Visiting and using our libraries

Who can visit?   Where are our libraries and how can I contact them?  
Borrowing, returning and renewing   Library charges   Reservations and inter-library loans   

Who can visit Birmingham City University libraries?

Members of the public and students and staff from other institutions are welcome to use Birmingham City University Libraries. There are four types of access to our libraries – SCONUL Access, External Library Users alumni, External Library User reference only and prospective research students. You must register at the Help Desk at any of our libraries during staffed hours.


If you are a student or member of staff at another Higher Education institution then you may be able to join us through the SCONUL Access scheme. You can apply for authorisation on the SCONUL Access website. If successful you will receive an authorising email that you will need to print off and bring to us along with your institution ID card. More information is available on the SCONUL Access website.

External Library Users scheme - Alumni

Members of the public who have graduated a degree course at Birmingham City University can choose to register with us for one years borrowing membership. This will provide you with access to any of our Birmingham City University libraries.

This scheme allows you to borrow up to 4 items at any one time. Application can be made for a username and password to provide computer access. Please note that this membership is not intended for access to our electronic resources. There are limitations to accessibility due to licensing agreements and these are liable to change without notice. Please note we don't have any arrangements to pay for off-campus access if you are not a current student.

Membership is at the discretion of the Director of Library & Learning Resources.

External Library Users scheme - Reference only

Members of the public can apply for a card to use any Birmingham City University library for reference for a total of 5 visits in a twelve month period for no charge.

You will need to register on the day of your first visit providing:

When you are registered you will need to have your library reference card with you each time you visit Birmingham City University libraries. This card cannot be replaced so if it is lost then you will be allowed no further visits in that year.

Please contact the library that you are interesting in visiting for further information.

Prospective research students

If you are a research degree student who has not yet formally registered with the University you can apply to join the library in advance of your formal enrolment.

Conservatoire only - University of Birmingham students and Junior Conservatoire

University of Birmingham students attending lessons at the Conservatoire can apply for fee exempt External membership.  You need to complete a form available from the Conservatoire Library Help Desk.
Junior Conservatoire students can apply for fee exempt External membership.  You need to complete a form available from the Junior Department Secretary.

Where are our libraries and how can I contact them?

Conservatoire Music Paradise Place, Birmingham  B3 3HG 0121 331 5914
Kenrick Education Franchise Street, Perry Barr, Birmingham, B42 2SU 0121 331 5281
Mary Seacole Health, Nursing, Radiography, Speech and language therapy, Social work Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3TN 0121 331 7071
Curzon Architecture, Built Environment, Business, Computing, Design, Digital media, Engineering, English, Fashion and textiles, Law, Media, Psychology, Visual communication.

The Curzon Building,
4 Cardigan Street,
Birmingham B4 7BD 

0121 331 5282
School of Art Art Margaret Street, Birmingham B3 3BX 0121 331 5977
School of Jewellery Horology, Jewellery Vittoria Street, Birmingham, B1 3PA 0121 331 6470

All of our facilities are accessible for a wide range of disabilities.  Detailed accessibility information is available for each of our campuses on the University website. If you require further assistance or have specific requirements then please contact the library which you are visiting in advance.

I have alumni borrowing membership, what do I need to know?

Borrowing items

Library items are loaned for varying lengths of time to improve availability for everyone.  These range from one day to four weeks.

Usually we allow you to renew your items.  Any items borrowed must be returned or renewed on time or charges will be incurred.

At most of our libraries items are borrowed through our self-service machines. To use the self-service machines you will need your Birmingham City University library card and 4-digit library PIN (which you are given when you register).  A receipt is given which provides the date/time that the item should be returned or renewed by.

Users of the Conservatoire and Vittoria Street libraries borrow items through the library Help Desk in staffed hours (you will need your Birmingham City University library card).

Returning items

Items borrowed from a Birmingham City University library can be returned to any of our libraries. Items are returned using the self-service machines.  A receipt is given and should be kept as proof of return.

Users of the Conservatoire and Vittoria Street libraries return items through the library Help Desk in staffed hours.

Items may also be returned using the sortation machine at the entrance to Curzon library and the book return boxes located near the library entrances at Kenrick, Mary Seacole and the Conservatoire.

Renewing items

Renewing is a useful way of avoiding late charges and keeping library items for longer if you still need them. You can check the return date/time on the self-service receipt or date label inside the item that you have borrowed.  We will also send a reminder email to the address you provided.

There are several ways to renew your items:

There are times when you will be unable to renew your items and will need to return them by the return date:

Late return charges

To improve the availability of library stock for everyone we charge fines when items are not returned or renewed on time.
The amount charged depends on the length of time the item can be loaned for:

Four week (Normal) 10p/day

Two week






Charges apply throughout the year.  The maximum charge on any one item is 10.  You will temporarily lose your borrowing rights if items are not returned after 28 days.

Non-returned/lost/damaged items

In the following cases we will request that an item is either replaced or the replacement cost is paid for in full:

If a request for payment is not acted-upon then it may become a University debt and be passed onto the Finance Department which may result in legal proceedings.

How to pay

Library fines can be paid:

Reservations and inter-library loans

Reservations can be placed on Birmingham City University items in the following circumstances:

Once an item is reserved the current borrower will no longer be able to renew the item and it will be temporarily put-aside for you once it is returned. If you are requesting copies to be sent from another campus please allow a few days for then to be transported. If it is more convenient you may visit any of our libraries and take items out.

To place a reservation:

Your reserved items will be put aside for you for one week from the date that it is ready.  After this time it will go to the next person in the reservation queue or back on the library shelves.  If you no longer need the item then you can cancel it on the reservations tab of your library account.

You can make a request to borrow items that we do not stock through our inter-library loans service. We charge the British Library fee of 10 for this. If you want further details then ask at a library Help Desk or email

This page last updated by Anthony Humphries.