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

Are the Libraries open? 

Library buildings are closed and access to print material is not available.  The Library is open online and library staff are working remotely to support you.   You can contact us via email or chat (see below). The University is monitoring updates on coronavirus closely and any updates to library services will be added here.  

How will I find out about changes to library services?

We will update these FAQs to reflect any changes to library services.  Information on Penryn Campus Library may be different to Exeter campuses, so check the Cornwall Library Service Updates page for details. Please also see the University update pages, which are acting as the central point for advice on all aspects of University services.

How can I protect myself and others?

Please follow PHE advice and the latest Government advice.  All public spaces on campus are now closed. When you have to make an essential trip outside your home, please follow the social distancing advice from Public Health England 

What if I am unwell? 

If you have a temperature,  cold or a cough, please help minimise the spread of infections stay at home.  If there is a risk you have the Coronavirus, you must self isolate and follow PHE advice  

What should I do with library books?

Please keep library books while campus remains closed.  This is the safest option for you and helps keep library staff safe, as well.  If you cannot keep library books, please read the FAQs below.

Can I return books, while campus remains closed, if I am moving out of university accommodation in Exeter?

Please leave library books in your accommodation and clearly label with a note "Return to Forum Library."  Email and we will clear the books from your library record and make a note that items were left in university accommodation during COVID-19 outbreak.  The facilities team will return these books to the library.

Can I return books, while campus remains closed, if I am moving out of private accommodation in Exeter? 

Email and we may be able to arrange "contact free" collection from your private accommodation.  Timed slots will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Books must be placed in plastic bags, clearly labelled and left in front of the property.  Further details will be available when you get in touch.

How do I return books while campus remains closed, if I live away from Exeter? 

If possible, please refrain from returning books by post while the campus is closed From 26 March, all postal deliveries (including returned library books) are being stored.  If you have returned books through the post, please email and we will clear the books from your library record and make a note that this item was returned by post during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

We hope to have either a parcel force remote collection or royal mail free post return service in place once some areas on campus re-open.

What about fines?

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

What about recalls?

We have suspended recalls

What about borrowing from other libraries? 

Inter-site loans between Streatham and Penryn have also been suspended, as well as postal loans.  Inter-library loans of print material are no longer available.   The SCONUL Access scheme has been suspended. If you have any queries, please email or use our online chat service.

Can I still use the electronic resources?

Yes. All our electronic resources such as ebooks, journals and databases are available in the usual way.  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. We are working with publishers to make more resources available as soon as possible. Updates will be added on the Latest Resources Updates page.

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 at present. Items should be essential for teaching and research activity. All users can contact their Liaison Librarian for help in finding digital alternatives to print material.  

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 there to guide you to relevant online resources for your subject area.

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 all setup to support you remotely and can help via email or via scheduled online 1:1 chats. 

How can I contact the Library with queries?

Please email us at or use our online chat service.


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