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University Library Service & Coronavirus (COVID-19) : FAQs

FAQs about the university libraries  

1. How will I find out about changes to library services?

Read these FAQs for updates on library services.  Information on Penryn Campus Library services may be different to Exeter campuses, so please read the Cornwall Library Service Updates.

2. Are the Libraries open? New

Forum Library and St Luke's (Haighton) Library are open to current staff and students only Monday -Friday between 08:00 with last entry at 19:15. If you are in another category please get in touch:

Old Library is open Monday - Friday 08:00 - 19:15, see Bill Douglas Cinema Museum and Special Collections for their opening hours. 

3. What services are operating? New

  • You can browse for and borrow a book using the self service machines.
  • You can book a study desk in advance online. You can only sit down if you have booked online in advance.
  • There are printer/copiers in operation.  Please reduce printing wherever possible.
  • AccessAbility rooms must be booked in advance via .  They can only be used by students registered with the AccessAbility service.

4. What must I consider before visiting? New

  • Bring your Unicard (swipe access in operation at St Luke’s (Haighton) Library)
  • Book your desk before you arrive
  • Clean down before you sit down (cleaning stations throughout the libraries)
  • Bring your own device (no computers in libraries)
  • Wear a face covering in libraries (unless exempt)
  • Reduce printing, consider if you need to print, if so use the MOBILE ME print queue

5. What can I expect? New


Forum Library, the entrance in Level +1, the doors will unlock at Swipe access will allow access between 08:00-19:15 (last entry)

St Luke’s (Haighton) Library, the entrance remains the same, the access for the building is between 08:00-19:15 (last entry)

Limited numbers

Staff will be monitoring live data to ensure the new occupancy limits are not breached.  If there are too many people in the library you may be asked to wait before entering.

Help Points

Digital front line support is available 08:00-20:00 M-F and 10:00-18:00 S-S

Physical Help Points will have staff available between 09:00-17:00, if it is safe to do so and subject to limited availability.

Furniture and PCs removed

Excess furniture  and PCs have been removed to enable the libraries to receive covid sercure status.  The library spaces look different.

Here to help team

There will be ‘Here to help’ staff to help everyone safely navigate their route around the campuses.  

6. How do students book a study desk? New

Book online , you must book before you arrive.  Book up to 1 week in advance, up to 5 sessions per week and you must clean the study desk before use.

Bookable sessions:

  • Morning            08:00 – 11:30
  • Lunchtime        12:00 – 15:30
  • Afternoon         16:00 – 19:15

7. How do I book an AccessAbility room?

AccessAbility rooms must be booked online via:


8. How do I request material if I am self-isolating, studying remotely, or unable to come to the library in person?

Please fill in the Request print material form and library staff will supply:

  1. Links to e-books or online articles, where available
  2. PDF scans of chapters, articles or pages, from print material
  3. Print books or audio-visual material, where no digital copy is available
  4. Some reference material, restrictions apply

Library teams are operating at a reduced capacity during COVID-19 and may not be able to fulfil all requests.

9. What about postal loans?

Postal loans are offered as part of the request service above.

10. What about borrowing print material from other libraries? 

Digital document delivery requests are being fulfilled.  Interlibrary loans for print format material are suspended.  Inter campus loans (between Exeter and Penryn) have been suspended. 

11. Returning books

Outdoor return points 

  1. Book return drop box at entrance to Old Library on Streatham Campus.
  2. Book return letter drop box at the side entrance to Haighton Library on St Luke's Campus. 
  3. These boxes will be emptied once a week.  Please let us know if they are full. 

Indoor return points

  1. Forum Library drop box (located in the Forum Street)
  2. Automatic return machine located near the Forum Library Help point
  3. Automatic return machine located within St Luke's (Haighton) library entrance corridor

Mail Room (Old Library Building) library drop off point 

Use the NEW: mail room collections form. When you log in, look for the green button in the top left corner.  Bookings will be available TUE, WED and THU.  Please add "Library book drop off" to the online form. Step by step instructions.

Pick up (contact free) collection within Exeter

Email and we will arrange "contact free" collection.  Bookings will be available on TUE, WED and THU.  Books must be placed in plastic bags, clearly labelled and left in front of the property.  Further details are available when you get in touch.

Return by post

Parcel Force collection service.  Contact to see whether we can arrange a Parcel Force collection.

12. What about fines?

No fines will be charged for overdue items and all existing fines have been waived.

13. What about recalls?

Automatic library catalogue recalls are suspended.  Please contact the library if the book you need is currently out on loan.

14. What about the SCONUL Access scheme?

The SCONUL Access scheme has been suspended. Check the SCONUL Access website for updates.

15. What about Alumni, External borrowers and other visitors?

The libraries remain closed to everyone apart from current staff and students.  Only staff and students have access to the booking system for study spaces online.

16. What about ‘Walk in-access’ to electronic resources for visitors?

This service is suspended until further notice.

17. Can I still use the electronic resources?

Yes. All our electronic resources such as ebooks, journals and databases are available in the usual way to current staff and students.  Just login with your University username and password for access.  If you need help, use our Electronic Resources LibGuide or get in touch via email or chat service. 

18. Can I still suggest new books?

Yes, students can still suggest books via the Book Suggestion Scheme, and staff can send in orders as usual, however we are only ordering ebooks. Items must be essential for teaching or research.  Students and staff can contact their Liaison Librarian for help finding digital alternatives to print material which is unavailable.

19. Where is a good place to start to find resources to help me with my research?

Take a look at your subject libguides.  You will find lots of information to guide you to relevant online resources for your subject area.

20. I am trying to complete an assignment remotely and need some advice on the library resources.  Who can help me?

Please contact your Liaison Librarian who will be able to advise you. The team are setup to support you remotely and can help via email or scheduled online 1:1 chats. 

21. How can I contact the Library with queries?

Contact us by email or chat with us online.


FAQs about COVID-19 and health

1. What do I need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Please read Coronavirus (COVID-19) - what you need to know by Public Health England, the latest Government advice and the social distancing advice.

2. What if I am unwell? 

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following; high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.  Check the NHS website.  

3. What University support and guidance is available?

The University's Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and advice pages are the central point for all University updates relating to the Coronavirus.




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