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Membership, regulations and policies

It's easy for staff, students, alumni and members of Birkbeck to join the Library, and we provide different levels of access for visitors from other universities. 

Birkbeck staff, students, alumni and members

Birkbeck staff and enrolled students can visit the Library, borrow materials and access all digital resources. 

Alumni and other members of Birkbeck can visit the Library and may borrow materials, but you will have limited access to digital resources. 

Find out more about what materials you can access and how many items you can borrow.


  • Enrolled students: your Birkbeck ID card, which you can order once you are fully enrolled, gives you access to the Library to study, borrow and operate our printer copiers. 
    • If you are only provisionally enrolled and do not yet have a Birkbeck ID card, you can bring your offer letter/email on each visit to the Library. Alternatively, bring a form of photo ID for a one-day reference pass.
  • Distance Learners: if you are enrolled as a distance learner, in addition to accessing our online resources, you can also request chapters of books in the Library to be scanned and emailed to you. To comply with our copyright licence, this is limited to one chapter or 10% per book. Complete the request form. For items not held at Birkbeck, please use the Interlibrary loans service. You can contact your subject librarian for guidance and support in finding and using information in your subject area.
  • Break-in-studies/exams-only students: if you are enrolled, you will still have full Library access, if not please contact your programme administrator. 
  • Prospective MPhil/PhD researchers: if you need Library access in order to write your research proposal, your school/department can request a one-day, reference-only Library pass. You will need to bring your letter/email on each visit to the Library. 
  • Membership expiration: 
    • Short course and certificate of higher education (modular enrolment) students: your Library access will automatically expire 28 days after your course finishes or at the end of September if you are studying more than 60 creditsIf you need an extension, please contact your programme administrator. 
    • Undergraduate students: your Library access will automatically expire on 31 October. If you need an extension, please contact your programme administrator. 
    • Postgraduate (MA/MRes/MSc) and research (MPhil/PhD) students: your Library access will automatically expire on 31 December. If you need an extension, please contact your programme administrator. 
  • Find out more about the number of items students can borrow


  • Your Birkbeck ID card gives you access to the Library. 
    • If your Birkbeck ID card has no library barcode on it, bring it to the Library, together with a passport-sized photo. 
    • If you do not have a Birkbeck ID card, complete a staff application form and bring it, along with your contract or letter of employment, some form of a photo ID and a passport-sized photo to the Library.
  • Find out more about the number of items staff can borrow


Governors, Fellows or life members of Birkbeck

visitors from other universities

At a minimum, staff, students and visitors from other universities can come into the Library for reference-only access, access certain digital resources via our walk-in computer and a guest wi-fi account.

    Visitors from other higher education institutions 

    • You may join either The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Access Scheme the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries (Access25) or the University of London Libraries Access agreement scheme.
      • If you have borrowing rights under these schemes, you can borrow five items (three-week or one-week loan items). If you don't have borrowing rights under these schemes, you can access the Library for reference (UK publicly-funded HE institutions only).
      • You need to apply online by completing the online form and email it back to , together with a photo/scan of a passport-sized photo and your SCONUL confirmation email/Access25 card/Home institution ID.
      • We will contact you when your membership card is ready. You will need to show your university ID to collect your card. We are expecting a high volume of applications so you may need to wait up to two weeks before your application is processed. 
      • Please check our news and updates page before you travel. All students, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings while in the Library, even when sitting down unless they are medically exempt.

    • The following institutions have separate arrangements with Birkbeck Library and, if you are a member of one, you should consult with them: 
      • Amity University 
      • Bloomsbury Institute (formerly London School of Business and Management)
      • Hult Business School 
      • London Art History Society 
      • LEB Education 
      • ONCAMPUS London 

    Academic visitors and research students 

    • Academic visitors and research students can borrow five items (three-week or one-week loan items). 
    • To join, you need to bring: 
    • Come to the Library with either of the above, along with a completed membership formphoto ID and a passport-sized photo

    Bespoke Membership packages For Educational Institutions

    • We can create bespoke membership packages for organisations that will usually include the use of most materials in the Library and may include borrowing by your members and staff. 
    • Costs: 
      • Reference only (per student, excluding VAT): 
        • four months - £40
        • six months - £55
        • nine months - £70
        • twelve months - £95.
      • Borrowing up to five items (per student, excluding VAT)
        • four months - £75
        • six months - £95
        • nine months - £135
        • twelve months - £170. 
    • To arrange a Birkbeck Library membership package for your organisation, email our User Support Manager

    day passes - not currently available

    Library Regulations

    Our regulations exist to help the Library function efficiently and to ensure it is a safe and pleasant place to study, research and work. The Library Services User Charter is our pledge to you.

    Summary of regulations 

    • In joining Birkbeck Library, you agree to abide by our regulations, as summarised here: 
      • You need a valid membership card to enter the Library and to borrow material. 
      • You should return items promptly when someone else has requested them. 
      • You currently must wear a face covering while studying in the Library, unless you are medically exempt.
      • You should not bring food or alcoholic drinks into the Library. 
      • You need to abide by copyright legislation and electronic licence agreements
      • You should treat other Library users and Library staff with courtesy and respect, which includes not disturbing other users and maintaining silence in designated areas. 
    • Read the full Birkbeck Library regulations.

    Forgot or lost your card

    • Forgot your card: if you are a student or staff with a Birkbeck username and password you can print a day pass using the self-service day pass kiosk at the Library entrance. Otherwise, you may be able to gain access to the Library with a one-day pass as long as you have some other form of photo ID with you.
    • Lost your card: you should inform us as soon as possible contact us and if you are a Birkbeck student information on how to get a replacement Birkbeck ID is available.

    Withdrawal of access 

    • We retain the right to withdraw access to the Library's physical space, where there has been a breach of the Library’s regulations (you will be notified in advance), and to any or all of our digital resources without prior notification, where agreements with our suppliers require this.

    Policy documents

    Our policies and strategic plans are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure our services are meeting the needs of Birkbeck students and staff.