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Reaching the Wider Community

As a key University resource, the Library Outreach Programme seeks to engage the wider community through variety of different membership possibilities and other activities.


We welcome membership to the library under the following arrangements:

Honorary Associate Membership

We offer Honorary Membership to QUB staff who are over 55 years of age and have retired from Queen's University Belfast after at least 10 years continuous service. Honorary membership is also available to honorary graduates.

Associate Membership

We offer Associate Personal membership for members of the public who wish to use the library for educational and leisure purposes and Associate Corporate Membership for people using the library in connection with their profession or business. We also encourage QUB graduates to become Associate Members by offering them reduced fees.

Membership for AFBI staff

Staff of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) may be able to become members of the Library free of charge. AFBI library members are allowed to borrow or request material from all the branches of the Queen’s University Library.

Membership for HSC staff

All Health and Social Care (HSC) staff throughout Northern Ireland can avail of library and information services, free of charge. These services are provided by The Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Department of Health. HSC library members are allowed to borrow or request material from all the branches of the Queen’s University Library.

Other members

We welcome Recognised Teachers as members of the library and Honorary Titles or Visiting Research Titles will also be given membership on appointment.


We are members of the reciprocal access scheme SCONUL, which exists between most university libraries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The scheme allows Staff and Postgraduate Researchers from other institutions across the UK and Ireland to become members of QUB Library. It also enables QUB staff and students to use other institutions free of charge.



We also provides access to the library to non-members within the following schemes:

Visitor Access

Any member of the public can use the Medical Library and Biomedical Library for reference purposes. Visits to the McClay Library are welcomed, following advanced registration, from members of the public who cannot otherwise obtain access to the printed material they need.

Referred reference access

We participate in the Music Pal referral scheme, offering members from across Ireland, access to our comprehensive music collection.

Student Vacation Access

Students from other universities are welcome to use the library facilities during QUB Easter, summer and Christmas vacation periods.

Special Collections & Archives at The McClay Library – Floor 1

Access to Special Collections is available to both Library members and members of the public who wish to make use of the resource. Access to the Archive is also possible virtually by email, post or phone.

Special Collections also does outreach work with local and wider community as they:

  • host primary and post-primary school visits, from institutions across Ireland.
  • work with local history societies to encourage research and access to our collections. Staff deliver talks to local history groups and societies about Special Collections in general and more specific collections.
  • collaborated with JSTOR to create the Ireland Collection, which makes over 100 journals of Irish interest available full-text free to access at all schools, public libraries, research and FE and HE institutions in NI, RoI and UK.
  • have an ongoing digitisation programme which facilitates free online access to a range of materials from our collections.
  • have developed and maintains RASCAL, a free to access online resource which documents special collections and archives available in NI and RoI to the general public and more expert researchers.
  • recognise the importance of access to cultural heritage for local community and facilitates visitor access to support.
  • work closely with local institutions, such as NIPR (Northern Ireland Publications Resource), Armagh Public Library, Linen Hall Library, Servite Library, Libraries NI, to maximise exploitation of all our resources and to develop projects to support local community interests.
  • support local film, TV, radio documentary production by providing access to our collections and research support.


Tours and Visits

C.S. Lewis Reading Room – Floor 1

Members of the public are welcome to visit the C.S. Lewis Reading Room and can do so without prior warning or registration requirement during staffed opening hours.

We also make special provision for primary school classes who are reading the Chronicles of Narnia by allowing them exclusive use of the C.S. Lewis room for special story sessions.


We provide specially tailored tours for primary school children many of whom are visiting a library for the first time.

We make special arrangements with teachers to bring their 6th form pupils to the library. These visits are to give their pupils a taste of finding and using information in a university environment.

A Level student Open days – visits to the library.

We participate fully in the September Open Days and welcome 6th form students without formality

Widening Participation Unit:

We work closely with the Widening Participation Unit by contributing to their drive to encourage and support people who come from groups currently under-represented in Higher Education. We do this by facilitating visits to the library and organising workshops which will equip students for higher education.

We seek to provide enhanced induction programmes for “Head Start” pupils. These specially devised induction programmes gives these ‘first generation’ undergraduates literally a head start before the start of term.

We also work directly with post primary schools, to deliver a Transition Skills programme to Year 13 pupils to prepare them for university. This outreach includes tailored workshops for both pupils and school teachers and librarians.

INTO Queens

While INTO Queens Students are automatically members of the library throughout their time as a student, we also participate in the Agent Familiarisation visits to Queens. By offering tours around the flagship McClay Library we contribute to the promotion of Queen’s University Schools, courses, and facilities and help to build stronger relationships with our international agents as part of the recruitment cycle for future enrolments.

Work Experience

Each year we offers work experience places to year 13 students. We put in place a full programme for those wanting to participate in work experience/work shadowing. We offer students an exposure to work ethic and professional skills required in the workplace for those interested in a career in Library and Information Management.


Contributing to the wider community

Green Impact programme

The McClay Library at Queen’s holds a global award for its role as a model of sustainable design. We continue to contribute to and support the ‘environmental sustainability’ of library buildings, services and working practices. Our aim is to reduce energy levels and provide energy output as efficiently as possible. We encourage all staff, students, visitors to recycle paper, waste etc., in appropriate bins in an effort to reduce carbon footprint.

Annual Coffee Mornings

The McClay Library hosts a very successful annual Coffee Morning (in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support) each year in December. Library and Information Services staff provide tea and coffee and gather hampers and gifts from local businesses to be raffled to staff across the University in aid of this wonderful charity.

Better World Books

Through Better World Books we recycle our old book stock, helping to save trees and landfill space. Better World Books sells books online to raise money for leading literacy charities. This charity uses the money to build schools, start libraries, provide scholarships and support learning around the world. If they can’t sell the books, they make sure that they are otherwise reused or recycled. Nothing goes into landfill.

Social Media

Social media has become a major tool employed by the library to promote awareness among our current and potential customers. Social media and networking through Facebook, Social Media websites are excellent avenues for reaching the wider community to tell them about our news and events.

Book Donations

We welcome donations of book collections or gifts to our library stock and will ensure that the donor is properly credited on each item donated.

March 2022