International students may have special concerns and issues that arise from studying in a foreign country. This guide gives details of some of the support, services and facilities that are available to international students.
SCONUL Access is a scheme that enables students, staff and researchers to borrow material from other university libraries, or simply to use the libraries as a place of study. Undergraduate students may use libraries within the scheme for reference purposes only.
To find out more about the scheme, who is eligible, how it works, and to apply, visit:
If our libraries do not stock the item you need and you cannot find it in another library, you may order it through our Document Delivery service.
Please note that there is a limit of five current requests. No charge is made to the user for placing requests except for renewals of loan books (£4.65 per renewal, per item).
Searching other libraries' catalogues
Before visiting another library, especially if you will be travelling any distance, you should check their library catalogue to make sure that the items you want to use will be available for you to look at. In some cases it may be necessary to pre-order items in advance of visiting, as they may be held in an off-site store.
All university library catalogues are available online and there are also several co-operative schemes which make searching easier by allowing you to include more than one library catalogue in a single search. Information about some of the main catalogues, and cooperative schemes, which you may find useful when searching for material for a project are listed below.
Search25 allows you to search for particular titles across the major university libraries in the London area.
When you find a library that holds the item you are looking for, it is worth searching again on that library’s own catalogue (linked from the Search25 page). This will allow you to check whether the item is on open access (some libraries may hold materials in remote stores which you need to request in advance) or whether a journal includes the year you need. You may find that a journal is only held in electronic form, in which case it may not be available to students from other universities.
The British Library's main catalogue contains records for over 57 million books, serials, and other documents. Other specialist catalogues are available.
COPAC is a union catalogue which provides access to over 80 merged online catalogues of the major research libraries in the UK and Ireland including libraries such as those of Oxford and Cambridge as well as the British Library.
The Serials UNion CATalogue (SUNCAT) for the UK research community is a free tool to help researchers and librarians locate serials held in the UK. It covers over 100 UK libraries including the British Library and some of the major university libraries.