The Library is a member of many regional and national schemes that allow our students and staff to use other university libraries and for other users to access a range of our library services. 

The following page is meant as a general guide only. There are many different types of scheme in operation, all offering different levels of access, in order to join the most appropriate scheme, please visit or contact the Help Desk in the Library where staff can advise you.

At present only university students and staff can access library services outside of staffed hours. We hope to be able to extend this service to external members of the Library in the future. 


Access to other libraries for University of Bolton members



The University of Bolton Library is a member of the national SCONUL Access scheme which allows part-time, distance or placement students (on a placement of ten weeks or more), full-time taught postgraduate students, permanent members of staff and postgraduate research students the opportunity to register with and borrow from other university libraries. Full-time undergraduates are entitled to reference only access under this scheme.

Most university and some specialist libraries participate in the scheme, but please be aware that some libraries will only permit access to certain types of users. Check the SCONUL Access web site to ascertain whether you are able to use the facilities of another institution.

There may be restrictions in place for Sconul access users, especially those in Band R, at other university libraries during examination periods, because of pressure for study space, or during vacations, when building work may be taking place - always check the website of the library you wish to visit.

Unfortunately the University of Bolton cannot offer access to electronic resources to external users and therefore our users will not be given access to electronic resources at other SCONUL libraries.


How do I join?

Apply online via the SCONUL Access web site where you can find further details of the scheme.

  1. Select your user category and home institution and the libraries you can use will be displayed as a map or list.
  2. Select one of the libraries you wish to use and click on the Apply for Access link on the Institutional Details page.
  3. Complete and submit the application form

You do NOT have to submit an online application for each library you wish to use. 

You will receive an acknowledgment of your application from SCONUL Access and your application will be reviewed by library staff at the University of Bolton. As long as there are no problems with your library account, you should receive an acceptance email within three working days. This acceptance email is valid for any library you are entitled to use. A print out of your acceptance email and your University of Bolton ID card should be presented when you apply to another library.

Please be aware of the following:

  1. Students must be studying on an HE course which lasts for a year or more. Staff must have a permanent contract with the University of Bolton.
  2. Only users who are in good standing with the Library can join these schemes. If you have outstanding fines, overdue books or invoices you will not be allowed to join other university libraries.
  3. Other libraries are not required to provide any training in the use of library services.
  4. Users are expected to observe relevant regulations that apply to studying in other libraries and are responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred. Your card can be withdrawn if you infringe the rules of the host library.
  5. Always check opening hours and facilities before visiting the libraries, particularly at weekends and during vacations.  


Sconul Summer Vacation Access

Students following taught courses at institutional members of SCONUL will normally be granted reference use of other SCONUL HE libraries free of charge during the summer vacations of the host institution.

For more information please visit the Sconul Summer Vacation Access webpage.


Using North West Academic Libraries (NoWAL)

All of these local libraries can be used by University of Bolton students via the SCONUL Access scheme

  1. Edge Hill University
  2. Lancaster University
  3. Liverpool Hope University
  4. Liverpool John Moores University
  5. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  6. Manchester Metropolitan University
  7. Royal Northern College of Music
  8. University of Bolton
  9. University of Central Lancashire
  10. University of Chester
  11. University of Cumbria
  12. University of Liverpool
  13. University of Manchester
  14. University of Salford

For more information please visit the NoWAL webpages


Public Library Access

You can join the public library in the borough where you are living. Some libraries participate in a universal access scheme whereby your library card can be used to borrow from other public libraries. Please enquire about this scheme at your local public library.

Access to the Library for visitors to the University of Bolton

  1. Visitors Guide to the University of Bolton



Users of other university libraries who are members of the SCONUL Access scheme can use the Library facilities at the University of Bolton. You must apply online via the SCONUL Access web site before you use our facilities. Your home library is responsible for any training in the use of library services. The University accepts users from bands A, B, C and R (reference only) users. The services we offer will vary according to your band.

Full details of SCONUL Access rights

Band R users

Have your approval email and your home ID card when you visit the Library. Access is available to all printed material for reference purposes and you can make photocopies with the assistance of a member of staff on the Help Desk. You may use non bookable study space. There is no access to electronic resources or computing facilities.  At present we are unable to offer access to library services during unstaffed hours.

Bands A, B and C users

You are offered the same facilities as Band R users and in addition can borrow up to five standard loan items.

Please bring your completed application form along with your confirmation email and your home university ID card to the Help Desk in the University of Bolton Library. You will be issued with a library card which will be valid until the expiry date on your SCONUL Access confirmation email. Please note that your application cannot be processed during busy periods such as lunch hours and the start of the academic year.

Members are subject to the Library Rules and Regulations, and are responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred. Your card can be withdrawn if you infringe these rules.


Sconul Summer Vacation Access

Students following taught courses at institutional members of SCONUL may use the Library facilities at the University of Bolton for reference purposes during staffed hours in summer vacations. Please show your Home ID or Library card at the Help Desk on entering the Library.

For more information please visit the Sconul Summer Vacation Access webpage.


Bolton Libraries Access Group (BLAG)

Bolton Libraries Access Group (BLAG) agreements entitle members of Bolton Sixth Form Colleges, students studying on access courses at Bolton College, sixth form students at Bolton UTC, members of the Bolton Health and Social Care Community and Bolton Public Library users to use the facilities available in the Library at the University of Bolton.

Quilters' Guild Membership

The University Library holds some of the stock of the Quilters' Guild, so University of Bolton Library membership is available to Quilters' Guild members free of charge. 

  1. Quilters' Guild Library application form[PDF] 
  2. Library leaflet for Quilters' Guild users[PDF]

External Membership

Whilst the services of the Library are primarily intended for our own staff and students, we are pleased to offer some services to others. Under the spirit of the Inspire scheme, which is now defunct, members of public libraries outside of Bolton can be referred by their library to use the University of Bolton Library for reference purposes, as long as their home library can vouch for them.  For those who wish to borrow, External membership may be available to those aged 18 or over at a cost of £50 per annum.

University of Bolton Alumni

When your course is finished your Library account will be valid until the October after your graduation. You may then apply for Alumni membership. Membership is available to all graduates of the University of Bolton who are registered with the Bolton Alumni Association and have purchased Library for Life membership, as long as there are no loans or fines outstanding on your former student account.

  1. Alumni home page
  2.  Library for Life application form

To apply for library membership please bring your Library for Life approval letter and a completed application form to the Help Desk in the Library.

  1. Library Alumni application form[PDF] 
  2. Library leaflet for Alumni users[PDF]

Application forms can be exchanged for a membership card at the Help Desk in the Library. Please note that your application cannot be processed during busy periods such as lunch hours and the start of the academic year. Membership is granted initially for the duration of the academic year and can be extended each year upon proof of your current address, as long as your library account is in good standing.

The Library will provide:

  1. Access to all printed materials for reference
  2. Borrowing of up to 5 standard loan items  
  3. Photocopying facilities
  4. Study space

Access to computing software, electronic resources and group study rooms is not available. The Library is unable to offer access to Alumni members during unstaffed hours at the present time.

Members are subject to the Library Rules and Regulations, and are responsible for any fines or replacement costs incurred. Your card can be withdrawn if you infringe these rules.