Information for students

Get started with the Library

Starting university can be a little daunting. There’s so much to find out and before you know it you have your first assignment due. But where do you start? One of the first places to check out is the University Library. So to make things easier, we have pulled together the essential information you need to ‘Get Started’ - a quick guide to using the Library for students.

Find a place to study

There are now over 400 bookable learning spaces available in the Information Commons, Western Bank Library and the Health Sciences Library. You can also book a space in a number of teaching rooms across campus. In addition, the Students' Union is offering a selection of drop-in spaces. For a full list, please visit the Learning Spaces web page.

Virtual Library Commons

Our "Come Together, Write Now" sessions are now open to all students.

The Virtual Library Commons is the Library’s online learning space, it is the virtual alternative to booking a space in the Information Commons
These virtual sessions will help you focus on your work, providing the time and space to come together and support each other. You can view our upcoming sessions and book a place here.

Wellbeing Wednesday

Every Wednesday, a member of the Wellbeing Team will be joining the Virtual Library Commons.

During the break, details of bookable appointments will be made available. You may decide to book an appointment to discuss a particular wellbeing concern, find out more about the Wellbeing Service and how it can support you, or use the session to debrief after an intense day of study and help you begin to unwind.

Library spaces

Spring Term Update
Access to the Information Commons and Western Bank Library is available in bookable slots.

Access to Western Bank Library is currently available in bookable slots of up to 3 hours (Monday-Friday, 9.30am- 12.30pm, 1.30pm - 4.30pm).

Access to the Information Commons is currently available at the following times:

  • Monday - Friday: 9.00am - 2.00pm, 2.00pm - 7.00pm, 7.00pm - 12.00am (last bookable space at 11.30pm)
  • Weekends: 11.00am - 2.00pm, 2.30pm - 6.00pm

Access to the Health Sciences Library at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital will be available from Tuesday 20th April in bookable slots (Monday-Friday, 9.15am - 1.00pm, 1.00pm - 4.45pm.)

For the latest Library information, please visit our Spring term update.

Accessing your recommended reading

You should have a list of recommended reading for most modules - look for the Reading List (Resource List) link in the menu on your Blackboard module. If you can't see an online Reading List in Blackboard ask your tutor about recommended reading for your course.

You can access the reading list system directly and from within Blackboard. 

Searching beyond your recommended reading

The University Library provides discovery and access to extensive digital and print collections. Find wider reading for your assignments - a single search in StarPlus will enable you to search across e-books, books, journal articles and more. Find out more by watching our Using StarPlus video.

Requesting an ebook.

Research skills: getting started

Information and digital literacy

These online tutorials, videos and guides will support you in your studies:

Help & Support

  • For general enquiries, contact Library Help (by email, by phone 0114 222 7200, by Live Chat), or speak to a member of library staff.
  • Each department has a librarian and you can find the name of yours here. Contact them for advice about finding reading for your studies or with any other questions you have relating to library support for your course
  • If you’re looking for a book or article the Library doesn’t have, contact and we’ll do our best to help you


Discovering is the literacy which enables learners to develop search strategies and utilise a broad range of generic and discipline specific resource discovery tools.

Online Tutorials



Understanding is the literacy which enables learners to find meaning and apply context.

Online Tutorials



Questioning is the literacy which enables learners to analyse, evaluate, interpret and think critically about information.

Online Tutorials



Referencing is the literacy which enables learners to acknowledge the work of others, building on their own analysis of existing knowledge.

Online Tutorials



Creating is the literacy which enables learners to blend ideas and capture new knowledge.

Online Tutorials



Communicating is the literacy which enables learners to succinctly summarise and share their work and ideas.

Online Tutorials