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The SCONUL Access Scheme gives reciprocal access and borrowing rights for staff and students of most Universities in the UK and Ireland.

This page gives information about the SCONUL Access Scheme for members of the University of Reading. If you are from another institution and you wish to use our Library please see SCONUL Access: information for students and staff from other universities.

Can I use this scheme?

SCONUL Access provides borrowing for:

  • Staff - on permanent or fixed term contracts
  • Research students – students registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification awarded purely by research
  • Part-time and distance learning students - on courses running for a minimum of one year and leading to a higher education award
  • Placement students - on placements of six weeks or more
  • Full-time taught postgraduate students – at some member libraries only
  • Full-time undergraduate students – are not offered borrowing privileges but are granted reference access to some of the participating member libraries.

Associates and External Borrowers – are not entitled to use the scheme.

Membership bands

Depending on your status you will be allocated a membership band:

Your status

SCONUL Access Band

What can I get? 
Staff Band A  Access & usually borrowing
Research students Band A  Access & usually borrowing
Part-time postgraduate Band B  Access & usually borrowing
Part-time undergraduate Band B  Access & usually borrowing
Distance learning Band B  Access & usually borrowing
Placement Band B  Access & usually borrowing
Full-time taught postgraduate Band C  Access & sometimes borrowing
Full-time undergraduate Band R  Reference only access

Not all universities who are members of the scheme accept users from all user bands. Go to the SCONUL Access participating libraries page to check what you are eligible for at a specific library. Select your status and home institution to view a map or list of libraries offering access.

IT facilities and electronic library resources are not normally included in the scheme and there may be some limits imposed on the types of material that can be borrowed.

What do I need to use the scheme?

  • You must be a current member of the University of Reading Library in one of the categories in the table above
  • You must be in good standing with the Library i.e. have no debts or be barred

How do I join the scheme?

  1. Go to the SCONUL Access participating libraries page and select your status and home institution. You will then see a map or a list of libraries you could use.
  2. After selecting a Library you wish to use, click on the "Apply for access" button on the institution details page and fill in the online registration form. 
  3. Your application will be reviewed by Library staff. Please allow up to seven days for your request to be processed.
  4. You will receive an email authorising registration at libraries you are eligible to join.

If you have any problems or are unsure please contact the Library.

How do I join the library I wish to use?

  • Check the website of the library you wish to use for opening hours and any local conditions e.g. times of registration or need to supply a passport-size photograph.
  • Take both the email authorisation and your Campus Card when you visit
  • They will issue you with a library card.
  • Abide by the rules of the library you wish to use - you will be responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred