Quick start tour

This page provides information about joining, and using, the Library. If you need further help, or guidance: contact us, leave feedback, or message us on Twitter, and Facebook.

  1. Joining the library
  2. Computing and wifi
  3. Search the catalogue
  4. Books
  5. Classmarks
  6. Borrowing
  7. Renewing
  8. Journals
  9. Fetch service
  10. Printing and copying
  11. Historic collections
  12. Café


Joining the Library

Image of Membership desk

Join the Library by filling in an online registration form. Complete your registration by coming into the Library – view map – and collecting your card from the Membership Desk (Senate House, 4th floor). Use the card to enter and exit the Library.


Computing and WiFi

Image of laptop

Borrow notebooks and iPads in the Library by visiting the 4th floor Service Desk. Connect devices to the uol-open wifi network. Your username is your membership number, and your password is your last name (in lower case letters and including any spaces or punctuation). To connect your own device to the WiFi network, you may need to configure it first.


Search the catalogue

Image of catalogue search

Search for books, journals and other material via the Catalogue button in the top right corner of the Library website, or go directly to the Library Catalogue.



Book search on the Library catalogue

From the catalogue, write down the the book's location and classmark or take a quick snapshot of the screen using your mobile phone. If you are unsure where to go have a look at the Library floorplans.



Image of library books on shelf

The Library uses three different classification schemes to arrange books. The most common classmark system we use is called Bliss, which is case sensitive, and upper case letters are generally shelved before the lower case ones.



Self service machines for borrowing

Borrow items using the issue machines, 4th floor, Service Hall. Reserved items are filed under your name on the shelves next to the machines. There are machines for returning books.



Image of catalogue renewal screen

Renew items using your membership number to login to the Library Catalogue. You can renew books by phone during opening hours on 020 7862 8500 (press option 3), and in person using the 4th floor machines, or Service Desk. Please note that books reserved by other readers cannot be renewed, and fines are charged on overdue items.


Journals - All printed journals are for "reference use only" in the library

Image of catalogue journal search

Click the Catalogue link to access an electronic journal (red highlight). The catalogue indicates which years we have. If the journal is available in print, 'Request' it via the Fetch service (yellow highlight). Current issues are usually held in the 4th floor Periodicals Room - the catalogue shows which shelf bay (green highlight). Visit the print and electronic Journals page.


Fetch service

Using the catalogue fetch service

Some items are located as Stack Service or Offsite Store. These are fetched by Library staff. Use the Request button to order them (green highlight). Stack Service items normally arrive the same day. Items from the Offsite Store take 24-48 hours. Collect items from the Service Desk, 4th floor, Service Hall.


Printing and copying

Remote printing for members

Send documents to print from the remote printing page. Follow the instructions to upload documents to the print queue. You will need your Library card. You can also make copies and PDF scans and send them to your email address, or release print jobs from the machines on floors 4, 5 and 6. Add credit using the kiosk or by visiting the Service Desk, 4th floor.


Historic collections

Books and desks in Special Collections

Printed Special Collections, rare books, archives and manuscripts are available upon request in the Special Collections Reading Room, 4th floor. The palaeography and books studies collections are open access, but different operating hours to the main library – and special guidelines – apply. Visit the Special Collections page for more information, or ask staff in the Reading Room. 



Staff at the South Block Cafe

You are welcome to bring bottled water into the Library. Food, and hot and cold beverages are not permitted. The South Block café (located on the ground floor behind the ceremonial staircase), provides a range of drinks and snacks, plus a space with tables and seating. Mobile phones may be used silently in the Library: you can make phone calls on the staircases, if you wish.