Skip to main content

Using other libraries

How to join the SCONUL Access scheme and a summary of advice and procedures for visiting and applying for membership of other UK libraries.

SCONUL Access library borrowing and access scheme

Overview of Scheme

SCONUL Access allows University of Bath students and academic staff to visit participating higher education libraries in the UK & Republic of Ireland, either for reference purposes, or to borrow books. While you may be able to login to the Eduroam network using your Bath login at other insitutions, you are not automatically entitled to use another library's IT facilities or online resources.

You should pay any outstanding library charges and be in good standing with the Library before applying for SCONUL Access membership.

Please remember access granted under the Scheme is a privilege and not a right.

How to register:

  1. Find out which libraries you can apply to join at You will be asked to select your current university role/mode of study AND your home institution (University of Bath) from drop down menus.

Select Find to search for libraries taking part in the scheme. The Search Results page will show libraries close to your home institution. You can also search for libraries on an A-Z list by choosing See results as a list or searching using your postcode to show institutions in your area that are participating in the scheme.

  1. When you select the university you wish to access, you will be presented with an information screen providing contact information about the library, a member of staff you can email or telephone with queries and link to Apply for Access.

  2. Select the Apply for access link from the information screen of the library you wish to join.

  3. Complete the online form with your name and contact details as requested. You should always use your University of Bath email address when applying for SCONUL Access. Libraries participating in the SCONUL Access scheme will check the email address you have used corresponds with your home campus as an additional check to verify your current student status.

  4. Once you have completed the online form, press Submit to send an email application to University of Bath Library staff. Library staff will review and authorise applications. Successful applicants will be sent an email to their University email address confirming their SCONUL Access banding (linked to membership rights under the scheme) and an expiry date for their SCONUL Access membership. The expiry date will either be the end date of your current course of studies OR a maximum of three years from the date of your application.

  5. It is recommended you either check the webpages of the library you intend to visit OR contact them directly in advance of your visit in case there are any additional requirements you need to be aware of as a SCONUL Access member (such as revised service hours, additional procedures related to use of the Library space and similar).

  6. When you visit the other library, take a printed copy of the confirmation email that shows the membership banding and SCONUL Access expiry date information AND your current University of Bath library card.

What if I want to use more than one library through the SCONUL Access scheme?

You only need to complete the online application once.

The confirmation email you receive will provide the required information to any other participating library you wish to join. Please check the host library access policies and membership procedures but you should expect to have to provide a copy of the email each time you want to join a library and along with your University of Bath Library card to apply for membership.

We recommend you apply for and use a copy of the approval email within two weeks of the date it was sent to assure host libraries of its currency.

Need to renew an expired SCONUL Access membership?

If your previous SCONUL Access membership has expired during the recent suspension of the scheme, please register again as instructed above.

Prior access does not necessarily mean current access

Please be aware that a small number of institutions that previously participated in the scheme are not participating at this time. Therefore, you are not guaranteed access to an institution because you previously used it. Please check participating libraries before you visit!.

Other queries about joining the scheme as a member of the University of Bath

If you are a University of Bath student or member of staff with any other queries about joining the SCONUL Access scheme, please contact the Library's Reader Services for advice via

SCONUL Summer Vacation Access

  • Undergraduate students and taught postgraduate students are normally granted reference use of other SCONUL HE libraries free of charge during the summer vacations of the host institution. If you request admittance to another library you should be prepared to present proof of your current membership of the university of Bath. A current library card will normally be acceptable, provided that it shows the holder as an undergraduate or taught postgraduate. Sometimes it may be necessary to show evidence of when your course ends.

  • More information about the SCONUL Summer Vacation Access Scheme.

  • You should check the vacation dates and opening hours of the Library you want to visit by visiting the Library's website or telephoning in advance to avoid disappointment. This is also useful in case you need to bring along any additional documentation.

  • During busy periods (for example exam revision) many libraries participating in the SCONUL Access scheme may adjust their access rights for SCONUL members. Please check with host libraries in advance of your visit to confirm that you may enter.

British Library

To visit the British Library reading rooms in St. Pancras, all students and staff visitors must apply to the British Library for a Reader Pass.

This will allow you to access the reading rooms for reference purposes only. You can either apply by posting an application form or by visiting the British Library. If you apply by post, you should expect to wait at least 10 working days before receiving a reply. If your application is approved, you will be expected to take identification with you when you visit.

A Reader Pass also provides access to the British Library's online resources, most of which can only be accessed within the Reading Rooms, but a limited range can be accessed remotely anywhere in the UK. To find out which online resources are available, go to Find electronic resources (part of the British Library catalogue)

You can browse this catalogue by subject and then check for any associated 'remote access' link in the sub-category column.

Bishopsgate Institute (Social Sciences)

The Bishopsgate Institute has a social sciences library in London that is open to the public. To access items from the special collections, you will need to request these in advance.

Link to the Bishopsgate Institute Library

Small Business Research + Enterprise Library

  • A print and online collection of business information (including reports and news), market research, statistics and company data.

  • Library Catalogue. The Catalogue searches across multiple library collections in London but you can filter your results to a specific location.

  • Visiting the Library: you may be required to book an appointment in advance. For further information, refer to Small Business Research + Enterprise Library. The Library's address is Guildhall, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH.

  • Accessing the Library's online resources remotely: members of the City Business Library can access at least some of these resources from anywhere in the UK. You can apply for membership if you are a UK resident and aged 16 or over. The free membership option enables UK access to some of these resources whilst members who pay an annual subscription have access to a wider range. More information about membership options.

Holburne Museum Library & Archive

  • The Holburne Museum Library houses a reference collection generally covering fine and decorative art from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, and the history and architecture of Bath.

  • There is a particularly fine collection of monographs on seventeenth-century painting of the Spanish, Netherlandish and Italian schools. Sir William Holburne’s own library (the Historic Collection) is a typical nineteenth-century gentleman’s library, with novels, fine bindings, guidebooks and histories. The Holburne Library also houses the Huth Collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century books on swordsmanship and combat sports.

  • There is a complete run of catalogues of all past Holburne Museum exhibitions.

  • The library is intended mainly for Museum staff and University students, but all genuine researchers are welcome to use it if they unable to find specific books in a public library. Before making an appointment to visit, please search the University of Bath Library Catalogue to find out whether we have the book you need, or whether your subject area is covered.

  • Once you are sure we have what you need, please apply for an appointment using an official [Holburne Museum Library Enquiry Form[( This includes further information and conditions for using the library, which we ask you to sign before staff at the Holburne museum can accept your enquiry. Please send completed forms to

NHS Libraries and other health information services

  • If you are on an NHS placement in Avon, Gloucestershire or Wiltshire, you can apply for an NHS Library Services Passport. This will allow you to visit and borrow from any NHS library throughout the period of your placement.

  • If your placement is outside this region, you can use these services for reference only. Alternatively, you can pay a charge and join as an external user. This may entitle you to borrow materials.

  • You might like to check the individual access policies of libraries and information services and access to the Academy Library at the RUH described above. For more information, please contact the relevant service, trust or hospital.

Royal United Hospital Library (Academy Library)

The Academy Library at the Royal United Hospital offers a reference service between 8:30 and 5:00, Monday-Thursday, and 8:30 - 4:30 on Friday. If possible, please telephone in advance (01225 824897 or 824898). Remember to take your University Library card as you will need to present this on arrival.

Students on an official NHS placement are entitled to full library membership, including borrowing rights and access to all online services. For full details of national/local NHS resources and conditions of use check the following links:

Obtaining materials from other libraries

Individual libraries' policies

  • Individual academic or specialist libraries may have policies that allow you to visit them for reference purposes. They may also let you borrow items if you become an external member - this usually involves paying a fee.

  • Please telephone the individual library in advance to confirm whether and when you are allowed to visit. When you visit, remember to take your University of Bath library card with you.

  • Even if an individual library's policy does not offer you access, you may still be able to visit that library under the SCONUL Access scheme. If you are a postgraduate and are not eligible to visit a specific library, either through the SCONUL Access or an individual library's own policy, please talk to your subject librarian who may be able to help arrange access.

Inter-Library Loans

  • You can use this service to get material that we do not hold at the University of Bath Library and Learning Centre.

  • Many University of Bath Library users can submit requests for items at no charge. However, the number of free requests that you can make may be limited. Please only request items that are essential to your studies because there is a significant cost to the Library for each request. However, any member of the Library can pay for an Inter-Library Loan.

For more information, please check the Inter-library Loan service

Searching other Library catalogues

Library Hub Discovery

Library Hub Discovery is a union catalogue which will let you search across many UK academic, national & specialist library catalogues. This resource replaces COPAC and SUNCAT which are no longer available.


WorldCAT will let you search across thousands of library catalogues - you can request the location of an item nearest to where you live or study.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page