Information for Visitors

Visitors conducting genuine academic research are welcome to visit the Library, however, access to various library services may differ according to affiliation with the University. The following table provides guidance for this:

Visitor Access to services in the Library Building eResources
Alumni (local) Residents within 20 miles of Colchester campus may borrow Walk-in access
Alumni (other) Reference only Walk-in access
Visiting/Honorary staff Borrowing - as current UoE staff Remote access to listed eResources
Summer school students 5 books / 12 weeks Remote access to listed eResources
Retired staff Reference /  Borrowing (on application 30 books / for a term) Walk-in access
General public (Research) Reference only Walk-in access
ESAH Reference / Borrowing (on application) Walk-in access
SCONUL Access Reference only / borrowing Walk-in access
UoE validated degree courses *:
South Essex College (non-UoE students) Reference only Walk-in access
South Essex College staff 5 books / 12 weeks Walk-in access
Colchester Institute UG Reference only Walk-in access
Colchester Institute PG 5 books / 12 weeks Walk-in access
UCS & affiliated colleges UG Reference only Walk-in access
UCS & affiliated colleges PG 5 books / 12 weeks Walk-in access
UCS & affiliated colleges staff 5 books / 12 weeks Walk-in access
UoE Online Reference only Full access to eResources]
UoE Online staff Reference only Select access to some eResuorces
Kaplan Singapore students N/A Full access
Kaplan Singapore staff N/A Select access
Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust staff Reference / borrowing Walk-in access
Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust
(UoE students only)
Borrowing - as current UoE students Full access
*Students on UoE validated degree courses/UoE students | UG=Undergraduates PG=Postgraduates UoE=University of Essex


Alumni cards are given out at Graduation, if you would like to borrow from us please provide two forms of proof of identity i.e. one must include a photo (e.g. drivers licence or passport) and the other proof of current postal address (e.g. utilities bill), once you are registered with us can borrow up to 5 books (excluding Short loan and 7 day books) for 12 weeks.

If you do not have an alumni card you will need to fill out an online registration form with the Alumni Office

All Alumni can have access to the digital library JSTOR See the alumni pages at:

Members of the Public, External readers

The Library is open to researchers on application please email libline, come in person to the Library helpdesk on the ground floor of the Library, or contact us on 01206 873192.

Essex Society for Archaeology and History

All members of the Society are required to register beforehand as readers of the Albert Sloman Library. Members should write for a Library card to User Services, The Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ. 

The Society's collection is located in a part of the Library to which admission by University students is not available. Members should, on arrival at the Library, introduce themselves at the Library Helpdesk (ground floor) and show their Library card to the member of Library staff on duty. Access to the collection will then be arranged. Please note that access is available Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm. During University term access is also available on Saturdays from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Many items in the collection are available for reference only, including all journals and those books designated as non-loanable by the Society's Honorary Librarian. However, the borrowing of loanable items from the collection is permitted.  Members may borrow up to five items at any one time for a maximum loan period of ten weeks. When borrowing loanable items please bring them, together with your Library card, to the Library Helpdesk. Items that are borrowed will be subject to the Library's regulations for borrowing.


SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme. The scheme covers most of the university libraries in the UK and Ireland.

If you are:

an academic on an open or fixed term contract
a postgraduate research student registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification
a part-time, distance learning and placement student
a full-time postgraduate

and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries.

If you are:

a full-time undergraduate student
staff of a small number of higher education libraries not participating in the scheme

and your university or college is a member of the scheme, you may be able to use the resources of other college and university libraries for reference.

If you are at a participating institution, you may register for the scheme on the SCONUL Access website and bring the relevant documentation to Essex University Library to be granted borrowing/reference rights as appropriate.

N.B. SCONUL Access visitors applying for use of the University of Essex library should note that applications can only be processed Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm

If you are a member of an institution which is not participating in SCONUL Access, you may still be able to use this library in the vacation under the SCONUL Vacation Access Scheme

Services for visitors

Visitors should sign the Visitors' Book at the Library Helpdesk on arrival, and should carry relevant forms of identification with them at all times (e.g. SCONUL Access card, Student Registration card, Library Reader's Ticket). The Library's opening hours can be checked online in advance of your visit.

There are various services which are available to you as visitors of the Library:

Access to the Library catalogue

The Library catalogue can be searched from computers within the Library, as well as through the internet prior to your visit. There are catalogue terminals on all floors of the Library - look for the computers with black screens which do not require a login. You are welcome to bring laptops, which can be plugged into the mains on the floors of the Library. Please note that it is not possible to access the University's network from within the Library, either from the Library PCs or a laptop, as it is restricted to members of the University for licensing reasons. If you are a member of another institution which participates in eduroam, you may be able to access the eduroam wireless network through your laptop. It should be noted that access under the terms of eduroam does not entitle members of one institution to access the licensed resources of another institution. More information about eduroam at Essex is available from the Computing Service website.

Access to books and periodicals on shelves

Visitors are welcome to use materials within the Library, including periodicals. Current periodical parts are located on the first floor. You are also welcome to use any of the desks or reading areas in the Library to sit and study.

Access to e-resources

Remote access to our e-resources is strictly limited to members of the University of Essex (staff & students). However, many of our e-resources are available on a 'walk-in' basis i.e. in the library building. More information on this service can be found on our Walk-in Databases page.

Scanning services

We offer a free scanning service for visitors. Scans can be sent to email or saved on a USB. Ask at the Library Helpdesk for more information. Please note that any copies you make are subject to copyright law.

Help from Library service points

If you have any questions or problems whilst you are in the Library, please do come to the Library Helpdesk on the ground floor, or ask a member of the roving enquiries team, and the member of staff on duty will be happy to assist you.


Visitors should note the following Library regulations and practices:

The main floors of the Library should be treated as silent study areas. Group work or discussions may take place on the landings or at the area at the foot of the stairs on the Ground Floor. Mobile phones should be switched off in the Library.

Smoking and the consumption of hot food is not permitted in the Library.

The marking and defacing of books is strictly forbidden.

The reservation of seats in the public reading areas of the Library is not permitted. Books and other articles left for any length of time on chairs and tables may be removed by the Library staff. Articles left in these areas at closing time will be cleared away. The Library accepts no responsibility for personal belongings left in the building.

Contact us

If you have any questions or comments about using the Library as a visitor, please email libline, come to the Library helpdesk on the ground floor of the Library in person or contact the us 01206 873192.


The University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
+44 (0) 1206 873192

Quick links