The University Library has cooperative arrangements with other libraries, allowing our students and staff to visit and use the collections elsewhere.

Our arrangements with other libraries include:

  • local libraries
  • hospital libraries
  • university libraries (SCONUL Access)
  • national libraries

Visiting other university libraries (SCONUL Access)

The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland.

The SCONUL Access scheme allows University of York Library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries belonging to the scheme.

John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Applying for SCONUL Access

Please apply from your institutional email account. You must have no outstanding charges or overdue items with the University Library.

We will confirm your application via email within 24 hours. Your access will be valid for up to three years, or for your period of registration or the length of the course or placement, if earlier.

You can renew if your course or placement continues by submitting a new online application.

Apply online for SCONUL Access

Important information for visiting SCONUL institutions

Undergraduates students can often use the physical resources at other college and university libraries for reference only. IT facilities and electronic library services are not normally available.

You can use the libraries for reference throughout the year.

Access arrangements vary between libraries, but normally you will need to show your University or Library card when you visit.


SCONUL Access provides a free borrowing scheme. If you are one of the following, you may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries:

  • 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
  • a full-time postgraduate

IT facilities and electronic library services are not normally available and you may not be able to borrow from some collections.

Check the websites of individual participating libraries for their opening hours and other local conditions. For example, new tickets may only be issued during office hours, and it is possible that you will need to supply a passport sized photograph. Libraries may also restrict when visitors from other institutions can access their buildings, for example during exam periods.

If you will need specialist help during your visit, please contact the library in advance.

Print off the email confirmation of your SCONUL Access and take this, along with your University Card, to the institution you wish to use. You will be issued with a library card, which will have the same expiry date as your SCONUL Access form.

You will be subject to the regulations of the library you are using and will be responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred. Individual libraries' requirements and borrowing rights will vary.

Your card can be withdrawn if you infringe the rules of the host library.

British Library Boston Spa reading room

Visiting the British Library

The British Library at Boston Spa has a Reading Room which is open to the public. It allows direct access to a vast collection of British Library items in print and electronic formats. We provide a free weekly minibus service to the Reading Room for University of York staff and students - please note this is currently suspended due to the ongoing situation at the British Library.

Find out more

Visiting libraries in York

There are several other libraries in York that you can access:

Library and Information Services are part of the Fountains Learning Centre situated on Clarence Street on the main Lord Mayor's Walk campus.

The library stock comprises books, periodicals and audio-visual materials relevant to college courses.

The library is freely open to all for reference purposes. For non-members York St John, it is possible to join the library for an annual fee plus proof of identity and address.

York St John is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme.

For more information see their website:

You can find your nearest public library via LibraryOn.

The York public library service includes the central lending and reference libraries in Museum Street, and several local branch libraries. Anyone who lives, works or is studying in York can join the library. It is free to join and most services are free.

For more information see their website:

Search Engine is the National Railway Museum's library and archive centre.

The library contains material useful for many aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century history relating to railways, transport, industry, leisure, advertising and even art. Some items are available on open shelves for reference use, whilst others have to be requested from the archives.

You can search the library collections of the National Railway Museum using YorSearch.

You can visit to get help with research on topics relating to the National Railway Museum collections, find a quiet area for study or to access archival material.

For further information, including lists and finding aids for the archival collections, please see their website.

Visiting libraries nearby

There are several libraries across Yorkshire that you may want to access:

The University of York has a reciprocal arrangement with the other White Rose Libraries at the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield.

This allows research postgraduates to apply for membership of their libraries and get the same borrowing rights for printed materials equivalent as the universities' own PhD students. You’ll need to provide proof that you're a York researcher; visit the Library & IT Help Desk, or email to organise this.

Undergraduates may still be able to access the White Rose libraries through the SCONUL Access Scheme.

Health Sciences staff and students on placement can apply for membership of North Yorkshire hospital libraries:

HYMS students and staff also have access to other NHS libraries in the region. Details of these are available on the HYMS Library website.

Other members of the University of York may be able to join the hospital libraries on payment of a fee. Please contact the relevant hospital library for more information.