitors from overseas, other universities or members of the public can use the library during term 1.

Can I use the click and collect service if I have an alumnus or University of London borrowing card?

Yes. You can use the click and collect service.

Please note you will need to contact us on arrive at the IOA Library or pre-arrange with us in advance what time you are arriving as the IOA building is locked and we will need to come down and let you in.

Can I book a study space in the IOA Library as an alumni or University of London borrower?

No. This service is currently limited to UCL staff and students only.

Can I renew my library membership at the IOA Library?

Not at present. Please visit the membership website for applying online: