Student Rights: Using The Library

Welcome back to our new mini blog series on your academic rights as a student!

At the SU we are here to represent your academic interests and improve your education. A key part of this relies on you, as students, being aware of your rights and what you should expect from your academic experience.

To ensure you have all the tools you need to successfully complete your studies, we've created a dedicated page where all my blogs will be in one place should you ever want to check back over things.

Student Rights Hub

The library is a really fantastic resource for all students here on campus and online. In this blog I am going to talk through your access to library books and other library resources to help you make the most of the wide range of services offered.

As a student you are automatically registered with the library, with your college card acting as your library card, meaning you can access all their resources in person and online! LibrarySearch is the online interface for the library services, where you can do a huge range of different things, including search for books, check where these books are located, use eBooks, renew and reserve items, find articles in online journals, look at exam papers and find your reading lists.

The library is open 24/7 for all students to use and has 1390 study spaces, including silent and group study areas alongside a specific room for postgraduate research students. Additional study space is located in the Founder's Reading Room and across campus.

How do I borrow a book?

  • All students are able to borrow books from the library using their college card. As an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student you can borrow up to 25 books at one time, and as a postgraduate research student you can borrow up to 40 books at one time.
  • There are a range of loan lengths for different books, including 24 hours, one week and three week loans, dependent on how in-demand the book you wish to borrow usually is.
  • The High Use section of the Library (on the ground floor) should include copies of all books listed as essential or recommended on your reading list.
  • Just take the books you want to check out to one of the self-service machines located in the library.
  • If you would like to keep your book for longer than originally loaned you can renew a book by either signing into your account on LibrarySearch and clicking renew, by using one of the self-service machines in the library, or by visiting their helpdesk. If another user has reserved the book, you will not be able to renew it.
  • If you return an item after the due date you will be charged a fine. This fine is dependent on the loan length – 50p per hour for a 24 hour loan, 40p per day for a one week loan and 20p per day for a three week loan. If there were mitigating circumstances affecting your ability to return a book, the fine can be cancelled. These mitigating circumstances will need to be approved by your School based on evidence. Come and speak to a member of the library team at the helpdesk or via email if this affects you. 
  • To return a book, simply place the book in one of the automatic return points in the library and if you have any questions visit the library helpdesk.

Awesome! What else can I use the library for?

  • The library employs a number of students every year. If you are interested in working in the library please see the College Job Vacancies website or email library@rhul.ac.uk.
  • Laptops are also available for loan in the library from the self-service machines. You will need your college card and can borrow a laptop for up to six hours, make sure to keep the laptop within the library. The fine rate for late laptop returns is £1 per hour.
  • Past exam papers are available online on LibrarySearch. For most subjects there are past papers from the last five years, however for some subjects there may be fewer papers available. If the paper you are looking for is not available, please contact openaccess@rhul.ac.uk.
  • Multi-functional devices (MFDs) can be found on all floors of the library, you will need your college card to use them. Every student is given £10 per academic term as printing credit. Credit does not roll over to the next term if you don’t use it and if you need more printing credit, you can top up your account.
  • Binding machines are available as well on the ground floor and 1st floor of the library.
  • There are a number of resources available from the library to support postgraduate research students, more details of this can be found here.
  • If you would like a book which isn’t in the library collection or online, you can utilise the library’s Inter-Library loan service to request books in from other libraries. Inter-Library loan requests can be made by completing the form on library search.
  • If you feel there is a book you want in the library that isn’t available, book requests can be made by completing the book suggestion form.
  • There are 15 bookable student rooms located in the library for students to use, you can book these using the library website. Rooms can be booked up to two weeks in advance and for a maximum of two hours per person per day.
  • There are 127 lockers available for use in the library for all students. Keys for these lockers are available at the helpdesk. There are three types of loanable lockers available:
    • four week loans – for PGR students only and located in the PGR Space
    • one week loans – located on the Lower Ground, First and Second Floors
    • 24 hour loans – Lower Ground Floor

Fines are incurred if keys are not returned within the allocated time at 50p per hour.

  • The library also contains the archive services, including access to the rare books collection, check out the website or visit the helpdesk if you’re interested in the archives.
  • The library also organises art exhibitions and students are welcome to go and visit. The exhibition space is open at the same time as the library helpdesk between 9am and 9pm.

Is there additional support available if I have different access requirements?

  • There are two entrances to Emily Wilding Davidson (the big building with the library, opposite of Founder's building), the main entrance at Founder's Square has revolving doors and self-opening doors. The second entrance opposite the Arts Building has ramped access and self-opening doors.
  • There are four lifts in the building and accessible toilets on all floors.
  • The Assistive Technology Suite is located on the first floor of the library and includes adjustable height desks.
  • Six computers have a range of different specialist software installed including Abby Fine Reader, Mindview, My Study Bar, Natural Reader and X Mind.
  • The library can also provide you with additional support if you are registered with the Disability and Dyslexia Services (DDS), including extensions to loan periods, book retrieval services, a library induction, printing on coloured paper, staff assistance and group study rooms.
  • Ten laptops with specialist software are also available for loan from the Disabilities and Dyslexia Service (DDS) Office. These can be lent out to students who are registered with the service.
  • You can arrange an appointment with the Library Customer Services to talk through the facilities and services available, email library@rhul.ac.uk if you feel this could help you.
  • If you are unsure whether you need additional support, contact the DDS which coordinates support for students with additional learning needs. Their office is located in Founder's West, rooms FW143 and FW149. Or you can contact DDS on disability-dyslexia@royalholloway.ac.uk for more information.

The library staff are always keen to get feedback from students! Please submit any feedback, queries or concerns you have via email at library@rhul.ac.uk.

If you would like to discuss anything with our Advice Centre at the SU, including library fines, please email them at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk. They are an independent and confidential service offering impartial advice. Alternatively you can book an appointment via the Students’ Union Helpdesk either in person or by calling 01784 276700.

Kate Roberts // Vice President Education