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How to use the Library: Access Schemes (including SCONUL)

Our professional team of staff offer a wide range of services to all QMU students, staff and visitors. From help with joining and borrowing; enquiry service, interlibrary loans and photocopying as well as subject support from Liaison Librarians.

SCONUL and Other Access Schemes

Access to printed resources in other libraries can be arranged through co-operative membership schemes, application forms or letter of introduction. It is advised that you check with QMU Library before visiting another library to ensure you have the correct documentation to avoid disappointment.


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
  • or a full-time postgraduate

You may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries.

For full details of the SCONUL Access scheme see their website.

Edinburgh Libraries Passport Scheme

The Edinburgh Libraries Passport is a card which tells the library you are visiting that you are a genuine information seeker and that your requirements cannot be dealt with at your own library. It is of particular benefit to students and staff who are trying to obtain reference access to some of the specialist libraries in Edinburgh that are not members of other schemes such as The Royal College of Surgeons library.

Click here for more details of libraries participating in the scheme. Application forms are available at the Service Desk who can also issue you your card.

Access to the National Library of Scotland (NLS)

Staff and students can apply for a library card. This can be done in advance of visiting. Please see here for details. The NLS can provide access to unique material not available elsewhere.

Access to SCOTBIS (Scottish Business Information Service) at the NLS

QMU Library is a subscriber of SCOTBIS. QMU students have access to the SCOTBIS website and can also use the extensive collection of printed resources relating to business information available at the NLS. See entry above.

Letter of Introduction

To visit libraries which are not participants in the above schemes (e.g. in the Republic of Ireland), access may be given at the discretion of the Librarian at the library to be visited.

A 'Letter of Access' may be provided by QMU to facilitate this. If you require such a letter, please complete the following form and return it to QMU Library allowing enough time for the 'Letter of Introduction' to be sent to you.

If you are unsure about access to any library, please contact the for more information or ask at the Library Helpdesk.