Information for visitors

If it is your first visit to the Library, please report to our Reception Desk just inside the entrance. You will need to show some form of identification and fill out a form so that we can provide you with a visitor pass. Before visiting the Library, be sure to read our Library regulations.


      • 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 Reception desk and the Information Hub have been fitted with desk top hearing induction loops and are accessible by wheelchair users. There are wheelchair accessible toilets on each floor.
      • Detailed information is available from Disabledgo
      • Information on support for Library services 
      • Information on any building works that may affect accessibility on campus.

Membership options and access

Membership options for visitors and alumni
Membership TypesWho is it for?Loan allowanceCharge
Annual Reference Members of the public not covered by any of the membership categories below No borrowing with this membership FREE
Schools & Colleges

Individuals currently in school or attending an FE institution. Applications need to be endorsed by your school or college. You will not be allowed to use the Library until we have received the stamped application. To apply, please complete this form.

No borrowing with this membership FREE


SCONUL bands A, B & C

Eligible staff and students from particpating institutions.

5 Long Loans and 4 documents FREE



Full time undergraduates from participating institutions.

Reference only FREE
Individual External (5) Any individual with no links to an educational establishment. 5 Long Loans and 4 documents
Individual External (10) Any individual with no links to an educational establishment, who wishes to borrow a larger number of books. 10 Long Loans and 4 documents
Alumni 10 Long Loan and 4 Documents £90 per annum
Individual Educational Any individual who has a link with an educational establishment which does not participate in the SCONUL access scheme. 10 Long Loans and 4 Documents
Corporate 10 Long Loan and 4 Documents

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 are entitled to reference use only. There is no need to apply in advance, but identification (a passport, driving license or University ID card) must be shown. Application forms are held at the Reception Desk.

You may also apply for external membership at the reduced individual educational rate, entitling you to borrow up to 10 long Loan books and 4 documents at any one time. Access to other collections is restricted and you will not be able to borrow from the Short loan, Core or Audio Visual collections, although you may be able to consult them for reference purposes. Some online resources are available to external members, access to these is only available from within the Library building.

For further information, including borrowing charges, please see the Membership options for visitors and alumni tab above.

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 to part-time/replacement students, distance learners, full-time postgraduates and academics at other UK Higher Education institutions

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.

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

The Library welcomes visits from local schools and colleges wishing to 

Open Learning Spaceuse 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 20-25 students on a tour.

Library skills workshop

We offer workshops which can last for 60 to 90 minutes. 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 contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team:

The Library, 
University of Sussex, 

Library information

Info Hub

Member of Staff sitting at the Library Info Hub

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

The Info Hub is the location for collecting interlibrary loans, requesting and collecting theses, purchasing binding materials as well as general enquiries.

IT support is also located at the Info Hub.

Self issue machines are located opposite the Info Hub. If you have borrowing rights, you can use these to borrow books and DVDs.


Visitors should go to the Information Hub to enquire about photocopying

Requesting items that are on loan

How to Request an Item – External Members

  1. Go to the library website home page – Click the Search box in the middle of the page to open Library Search (the library catalogue).External Request Screenshot 1
  2. Type the search terms in the box – eg Hopkins Correspondence Thornton and select Books and Items in the library from the drop down menu.   Click on the Magnifying Glass Icon to conduct the search. Click on the Title of the first search result.External Request Screenshot 2
  3. Once the record for the title appears and the book is on loan click on the Sign In option.External Request Screenshot 3
  4. Select the University of Sussex – non-members option.External Request Screenshot 5
  5. Enter your Borrower Number eg 0123456 which is on your library card and your Surname eg Roberts and click the Login button.External Request Screenshot 5
  6. The Request button will then appear on screen. Click on this blue Request button.External Request Screenshot 6
  7. Click on the second green Request button and your request will be activated.External Request Screenshot 7
  8. The listing will now show that the item has 1 request on it. Continue the same procedure for each item to be requested and don’t forget to log out when finished.External Request Screenshot 8
  9. Once the book has been returned and is awaiting collection for you we will send you an email to confirm.
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 Info Hub.

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.

If you can't find what you require in the Library, you can place an Interlibrary Request to get the item from another library. This can cost between £10 and £15, so it is worth checking availability in your local public library first.

Accessing online databases and journals as a visitor

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 Info Hub about using our 'visitor access' service.
  3. You will need to show your borrower 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 Info Hub.
  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 save information to a USB stick or send items to your own web-based email account (Gmail or your organisation's system for example). To email files to your own account, first save them to the C:\walkin-temp\ directory on the PC.
  10. Please let staff at the Info Hub know when you are leaving so that we can sign you out.

Freely available materials

The following Library Guide brings together a selection of the Open Access resources and freely available online materials that appear our other guides. These digital resources can be accessed by anyone from anywhere, simply browse the tabs to select the type of material you’re after and click on the title of the resource you’d like to access. Find the guide here.

Computer use and Wi-Fi

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. 


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.  Howeveer, food is not allowed past the entry barriers into the Library itself. Please refer to the Library regulations above for more information.

Background and history of the Library

The Library was opened by the Queen in 1964. It was designed by Sir Basil Spence and was one of the first campus buildings to be used. The team, led by Spence, were responsible not only for the building itself but also for the furniture and fittings, including bookshelves, chairs and study spaces. Though protected by Grade II listed status, the Library building has been extended on several occasions since it opened, and recently underwent a substantial £7.4 million refurbishment.

The University Library holds materials covering a wide range of disciplines reflecting the variety and interdisciplinarity of degree programmes and courses that have been taught at the University since it was established.