For most modules, the wide range of online information resources available via this website will be sufficient. However, we acknowledge that Open University students and staff sometimes need to use other libraries to borrow books, to use collections for reference, or as a quiet place to work or study.
The SCONUL Access scheme allows students and staff to gain access to and borrow books at other libraries which belong to the scheme which covers most of the university libraries in the UK (and some in Ireland).
- Undergraduate and taught post graduate students studying modules worth 30 or more credits and MPhil students may apply for Distance Learning Student, Band B, membership. Membership will cover the study period of the module(s) you are currently registered on.
- PhD and EdD research students and staff may apply for Band A membership
How do I join SCONUL Access?
Follow the instructions below to apply on line. (We suggest you right-click on the link below and select ‘Open in new tab’ or ‘Open in new window’).
- Access the Sconul Access website
- STEP #1: tell us what kind of user you are: Select 'Distance Learning Student' if you are an undergraduate, taught postgraduate or MPhil student; otherwise select the appropriate category
- STEP # 2: tell us the name of your institution: Select 'Open University'
- Click 'Find'
- Scroll down to beneath Step#3, click 'See results as a list'
- Select the library you wish to use (Note: you will not be restricted to this library and can use the email and library card you receive to join any others)
- Click 'Apply for Access'
- Fill in the online form. Note: In the ‘Library or ID Card no.' box type in your OU Library barcode number if you already have one, otherwise type in your student PI number
- Tick both agreement acceptance boxes - this is required
- Click 'Submit'
You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received and is being processed.
Due to the December closure periods (24th Dec '13 to 2nd Jan '14) applications received during this time may only be processed by the end of January '14.
You will receive an OU Library card (if you do not already have one) through the post and an email detailing your Band, SCONUL access expiry date and Library barcode number.
Visiting your chosen library
PLEASE NOTE: Between 1st December 2013 to end January 2014 certain Sconul Access host libraries will be closed or offering restricted access only. Please call your host library to check opening times and services available during this period.
You should take your library card and email when you go to register with your chosen library. Use the SCONUL Access website to find out more about the Library you are planning to visit including their opening hours and whether you need any other paperwork or photos for registration, whether they have specific registration periods and whether they provide any computer access.
You are responsible for all fines and charges associated with any items that you borrow.
How do I renew my SCONUL Access membership?
If you register for a further module with 30 or more credits, follow the above registration procedure to receive an updated email. Type in your existing Open University Library barcode in the 'Library or ID Card number' field.
The OU Library is a member of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL). Most SCURL libraries can be accessed by joining SCONUL Access. However, academic staff and postgraduate research students can join SCURL Research Extra to gain access to specialist libraries that are not members of the SCONUL Access scheme. To join this scheme, complete the SCURL Research Extra application form and post to the address above.
The OU Library is a member of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries. Nearly all M25 libraries can be accessed by joining SCONUL Access. However, their Visit a Library tool has useful information for academic staff and postgraduate research students on how to access specialist libraries that are not members of the SCONUL Access scheme.
Open University students and staff are entitled to apply for a pass for the British Library's St. Pancras reading rooms in London.