Library and URS at Easter

Library closed Thur 29 March to Tues 3 April

The Library and URS Building will close at 17:00 on Wednesday 28 March for the University Easter closure period. We will reopen at 08:30 on Wednesday 4 April. You can always view our full opening hours on our website.

Help while we’re closed

If you need help while we’re closed you can chat online via the blue ‘Virtual Enquiry Service’ box on the Library homepage! This service is staffed by professional librarians working remotely to answer your queries from our website and other information we’ve supplied.

Borrowing over Easter

Revising this Easter vacation? It’s not all bad! The Library makes getting those crucial textbooks even easier for you. It will be ‘business as usual’ with loan periods remaining the same in vacation as all term.

So keep checking your account and renewing your loans unless someone else recalls them. No items will be due back over the closure period and we’ll email you if your loans are recalled! You can return items at the Library even when we’re closed or you can even post them back to us. If you’re ever unsure, you can contact us.

Study spaceEaster chicks

All of the group study rooms in Library@URS will be open from 6pm on Friday 23 March until the start of next academic year (except during the University’s Easter closure period). If you ever need to find study space just check our Study Space map to find a place or use the Free Room Finder online tool which displays rooms available for immediate use.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services



Be fair and share books and space!

Library's 'Looking for study space?' card in red and greyHelp make the Library work effectively by respecting everyone’s right to resources and limited space. It can be as easy as checking when your Library loans are due back or clearing a desk space for other users. And don’t forget there are alternative study spaces on campus too.

Here are some simple suggestions on how to keep on top of your Library account, save time and money, and help provide a pleasant and productive working environment for all:

Please help us share study space in the URS building fairly. It is fine to pop over to the Library building for a book and return to your desk within a short time. However, we think it unfair for students to reserve desks with their belongings for long periods when other students want to use that space.

If you find unattended study places apparently ‘booked’ with clothes, stationery and the like, please ask Library staff for support at either the URS Reception desk by the main entrance or the URS Information Desk next to the Course Collection on the ground floor. We will give you a timed warning card you can place on the abandoned stuff. Put the belongings to one side and sit down. If the owner returns within the hour, they are entitled to the space back. If not, you can sit there. Also ask staff to help explain, should anyone returning after an hour and complain.

Where unattended stuff hasn’t been moved overnight, staff will remove it to URS Reception. If it is not claimed by the next morning, it will be taken to Palmer Reception, the centre for all lost property in the University.

Check out our ‘Using the Library’ and ‘Policies and Rules’ pages for more information.

Alternative Campus Space

Check the ‘FIND STUDY SPACE BEYOND THE LIBRARY’ section of the Library Refurbishment Project homepage for alternative space.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services

How did you use Course Collection and Holds?

White ghostly imagined people sitting at wooden desks. Shelves of books in background.

After refurbishment, Course Collection and the Hold Shelf will return to the Library building and look something like this.

In spring 2017, whilst it was still in the Library building, we surveyed how students used the Course Collection and Holds Shelf. Here’s what you told/showed us could improve things now, whilst both collections temporarily occupy the URS building, and provides insight for their return to a refurbished Library building.

Research methods

We used two different techniques: we collected your opinions using a graffiti wall asking what users of the Course Collection liked about it and what they felt could improve it for them; we also did some behavioural mapping – observing how the space and services were being used. Although Library Refurbishment plans were already established, we felt observational techniques could inform whether plans were on the right track and give us practice on evaluating use of the new spaces for after refurbishment.

Results confirm refurbishment plans

You told us that you liked the Course Collection’s quiet, warm environment, conveniently close to the main entrance, toilets and café (for that all important caffeine fix!) Our observation exercise confirmed this, showing many users chose the space to work quietly – something we weren’t expecting! The planned Library refurbishment includes new toilets and refreshment areas throughout the building, so should bring this convenience to several study areas.

You also told us you’d like more study spaces in the Course Collection, and more sockets. Observation showed that the most Course Collection popular seats had plug sockets for laptops etc and/or were by a wall or divider, suggesting you can concentrate better when you can’t see anyone working opposite. Library refurbishment will deliver more Course Collection study spaces, all with sockets. There will also be individual comfy study carrels to accommodate that desire to study undisturbed.

Hold shelf improvements

A surprise to us was that a third of those went up to the Hold Shelf didn’t collect a book. It was really useful for us to discover where we could improve your experience of finding your hold and understanding what to do. We have now displayed flow-chart posters beside the Hold Shelf to indicate what to do if you do not initially find your hold, and added more labelling to the Enterprise Library catalogue where books are on hold.

Map of Course Collection annotated with coloured lines and arrows

UX technique employs coloured lines on a map to indicate how different people use an area

Our experience of ‘User Experience (UX)’

Observing how library spaces are used has been both fascinating and incredibly useful. We’re reassured our refurbishment plans will improve your experience of using the new Course Collection space and we’ve gained insight into where we can make service and system design more straightforward for you. We’re hoping to use observational techniques in the future to continue to improve library services and spaces. If you’d like to know more about User Experience (UX) techniques at University of Reading Library, please contact Natalie Guest:

Natalie Guest, Library user Services and
Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Inter-Library Loans – research materials delivered to you

Are you currently researching a topic for a dissertation? If so our Inter-Library Loan service maybe able to help you! This service brings you material which is not held in our Library giving you access to a wide range of academic books and journals on request.

If you’re a member of staff or a PhD candidate you can make your ILL request online.

If you’re an undergraduate or taught postgraduate you can make your request in a few simple steps:

  1. Fill in a paper Inter-Library Loan form. Get yours from the Information Desk on the Ground Floor of the URS Building, or download and print an ILL form. Don’t forget to get your request authorised by your supervisor/tutor. They can sign your request form or email us from their University email address.
  2. Attach an ILL voucher to your form. This is a blue sticker available from your school. Alternatively, you may pay for your request at the Information Desk on the Ground Floor of the URS building – a loan or article costs £3.
  3. Hand in your form to the Information Desk and we’ll do the rest.

If you have any questions about requesting an Inter-Library Loan please get in touch with us either at the Information Desk at the URS Building or you can send us an email:

Holly Thomas, Library User Services.

Keep renewing your loans over Christmas!

With textbooks in increasingly high demand even after the end of term, we’ve made sure our policy ensures fair access to all. It will be ‘business as usual’ with all loan periods remaining the same in vacation as all term. This means that items will not be issued to cover the whole Christmas vacation.

Just keep renewing your loans unless or until someone else recalls them … so keep checking your University account! You can even return loans by post if you prefer. If your account is blocked please contact the Library and we will discuss the situation with you.

This means you can place holds on books on loan in vacations. The threat of fines on non-returned books should help Library users return them for you!

What about Christmas holidays and Uni Closure?

We know the short Christmas break also spans public holidays and the Christmas University Closure period (Friday 22 December to Monday 1 January – see our Opening hours page for more information), so we’ve made special allowances. Any journals, 7-day loans or Course Collection items borrowed from Saturday 16 December until the Christmas University Closure will be due back on Tuesday 2 January (by 10:00 for Course Collection items). No items will be due back between Saturday 16 December and Monday 1 January.

Happy holidays!

Holly Thomas, Library User Services



Get your Store and Closed Access requests in soon!

Pine tree covered in snowLast collections before Christmas closure

If you want items kept in areas not accessible to Library users or members of the public before Christmas make sure that you get your requests in on time!

  • Off-Site Store will need to be requested before 08:30 on Thursday 21 December.
  • Closed Access items will need to be requested before 10:30 on Thursday 21 December.

Normal service will resume on Tuesday 2 January with the first Closed Access collection on that day and the first Store collection on Thursday 4 January.

For more information and detailed instructions on how to make Closed Access and Store requests, check out the ‘Requesting items from Store and Closed Access‘ information page.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services

Library/URS buildings open additional weekends in vacation

Christmas presentsThe University is pleased to confirm that, following student feedback, we have made arrangements for the Library and URS buildings to be open for two additional weekends during the forthcoming Christmas vacation period as follows:

  • Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December (09:00-17:00)
  • Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 December (09:00-17:00)

The Library will be open for access to printed books with self-service borrowing and returns.

The URS Building will be open for study (including use of PCS) and self-service borrowing and returns from Course Collection.

Both buildings will be supervised by our Security team. For any Library-related queries, students can seek advice from qualified staff using our online chat service, accessible from the Library homepage.

Full details of Library and URS Building opening hours, including vacation times, are available online.

We are currently working on finalising our opening hours for the Easter vacation period and will confirm details nearer the time.

Full details of the Library refurbishment, including FAQ, project summary, latest news and study space links, are available on our dedicated project website:

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator for
University Communications

Book it, Borrow it! Introducing Course Collection.

What is Course Collection?SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Course Collection consists of high demand and essential reading list materials suggested by your lecturers and is located on the ground floor of the URS Building.

Most items are available to borrow but a few items can only be used within the section.

So how does it work?

  • Borrow 2 items at a time
  • 6-hour loans
  • Overnight loan on items borrowed after 16:00
  • Weekend loans on items borrowed after 16:00 Friday

Book the book!

Did you know you can book Course Collections items for use on a specific day? Book up to two items on our Library catalogue up to seven days in advance. Just click the “Book a Course Collection Copy” link.

bookingsChoose to pick up your book between the following times:

  • Daytime: 10:00 – 11:00
  • Overnight: 16:00 – 17:00

Items booked for collection between 16:00 – 17:00 on Friday will be due back the following Monday at 10:00.

Remember to always check your receipt for the return time!

Fines for overdue Course Collection items are 80p per hour or part of an hour.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services



Library recall notices – check your clutter!

If you’re using Office 365 to access your University email account remember to check your clutter folder regularly. Some Library communications such as urgent recall notices maybe sorted into your clutter folder, so please be vigilant.

To ensure these emails are automatically sorted into your Inbox in future, either right click on the message and choose ‘Mark as not clutter’, or just drag it to the Inbox. These recall notices are important reminders that you need to return checked out items sooner than the original due date, otherwise fines of 80p per item per day will be incurred on your account. Find out more about borrowing from the Library here.

Holly Thomas, Library User Services



Library refurb: 2nd/4th Floor Information Desks relocate

Plan of 2nd Floor

2nd Floor Information Desk

Plan of 4th Floor

4th Floor Information Desk

Library staff are still here to help you on the 2nd and 4th Floors of the Library, Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00, even though we have moved our Information Desks! Come and find us on the north (Palmer building) side of the building. We’re now closer to book areas where you might need help finding things, but away from areas where building works may take place. We expect to be here until summer 2018.

The Ground Floor Help Point remains by our entrance, as before.

Stay up-to-date

Keep checking the Library blog for the latest refurbishment news and updates. For more information on the Library refurbishment, please see our dedicated Library Refurbishment Project page.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Understanding your reading lists – info tip

Studetnt working on a laptop on the 5th floor

Many lecturers issue students with a reading list containing references to books, journal articles and other useful materials to help with assignments. There’s lots of help available to ensure you find what is on your reading list and successfully complete your work.

Some reading lists can be very long. Check the Study Advice guide on managing academic reading for help on reading in a focused and selective way.

Online reading lists

To improve your learning experience, the University has invested in an online reading lists system. These lists are accessible online via Blackboard and the internet, giving you real-time availability of University Library print material and links to online resources such as e-books, e-journal articles, external webpages and embedded multimedia. You will also be able to access scanned extracts of key readings directly from your reading list.

For a quick guide on how to get the most out of your online reading list, watch our video.

[jwplayer file=” Lists/media/52c0cffa-7ad3-4205-85b2-491f5c7ad10d/Introduction%20to%20your%20online%20reading%20list.mp4″]

How to find the items on your reading list (paper or online): start with the catalogue!

Start with our advice on understanding your reading list. This guide explains how to identify the different kinds of references and successfully search for them on Enterprise, the Library’s catalogue.


  • If you cannot find a book you might have mistyped your search – check the spelling of your search terms.
  • There might be a mistake, or typing error on the reading list – try searching for a few key words from the title.
  • If you have an online reading list, click on the title of the item to find real-time information about availability and where in the Library the item is located.

If you need further help searching Enterprise for a reading list item, ask at a Library information desk, or get in touch with your Liaison Librarian.

Getting hold of the books you need

When books are in high demand there are several ways you can ensure you get hold of the books you need by:

  • Placing a hold on a book
  • Booking an item in Course Collection
  • Accessing e-books

Placing a hold on a book

If a book you want is out on loan to someone else you can place a hold on (reserve) the book using Enterprise. To find out more about how to place holds watch this video.

You can see your place in the queue, if there is one, and can cancel your hold by logging into your account on Enterprise.

You will receive an email when your hold is available. You can then collect your hold from the Holds area within the Course Collection on the ground floor of the Library. There are detailed instructions on the Library website.

Booking an item in Course Collection

You may borrow two Course Collection items at a time. All items taken from the Course Collection must be issued, even if you only want to read them elsewhere in the URS Building, including the study spaces directly outside the Collection. You can issue and return items at the Self-Service Points in the Collection. There are photocopying facilities within the Course Collection if you do not wish to borrow.

If a book you need is in the Course Collection, you can book it to ensure that you can use it at a time convenient to you. You can book up to two Course Collection items for the 10:00, 16:00, and weekend loan (16:00 on Friday) slots. Booked Course Collection items can be collected from the Ground Floor Information Desk in the URS Building.

More detailed instructions on how to book a Course Collection item are available on the Library website.

You don’t always have to borrow a print copy: accessing e-books

e-book search filterThe Library provides access to many e-books and these can be found through Enterprise, in the same way as print books. You can filter your search results to only show e-books by selecting the ‘Online’ access and ‘Book’ format options from the menu on the left hand side of the screen.

To read the e-book click on “Click here for online access to this book” and then just log in with your University username and password.

For advice on using our different e-book formats, see our e-books guide.

What if something on my list isn’t in the Library?

The Library contacts all schools and departments to request reading lists before the start of each course. When lists are sent to us, we try to ensure we have all the items on the lists. A lecturer may recommend you buy your own copy of a book, or it may be readily available to you elsewhere, such as in a departmental resource centre.

Please tell your Liaison Librarian if an item on your list is not held in the Library and your list does not indicate it is available elsewhere.

If the item you need is in the Library, but there is high demand for it and you feel there are not enough copies, contact your Liaison Librarian, who can arrange for copies to be placed in the Course Collection. Your Liaison Librarian may also purchase extra copies, if appropriate, or an e-book version, if available.

Alternatively, consider going beyond your reading list by searching Enterprise for a particular topic or looking on the shelves for books with similar Call Numbers.

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information

This tip was written by Kerry Webb, Associate Director (Academic Liaison and Support).

Enterprise upgrade 26-27 July: some services disrupted

Fire extinguisher hung on wall behind grinning, enigmatic but cheeky blighter.

Systems Team Manager Sam is ready to fire-fight any possible blips after the Library systems upgrade, over-night on Wednesday 26 July.

Following on from our recent upgrade to Enterprise, our Library Catalogue, we need to do a bit more work to give us a robust, reliable system and take advantage of some new features. Whilst we do this Enterprise may be unavailable on Wednesday 26 July, between 15:00 and midnight.

You will still be able to …

  • Search the old Library catalogue, Unicorn to access book locations and some E-resources.  Or try Summon for some other E-resources.
  • Pop into the Library until 17:00 or ask at the URS Information Desk about your account, pay fines etc.

But you won’t be able to …

  • access your online Library account to renew your loans or pay fines.

This work should have finished by Thursday 27 July, but the catalogue will still be ‘at risk’ on that day as the Systems Team test the upgrade.  We will be sure to inform you if there are any other changes to the service that may occur.

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager for
Sam Tyler, Library Systems Manager