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A Guide to SCONUL Access

What is SCONUL Access?

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

Who can join SCONUL Access?

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

What does the scheme offer?

SCONUL Access membership makes it easier for you to use libraries belonging to other universities. There is one set of rules for joining the scheme and the same method of identification is required across all participating institutions involved. Band A membership bestows borrowing rights.

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 loans.
2. You should apply online via the SCONUL Access website at
3. If your application is successful, print off a copy of the verification email. 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.
5. Your SCONUL Access card will be valid for up to three years, or until your student registration /staff contract expires, whichever is the soonest.

Visiting other libraries

1. Check the website of the individual participating libraries for their opening hours. You may also want to check the host library’s catalogue before you 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.

SCONUL Access visitors: How to register at Queen’s University

Band A SCONUL Access members can obtain a Queen’s University library card by registering at the Borrower Services Desk in The McClay Library on the main university campus. You will need to bring a copy of your SCONUL Access email verification and your staff/student card from your home institution.

SCONUL Access visitors: Borrowing books

To locate an item, use the library catalogue. It can be found on the Library's home page ( It will give you the branch and shelfmark.

You may borrow up to ten books from the unrestricted collections of any branch of the Library. The normal loan period is four weeks but, for your convenience, items are automatically renewed. However, all items are subject to recall after one week if required by another reader. A fine is be payable for the late return of recalled material.

SCONUL Access visitors: Restrictions

Most of the books and pamphlets in the Library can be borrowed but some categories of material will not be available for loan. These include journals, bibliographies, reference books, Special Collections and much of the material in the Law and Official Publications collection. Only Queen’s students and staff may borrow books from the Short Loan Collection. Restrictions may also apply to other short loan and consultation material. There is limited access to electronic resources.

Queen’s University Library: Location and opening hours

The service desks are staffed during the hours given below. Further information about the University Library and, full details regarding the opening hours, is available at

McClay Library

10 College Park, Belfast, BT7 1LP
Telephone 028 9097 6135

  • Monday to Thursday 09:00 – 21:30 (vacation: 09:00 – 20:00)
  • Friday 09:00 – 20:00 (vacation: 09:00 – 17:00)
  • Saturday 10:00 – 17:00 (vacation:10:00 – 17:00)
  • Sunday 12:00 – 17:00 (vacation: closed)

Medical Library

Mulhouse Building, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. BT12 6DP
Telephone 028 9097 6021/8906

  • Monday to Friday 08:30 – 18:30 (vacation 08:30 – 17:30)

Biomedical Library

Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7BL
Telephone 028 9097 2710

  • Monday to Thursday 08:30 – 21:30 (vacation: 9.00 – 17:00)
  • Friday 08:30 – 20:30 (vacation: 09:00 – 17:00)
  • Saturday 09:00 – 13:00 (vacation: 09:00 – 13:00)

AFBI Library (Agri-Food and Biosciences)

Newforge Lane, Belfast. BT9 5PX
Telephone 028 9025 5227

  • Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 (vacation: 09:00 – 17:00)

Jan 2022