Joining and visiting the Library

We have many open access resources that are freely available online, from anywhere, without needing to become a member. External membership provides access to our print collection only. Subscribed online resources are only available to Sussex staff and students. Cards can take up to 3 working days to process. Please wait until you receive an email stating that your card is ready to collect.

Joining the Library

Students, researchers and staff registered at Sussex will automatically have Library membership with their University ID card. If you are a member of the public and wish to use the Library building, access our physical collections, or borrow books, you can apply for annual Library membership through the University Online Shop. Find the most appropiate membership option below or email for guidance.

Apply for library membership

Membership TypesWho is it for?Loan allowanceCharge

Anyone who has graduated from or worked at the University of Sussex. Staff who have retired from the University should email for details.

Alumni membership does not include access to our online databases, this is available through the Sussex Alumni Community pages.

*Graduates returning for the next academic session to continue with PG study can retain their full loan allocation free of charge in the interim period by emailing with proof of an accepted offer of PG study. 

10 Long Loan and 4 Documents Free
External Borrowing Members of the public who wish to borrow books from the Library. 10 Long Loans and 4 documents
External Reference Members of the public who wish to access the building and physical collections, but do not want to borrow items. No borrowing  Free
Reciprocal Membership 5 Long Loans and 4 documents / reference only (dependant on your SCONUL band)
Schools & Colleges

Individuals currently in school or attending an FE institution. You will need to show your college ID card when collecting. See our Schools & Colleges Guide.

No borrowing  Free
  • Membership for partner institutions

    There are several options, depending on how you are studying.

    Students on franchised courses

    If you are a student on a franchised course you will be registered with the University and will have full access to University resources.

    Students on validated programmes

    If you are a student on a validated programme, you can apply for External Reference or External Borrowing membership through the online shop.

    Staff and tutors teaching on validated programmes

    If you are a member of staff or a tutor teaching on a validated programme you are able to apply for associate membership, entitling you to borrow up to 5 long loan and 4 documents at any one time. There is no charge for this service.

  • Visiting faculty based at Sussex

    Visitors to the University who have been formally invited by Human Resources are entitled to use Library facilities once they have collected their University identification card from the Print Unit.

    Visitors to campus units who have not been formally invited by Human Resources are classified as unofficial visitors. You can apply for external membership, please see the Membership options for visitors tab above for more information. Charges for borrowing should be paid on application or can be charged to the unit issuing the invitation by prior arrangement.  

    E to find out more.

  • Access for part-time/placement students, distance learners, full-time postgraduates, academics and full-tie undergraduates at other UK universities

    If you are a part-time or placement student, distance learner, full-time postgraduate or an academic at another UK Higher Education institution you may be eligible to join the University of Sussex Library under the SCONUL Access scheme. Please see the SCONUL website or ask for further information at your home institution.

    Full-time undegraduates may also apply though the SCONUL Access Scheme for reference only access. 

    Once you have been approved for the SCONUL Access Scheme you can then apply online for Reciprocal Library Membership through our online shop.

  • Students attending Access courses in Sussex and Surrey colleges

    Students attending Access courses in Sussex and Surrey colleges may be entitled to join the University of Sussex Library under our reciprocal arrangement. Please contact us for further information.

  • School and college visits

    Individual students

    We are pleased to be able to offer a special Schools & College Library Membership to students studying at local sixth forms and colleges who wish to use our collections to assist with their studies. This Schools & College Membership is a reference only membership which will last for the duration of your studies. We will contact you when your library card is ready to collect.


    The Library also welcomes organised visits from groups of students at local schools and colleges wishing to use the Library and its resources for study purposes. We can provide your students with the opportunity to find out more about a university library and the chance to experience university life. We offer tours of the Library and interactive workshops for your students to gain a greater understanding of the skills needed for study at university level.

    Library tours

    An organised tour of the Library for groups of students takes a maximum of 30 minutes and concentrates on the Library building, its range of spaces and how to use an academic library. Supervised students are welcome to stay in the Library and study, but will only have access to material on the open shelves and the public access library catalogue terminals. We prefer to have a maximum of 10 students on a tour.

    Library skills workshop

    We offer workshops which can last for up to an hour. These include quizzes, search skills exercises, interactive presentations and a display of library materials. Our workshops aim to:

    • raise awareness of the types and range of materials found in an academic library
    • improve search and evaluation skills
    • discuss the issues surrounding plagiarism and referencing.

    If you have groups of students doing the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), these workshops will give your students the opportunity to develop their skills and encourage further research.

    Arranging a visit

    Please note that we cannot offer visits during our peak times or during exam periods. For further information and to arrange your visit, please email

Visiting the Library

  • Accessibility
    • There are steps at the main entrance to the Library, which may be unsuitable for some users. A step-free entrance is located at the north end of the building - follow the signs to IDS. 
    • The lift located at the rear of the building can be used to access all floors except the basement. 
    • There is also a lift providing access to the North Basement. 
    • The Library Service Desk has been fitted with desk top hearing induction loop and is accessible by wheelchair users. There are wheelchair accessible toilets on each floor.
    • Information on support for Library services 
    • Information on any building works that may affect accessibility on campus.
  • Computer use and Wi-Fi via the 02 network

    Visitors can get free Wi-fi access on campus via 02. You can find out how to connect here.

    Two dedicated 'visitor access' computers provide access to many of our Online Resources. For more information on what Online Resources are available to vistors, please see the Accessing online journals and databases as a visitor tab. 

  • Finding library material

    You can use Library Search to locate resources. Select a resource to check the availability and location of library stock. There are dedicated computers to search for resources on every floor, two are opposite the Library Service Desk.

    The Library has three types of collections for print resources; Short, Main and Core, in addition to Audio Visual and document collections. If you have borrowing rights, you will be able to borrow long loan items from the Main collection (see the Membership options for visitors tab above for more information).  Visitors cannot borrow from the Core or Audio Visual collections or Short loan items, but are welcome to browse and photocopy from these collections whilst in the Library.

  • Library Service Desk

    Member of Staff sitting at the Library Info Hub

    The Service Desk is located inside the Library, to the left of the entry and exit barriers. The Service Desk operates during staffed hours and staff at the desk will be happy to help, should you require any assistance.

    The desk is the location for collecting interlibrary loans, requesting and collecting theses, accessing binding materials and stationery, and borrowing headphones as well as for general enquiries.

    Self issue machines are located opposite the Service Desk. 

  • Photocopying and printing is not possible but you can scan with your own device

    Unfortunately because of the system in place at the University, photocopying and printing facilities can only be used by current Sussex staff and students with a Sussex ID. If you wish to scan, the University Educational Enhancement Team recommend the Camscanner app.

  • Using online databases in the building

    Registered external members (including reciprocal borrowers and reference only members) can use many of the Library's online resources as part of a scheme to improve access. This service can only be accessed from within the library.

    What resources can be used?

    We allow access wherever licensing agreements permit us to. Sometimes providers of online resources only allow full members of the University (i.e. staff and students) access. Therefore, we are unable to make these resources available.

    See our list of Online Resources available for visitor access for more detail.

    Where can it be used?

    Within the library there are two dedicated computers available for visitor use. Online resources cannot be accessed by visitors outside of the Library.

    How do I use this service?

    1. Before visiting the Library, check that you are eligible to use this service and that the electronic resource you wish to use is available within this scheme. Please also read through the Library Regulations.
    2. Enquire at the Service Desk about using our 'visitor access' service.
    3. You will need to show your library membership card when you sign up to use the service.
    4. You will also be asked to complete the Visitor Access Sign Up-Sheet held at the Service Desk.
    5. A member of staff will accompany you to one of the visitor access PCs and log you in. 
    6. There are two terminals available for use near the main entrance.
    7. To access, use the Online Resources available for visitor access page.
    8. You will be presented with the list of online resources which are available for use.
    9. You can send information/items to your own web-based email account. To email files to your own account, first save them to the Drive: C:\walkin-temp\ directory on the PC.
    10. Please let staff at the Service Desk know when you are leaving so that we can sign you out.
  • Where to get refreshments

    The Library Cafe, situated just outside of the exit barriers, serves drinks and food. A vending machine and additional seating is also available nearby, where you can consume refreshments that you have brought with you. Hot drinks and bottled water are now allowed into the Library.  However, food is not allowed past the entry barriers into the Library itself. Please refer to the Library regulations above for more information.