Category Archives: Using the Library

Need help to find library resources? Book a 1:1 Library consultation

If you are struggling to make the best use of the library and information resources you can call on the Library Liaison Team for help.

If you are researching for an assignment or dissertation and don’t know where to start, then get in touch for some specialist advice.  We can help guide you to the most relevant resources for your research topic, and also help you build your online search skills so you can track down relevant information quickly and effectively.  You can then spend more time analysing and reviewing the materials in order to inform your assessed work.

Many students take advantage of a 1:1 Library session around dissertation time, when designing their research strategy.  However, you can get in touch at anytime – so don’t struggle away alone.  If you are not finding the information you need, just get in touch and we can set you off on the right track.

A huge amount of information is available to you via the Library and we want to help you make the most effective use of it.

Get in touch with us via .  Just suggest a time you are available for an appointment and let us know how we can help,  and we will book you in with one of the team. We can meet you at the Forum Library or the St Luke’s Library, whichever is more convenient for you.

And don’t forget that we have online support material available to you 24/7 via the Library and Research Skills module in ELE.


Liaison Faces Oct 2016

New term, new simpler library borrowing

20140909_112222You told us that our library borrowing rules could be made simpler – so that is exactly what we have done!

New, rules are now in place to make it easier and simpler to understand and manage your library borrowing.

We also took the opportunity to change library fines, following our consultation with staff and students last academic year.

You can now see at a glance how many items you can borrow, how long you can keep them and also check on things like renewals, recalls and fines, all in one ‘at a glance’ table.

  Exeter Libraries


  • Standard : Print book or print journal
  • High Demand : Print book, print journal, DVD, other – Shelved in entrance area, marked with red dot

Cornwall Libraries

Standard loan periods are the same with slight variation in High demand and Audio-visual material. please see Penryn Campus Library – Loan periods.

For more detail about managing your library account, take a look at the Using the Library section of the Library website.

Document Delivery Price Increase

Please be aware that the cost of our Document Delivery (Inter-Library Loans) service will rise from 1st August 2015 to £13.50 per ILL request. The cost of renewals remains frozen at £6.00 per renewal. This increase is due to the rising cost of the service from the British Library.

Flying Books

Not sure what Document Delivery is?

If an item is not available at Exeter University Library, you can request an Inter-library Loan. The Library will make the request on your behalf and will borrow books and or request PDFs of  journal articles and book chapters from other libraries in the United Kingdom and from abroad. Access the online request form here.

Think Recall! Your guide to summer borrowing

The end of term is fast approaching! If you’re taking off for the Summer then from all of us at the Library, have a great time and enjoy the break! But don’t forget our Libraries will be open every day throughout the summer and that our loan rules continue to apply as normal throughout the vacation period.

What does this mean for you?

This means for the many students and staff who arrive or choose to stay in Exeter during holiday periods we are here and open to provide support, study space and the resources you need. If you are going away from Exeter you are welcome to take books with you (although we advise against taking Library resources abroad) but do keep in mind that you will be responsible for renewing any items you borrow regularly throughout the vacation. You can do this online by logging in to your Library record.  Please remember also that books can still be recalled by other library users.

How do recalls work? 

If a book on loan to you is requested by another Library user, you will get an email informing you of this and providing a new date by which to return it. So it is important you check your email regularly if you are borrowing stock during the holidays. Recalled books cannot be renewed and may be due earlier than the original due date. With normal loan books, you should get a week within which to return the item. This should be sufficient time to return the items by UK post if necessary and you are welcome to do this.

Our recall policy exists to ensure fair access to our stock for all library users, so don’t forget if the books you need are on loan you can recall them at any time of year. Learn more about how to place reservations here.

As always if you need help, or have any questions about managing your library record do please get in touch: 

Don't forget to return any books you won't be using before you leave Exeter

Make your summer stress free by returning any books you won’t be using before you leave Exeter

5 Top tips for stress-free borrowing during the Summer:

  • Go electronic: our digital collection now exceed our print holdings: you can access over 100 research databases, more than 30,000 electronic journals and many thousands of e-books via the electronic library. All our electronic resources are available off campus, and with e-books there’s no need to worry about recalls or overdues. So check the e-library first and don’t take hard copies away with you this summer unless you really need to.
  • Return any books you don’t need before you leave Exeter. Please don’t leave Library resources locked up in your room or office over the summer, it isn’t fair to take them out of circulation if you’re not using them either and they could get recalled by other borrowers.
  • If you do take our books away with you, be sure to renew them regularly (every 4 weeks for Normal Loans). Express Collections items continue to issue for 24 hours at a time and it is inadvisable to take these away from Exeter.
  • Think Recall! Any item you borrow can be recalled by another user so please check your email regularly and be prepared to return items by post if necessary.
  • Keep in touch! If you have any questions about recalls, renewals or anything else, please get in touch as soon as possible. We’re available to help 7 days a week throughout the vacation period.

Donate your fines to Children in Need

Children in Need Day is on the way! This coming Friday why not take the opportunity to donate to a really worthy cause and clear your Library record at the same time?

That’s right, on November 14th we’ll be giving you the chance to donate any Library fines you have outstanding on your record to the Children in Need appeal.

If you haven’t encountered this charity initiative before, Children in Need is an annual fundraiser led by the BBC, that seeks to raise money for disadvantaged children right across the UK. For a glimpse of how money raised in the past has helped children and young people right here in the South West why not click here?


How it works:

  • If you’ve got any outstanding Library fines then, rather than paying the money to us, we will be inviting you to donate the equivalent amount to the Children in Need Charity appeal. We will then clear the fine from your record.
  • Donations can be made in person at any one of our Library desks (in The Forum, Research Commons or St Luke’s) any time during staffed hours on 14th November.
  • Please note, donations must be cash only; we regret that we cannot accept charity donations via credit card or using our online payment system
  •  Library staff will also be collecting, so if you don’t have a fine to pay but would still like to contribute you will be welcome to do so!

Last year, with your help, we managed to raise an impressive £428 for the appeal. Will we raise even more this year? We hope you’ll take this opportunity to support a worthy cause and clear your Library record as you do so!

InterLibrary Loans Price Increase

Please be aware that the cost of InterLibrary Loans will rise from 1st August 2014 to £12.50 per ILL request and £6.00 per renewal. This is due to the rising cost of the service from the British Library.

Not sure what an InterLibrary Loan is ?

If an item is not available at Exeter University Library, you can request an Interlibrary Loan.  The Library will make the request on your behalf and will borrow books and journals from other libraries in the United Kingdom and from abroad.

Find out more on our website.

Looking for some exam practice?

Screenshot of exam papers database

Past exam papers are a great resource if you want to practice your exam technique by trying out some sample questions.  It is also useful to view papers in order to become familiar with their layout and instructions, so that the process is not a mystery on exam day.

A vast selection of past exam papers are available online from the University of Exeter Past Exam Paper Archive.  Just login with your usual IT Services username and password for access.

You can browse the collection by College, Module Code or Title of examination and then select the year you wish to view. Papers from 2004/5 – 2013/13 are available.  You will need the Adobe Reader software to view the exam papers which are PDF files.  This is available on all University IT clusters or can be downloaded for free to personal devices.

The Library wishes all students the very best of luck in their examinations.



Easter Holiday Weekend: we are open!

The Easter Holiday weekend is fast approaching. For many of you, plans for the coming weekend may involve church or chocolate but with Easter falling late this year and exams fast approaching we understand that revision might also be on your agenda. If this is the case then we’re here to support you and the good news is that Forum Library will be open as normal throughout the holiday period with only slightly reduced opening hours at Research Commons and St Luke’s.

You can check the full opening hours for all our libraries on our website. But here’s  a quick at-a-glance guide to help you plan your week.

Forum Library Library Staff available to help Swipe access for current staff and students only
Good Friday April 18th 08.00 – 20.00  

24/7 throughout.  You must have your Unicard with you.

Saturday April 19th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Sunday April 20th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Monday April 21st 08.00 – 20.00

Research Commons Library open
Good Friday April 18th 10.00 – 18.00
Saturday April 19th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Sunday April 20th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Monday April 21st 10.00 – 18.00


St Luke’s Library Library Staff available to help Swipe access to 24/7 study room for current staff and students only
Good Friday April 18th 10.00 – 18.00  

24/7 throughout.  You must have your Unicard with you.

Saturday April 19th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Sunday April 20th 10.00 – 18.00
Easter Monday April 21st 10.00 – 18.00

The Amory Study Centre will be available for use on 20th and 21st April but please note the Amory Study Centre will be closed all day on 18th April, reopening 12.00 noon on 19th April, while essential electrical works are carried out. Please ask Library staff if you need help finding an alternative study space during this time, or why not check out the full list of available study spaces on our website?

Take a Break goes greener!

The Library is Listening!

Thanks to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts on our Take a Break scheme, introduced in November 2013 to help ensure fairer access to high demand spaces in the popular Forum Library.  Generally you told us that you liked the scheme and thought it was a good idea but one concern that several respondents raised was about sustainability.

It’s true that the one use cards were not very green, that’s why we’ve redesigned them! Each Take a Break card can now be used up to 20 times – much better for the environment!

Watch out for the new style cards around our libraries. Please take one and reuse it until it’s full. Just write the time you leave in the next available slot on the back of the card and make sure you return within one hour.

When the card is full don’t put in for landfill make sure it goes in one of our designated paper/card bins  to ensure it gets recycled.

You can read more about the Take a Break scheme on our website. If you you’d like to comment or offer suggestions on this or any of our library policies or services please get in touch – we really do listen!


Taking a Break Scheme: the story so far

Our “Taking a Break” Scheme has been running in the Forum Library for several weeks now. Hopefully you’re all getting used to seeing cards like this around the Forum Library:

You can find these cards in yellow-backed holders all around the Library. They’re also available at the desk by the Library reception, so why not grab one as you enter so you’ll have it ready when you need a break?

What to do:

When taking a break of up to one hour: please always leave a card, fill in the time you left and be sure to return within 60 minutes. Don’t forget to take any valuable items with you or put them in a Forum Locker.

If you will be gone longer than an hour: please clear your desk so that others can use the space.


How did we develop the scheme?

Before we introduced the scheme , we did a lot of research about what other HE organisation were doing about the problems of people saving seats while they are away.  In libraries of a similar size to ours, it can be almost impossible to successfully enforce any “no saving seats at all” rules.  We needed to think around the problem in another way.

We met with the Student Guild and they were clear that we needed a student led scheme that increased awareness and allowed some flexibility.  They also feel very strongly that the library should increase the number of study seats available over time.  We were pleased to announce additional seats at the start of this academic year  – and don’t forget that during the revision period the number of available seats in the Forum Library will increase again as the Seminar wings on Level 0 and Level +1 switch to become library spaces.

We also met with individual students who had complained about the problem of saving seats and together (with all this input) we came up with the “Take a Break” idea, as promoted.

Feedback so far:

Thanks to everyone  who has taken the time to get in touch with Library staff and share your thoughts on this scheme. Your feedback is appreciated and we’ve been pleased by your support. Here’s a selection of youe comments so far, as well as  responses to some of your questions and concerns.

“Great Idea”
I think this ‘Take a Break’ Scheme is a fantastic idea!”
“Hopefully these new guidelines will be a good step”  
Having worked with the university on the “Taking a Break” initiative, I am pleased to see it introduced! – (comment from Alex Louch (Guild VP Academic Affairs) – quoted in Exepose

Your concerns:

“Good idea, but only if everyone uses it

Our response: Our front line team are working very hard to implement this new system and we think it may take at least a full academic year (or more) for the scheme to prove its worth.  The Student Guild are also behind the scheme.  It is a big change and needs sufficient time to become part of the culture.

“an hour is too long “

Our response: Both the Library and the Guild are keen to achieve the right sense of balance and to encourage healthy study habits. It is good practice to take breaks when working to get fresh air and to eat. Students need (at most) an hour to get lunch, especially if they have to buy food, queue or use the toilet.  Also, students can leave for shorter periods; one hour is the maximum permitted time away.  Library staff will do more work to promote this message.

“it isn’t fair for people to leave a desk at all; if students need a break then they should give other people the chance to use the desk.”

Our response: we appreciate this concern, especially at times of highest demand but there are a number of reasons why we feel it would be unhelpful not to allow breaks:

Our consultations revealed many reasons why students need to spend extended periods of time in the Library:

  • Some courses require students  to spend a large proportion of their time in individual study (as opposed to in contact hours with academic staff). Many of you have told us that you prefer to spend this in the library as here you feel most motivated to get on with the work.
  • Some students live off campus (or travel in on public transport) and it would not be practical for them to come in for short periods.  They may need to work for long periods, fewer days per week.
  • Many students explained that they need “library days” where they can work consistently on certain projects over extended periods.

All of these are reasons why we feel it’s important to support extended study periods in our spaces. But we’re keen to do so in a healthy way, which includes allowing our users to take short breaks.

We hope Library users will continue working with us to make this scheme a success.

If would like to share your thoughts on the “Taking a Break scheme” then please fill in one of the comments cards you’ll find around the Library or .