Library Services and COVID-19

Last updated 19 February 2021

This page will be kept up to date with the latest information about using our library services.

Following Scottish Government guidelines, our libraries are open for essential access for current students and staff only.  

The new restrictions state browsing and access to books on library shelves will be suspended until further notice. You can still book study spaces and request books for collection.  

Helpdesks are closed. For help, please email or call 0131 455 3500.
Note that you will need to swipe your student or staff card to enter the building, or use the intercom to call security if you have any access issues.

Other safety measures for your health and wellbeing will continue as below. This includes one way routes to enter and exit, hand sanitiser, booking systems and wearing a face covering. See photos at What's different in our libraries? 

Resource booker logo - image of pointing finger and tick box

Book online in advance

You must book a study space online in advance using Resource Booker. This is important so that we can manage numbers for safety and physical distancing.

See Resource Booker help video and instructions. Study spaces will be two metres apart, and study rooms are closed (apart from Room 5 and 6 at Merchiston). You can book a maximum of two four-hour slots per day, for a total of eight hours. Find full details in our Study Spaces Policy.

Please note that, due to the restrictions, you are not allowed to access and browse physical collections. Browsing is possible virtually using LibrarySearch.

Book your study space at

Click and collect your books

Place a request online before you visit, and you will receive an email when you can pick up the books from the collection point near the helpdesk in each library.

You can request on shelf items from your own campus library or other campus libraries. Due to restrictions, you cannot currently request items that are on loan to other users, and limited staffing on campus and quarantine procedures may mean that requests take longer than usual.

  • Books available on the shelf at the same campus should be ready to collect within one to two working days. 
  • Books from other campuses should be ready within three working days.
Remember that we have nearly 200,000 ebooks and millions of journal articles which you can use from off campus – see Finding and borrowing books.


Go to Click and Collect instructions
Student at Craiglockhart campus wearing a face mask and holding a coffee

Visiting safely

We all need to follow government guidance to protect ourselves and others.

  • In line with Scottish government guidance, face coverings are required by law at all times while you are in our libraries (apart from those exempt). Some will be available at campus entrances but please remember to bring your own.  
  • When you arrive, you’ll see guidance and equipment for cleaning shared computers and study desks. It is your responsibility to plan time in your booking to clean before and after you use shared resources.
  • Contactless payments only. We will not be able to accept cash payments for fines or print credit top ups.
  • The SCONUL Access scheme is currently suspended. Access is restricted to current students and staff only. 

Please do not visit our libraries if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus.


Can’t visit our libraries?

We may be able to post books out to you. Our Postal Loans Service is normally only for those outside Edinburgh or on placement, but we have temporarily extended this service to all UK-based students and staff to support those unable to come to campus. 

If you have any questions, please email us at

Find out more about Postal Loans

Other services

  • Access to the Edward Clark Collection and the War Poets Collection is suspended until further notice.
  • Our inter-library loan service is currently limited to processing electronic requests only. Due to the partial suspension of the BL on Demand service, it may take significantly longer to process your requests. Please have this in mind when planning your work and research for which you may require the inter-library loan service.  
  • The Digital Extracts Services is currently limited to providing material already in our database. See Digital Extracts Service.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I borrow Library books?

Following Scottish Government guidance, there is currently no access to browsing library shelves. Request books in advance using Click and Collect and you will receive an email when they are ready for you to collect. 

How can I return my Library books and laptops?

You can return your books and laptops to libraries during opening hours. You can return items to any of our libraries.  Remember that you will need your student or staff card for swipe access to all campuses.

Note that one way entry and exit systems will be in operation, and see University-wide guidance at Life on Campus.

Please be aware that books returned to student accommodation may take up to a week to be removed from your Library record.

When do I need to use Resource Booker to book a space in the library?

You must book a space to:

  • Use study desks/computers

You don’t need to book a space to:

  • Pick up books that you have booked in advance using Click and Collect. These can be collected from a shelf near the entrance.
  • Borrow and return loan laptops using the Lapsafe machines.
  • Return books by putting them into a drop box near the entrance.
  • Release items from printers with your student card (although if you need to use a computer first, you will need to book it).

Can I borrow laptops from libraries?

Yes, self service laptop loan is now available on all campuses. In response to student feedback, we have extended loan periods and you can borrow laptops for up 14 days. This loan will auto renew, see Automatic Renewals.

Find more details at Laptops to Loan.

Can I return my books or laptop by post?

Yes, you can post books back to our libraries. 
Please don’t post laptops – contact 

Library addresses

 Craiglockhart Library 
Edinburgh Napier University 
219 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH14 1DJ
Merchiston Library 
Edinburgh Napier University 
10 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH10 5DT
Sighthill Learning Resource Centre 
Edinburgh Napier University 
9 Sighthill Court 
Edinburgh EH11 4BN 

Will I be fined if I can’t return my Library books or laptops? 

You will not be fined for any overdue items due to Library closures. See our Fine Appeals policy for information if you are unable to return items promptly due to illness or other extenuating circumstances. 

If you are having any difficulties with returning books or other items, please email or call 0131 455 3500.

How can I get help from Subject Librarians?

Following COVID-19 guidance, staff presence on campus will be limited.

See help for your subject at Subject Guides. Find contact details for your subject librarian at My Librarian.

Subject Librarians organise a variety of online training sessions and drop in events. Find out what’s on using the Training and Events Calendar.