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 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.
Please note: Visitor access to the Main Library is restricted from Monday 27th April to Friday 29th May inclusive during the revision and exam period due to pressure on study spaces for our students. During this period we are unable to admit the following types of visitor:
- Day visitors
- Blue library reference card holders
- SCONUL Access Band R blue library reference card holders
We are also unable to assist SCONUL Access members who wish to register for a library card during this period. . Normal service for these categories will resume on Saturday 30th May 2015
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.
Please note: Visitor access to the Main Library is restricted from Monday 27th April to Friday 29th May inclusive during the revision and exam period due to pressure on study spaces for our students. During this period we are unable to admit day visitors
We are also unable to assist SCONUL Access members who wish to register for a library card during this period (see above). . Normal service for these categories will resume on Saturday 30th May 2015
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
Membership fees for Alumni members are charged at a reduced rate.
Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections
To gain access to the Cadbury Research Library, all researchers need to register on their first visit for a readers's ticket. It is free to visit.
Staff and students at the University of Birmingham can use their ID cards as identification, but if you aren't part of the university, please bring with you a form of identification showing your name, printed address and signature.
List of acceptable proofs of ID
For both address and signature:
For address only:
- Medical Card (with address)
- Bank statement
- Household bills
- 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
- National Insurance card
N.B. You need to bring proof of both address and signature.