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Library services - January 2021 onwards

Opening times and what to expect - January 2021 onwards (during national lockdown and until further notice)

We are open for BU students and researchers who are living locally and have an essential need of study space or to borrow books. Check our opening times below. We regret that due to the continuing Covid-19 restrictions, we are not open for external library users.

When you enter the Library, please go to the Help Zone so that we can triage your query. Please be prepared to queue for entry, especially at peak times.

All study spaces (with or without a computer) are for quiet individual study only, and will need to be pre-booked. See more details about study spaces or go straight to our booking system to reserve a library study space now. 

Use our Reserve & Collect service to request and borrow print copies of books, for collection between 9am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday only. We will email you when the books you have requested are ready to collect.

Printers and laptop loans are available. Booking is not required if you just wish to borrow a laptop to take elsewhere on campus, or for quick use of a printer - as long as you have already sent your work to the print queue

Extra cleaning is in place, but you will be expected to wipe down any university computer or printer that you need to touch, before and after use.

Please wear a face covering (unless you are medically exempt) and keep it on at all times while you are in the library - except for when you need to remove it briefly to have a drink. The consumption of food is not permitted. 

Please adhere to all the physical distancing guidance and signage and do not move any furniture around. 

The Covid-secure measures are in place for the benefit of everyone. Anyone failing to comply with them will be asked to leave the Library. 

If you can't visit the Library in person you can contact us on Library Chat, or email us at These services are staffed Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm during term time. Or look at our Library FAQs here.

For IT support, please telephone +44 (0)1202 965515 (available 24/7).

Library opening times from Monday 11 January 2021 until further notice 

The Sir Michael Cobham Library, Talbot Campus

Day Library building Staffed service at Help Zone (including collection of reserved books) 
Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm 9am - 4.45pm
Saturday & Sunday 9am - 5pm No staffed service

Weston Library (in Bournemouth Gateway Building), Lansdowne Campus

Day Library area Staffed service at Help Zone (including collection of reserved books) 
Monday - Friday 8am - 8pm 9am - 4.45pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am - 8pm No staffed service

Library loans extended to 21 April 2021

Library books on loan to BU students and staff that had a due date of 26 March 2021 have been extended again and the revised due date is 21 April 2021.  We will extend this date again if continued Covid-19 restrictions make it necessary.

This arrangement excludes very overdue items that had reached the "library account" stage before the pandemic began.  If you have such an item on your borrower record, please contact us at and we will explain the options available for returning or replacing it. We are not charging fines for the late return of library books during this pandemic.

How to return items

Please use the secure returns boxes for any library books (or DVDs) you wish to return.  There are two boxes in the courtyard outside The Sir Michael Cobham Library at Talbot Campus (available 24/7), and one in the foyer of the Bournemouth Gateway Building at Lansdowne Campus (accessible 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). See more details on Borrowing & Returning.

If you have completed your studies and have moved away from the area, please email us at and we'll advise you how you can return your books. 

Returned items are quarantined for 72 hours before library staff remove them from your borrower record. This will not incur a fine, as we are not charging fines on library books this academic year.

Introduction to the Library - useful guide

Our updated "Introduction to the Library" guide covers all the essentials to get you started, with short videos on booking a library study space, using the Reserve& Collect service, and more.

Online learning tips

In collaboration with colleagues across the University, we have created a Guide to Studying Online. It includes how to structure study time, guidance on relevant software, tips to improve skills such as critical thinking and reflective writing and links to further support that you might need during this time.

Inter library loans and digitised content (scanning) service 

During the latest lockdown (January 2021) we are unable to accept requests for print copies of books, as the British Library has closed this part of its lending service.  Our inter library loan service will continue to deal with requests for electronic delivery (e.g. of journal articles) for BU staff and PGRs. In addition we may be able to obtain print copies of journal articles for Level 6/ Level 7 students, subject to availability at the the British Library. Please be prepared for longer waiting times, in particular for print items which have to be quarantined for 72 hours before we can issue them to you.

Our scanning service for academic staff will continue wherever possible.

SCONUL Access Scheme 

BU Library is unable to offer access to external SCONUL Access members during this period. This will be kept under review and if anything changes, the information will be published on this page. See also the SCONUL Access Scheme website.

Statement from the SCONUL Access Scheme, November 2020

The current position:
We are sorry to say that the SCONUL Access Scheme is suspended as a result of the current pandemic. This means that we cannot process new applications or renew applications, and that participating libraries are not accepting visitors from other libraries under the scheme. We are afraid that no exceptions are possible to this rule. This is because capacity within member libraries is severely restricted due to the need for social distancing. Universities, including university libraries, are required to abide by the relevant government guidelines and this means that it is not possible for libraries to facilitate external visitors in most cases.

Next steps:
We remain fully committed to opening up the scheme again as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, and we are keeping this under regular review. Given the information currently available, we believe it to be unlikely that the scheme will return to full functioning this academic year (2020-21). We will be consulting member institutions on routes to reopening the scheme later this academic year.

Help in the meantime:
​In the meantime, our member libraries are doing all they can to ensure that their staff, researchers and students can access the books and journals they need during this difficult time, and scheme users wanting to use particular resources should speak to the library staff at their own institution who will be able to assist. Those wishing to access archives and special collections should do the same – staff at their home library will be able to provide advice and support on routes to access.

Alumni and external library members

Universities, including university libraries, are required to abide by the relevant government guidelines. This means that during the current Covid-19 restrictions, we are unable to offer library access to external visitors, which include BU Alumni, SCONUL Access Scheme members, reference users and subscription members. We regret this but as our capacity is severely restricted due to physical distancing measures, our service is open only for BU students and staff. This will be kept under review and if anything changes, the information will be published on this page.