Coronavirus library shutdown FAQs: staff

Last updated 16 September 2020.

Most of our libraries have reopened, but services and opening hours are restricted. You will need to book in order to visit the Main Library and the Barber Fine Art Libraries. Find out more.

While the Library is closed you can still access services online, including online skills support, e-books, e-journals and other online resources available via our website and FindIt@Bham.

For all information or questions relating to the wider University, there is separate guidance for staff and students provided centrally by the University of Birmingham.

Contacting Library Services

How do I get in touch with Library Services?

Access to Library collections 

What library collections can I use online?

  • You can access e-books, e-journals and other resources online.
  • See our guide to the key subscribed resources in each subject area.
  • Sign in via FindIt@Bham with your university username and password to search for resources.
  • You can use the drop-down filters to search for ‘online items: ejournals & ebooks only’
  • You can also use ‘Tweak my results’ within FindIt@Bham to limit your search results to resources with full text online, or to limit your results to e-books, e-journals etc.

What should I do if I have trouble accessing online resources?

  • If you are using the VPN (remote access client) and are experiencing difficulties accessing online resources via FindIt@Bham, disconnect from the VPN and try again. 
  • If you continue to experience problems in accessing online resources, log a call with the IT Service Desk.

Can I borrow print books?

  • Now that the Main Library has opened, you will be able to borrow books from floors 1 and 2, and loanable books from the Research Reserve. Items are not available from libraries, and floors of the Main Library, that are currently closed.
  • You will not be able to request an item which is out on loan to someone else.

How do I return books?

  • All items have been renewed until 28 September.
  • Books can be returned at the Main Library.

Will I be fined if my books are returned late?

  • We are not charging fines during this period.
  • All books have been renewed until 28 September 2020.

Can I request a book from the Research Reserve?

Yes, you can. All you need to do is find the item on FindIt@Bham and request from there. You will need to book a visit to the library in order to collect your item from an area next to the main desk. Please note requests from our Research Reserve can take up to 48 hours to complete.

Can I request a book via a postal loan, or request a photocopy/scan?

This service is not currently available.

I have a disability. Will Library Services still provide me with a fetching service?

Yes, we provide a fetching service from the Main Library for people who have disabilities. Please allow 48 hours for books to be fetched for you. You will need to book your visit in order to collect them.

I have a disability. Will I still be able to obtain accessible versions of my required texts?

  • Please raise your request for accessible texts as normal by contacting
  • Library Services do not have access to the library’s print collections during the closure period but the team are investigating other options for obtaining content.  
  • We only have limited access to software tools to support accessible texts so may not be able fulfil requests to our usual standard.
  • You can create your own accessible versions via the Sensus Access conversion tool.

Can I request or return an interlibrary loan?

  • You can continue to request interlibrary loans but we will only be able to fulfil requests which can be sourced digitally, for example online articles and book chapters.
  • We are not currently able to request items which require physical delivery, for example loans of books.
  • In order to facilitate access to content, you do not need a voucher code when placing a request for an interlibrary loan. 
  • To request an interlibrary loan, login to FindIt@Bham. Perform a search to check that we don't already have a copy of the item. Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select “InterLibrary Loan requests”. Complete the form. Please note that at the moment we can only supply journal articles and book chapters.
  • If you currently have an interlibrary loan item in your possession please return it to the library by the stated due date.  If you wish to renew the loan or have any queries please contact the Document Supply Team

FAQs for academic staff


Can I still get access to research support?

The Research Skills team have a range of resources online and will continue to support academic staff and postgraduate research students via email and Skype.

Can I still order e-books and print books for the library?

You can continue to request books for library purchase via your usual channels, and we have guidance for you to find out what ebooks are available to order. Please note, whilst we await further information on the University’s framework for re-opening campus, we are not placing orders for print books until further notice.

Can I create or revise a resource list?

  • You can continue to request a new resource list be set up for your module as normal, and you can continue to request editing access to an existing resource list. See Resource Lists guidance.
  • Reviews will continue on resource lists. Please ‘request review’, and lists will be reviewed and enabled for e-access wherever possible. Where it is not possible to source e-access for an item on your list, you will be notified and advised further.

Can I request digitisations via my resource list?

  • You can continue to request digitisations, but Library Services are not able to scan items.
  • If you have a copy of the text, or the extract you require, you can upload the scan (or a photo) of the extract via the ‘Request Digitisation’ process.  The system will run all of the usual checks and make it available if permitted.
  • Please contact if you have any queries.

Can I still get advice on open access publishing and request payment for APCs?

Library Services will continue to provide advice, review new PURE deposits and process requests for APC payments as usual. You can continue to send any queries to:

Can I still deposit datasets to eData?

Please continue to upload data sets as normal and one of our team will validate and give them a doi.

Can students still access support from the Academic Skills Centre and Digital Skills?

One-to-one appointments for the Academic Skills Centre and Digital Skills are available remotely and by email. Workshops are not available, but skills resources are available at the Academic Skills Gateway and LinkedIn Learning.





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