Frequently Asked Questions

This list of FAQs provides answers to some of the most common questions asked by Birkbeck students at Stratford using the library services at UEL. If you can't find the answer to your query, please contact the Learning Support Advisers.

Q1:  I’m using the self-service machine but it won’t issue the book

  • Go the Helpdesk and ask staff to check your library account.  It could be for one of the following reasons:
  • Your library account has an earlier expiry date than the date on your student card.  Staff can verify your enrolment status and extend the expiry date.
  • A request may have been placed on the book.
  • If you have fines over £25 an automatic block is placed on your account.   You will need to pay the fine before the block can be lifted.
  • Check the loan type.  If the book is a NOT FOR LOAN title you can’t borrow it.
  • You may have reached your borrowing limit which is 15 items.
  • If you are unable to log in to the self-service machine, go to the desk and ask staff to check your PIN number.  Your default pin is 0000.
  • If the problem is still not resolved, contact the Learning Support Advisers on

Q2   Can I book a group-work room at UEL Library?

  • You must have the ID numbers of at least 3 students available including your own in order to make the booking.
  • You may also book the group-work rooms in the Weston Learning Centre at University Square Stratford.

Q3: Can I use all the computers in the Library?

  • You may use the dual login 'PRAIM' computers located on the ground floor of the library and also on the first floor. Click the Birkbeck option and log in using your Birkbeck username and password.
  • Other computers in the library may only be accessed by students who have a UEL username and password.

Q4:  I can’t find Birkbeck books in the catalogue

  • To view Birkbeck books in the UEL Library Catalogue, enter your search terms, on the left of the screen go to Refine my results, go to Collection and select Birkbeck Collection. If Birkbeck Collection is not listed it means that the book is not available.
  • The ebooks listed in the UEL catalogue can only be accessed by UEL students.
  • Birkbeck Library has its own collection of e-books which can be accessed via Birkbeck's library catalogue or through Birkbeck’s elibrary

Q5:  I can’t find a book on the shelf

  • The books are arranged in numerical order by class number and the shelves are numbered.
  • It's sometimes difficult to follow the number sequence or the book may be on loan or in use.  To reserve it, go to the Helpdesk.

Q6:  I need to pay a fine

  • Fines for items taken from the Birkbeck collection at UEL are paid at Stratford according to the UEL pricelist.  Fines for items taken from Birkbeck Library are paid at Bloomsbury.  Information is available from the Birkbeck Library website.
  • Fines can be paid in person, by phone or via the self-service machine.

Q7:  I have lost a book

  • Report the loss to a Learning Support Adviser.
  • You will be expected to reimburse Birkbeck Library with the cost of any lost books. Please contact a Learning Support Adviser who will advise on the procedure. Phone 0208 223 4813/3316 after 5pm or email
  • A block will be placed on your UEL and your Birkbeck account until the matter is resolved.

Q8:  Can I borrow books from UEL through SCONUL?

  • No.  UEL Library is listed as your home institution for the purposes of Sconul registration, so you cannot apply for a SCONUL card to borrow books from UEL.  However you can apply for a SCONUL card from Birkbeck Library to gain access to other university libraries.  To apply, you need to complete the Sconul online application form. Birkbeck Library will then send you an email confirming your admittance to the scheme.

Q9:  Can I use UEL library through SCONUL if I am enrolled on a course at Birkbeck College in Bloomsbury?

  • If you are enrolled on a course at the Bloomsbury campus you may use UEL Library via the SCONUL Access Scheme.

Q10:  I can’t log in to a computer at USS or UEL library

  • Go to the Helpdesk and ask staff to check the status of your account.   It could be for one of the following reasons:
  • CAPS LOCK was on when you entered your password or the details were mistyped.
  • Your password may have expired.  Please ask staff to reset it for you.
  • Your account is not yet active.  Please ask staff to check for you.

Q11:  How do I access Birkbeck’s electronic              resources?               

  • Birkbeck's electronic resources can be accessed remotely via the Birkbeck Library website.
  • You'll need to logon with your Birkbeck username and password.
  • For assistance with using the Birkbeck elibrary, please contact a Learning Support Adviser at

Q12:  How do I obtain materials not available in this library?

Q13:  Can I request an item to be transferred from Birkbeck Library?

  • To borrow a book from the main campus library, you need to visit Bloomsbury to obtain the item and return it back there. You can also reserve Birkbeck Library books online by logging in to the library catalogue.

Q14:  How do I find out what disability support is available?

Q15:  What assistive technology is available at Stratford?

  • There are dedicated assistive technology laptops at University Square, Stratford which can be used during the Centre's opening hours.  They are available to students assessed by the Disability Office only.  To borrow one, please see Birkbeck staff at the WLC Helpdesk at USS.

    Q16:  What training is available for assistive technology?

    Q17:  When are the Learning Support Advisers available?

      • The LSAs are available to assist you from 5pm to 8.45pm most evenings and at the weekend from 10am to 4.00/30pm.