This article will inform you whether students can borrow books from other libraries.


SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme. It is the largest borrowing and reference scheme in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

If you are:

  • an academic on an open or fixed term contract

  • a postgraduate research student registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification

  • a part-time, distance learning and placement student

  • or a full-time postgraduate

and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries.

If you are:

  • a full-time undergraduate student

  • or staff of a small number of higher education libraries not participating in the scheme

and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to use the resources of other college and university libraries for reference. Further details of the scheme can be found on SCONUL website.

Portsmouth students and staff who wish to access another Library

Go to the SCONUL website and follow a few simple steps:

  1. Tell the system what kind of library user you are (staff, full time post graduate, distance learner etc.) and the name of the library at which you are employed or registered as a student (you will need to scroll down the list until you find University of Portsmouth)

  2. Find a library will show you all potential host libraries, either as a map or a list. You can modify your search to find libraries in a particular region or near a postcode.

  3. Choose your first host library by clicking on the name; this will give you details of the institution and allow you to select Apply for access. This will lead you to an online registration form for the scheme which you can submit to the University of Portsmouth, your home library, for approval.

  4. Use the side menus for more details of the scheme.

  5. Staff here at the University of Portsmouth library will process your application generally within three working days. We will check that you are a registered user with no outstanding fines or problems.

  6. Once your application is approved you will receive an email from Sconul, confirming that you are eligible for the scheme. Some users such as undergraduates are only allowed reference access.

  7. Take a copy of this email and your student/staff card to libraries that you wish to join. You may also need to take a passport-style photo with you.

  8. These host libraries will issue you with a library card so that you can borrow books or gain reference access until your SCONUL Access membership expires.

Remember to check the website of your host libraries for crucial information such as opening hours before you visit.

For more information visit the Library website


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