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Libraries near you

Home Help and Support Libraries near you

OU students and staff, who sometimes need to borrow books, use collections for reference, or find a quiet place to work or study at other academic libraries near where they live, can take advantage of the following options.

SCONUL Access (UK)

The Open University is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme. SCONUL Access allows OU students and staff to use and borrow books from other participating university libraries, or visit them for a quiet place to study. Most of the university libraries in the UK (and some in Ireland) are participating in the scheme.

Who is eligible to apply:

  • Members of staff
  • Postgraduate Research students
  • Current undergraduate and taught postgraduate Open University students, fully registered and studying on modules worth 30 or more credits

When your membership expires, as long as you fulfill the criteria above, you can re-apply.

Joining or renewing SCONUL Access

You can apply for or renew SCONUL Access at any time during your module, provided you are fully registered. Your application may not start being processed until two months before your module start date if you apply in advance. It may take up to 21 days to process your application, so do apply early enough to accommodate this.

As soon as your Sconul Access is approved, an Open University Library card will be posted out to you, if you haven’t been issued one already.

Make sure you select ‘Distance Learning Student’ at the beginning of the SCONUL Access application form.

Where you are asked for the ‘Library or ID Card number’ on the SCONUL Access application form, please type in:

  • your library card number, if you already have one, OR
  • your Personal Identifier (PI) if you don’t have a library card
  • Lost your card? Write your PI and add 'New card please'

You can find and complete the application form at the SCONUL Access website.

For more information about how to join the SCONUL Access scheme, watch  'A Guide to Your SCONUL Application' video. 

NOTE : Please be aware that should you be under the age of 16, you would need your Parent/Guardian's consent to join the Sconul Access scheme.

The online application form will have specific tick boxes for this information. 

Visiting your chosen library

The Open University (OU) offers eduroam (education roaming), a free service which provides Wi-Fi Internet Access when you visit other academic libraries near where you live. More information on how to connect to eduroam can be found on the page Connecting to eduroam (requires login).

Participating libraries sometimes choose to offer specific services that are not automatically included in the SCONUL Access membership, such as access to computer facilities or online library resources. Remember to check what is offered with your chosen Library ahead of your visit, to avoid disappointment.

To find out more about how you need to plan your visit at your chosen library and what you may expect, please see the frequently asked questions about the Access Scheme.

SCURL (Scotland)

The Open University Library is a member of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL). Most SCURL libraries can be accessed by joining SCONUL Access.

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 (Doc) and email or post it to the Open University Library.

British Library (London)

Open University students and staff are entitled to apply for a pass for the British Library's St. Pancras reading rooms in London or Boston Spa, Yorkshire.

The Open University Library building (Milton Keynes)

The Library building at Walton Hall is open to all for reference and study purposes. For information about using the Wi-Fi and computers, see the Library at Walton Hall page. To see if you are entitled to any other services such as borrowing books, check the Borrowing at the Walton Hall Library page.

Check the opening hours of the Library building and Customer Services before you visit.

Libraries near you for overseas students

Here are some options you may wish to explore:

  • Our External Libraries and catalogues page has information on overseas students’ access to libraries and includes links to library catalogues. Please, note that access to libraries varies and books are not necessarily in English.
  • Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) for articles is available from British Library On Demand . The cost of each SED varies depending upon the copyright of the item.
  • You may be able to arrange inter-library loans through your local public library or the National Library of the country you are in. A list of National Libraries is available from Wikipedia.
  • The British Council is a worldwide organisation, with a variety of roles, which helps people to access education in English. Search within the main British Council website for 'Library', and you will find many countries and services listed. There is often a charge to join, which varies from country to country, and the services that are offered will vary.