Accessibility statement

Information for new students

Welcome to the Library

The Library will play a big part in your experience while you’re at York. There’s a lot to take in if you’re new, and we’ll take you through some ways to get started on this page with a step-by-step Library To-Do List.

1. Order a Book Takeaway 

You can get books all kinds of ways at York. You’ll find most of what you need via our Reading Lists in the VLE at first, but when you want to start to build your knowledge of a subject and do more independent research, the library has literally millions of books, journals and databases. 

YorSearch is our catalogue - search by keyword and find out what we have on any topic. It will give you links to ebooks when we have them, and for print books you can go and fetch them from the shelves yourself or use our Book Takeaway Service to have an item sent to you in the post, or a chapter scanned and emailed to you. If there’s a book you need what we don’t already have, just let us know

Academic writing is about so much more than books: YorSearch will also show you  journals, newspapers, government papers, audiovisual materials and a lot of other things besides. It also allows you to search our archive material, or you can use the Archives catalogue Borthcat to explore this directly, alongside supporting information.

A huge amount of what we have is online. The Subject Guides have been put together by your Academic Liaison Librarians; there’s one for each Department. Here you’ll find the databases we think are most useful for your particular subject and area of study.

2. Book a Study Space

The Library is not just its resources. It’s a space to work, to collaborate and sometimes to socialise too. 

The main library buildings are on Campus West. You enter the library through the Morrell, which has four floors and most of our books. Turn right to the Burton for silent study and archives, or left to the Fairhurst for group study and flexible furniture. Here’s a couple of videos to get you situated:

Find out more about all the different kinds of spaces we have, and to find the link to book your study space, go to our Study Spaces page.

To study in the Archives, you’ll need to book an appointment and request your materials in advance. You can do that by emailing borthwick-institute@york.ac.uk. We also have a Library at King’s Manor, and the York Minster Library, both of which are in the City centre.

And if you can’t get to campus, there’s always Library Home From Home: Zoom backgrounds, an online feedback wall, and the incredibly popular Sounds of the Morrell #StudyWithMe video… You’d be amazed how much putting it on through headphones can help you concentrate while you're studying!

3. Ask Us Anything 

We can’t stress enough how much we want you to ask us questions. Absolutely no one expects you to know how things work already, so just get in touch with us to find out. There must be something you’d like to learn more about: in fact, our challenge to you is to ask us a question right now

You can use our Chat Service at any time of the day or night, you can visit our Help Desks in the Morrell and King’s Manor Library, or just send us an email. You can also ask us questions on social media, or send over a DM: you’ll find us on Instagram and on Twitter, and those are both great places to keep up to date with library news, library views, and #UoYTips. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways to find information out for yourself too. Check out the Visiting Us page for the latest state of play around coming in to our buildings, have a look at our YouTube channel for video guidance on all sorts of things (including our new comprehensive guide to the Library: How It All Works), and our online Skills Guides allow you to learn in your own time and at your own pace. We provide videos, slides and interactive tutorials to help you develop your information skills, learn to code, work with data and get creative with digital technologies.We’ll also show you how to follow good academic practice and develop your digital skills for effective reading, note-making, essay writing and problem solving.

We offer workshops every week throughout term-time to help you enhance your academic and digital skills. Our digital skills training programme includes termly sessions on topics including reference management, critical skills, and designing presentations. Look out too for our weekly Digital Wednesdays where we get digitally creative: this term we’ll be looking at digital tools to help you get the edge in your first year, and you’ll also get to play with video and audio editing, coding, and game design. Find out more on our training page.

Finally there’s one more place to find out information on how things work: #UoYTips. 

#UoYTips

Search #UoYTips on TwitterInstagram, and the Library website for tips and advice from the Library, IT and YUSU, on making the most of life at York. Remember to share your own tips too! Find out more on our #UoYTips Guide

If you'd like more detailed information on the Library's services and facilities, our introduction guide is available online: