Coronavirus library shutdown FAQs: students & postgraduate researchers

Last updated 25 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 and postgradute researchers provided centrally by the University of Birmingham.

Please see our guidance on recognizable sources of information on Coronavirus.

Contacting Library Services

How do I get in touch with Library Services?

  • Our Just Ask! online chat service is available 24/7.
  • You can submit a question to Library Services or email We aim to respond to all enquires within 24 hours.
  • It is not possible to contact us by telephone.
  • We will keep these FAQs regularly updated with the latest information about our services.

Skills support 

Can I still get support from the Academic Skills Centre and Digital Skills?

One-to-one appointments for the Academic Skills Centre (taught students only) and Digital Skills (taught students and postgraduate researchers) are available online or via email. Workshops are not available, but skills resources are available at the Academic Skills Gateway and LinkedIn Learning.

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 researchers via email and online.


Should I still deposit my thesis to eTheses?

Please continue to deposit the electronic version of your thesis to eTheses.

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, you can 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?

  • Library Services will not be 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.

Can I still access ResourceLists@Bham?

You can continue to search and browse resource lists via ResourceLists@Bham, and access online and digitised content. However, while the libraries are closed, you will not be able to access the print books and journals recommended on a resource list.

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

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

Can I use MoreBooks@Bham to request the library buy new books?

You are welcome to submit MoreBooks@Bham requests. We will continue to purchase e-books where possible. We are currently unable to order print books but will let you know if we are unable to satisfy your request.



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