Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We will not be processing any membership applications until further notice.

SCONUL Access is a co-operative venture between most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland. It enables staff, research students, full time postgraduates and part-time, distance learning and placement students to borrow material from other libraries. Undergraduates who are studying full-time may apply for External Reader membership.

We welcome SCONUL Access members to the University Library. We provide membership in accordance with the expiry date on your SCONUL Access email. After this period you will need to renew your library membership.

Students applying under the SCONUL Access Scheme can use Western Bank Library, Health Science Libraries at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Northern General Hospital and The Ground Floor of The Diamond.  Access for Bands A-C is during library opening hours, access for Band R is during staffed hours only.

There is no access to the Information Commons.

How do I join SCONUL Access?

To join, visit the  SCONUL Access webpage and:

  • Enter your staff/student status and home university and then check which other universities you are eligible to visit. You do not need to make multiple applications if more than one university is being considered
  • Once you have done this your home library will process your request. You must be registered as a library user in good standing (i.e. having no debts at your home library and not having seriously infringed their rules)
  • You will then get an email which, when presented with your ID from your home institution, will allow any host library to identify you as a bona fide member of the scheme. This email can be used at any participating institution.
  • It is recommended that you take proof of your current address and home institution library card
  • External Borrower membership is available to students with SCONUL Bands A, B and C
  • External Reader membership is available to students with SCONUL Access Band R

Applying for a library card

All applications for library membership must be done online and you will be required to upload a recent passport style photograph.

  • SCONUL A/B/C Apply here (not available at the moment)
  • SCONUL Access Band R and SCONUL Summer Vacation Access Scheme Apply here (not available at the moment)

You will be contacted when your card is ready for collection. You can select the Library site from which to collect your card and you will need to bring your home institution library card, proof of identification, proof of address and SCONUL Access applicants are required to provide a copy of their SCONUL email (not required for SCONUL Summer Vacation Access Scheme.)

If you wish to renew your card or you require a replacement because your card has been lost or damaged, please apply online
Applications may take up to three weeks to process and you will be notified when your card is ready for collection.

If you have any enquiries, please contact the Library HelpDesk (0114) 222 7200, visit Western Bank Library or the Health Sciences Library, Royal Hallamshire Hospital during staffed service hours, or visit our online help and FAQs.

SCONUL Summer Vacation Access Scheme

Under the terms of the SCONUL Summer Vacation Access Scheme undergraduate students and postgraduate students following taught courses at U.K. and Irish universities that are institutional members of SCONUL will normally be granted reference use of other university libraries free of charge during the vacations of the host university. If you request admittance to another university library you should be prepared to present proof of your current membership of a university. A current university library card will normally be acceptable, provided that it shows the holder as an undergraduate or taught postgraduate. Sometimes it may be necessary to show evidence of when your course ends: We recommend you check with the other library as your own university library's policy may be different. Please note that in the case of the University of Sheffield Library borrowing rights and use of electronic information services are not included in this scheme.

The scheme is additional to many local arrangements in areas where institutions are close together. It is also distinct from the SCONUL Access Scheme. A SCONUL email is not required for this scheme.

You are strongly advised to check the Library Web pages, or telephone in advance of your visit, in order to be sure about vacation dates, opening hours, and documentation required. Information about participating libraries can also be found on the  website. If you think you may need specialist help to use the Library, please contact us in advance  -

Access to Wi-Fi

If your home university uses Eduroam, you will be able to access the wireless internet;

  • Choose your wireless icon and search for available wireless networks
  • Select Eduroam and click the connect button
  • When asked for your username, type it in followed by (
  • Provide your password and ‘Connect’

Access to e-journals

External Borrowers can access a large number of electronic journals from the University’s portfolio using our “Walk in Access” scheme. Access is provided via dedicated computers based in Western Bank Library and the Health Sciences Library at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the Northern General Hospital.

To register as an authorised walk-in user you must sign and agree to the code of practice (forms are available at all three sites). You are also required to provide proof of name and address and membership of the Library. Please note, access is limited to one hour per user during busy periods.