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Using other libraries

Making use of the SCONUL Access scheme, of the British Library Reading Rooms, or of York's local libraries

Please note: The SCONUL Access Scheme has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need help accessing resources off-campus, please email our Academic Liaison Team.

The University is a member of the SCONUL Access reciprocal scheme, which enables students (aligned with our York Campus) and staff to visit and use other university libraries, either for reference or borrowing as appropriate.

Under the SCONUL Access scheme, users are placed in appropriate bands according to their level of study, granting varying levels of access:

BandUser type
R Full-time undergraduate – reference-only access
C Full-time taught postgraduate
B Part-time, distance learning, and placement students
A Research students and academic staff

Full-time undergraduate students can visit other libraries and use their resources on-site – this is known as reference-only access. There are other user types, such as part-time undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff, that are additionally eligible to borrow and check out items.

Applying for SCONUL Access


To apply to visit another library under the SCONUL Access Scheme, please visit SCONUL Access and follow the three-step process set out there.

If you're applying to visit York St John University from another institution, we'll respond to your application within 24 hours. For any further information, please email us at and reference your SCONUL Access application.

York St John University students – visiting other universities with SCONUL Access

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a confirmation email. It is important that you remember to take your library card (this is the same as your student card) and a copy of your confirmation email when you register. (Please note: if your course is not based at the York campus, you will not be eligible for the SCONUL Access scheme.)

It may be useful to contact the other university library beforehand to see if they require additional documentation. They may also have additional useful information for SCONUL Access visitors on their website.

External borrowers – visiting York St John University with SCONUL Access

If you are a student or member of staff from another university, we'll need you to provide the following:

  • Your SCONUL Access Confirmation Email
  • Proof of identity (e.g. Student Card, Driving Licence)

As a SCONUL user in bands A–C, you'll be allowed up to 10 items from our collection. (For more information on borrowing, please see our Borrowing page.) You'll also be allowed an unlimited number of IT Logins. These last for 24 hours and can be obtained from the Service Desk, on the Ground Floor of the Fountains building, upon the production of your library card. Access is limited to using non-restricted electronic resources and the Internet. There is no access to network storage, printing facilities or the Inter-Library Loans service.

As a SCONUL user in band R, you'll be granted reference-only access to the Library. To gain borrowing rights, you can register as a fee-paying member of the public. Please see our External Borrower page for further information.

British Library Reading Rooms (London and Boston Spa)

  • The British Library have reading rooms at their main St Pancras site in London and at their Document Supply Centre in Boston Spa (near Wetherby, West Yorkshire).
  • All students and staff can visit the British Library Reading Rooms.
  • Visitors to the reading rooms can access their extensive collections, including many legal deposit and reference items which are not available for inter-library loan. Please note that not all of the St Pancras Reading Room stock can be viewed at Boston Spa - currently around 85% of items are available to order.
  • Pre-registering for a Reader Pass before making a trip to the British Library is essential, as otherwise you will not be able to access any items on that day.
  • Once you have preregistered, you are able to order items you want to consult in advance of visiting the Reading Room. Pre-ordering is essential, as it takes 48 hours for stock to become available. See the British Library’s webpages on how to order items for more information

York public library

If you live in the York area, you are eligible to join the public library, York Explore (based in Library Square on Museum Street, in the city centre of York and only a ten-minute walk from York St John University). They and the other libraries in the York area can provide another source for reading materials, especially fiction.

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