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Library services - summer 2021 update

Opening times 

We are open for BU students and researchers who have returned for face-to-face teaching, or who have an essential need of study space or to borrow books. Please check our opening times below. We're sorry that we are not open for external library users yet, but hope to re-introduce that service soon, for the remainder of the summer vacation.

Library opening times: Tuesday 6 April 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 - 8pm 9am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday  9am - 5pm No staffed service
Bank Holiday Monday 30 August CLOSED CLOSED

Weston Library (in Bournemouth Gateway Building), Lansdowne Campus

Day Library area Staffed service at Help Zone (including collection of reserved books) 
Monday - Friday  Open 24/7  9am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday  Open 24/7 No staffed service
Bank Holiday Monday 30 August Open 24/7 CLOSED

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 and vacations.

Or look at our Library FAQs here.

For IT support, please telephone +44 (0)1202 965515 or Freephone 0808 196 2332 (both available 24/7).

What to expect during Covid restrictions 

When you enter the Library, please go to the Help Zone. Please be prepared to queue for entry, especially at peak times.

Many of the study spaces (with or without a computer) are for quiet individual study only and need to be pre-booked. From Monday 28 June 2021 a small number of group study facilities have been made available in each Library. See more details about our study spaces or go straight to our booking system to reserve a library study space now.  

If you'd like to borrow print copies of books you can now browse at the shelves yourself and borrow books at the self-service units which are near the Help Zone in each Library. You don't need to book a time to come in to choose your books, but on arrival please sign in at the Help Zone.

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.

Face coverings: the University highly recommends the continued use of face coverings inside its buildings whenever you are less than 2 metres from another person (unless you are medically exempt).

Food is still not permitted in the library; drinks are allowed.

Please keep to the physical distancing guidance and signage and do not move furniture around. 

The Covid-secure measures are in place for the benefit of everyone and we thank you for your cooperation. However, anyone failing to comply with them will be asked to leave the Library. 

Extended loans for summer vacation

From Friday 28 May 2021, any existing loans that you renew and any new items that you borrow from the Library will be due back on Wednesday 22 September 2021, the first week of semester one 2021/22.

If you still need them after Wednesday 22 September, please renew them in the usual way via 'My Account' in the Library Catalogue.

If you find you still have a very overdue item on your borrower record that had reached the "library account" stage before the pandemic and first national lockdown, 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 academic year.

How to return items

If you need to return books or DVDs during Library opening times, please use the self-service machines.  To return items when The Sir Michael Cobham Library at Talbot Campus is closed, please use the secure returns box in the courtyard outside. At Lansdowne Campus, Weston Library in Bournemouth Gateway Building is open 24/7. See more details on Borrowing & Returning.

If you are finishing your course this summer, please remember to return your books before you leave.

If you have completed your studies and have already moved away from the area, please email us at and we'll advise you how you can return your books. Our postal address is on our Contact Us page.

We no longer have to quarantine returned items, so library staff will remove them from your borrower record on the day you return them or the next working day (Monday to Friday). 

 We are no longer charging overdue fines for library books.

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 

From May 2021 onwards, the British Library has resumed a full inter library loan service, so we can accept requests for books as well as journal articles. Please see our Inter Library Loan webpage for more details.

Our scanning service for academic staff is also available.

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 (and still applies during 2021, possibly until November 2021)

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.