Visiting Other Libraries

Sconul Access

November 2020: The SCONUL Access scheme is currently suspended

The current position

We are sorry to say that the SCONUL Access Scheme is suspended as a result of the current pandemic. This means that we cannot process new applications or renew applications, and that participating libraries are not accepting visitors from other libraries under the scheme. We are afraid that no exceptions are possible to this rule. This is because capacity within member libraries is severely restricted due to the need for social distancing. Universities, including university libraries, are required to abide by the relevant government guidelines and this means that it is not possible for libraries to facilitate external visitors in most cases.

Next steps

We remain fully committed to opening up the scheme again as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, and we are keeping this under regular review. Given the information currently available, we believe it to be unlikely that the scheme will return to full functioning this academic year (2020-21). We will be consulting member institutions on routes to reopening the scheme later this academic year.

Help in the meantime

In the meantime, our member libraries are doing all they can to ensure that their staff, researchers and students can access the books and journals they need during this difficult time, and scheme users wanting to use particular resources should speak to the library staff at their own institution who will be able to assist. Those wishing to access archives and special collections should do the same – staff at their home library will be able to provide advice and support on routes to access.

University of Bedfordshire staff and students have free use of Sconul Access.

SCONUL Access is a reciprocal scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme. The scheme covers most of the university libraries in the UK and Ireland.

If you are:

  • a member of staff (both academic and support staff) 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

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.

Join SCONUL Access and find out which libraries you can use. You will need your Library or ID Card number from your home institution to complete the application.


Access25 replaces the previous M25 Access and Borrowing Scheme.

All information about Access25 can be found on our website under ‘Resources and Activities’. There is a shortcut URL at There is a User guide; List of participating libraries and the application form for users to join.

Key points to note are:

  • The scheme provides reference-only access for staff and postgraduate research students at M25 libraries.
  • Borrowing is not explicitly included, but we have indicated where this is available.
  • The scheme is available to all members of the M25 Consortium (except those whose abstention has been agreed with the Steering Group), HE libraries in M25 should continue using the SCONUL Access scheme amongst themselves. Whilst access to the M25 Consortium’s scholarly libraries can of course be gained through Access25, most of them offer access to the public free of charge.

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