External users of the library

Information about the services we offer to paid external members of the library can be found below. Please see our information for visitors page for full details of all of the access options we offer to members of the public.


Revision and exam period access restrictions at the Main Library 17 April to 2 June 2023 inclusive

Please note: access to the Main Library for all reference users, including fee paying reference members is restricted during the above revision and exam period due to pressure on study spaces for our students. During this time, we are unable to admit day visitors or any reference library cardholders. Normal access will resume on 3 June 2023.

The Library’s central function is to service the information needs of the University’s own staff and students. Services to the wider academic and local community may also be provided where this can be done without prejudice to our primary client group.

All users are admitted to our libraries on the understanding that they will abide by the Library Regulations. Library Services reserves the right to withdraw membership if an individual breaches these regulations.

Print and electronic resources

You can browse Findit@Bham (our catalogue and discovery service) as a guest from home or from campus without being a member of the library. Guest access allows you to search the University's print and electronic collections. Access to the University's subscription electronic resources is not available to external users, but there are a wide range of open access resources available to everyone.

If you need access to specific print resources, please check that these are available before you apply for membership.

Membership does not give you access to printing or photocopying facilities. However, scanning facilities are available at the Main Library and at the Shakespeare Institute Library. You can save scanned copies to a USB stick or forward them to your email address.


We offer either borrowing or reference membership. Alumni of the University may apply for 12 months free reference access within the first year after graduation* with concessionary rates applicable thereafter. Other members may apply for a year or 6 months membership.

*in 2021/22 alumni from the 2019/20 academic year may also apply for 12 months free reference membership 

Details of fees
   Borrowing Reference
 University of Birmingham alumni 12 months  £37.50 £25.00
 Other members 12 months £75.00 £50.00
  6 months** £50.00 £37.50

**non-renewable and recommended for a short-term need 

All prices are inclusive of VAT

Library card

 You will need to bring your University of Birmingham library card with you whenever you visit the library. Most of our libraries have a card operated access control system. You should notify Library Services if you lose your card so that we can prevent anyone else using it (we charge a replacement charge of £10 for lost cards).

Borrowing items

Most books are available to be borrowed for one week and will renew automatically on the library system each night, if not required by another borrower. You can check your library account via the External Borrowers link and Library Account option on Findit@Bham (you'll need to set your password the first time you use it by pressing "Forgotten your password"). 

Items that are required by other library users will stop renewing and you will receive an email requesting you return it within a week (followed by reminder emails up until the due date). It is important that you return any such recalled item by the due date given in the messages requesting its return.

Fines will be charged on all items which have not been returned or renewed by the date they are due. See our borrowing books and journals page for more information. 

Site libraries

Your membership fee also provides you with some access to our more specialised site libraries.


Professional Services