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A brief overview of library services, including services exclusively available to distance learners.

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Distance learning based welcome

Click here for a campus focused welcome

Not registered as a distance learner?

CHOOSE a topic to explore

Studying at home onlineDistance learning servicesGetting helpVisiting the Library

studyingat home online

In this section

  • Using the VPN
  • Discovery Service
  • Subject pages
  • Other resources



Using the University's Virtual Private Network lets you use resources otherwise only available on campus, makes access to resources more reliable, and saves you having to log in to most resources. Setting up the VPN is a simple, one-time process, after which you can log in and use the University network for any academic work whenever you want.Click here for a video guide to setting up the VPN.If you have any questions or want someone to talk you through the setup process, please get in touch.



The EBSCO Discovery Service finds books, ebooks and journal articles from most Library resources from a single simple search. It offers powerful tools to help you quickly to refine your searches and find the most useful high-quality scholarly evidence for your assignments and research.



Your subject page(s) provide links to more powerful most powerful subject resources that go beyond the Discovery Service to find specialist subject information. For law, design and engineering your subject page should be your starting point for every search.You can also contact your Faculty Librarian through your subject pages, for those times when you need truly in-depth subject help.Click here for your Subject page.



Some resources that might interest you include:

  • Online newspapers - including current and global news, and searchable historic news archives
  • Print and online magazines
  • Recorded television services
  • Diverse film and video archives
  • Music and sound resources
  • Art and image databases
  • Statistical and demographic data resources
  • Company and market reports and sector analyses
  • Historical, local, OS, and extensive digital maps
  • Books and academic journals - in print and online

The Library offers a wide variety of products and services that are useful whether you keeping up to date with current affairs or fashions!

24/7 help andsupport

In this section

  • 24/7 help
  • Subject teams
  • Library blog and social media
  • IT support



Our friendly enquiry team and out-of-hours service are here to help you 24/7 every day of the year. Click on the online chat or question mark buttons on the library website to ask us anything library related. You can even book a librarian for a longer online video chat.We can help you to:

  • choose the best eresources to search for your assignments
  • log in and use databases and other eresources
  • find the information you need using eresources
  • evaluate the academic quality of sources
  • cite and reference information you have used



Your subject team, led by your Faculty Librarian(s), are the definitive experts in the information resources for their subject area and will be able to help you find the most obscure and complex information. If you want a video chat with your Faculty Librarian, or for them to demonstrate eresources to you, let them know several dates and times that you are available and they will offer you an appointment.

liblog andsocialmedia


The Library blog offers tips, tricks, news, expert advice on everything from wellbeing and study skills to resource reviews and opinion pieces. Varied and fun, it is a great way to keep up to date with everything library and be introduced to new ideas. Follow @uoplibrary on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for news and updates and links to fun content, including many of our blog posts.



IT Helpers in the Library and the IS Service Desk offer computing support, including:

  • installing and using Windows and other networked software
  • VPN setup and problem troubleshooting
  • account login issues for Moodle
  • other computing issues
You can find current information on known IT problems, phone or chat to an IT Helper online and more through the IS Service Desk.



Everyone learns best in different ways. Whether you prefer to listen to the spoken word rather than read from a page or collage your notes visually, there are a variety of apps that can help.Click here to read more about apps to personalise your learning.If you have any kind of visual impairment, difficulty reading text, or any other specific learning challenges, please let us know as soon as possible because we may be able to make resources, particularly printed books, available in alternative, more accessible formats.Click here for information about what we can offer.


In this section

  • Requesting scanned copies of printed book chapters and articles held in stock
  • Requesting postal loans



You have to register for a library card, including uploading a photograph and completing the process, in order to access all the services we offer to distance learners. This means that you need to register for a library card you never intend to collect for a library you never intend to visit in person. Worse, this means you have to upload a photograph twice during the university registration process in order to complete both your departmental and library registration. Without registering for a library card, the library management system does not realise you exist and won't let us issue books to you or send you scans of articles and book chapters.



We try to ensure that we build reading lists for distance learning courses around ebooks and other electronic information resources but some books are still only available in print. If you need a single chapter from a book we hold in stock and for which there is no available ebook you can ask us to email you a scanned copy of that chapter. You can also ask for a scan of one article from any one issue of our printed journals or magazines that are not available electronically.Click here to visit the Library Distance Learning Services webpage for full details.



Where you need to consult more than one chapter in a printed book, it is sometimes possible for us to post a copy of the book to registered distance learners. You can then keep the book until your course ends or you receive an email from us informing you that someone else has requested the book, asking you to return it. You can post books back to us but we strongly recommend using a signed for postal service to do so, such as ParcelForce48.

visitingthe library

In this section

  • How to find us
  • Accessibilty guidance
  • Visiting safely
  • Finding books
  • Using the library catalogue

Wish you were here!

how to find us


The University Library is in the middle of the campus, situated in leafy Ravelin Park. The main entrance opens onto Cambridge Road but you can also wander through Ravelin Park from the entrance on Hampshire Terrace. We take accessibility seriously and have partnered with AccessAble to provide up-to-date accessibility information.




The University Library is centrally located:

  • easily accessible from all teaching buildings
  • next door to the Students' Union
  • next door to the new Ravelin Sports Centre
  • 5 minutes walk from Gunwharf Quays

Full details about building accessibility, from parking to what to expect when you come through the door is available from the AccessAble website.

to AccessAble

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Please remember your university card when you visit the library so that you can scan in and out through the turnstiles. If you forget your card, you can request a temporary pass from the cardless visit kiosk but this will not allow you to borrow anything.If you have requested books using our Click and Collect service, you can find these in the Reservation collection point shelves to your right near after you enter, near the Library café

READing lists


Your online reading lists show what your lecturers most want you to read. They link to online resources and show how many copies of printed books are in the library and where to find them.

Start with reading lists

using the library catalogue


You can save yourself time by finding the shelfmarks of the books you want to read before visiting the Library. You can use the Library catalogue to find books and ebooks that go beyond your reading lists.

borrowing books


You can borrow books that you want to take away using the self-service kiosks in the Atrium. Leave books you do not want to borrow on a book trolley for staff to reshelve.



Your books will renew themselves automatically. You will be able to reserve books from the start of term. Once a copy has been returned, you will be emailed and given a week to pick up the reserved copy from the reservation collection point. You can also use any ebook version available.



You can return books one at a time using the self-service kiosks in the Atrium. If you are in a hurry, simply post books you no longer want in one of the returns drop-boxes in the Atrium and library staff will discharge them from your library account for you.If you cannot travel in to the library, you can post books to us. We recommend using a signed-for postal service such as ParcelForce48 for this, because you remain responsible for your books until we receive them.

WE're here to help


Hopefully, this whistlestop tour of Library services and facilities has given you some idea about how the Library can help you in your studies. Before you go, remember that friendly Library staff are here to help you. You can chat with a librarian 24/7. You can also email us at any time and we will get back to as soon as we can - often within a few minutes if it's during office hours. Click here for an overview of the ways you can get library help