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Student applicants

As an applicant to the University you will be given full access to our resources once you have enrolled. This page gives details of the Library facilities available to you prior to enrolment.

Reference access

Non-members are able to arrange to visit the Library to access materials not available elsewhere. Please see our visitor policy for further details on how to arrange a visit. Visitors are able to use the photocopiers and the Library catalogue as well as make enquiries at the Ground Floor Welcome Desk.

On visiting the Library you will be asked to provide photographic proof of identification, personal information about yourself and agree to abide by the Library Rules.


We are unable to grant borrowing privileges to applicants for either taught courses or research degrees. This is due to the number of applicants for student places at any one time and their potential to disadvantage current members of the University who are the Library’s primary clientele.

However, as an applicant you may be able to borrow if you are a member of one of the following categories: a Reading graduate or a member of another Higher Education Institution.

Reading graduate

If you are a graduate of the University of Reading you will be able to apply to join the Library as an External Borrower. If you have just successfully completed a course with the University, and are beginning your new course at Reading at the start of the new Session, you can join as an External Borrower for the summer for a reduced fee of £20. 

To apply for borrowing rights, complete our online application form

See our Privacy notice (PDF) for information on what personal information we collect, hold and share in order to provide Library services to you and your rights in respect of the data we hold about you.


You will be given an External borrowers card which enables you to borrow:

  • ten standard or term loan items
  • these can be borrowed for up to six weeks unless recalled by another person
  • you will be fined 80p per day for items that have been recalled and are overdue

Using self-service features on the catalogue

When you register you will be given a PIN which you can use to access the self-service features on the catalogue system, such as renewing your loans, placing holds (on Standard loan items only), and viewing your account.

Member of another Higher Education Institution

If you are still a member of another Higher Education Institution you may be able to obtain an External Borrower card under the terms of the SCONUL Access scheme free of charge.