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SCONUL Access

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.

What is SCONUL

SCONUL Access is a reciprocal access scheme between most university libraries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It enables staff and students to use other libraries free of charge.

There are four categories of membership referred as Bands A, B, C and R.  Member libraries choose which band(s) to support.

Queen’s University supports Band A which means that the Library only accepts applications from staff and post-graduate research students from other SCONUL institutions. As this is a reciprocal agreement it also means that membership of the scheme is restricted to Queen’s staff and to Queen’s students registered for a PhD.

Applying for SCONUL Access

  1. Before applying to join the scheme you must be in good standing with your home library and have no outstanding charges or overdue items.
  2. You should apply online via the SCONUL website
  3. If your application is successful, print off a copy of the verification email from your home library. This will confirm your SCONUL Access Band and expiry date.
  4. You will then need to register with each host library you wish to use. They will ask to see a copy of the email and your university staff/student card. (If you did not register online you may have received a SCONUL Card from your home institution. This will be accepted in place of the email).
  5. Your access will be valid for up to three years or until your course/contract expires whichever is the soonest.

Visiting other libraries

  1. Check the website of individual participating libraries for their opening hours. You may also want to check the host library’s catalogue before your visit.
  2. The host library will decide how many and which type of items you can borrow.
  3. Access to IT facilities and electronic library services may be restricted.
  4. Bear in mind that membership of the scheme is a privilege and that you will be a guest in another institution, Try to avoid incurring fines for overdue loans but if it happens please pay promptly. You are responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred.

For more information please see the Library’s A Guide to SCONUL Access