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  1. FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting started

How do I join the Library?

If you are a student, Library registration is integrated into the registration process for your course. Once this has been completed, and you have obtained your University ID card, you will be ready to start using Library services. If you are a member of University staff, you are currently required to visit your local site library with your staff ID card and complete a registration form. We will then be able to complete your Library registration on the spot. See the Library membership page.

How do I access my Library account?

Go to the Library homepage and click on the "login" button . City University students and staff can log into their Library account using their IT username and password. Other users should key in the last eight digits of the library barcode on their University ID card and input their four-digit library PIN number.

What should I do if I have lost my University ID card?

If you are a student you can obtain a replacement ID card from the Student Centre. Cass students can also apply at the service desk at the Cass Learning Resource Centre. Staff should contact Security Services (IT username/password required to view this page). Remember that you cannot enter any of the libraries without a University ID card.

Directional

Where are the libraries?

There are five libraries located around City University. The University Library is at the Northampton Square campus, with specialist collections for business (at the Cass Business School, Bunhill Row), law (at the City Law School, Gray's Inn Place and in the Innovation Building at Northampton Square) and health (in the School of Health Sciences building at West Smithfield). Directions to all the libraries can be found on the City University website.

How do I find my way around the libraries?

All libraries have local signage directing you to resources and facilities at each site and on each floor. In addition all the libraries have a service desk where members of staff will be happy to help you find what you are looking for.

Where can we do group work? How do I book a group study room?

There are group study spaces available at the University Library, Cass Learning Resource Centre and West Smithfield Library. Rooms are set aside for group study at the University Library at Northampton Square, at West Smithfield Library and at the City Law School Library (Northampton Square). These can be booked (using your username and password) via the Library bookings page.

Are there any silent study areas in the Libraries?

Most of our libraries have silent study areas. Please look for the signs indicating the silent study areas, or ask at the service desk for guidance. Please familiarise yourself with our code of conduct by reading our page on Your study environment and the local guidelines displayed around the study floors.

Are the libraries open at weekends?

Opening times vary between the libraries. Most are open at weekends with the exception of the School of Health Sciences Library at West Smithfield. Full details of opening hours (including weekend opening) are available on the Library homepage.

Borrowing/returning/renewing books

How do I borrow books?

You will need your University ID card.  The University Library, Cass Learning Resource Centre and the City Law School Library (Northampton Square) provide self-service machines to enable you to borrow books quickly and conveniently.  At other sites, or if you have a reserved item waiting to be collected, go to the Library service desk.

You will receive a receipt indicating the due dates and you will be able to view your Library account details by following the "Log in" link on the Library homepage.

How many books can I borrow?

Students can borrow up to fifteen books at a time. A maximum of two items can be borrowed at once from the short or 24 hour loan collections.

How do I get books from other City University Library sites sent to my home library?

When you are requesting a book, you can specify which site you would like to collect it from.

How do I renew my books?

Books can be renewed online - use your IT username and password to check your library account through the Library website.

It's always a good idea to try to renew your books a day before they are due for return.  By doing this, you'll be made aware if any items can't be renewed and should be able to return them to the library in good time.

Short or 24 hour loan items can't be renewed - these should be returned to the library before the stated due date and time.

When I try to renew my loan I am not able to do so. Why?

If an item has been requested by another borrower, then you will need to return it to the Library.

If you have accrued fines of £25 or more, your Library account will be blocked and renewals will not be permitted.

If you want to renew a 24-hour loan book you need to bring it into the Library.

What are the fines for late return?

Fines vary according to the loan period of the item.  For details see the Library website.

Do I have to pay my fine all in one go?

If your fines have exceeded £25 then you may set up an instalment arrangement. We would expect you to make a minimum payment of £5 per week.

How do I request a book which is currently out on loan?

If a book you wish to borrow is out on loan, you may place a request using the Library catalogue. You will need to use your IT username and password to do this.

You'll be notified by email when the requested item is available for you to collect.

Where do I return my books? Can I return them to any library?

At the University Library, items can be returned using the self-service machines - simply scan the book and then pop them in the slot.

At other libraries, return your books to the Library service desk during opening hours.

Use the drop box located near the library entrance to return items when the Library is closed.

Short or 24 hour loan books should be returned to the Library which they were borrowed from. Other books may be returned to any of the libraries.

How do I use the self-service machines and where can I find them?

The self-service machines are easy to use and offer a quick and convenient way to borrow books from the University Library and the Cass Learning Resource Centre.  Simple instructions are displayed beside the machines.

Self-service machines are located on levels 2 and 5 of the University Library, near the main book collection and in the 24 hour loan area.  The self-service machine at Cass is located near the Library entrance.

What is a short loan?

Short loan periods vary at the different Library sites. At the University Library, short loan books can be borrowed for 24 hours.  At Cass, short loans are due for return at 5.30pm on the next weekday.  Gray's Inn Place has a small collection of short loan books which can be borrowed for two hours.

How do I borrow books from the short loan collection?

There is a self-service machine in the 24 hour loan area of the University Library and the City Law School Library (Northampton Square). Short loan items at Cass are issued from the Library service desk.

Library resources

How do I find books?

Use the Library catalogue to search for books - you can enter any combination of author surnames, key words or words from the title. The catalogue will tell you which library the book is located in and give you the shelfmark so that you can find it quickly. You can see further help on using the catalogue via Upgrade or ask a member of Library staff for help.

How do I find journals?

You can search for journals by using the Library catalogue.

Journals which are available online are marked "electronic resource". City University students and staff will need to log on with their IT username and password in order to access them.

Print journals are available for reference use in the libraries. Some journals held at the University Library are kept in a closed-access store. You need to request these in advance. Follow the links on the catalogue and fill in the request form.

What electronic resources are available to me?

All our electronic resources are listed on the Library catalogue. Check your subject guide to see highlighted resources for your department.

Can I access resources from off campus?

Most resources available in online format (e-journals, e-books, databases, for example) are accessible from outside the University. Key the name of the resource you want into the search box on the Library homepage. Follow the links and log in with your IT username and password when prompted to do so.

A small number of e-resources can only be accessed on site. The Library catalogue indicates where this is the case.

How do I find if a particular item is available in the digital course readings collection?

Some articles and chapters are provided as digital course readings. Links to these extracts are added to reading lists on the Reading Lists Online system and also sometimes from your module home page on Moodle.

How do I access theses?

Copies of City University PhD theses are listed on the Library catalogue and are available for reference use in the libraries. Theses at the University Library are held in a store so you will need to place a request 24 hours before you want to visit the Library. You can do this by clicking on the "Request print copy from Library store" button on the catalogue entry.
The Library does not usually hold undergraduate projects or masters' dissertations. Ask in your school for these.
Theses written at other universities are available via the British Library's EThOS repository or may be requested on inter-library loan.

How do I find past exam papers?

Previous examination papers for your subject are added to Moodle. Ask in your school if you have queries about this.

Online resources and journals

How do I access databases and electronic resources?

Type the name of the database or electronic resource into the search box on the your subject guide for a list of databases related to your subject area. To find e-books, key words from the title into the catalogue search box and, in the result list, narrow it to e-books using the "format" box on the left hand side of the screen.

Do I need a password to access electronic resources?

Yes. You need your IT username and password to access any of the electronic resources. This is the same username and password you use to access your email and login to the University computers.

How do I get hold of a journal article if City University doesn't have a subscription to the journal in question?

Ensure that you have all of the bibliographic details (article title, author(s), journal title, year, volume, issue and page numbers) and submit an inter-library loan request. A charge of £3 will be added to your Library account. Please note that if you have fines of £25 pounds or more you will not be able to request an inter-library loan until you have either paid it off or significantly reduced it. If you prefer, you can fill in a paper request at the service desk in any of City's libraries and pay your £3 charge directly. You can also apply to join the SCONUL Access scheme, which allows you access to other university libraries.

How do I find electronic journal articles?

Key the journal title into the Library catalogue search box or search by subject area on our e-journals page. Once you have found the title of the journal you want to search, click the link for the database that hosts it and log in using your IT username and password. To search multiple journals simultaneously, use a database that covers your subject area.

How do I get an Athens account?

Athens is an passwording system which used to be needed to access Library e-resources. It is not used anymore. You can now access all our e-journals, e-books and databases with your IT username and password. Look up the title of the e-resource on the Library catalogue, click on the links and log in with your username and password when you are prompted to do so. If you go direct to the e-resource website via Google you will not be able to log in.

How do I access Refworks?

If you're on campus and are using one of the University PCs you can access Refworks at www.refworks.com. Click on "Sign up for an individual account" the first time you use this resource and check the RefWorks terms and conditions. You will be given a Group Code which you will need in order to access Refworks off campus. Contact your Subject Librarian for further help in using RefWorks.

Printing and photocopying

Where can I add money to my print and photocopy account?

All students have a single account for printing and photocopying.

You can top up your account in three ways:

  • Save time by paying online - use your credit or debit card to do this
  • use the self-service kiosks in the IT Service Centre or in the University Library at Northampton Square or Cass Business School
  • At Gray's Inn Place, West Smithfield or Whitechapel, ask at the Library service desk.

Where can I print to A3?

University Library/Northampton Square: Select the A3 printer from the "print" drop-down menu at the top-left of your screen. A3 printers are located on level 2 of the library and in the IT Service Centre.

At Cass there is an A3 colour printer at the IT help desk.

At Gray's Inn Place, West Smithfield and Whitechapel A3 printing is not currently available.

Where is the colour printer?

At the Northampton Square site there is a colour printer in the IT Service Centre and in the University Library.

At Cass, there are colour printers in Computer Lab 1001, Computer Lab 1002 and at the IT help desk.

At Gray's Inn Place, a colour printer is located on the middle floor of the library. Select GIP9 from the drop-down menu of printers available on all PCs on site.

Neither West Smithfield nor Whitechapel have a colour printer for students.

Colour printing costs 20p per single A4 sheet.

How do I use the photocopiers?

Photocopiers are located in all the libraries and copies cost 5p per sheet for A4 or 10p per sheet for A3. University students and staff have a unified printing and copying account - linked to your IT user account and ID card. This can be topped up using the kiosks in the library at Northampton Square or Cass Business School; or at the library service desk at other sites. For more information see the Library website.

Where can I bind my undergraduate dissertation?

Check with your School if there are special requirements for this. For undergraduate or masters dissertations you may buy City University binders from Waterstones bookshop on the main campus.

For doctoral theses, there are two recommended binders: Wyvern Bindery and Collis-Bird & Withey.

IT Support

How do I change my password?

If you know your username and password and wish to change your password, you can do so here.

How do I find my IT username and password? I have forgotten it.

The user account assigned to you consists of a unique login name (also known as a user ID or username), which identifies you to the system. The password acts like a PIN number, preventing others from accessing your account.

If you have forgotten your username and/or password please go to the IT Service Centre at the Northampton Square site or ring them on 020 7040 8181. At Cass ask at the IT help desk and at Gray's Inn Place, West Smithfield or Whitechapel ask at the Library service desk. You will need your University ID card to do this.

Learning Support

Who/where do I ask if I need help?

Come and talk to us at the University Library at the service desk on level 2, at the help desk on level 5, or at the service desk at the Gray's Inn Place, West Smithfield or Whitechapel Libraries or at the Cass Learning Resource Centre.

You can also get in touch with your Subject Librarian.

How do I contact my Subject Librarian?

You can see the list of Subject Librarians on the Library website.

You can email your Librarian to for further help or advice, or to arrange a one-to-one meeting.

How do I find information on a particular subject?

You will find overviews of what resources are available for your subject via our subject guides and further help is also available via Upgrade.

Get in touch with your Subject Librarian as they will be able to discuss your research needs and direct you toward the best resources for your topic.

How do I get help with my references and citations? How do I cite material that I have used?

Help is provided via Upgrade on the "Citing and Referencing" and "Advanced Referencing" pages and you can also contact your Subject Librarian for more in-depth information.

Where can I get support on writing essays?

You will find a lot of help online via Upgrade.

You may want to contact Disability, Dyslexia and Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Services in the Student Centre as they can provide one-to-one help.

Does the Library run training courses?

Subject Librarians run courses in conjunction with academic departments. Please ask your tutor to contact their Subject Librarian to arrange any further courses.

Now that I have completed my course, can you tell me if there is a career adviser I can go to?

Please contact the Careers Service who will be happy to arrange an appointment for you.

Other Libraries

How do I access other university libraries?

In order to access other libraries you will need a SCONUL Access Card. You can see full information about obtaining this card, and how to use it on Upgrade.

How do I borrow from other libraries?

You will find further information about using other libraries via Upgrade.

How do I get hold of a book which the Library doesn't have in stock?

We can apply to borrow a copy of the book on your behalf via the inter-library loans service. There is a small charge for this.

Where can I get second-hand books from?

The following website is suggested for students wishing to sell or buy second-hand books: