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Updates from the Library relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The latest news on how Library Services are adapting in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) .

Overview of services

Latest update: 04/06/21

Though Covid-19 has required us to adapt our services, the library is still open for you to access resources and study space. 

If you are a University of Essex student or staff member you can:

All our opening hours are available online, and you can find more detailed information about the services provided at Colchester, Loughton, and Southend below.

Please note that we are unable to provide access to visitors who are not University of Essex students or staff at this time.  

More information and advice on studying during Covid-19 is available at You can also access our student services webpages to find out who you need to contact if you need support. 

Colchester: Current Service

The Albert Sloman Library:

Latest update: 04/06/21
  • Study spaces are available in the Library Reading Room, Postgraduate Study Room and on floors 1 and 2 on a pre booking system.
  • Spaces are available in the Reading Room Mon-Fri 10am-midnight, and Sun 12-8pm. 
  • Silent study spaces are available within the training room in the Reading Room.
  • Spaces are available in the Postgraduate Study Room Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm and Sun 12-7.30pm.
  • Spaces are available on floors 1 and 2 Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. Books in this area can be browsed and borrowed via self-service. If you are only wanting to browse, you must still book a study space on the floor you wish to browse.
  • Access to study spaces during the day will be via the main entrance to the Library.
  • Access to the Reading Room from 6pm-midnight Mon-Fri will be through the "overnight" door (at the end of the Library concourse).
  • Our COVID-19 measures mean we need to keep rooms well ventilated so windows will need to remain open (Postgraduate and Reading Room) and air conditioning on (training room). This means these study spaces may be colder than expected so please bear this in mind when using the space. 
  • Please continue to bring your ID card and proof of booking, along with a face covering.
  • The majority of items required for module reading will be available online through our reading list system/Moodle.  
  • Access to items in the Library's print collections is available via click and collect. Access to print collections is primarily for further reading, and to meet the needs of academic staff and research students. In response to your feedback you are now able to request up to 10 books per click and collect slot (an increase from 5), we have doubled the number of slots that are available to book and you can collect twice in a week (an increase from once).
  • We are now able to accept requests for loan-able material from any of our stores (A, B, C, D) as part of click and collect. 
  • If you would like to view a thesis which is held in the library collection, please email us at with details. Once we have the item available for viewing, you will be asked to book a study space. The item will need to be viewed during your study booking as it is a reference only item and cannot be borrowed from the library.
  • We are also operating our Scan and Deliver service.
  • We may be able to fulfil some Interlibrary Loans requests for direct home delivery. This is dependent on whether the book is available from the British Library and if it is being delivered to a UK address. We are still able to process article and chapter requests as normal.
  • Library staff are available via chat, phone and email to assist with queries.
  • Currently checked out books cannot be recalled or requested by other users. If you need a book that is currently checked out, you can use our Request a Resource service. 
  • No fines will be charged on recalls. Fines may still be charged for late return of laptop loans.
  • Books can be returned through the external book drop or returned by post.
  • We may not be able to fulfil intercampus requests. Where we are able to fulfil these, it may take longer for books to be delivered.
  • The Library Special Collections Reading Room will be open to members of the University on Tuesdays and Thursdays from week beginning 17 May on a booking only basis. Please see the Special Collections page for further details.
  • Scans of material may be available, depending on copyright and the amount requested. Priority for scan and deliver will be given to Essex staff and students. External user requests for scan and deliver may take upwards of 28 days. Please contact with any Special Collection enquiries.  
  • Online library services, including access to resources, as well as specialist support and expertise continue to be available through our website.

Loughton: Current Service

Latest update: 14/05/21

New quick check-in for printing, borrowing, and helpdesk enquiries.

From Monday 17th May you no longer need to book if you wish to use the printer, browse the shelves, or visit the library helpdesk. Instead, you can check in at the library on arrival using your smart phone by scanning the QR code.

Checking in is easy:

  1. Use your registration card on the SALTO reader (grey box on wall) to open the library door during our opening hours.
  2. Go to the check in station at the entrance and scan the QR code with your phone or use your browser to go to the webpage.
  3. Enter your name, email, and why you are visiting and click "check in".
  4. Use the hand sanitiser provided, and make sure you keep your face covering on and maintain social distancing.

You are now ready to use the printer, browse the shelves, check out or return books, borrow a laptop or ask a question at the helpdesk.

Remember, if you want to print you should send your documents in advance using the mobile printing service.

If you would like to use a study space please book a study space online.

Tips for your visit:

  • If you don’t have your registration card please knock and library staff will assist you. You will not be able to borrow books or use laptop loans.
  • You can renew your books online: just sign in to your 'my account' page. 
  • If you use a printer, PC or the self-service machine please clean them with the anti-viral wipes provided when you are finished.
  • The maximum capacity of the library is 10 people. If the library is busy you may be asked to wait outside or come back at a quieter time.
  • No food is allowed in the library and all drinks must have a lid.
  • We may not be able to fulfil intercampus requests. Where we are able to fulfil these, it may take longer for books to be delivered. If you require material from a different campus please email with details of your request for consideration.
  • Our usual opening hours are:
    • Monday to Friday 10:00 to 13:00 and 13:30 to 18:00
    • Saturday 11:00 to 14:00 and 14:30 to 17:00
    • As we are a small team these hours can be subject to change, so please check our opening hours online before you visit.
  • As always you can still contact the library by email, phone, or live-chat and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Southend: Current Service

The Forum Library:

(Latest update 17/06/2021)

Opening hours of The Forum for browsing and choosing books is 9 – 5pm (Mon - Sat) where members of staff will be available. Outside of these hours, University members can still browse and issue books to themselves using the self service machines 24/7. There is no need to book for browsing but numbers will be restricted to 50 people browsing at any one time. Students and staff should limit browsing time to no more than 30 minutes. These restrictions apply to the first and ground floor only – the Learning Hub remains open 24/7 and study spaces should be booked in advance. The click and collect service will continue to run alongside browsing.

The click and collect service allows members to request books online or by phone and collect between 9am - 5pm Monday to Saturday. Details of how to access this service are available here

  • All loans have temporarily been set to 5 weeks. 
  • Laptop loans are available to borrow and will be subject to a 72 hour quarantine period on return.  . 
  • You can still access online library services and contact us via chat or by email. 
  • The majority of items required for module reading will be available online through our reading list system/Moodle so we would continue to advise you to use online resources wherever possible.

The Learning Hub:

The Info Point will now be staffed for 2 hours a day (12 - 2pm, Mon - Fri).

  • The Learning Hub is open for study. You need to book a study space in advance.
  • Access to the Learning Hub will be available 24/7. Please note the out of hours access door is currently not working so please go to the front entrance and security staff will let you in. 
  • The Info Point desk is now staffed 12-2pm Monday-Friday for short enquiries only. You will still be able to contact us via chat between 9am-6pm Monday to Friday or (for longer enquiries) you can email us at If you need more extensive help with research and referencing skills, you can make an appointment with a Librarian through the ‘Book a Librarian’ form on our website. Due to social distancing rules, staff will only be conducting these appointments via Zoom.
  • Face Coverings must be worn at all times while using the Learning Hub and social distancing guidelines should be observed. We ask that students only use PCs marked with a green dot.

Goverment and University Guidance regarding Covid-19

The University is monitoring and following all advice from Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation and will review all guidance daily. Please see the information below for the latest updates: