General library information

How the library works to help our members

Opening times

Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5pm, including half-term and reading week. Closed on bank holidays.

To return loans outside library opening hours, please drop them in the book return container just outside the entrance or use our postal-return label.

Times may vary during vacation periods. Check teaching term dates.

Library space access

External library members and day visitors who don’t have a Trust ID access-control card will need to sign in at the Tavistock Centre main reception before getting access to the library. Please wear the visitor badge you receive at all times while you are on the Trust premises and return it to the main reception when you leave.

Contact us

Address: The Library, Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA. Find the Tavistock Centre on Google Maps.

Phone: 020 8938 2520.

Use our contact form to get in touch.


Books and audio-visual material are issued for a period of four weeks initially. You can renew books twice and audio-visual material once, if there are no holds on the item or a restriction on your borrowing account. If items are requested by another user, they are subject to recall after two weeks.

If the library is closed, items can be placed in the book return bin just outside the library entrance.

Fines are not charged for overdue items, but loans should be brought back promptly on or before their due date, so that material is available for other members. See our loans policy.

Limits on the number of items you can have on loan at any one time varies depending on your type of membership. For staff, students, TSP and life members, it’s 10 items; for other categories it is usually five items.

Renewing items

To renew items, first log in to your borrowing account using your Shibboleth details. To renew individual items, click the box in the ‘renew’ column then click one of the ‘renew selected’ buttons at the top or the bottom of the check-out area (see screenshot below). To renew everything you have on loan, click one of the ‘renew all’ buttons. You will not be able to renew items that are on hold for another library member.

Postal loans for print-only items

If you are unable to come in to the library because you are a National Centre student or attend a course at a time when the library is closed, you can request up to two items per week to be sent to you by post, subject to book-borrowing limits. We can only post out items that aren’t provided by the library as an ebook and are only available in print. To make a request, contact the library with the author name and title. Postal loans are processed regularly but might be subject to delay due to on-site staff availability.

Returning items

Please place items in the book return container just outside the entrance. Or items can be posted back using our Freepost returns label.

Overdue items

Only one overdue or recall notice is sent to library users for items that have been borrowed.

Users who do not renew or return items within two weeks of the notice will have their loan account suspended until either the item is returned, or payment is made to cover the replacement costs.

There is a standard replacement charge of £50 per item.

Users who fail to return an item or pay the replacement charges within two weeks of their account being suspended will have all other library privileges suspended, including their Shibboleth account, and the matter will be referred to the Finance team for further action.

It is essential that you keep us informed if you change your email address as notices will be sent out via email. If you maintain a list of safe senders for your email account, please add and to this to prevent the messages from being blocked by your spam filters.

Reserving items

If all copies of an item are out on loan, or if you wish an item to be put aside for you, please place a reservation via the library catalogue.

To do this click on ‘Place hold’ from the list of results or the detailed record, and follow the instructions. You will need your Shibboleth login to reserve items.

We will notify you by email when the item is available for collection. We normally hold reserved items for one week. If they are not collected within this time they are either passed on to the next reader waiting, or returned to the shelves. If you are unable to collect an item please let us know – we may be able to hold it for longer, or place you back on the waiting list.

Getting items from other libraries

Journal articles and books that are not in stock in the library may be obtained from other libraries. A fee of £8 per request is charged for this service.

To request an item, please use our inter-library loan online form.

Please note the British Library will not allow us to send books out to regional sites, so we are unable to obtain books on inter-library loans. Your public library should be able to order them for you.

Information skills training

Find out how our information skills librarian can help you.

Computers and study spaces

The library at the Tavistock Centre has Windows PC computers available for student and staff use in the Computer Cluster room. There are also study spaces available in the main library area for those with their own devices.

Printing and copying

The library has two devices available to students for printing, copying and scanning. Payments can be made using credit or debit cards. Find out about library printing and copying services.

Library service charter

The library is committed to supporting the work of the Trust by providing a high quality, innovative and user focussed service outlined in our service charter.

Using other academic libraries

Under our new partnership arrangements with University of Essex all students on Essex-validated courses have borrowing rights and access to e-resources at University of Essex libraries.

University of Essex libraries

Students on Essex-validated courses will be contacted by the Trust’s Directorate of Education and Training with instructions on how to register with the University of Essex and get access to their library services. Find out more about Essex digital services.

SCONUL access

Access to other university libraries via The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) reciprocal scheme can be arranged for students holding University of Essex or UEL student cards.

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