The Main Library holds books, journals, DVDs, archives, manuscripts, special collections and more.
It also contains study space, computing labs, printing, photocopying & scanning facilities, group study pods and rooms, lockers, Library Cafe, uCreate and uCreate Studio (a community makerspace). There is WiFi throughout the building and you'll find toilets on every floor. On the third floor you'll also find the student Careers Service, Disability Service and Counselling service.
There are 8 floors in the Main Library and you have access to them all, from the study space on lower ground floor to the Centre for Research Collections on the 6th floor.
You enter and exit the building on the ground floor.
There are two loan types in the HUB:
Reserve = 3 hour loan
Short Loan = 1 week loan
You must borrow books on the self-issue machines in the HUB before you can take them out of the HUB area.
You'll also find int he HUB
The books in the HUB (and on 2nd and 3rd floor of Main Library) are shelved according to the Library of Congress classification system. This is when you get letters followed by numbers as the shelfmarks e.g. JA66 Hey.
The books are shelved alphabetically according to the letters, then within that numerically and then alphabetically with the last 3 letters.
Some shelfmark areas you may want to browse as students in the Social and Political Science are:
GN = Anthropology
H = Social Sciences (covers a huge range of subjects such as sociology, social welfare, social policy, social history, economics, finance, commerce, statistics, etc.)
J = Political Science (including JC = Political Theory, JX = International Law and JZ = International Relations)
RA = Public Health (also look at shelfmarks starting WA)
T = Technology
Self issue and self return
There are self-issue and self-return machines in the Main Library to allow you to quickly and easily borrow and return books.
There are self-issue machines on the ground floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor and 4th floor. You must have your student ID card with you to issue books.
The self-return machines are located on the ground floor - 2 are next to the entrance to the HUB and 1 is next to the Reception desk at front door of Main Library. You do not need your student ID card to return books.
There are no books or journals on the 1st floor. The 1st floor is a mix of computer labs, uCreate, informal study spaces, individual study space, group study pods, uCreate Studio and Accessible Study rooms (allocated through the Student Disability Service). You'll find more MFPs on the 1st floor as well as poster printing facilities in uCreate. There are also some tutorial and meeting rooms on the 1st floor.
As students in the School of Social and Political Science you will spend a lot of time on the 2nd floor as this is where the majority of books on your subject areas, and associated subject areas, are shelved.
You'll find books with shelfmarks starting A - PB on the 2nd floor.
You'll also find on the 2nd floor study space, computing labs, DiscoverEd search points, self-issue machines and MFPs.
Can't find a book on the shelf? Check the Recent Returns shelves. When books are returned they are put here first before they get re-shelved. Always check here first if you can't find a book on the shelf.
The 3rd floor is very similar in layout and facilities as the 2nd floor. On this floor you'll find the books with shelfmarks starting PC - Z. The 3rd floor also holds the East Asian Collection, one of the biggest collections of East Asian books in the UK.
The 4th floor is where you will find all the Main Library's print journals.
Print journals always have a shelfmark that starts Per. (short for Periodical) followed by a decimal number. On the 4th floor you will find journals with shelfmarks Per..0 to Per..9.
As well as the journals there are a smaller collection of older books that use different shelfmarks than Library of Congress e.g. look out for the Centre for African Studies (CAS) book and journal collection on the 4th floor, their shelfmarks all start C.A.S.
The 4th floor also has study spaces, computing labs, self-issue machines, DiscoverEd search points and MFPs.
The 5th floor has fantastic views out over Edinburgh and is a popular study space but do remember it is a silent study space.
Lower Ground Floor
The Lower Ground Floor has study space, computers, MFPs and bookable group study rooms. The group study rooms can seat up to 4 or 6 people (depending on the room) and must be booked via MyEd. These rooms are very popular so do make sure you book.
There's more than just the Main Library
Although you'll spend a lot of time at the Main Library there are 9 other site libraries that you can use and there are other open access computing labs available. You may need to access books or other materials at these libraries or you may simply be looking for alternative study space. The Main Library is very popular and gets very busy so it can be useful to get to know these other libraries and alternative study spaces now.
If you have any questions about using the Main Library, library resources, facilities or services then contact the Library Helpdesk.
Did you know?
The Main Library is celebrating its 50th birthday this year? It's an A-listed building and was designed by Sir Basil Spence. As you can see while much has changed in 50 years there is much that is still the same.
All photos either © University of Edinburgh or author's own.