Become a member

We understand the importance of our libraries and that they are a valuable resource for everyone - from alumni, students and academics from other institutions to members of the public with an interest in research.

Staff and Students from other HE Institutions


Students at other HE institutions are eligible to apply for a 'vacation reference pass', this pass is valid outside term time and allows unlimited access to our libraries and resources on a reference only basis. If you would like to apply, please bring your current University ID card with you on your first visit.

Academic staff

Academic staff from other HE institutions are entitled to a 'reference only card', this card will be valid for 12 months and provides unlimited access to our libraries and resource centres. If you would like to apply, please bring current proof of your academic status from your home institution on your first visit. 

SCONUL Access Scheme

If your institution is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme you may be entitled to obtain a library card from us for either borrowing or reference access depending on your status.  

If you are planning to join us under the SCONUL Access Scheme, you should contact your home library to find out what access you will be entitled to. Please bring a passport-sized photograph with you on your first visit.

Free public membership

Members of the public are able to visit our libraries for reference up to 10 times in a twelve month period. Each time you visit you will be asked for suitable current identification such as a driving licence or a passport. 

We also participate in the Inspire Referral Scheme with almost 3500 Inspire libraries throughout England as well as an expanding group in Northern Ireland. These libraries are all committed to supporting learning in its widest sense and together they provide an open route to the information and inspiration library users are seeking, wherever it may be found.

Fee paying membership

If you wish to use our libraries on a more regular basis you may apply for external membership. For further details please download a copy of our current fees and information sheet (PDF - 318KB) and for an application form, please choose from the

options below;

Membership fees for Alumni members are charged at a reduced rate.

Special Collections card (Cadbury Research Library)

To gain access to the Cadbury Research Library, all researchers need to register on their first visit for a special collections card. 

Please bring with you a form of identification showing your name, printed address and signature e.g. a driving license. If you do not have a driving licence please bring something with your name and signature on it (e.g. passport, cash card, credit card) as well as something with your address printed on it, such as a recent bank statement, utilities bill, medical card, council tax demand, or social security book.

Unfortunately, if you do not have acceptable ID with you then we will be unable to issue you with a special collections card. However, it may be possible to issue you with a temporary ticket which will be valid for one visit only.

List of acceptable proofs of ID

For both address and signature:

  • Driving Licence
  • For address only:
  • Medical Card (with address)
  • Bank statement
  • Household bills
  • Official letter
  • Pension Book
  • Building Society Passbook
  • Disabled Person’s Registration
  • Post Office Savings Book
  • Vehicle Registration Documents
  • Foreign Passports if they have address
  • Official ID cards (with indication as to how you may be contacted and address)
  • Correspondence with University of Birmingham Special Collections

For signature only:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Cheque guarantee card
  • National Insurance card
  • Passport
  • N.B. You need to bring proof of both address and signature.