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Searching and using other libraries

If you are conducting specialist research, you may need to consult other libraries to find the resources you need.


To find out which library has the item you need, useful catalogues to search include: 

  • Library Hub Discovery. The Library Hub Discovery catalogue searches many of the major academic, specialist and national libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library, for book and journal holdings. This is useful not only for locating specific items, but for identifying other books in your research area.

  • Explore the British Library. A record of the majority of the books, journals and other material stocked in the British Library. As the British Library is the copyright library for the UK the collection is very comprehensive.

Depending on the level you are studying or researching at, you may not have access to all the university libraries listed in the results of a search on Search25 or Library Discovery Hub. Find out about Access to other libraries before making a visit.

Public libraries

You can use any public library for reference purposes. You will usually only be able to set up an account and borrow books if you live, work or study in or near the borough in which the library is located.

  • Hillingdon libraries. Joining Hillingdon libraries will enable you to borrow from the public library in Uxbridge and to access their electronic resources, within the library and often remotely.

British Library

The British Library is a research library based at St. Pancras, central London.

To use the Reading Rooms at the British Library you will need to register for a Reader Pass.  For further information on access to the British Library, including opening hours, please consult the British Library website.

In advance of your visit, you can Explore the British Library for specific items or browse their collections from their online catalogue.

Electronic resources

It is unlikely that you will be able to access electronic resources from other institutions, even though e-books and e-journals may appear on their catalogues. Please confirm with the library before your visit that it will permit access as it may not have this provision in place. If not, look out for the print versions on the catalogue. Most libraries have a photocopying facility should you need to use it, but it is best to check this before your visit.


SCONUL Access is an access scheme, granting reference and/or borrowing privileges to library users working or studying at participating higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland. The level of access you get depends on whether you are a member of staff, or what type of student you are. SCONUL Access provides borrowing privileges to most:

  • Academic staff (on open or fixed term contracts)
  • Postgraduate research students (registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification)
  • Part-time, distance learning and placement students
  • Full-time postgraduates
  • Students on placement of more than 6 weeks

SCONUL Access also provides a reference only service to most:

  • Full-time undergraduate students
  • Staff of a few higher education libraries not participating in the reciprocal borrowing arrangements

Further afield

  • Worldcat. This website searches across many catalogues from libraries all over the world.
  • Library of Congress. A record of the books, journals and other material stocked in the Library of Congress. As the Library of Congress is the copyright library for the USA the collection is very comprehensive.

Using other libraries

Brunel University students and staff can use other libraries for reference, to borrow books, or as an alternative place to work or study.

  • SCONUL Access will give you access to University Libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • British Library will give you reference access to its resources

Before visiting another library search their online catalogue to check for specific items, or browse their collections. Please note: if you require access to online resources please confirm with the library before your visit that it will permit access as it may not have this provision in place!