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Getting Started

A guide on getting started with your campus library

Your Library

The three campuses

The University of Essex is split across three campuses. How your library works will depend on which campus you study at. In this guide, and on our Help pages, the campuses are colour coded to make finding the information relevant to you easier to find.

Colchester - Blue

Southend - Green

Loughton - Red

Joining the University Library - Colchester & Loughton

If you are a current student and have completed your university registration, you are already signed up and can use the library, both in person and online.

Library card

Your university ID card is your library card. You will need it to borrow items, and to enter the library at certain times.

Your user card

Login details

Your University username (e.g. and password are used to log into the library website and computers in the Library.

How we contact you

We use your University email account to notify you when requested items are available to collect, when the due date for an item you have on loan is approaching, and when items have become overdue. It is important that you check your email regularly.

Finding Print Books and Setting your PIN at Southend

Print books at Southend can be searched using the 'Southend Books' tab on the Library home page. You need to set up a PIN to use many of the Southend Library services. For more information, watch the short video below.  

Library locations

We have libraries at each of our 3 campuses; Colchester, Southend, and Loughton. You can borrow books from the library at the campus you are registered at.

Colchester Southend Loughton
The University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
The Forum Southend
Elmer Square
East 15 Acting School
Rectory Lane 
IG10 3RY

The Forum is a shared library, which is run by Southend Borough Council on behalf of the University, South Essex College and for public library users in Southend.

Resources and services

  • Online and print books, online and print journals/newspapers, databases, CDs, DVDs, and other resources to support your course.
  • PCs with internet access, printers, and Microsoft office.
  • Staff who have expertise in finding information for your subject area.
  • Access to the University’s WiFi network for your personal devices.
  • All 3 libraries have laptops that can be loaned and used across their respective campuses.

At Colchester and Southend you can use the Find Your Way app to find us.

Opening hours

Check our opening hours page for full opening hours across all 3 campuses, as all sites vary in opening hours throughout the year.

Study zones

Colchester and Loughton library have a range of study spaces to suit your needs, including bookable individual study pods at Colchester. See our FAQ on how you can book an Individual Study Pod.

Southend has a variety of study spaces on the 2nd floor of The Forum building in the Learning Hub. 


Navigating your library

Colchester - The ground floor of the library provides access to study spaces in our Reading Room and Postgraduate Study Room. You can also collect books that you have reserved and ask questions at the Helpdesk. Floors 1 - 5 provide a range of study spaces and access to shelves for browsing and borrowing.  See our COVID-19 update page for the latest information.

Southend - Books for all courses are located on the first floor of the library, this can be accessed via the lifts or central staircase. The Learning Hub is located on the 2nd floor. On this floor you will find the Info Point, lockers, free printing services and study spaces. The 2nd floor is accessible via the central staircase and the lifts. You will need your student card to access this floor. 

You can access The Forum out of hours using your student card via the North access (SMACS) door. You can watch a video of how to use the door here.

Loughton -  The library and IT Centre is located on the first floor above the SU Café, and can be accessed via a staircase or an elevator. 

Health and Safety


  • Hand sanitiser is provided at regular points throughout your library spaces. Please wash and/or sanitise your hands at regular intervals.
  • Wipes are provided for cleaning equipment. Please wipe down equipment before and after use.

Health and Safety

  • Any students who may need help evacuating the building need to let Security know that they are there
  • Exit routes should not be blocked by furniture being moved
  • Students should not sleep in the library/learning hub
  • Overnight access to The Forum (Southend) is for the 1st floor and the learning hub on the second floor.

Fire Safety

The consequences of a fire could potentially be very serious. For this reason we have high standards of fire protection in our buildings. For them to be effective, we all need to be vigilant and follow our fire safety procedures and know what to do in the event of a fire.

If you discover a fire

1. Sound the alarm from the manual call point nearest to you (or on your way to the exit).

2. Do not attempt to tackle a fire.

3. Leave the area immediately.

4. If safe to do so close fire doors behind you.

5. Evacuate the area/building immediately and you should not remain on the landings.

Rules & etiquette

  • The library is a shared space where we are in learning community with one another.
  • Respect other users: find the right zone for you and then observe the relevant noise level and behaviour rules for that area.
  • Respect the environment: help keep the library clean and tidy by using the bins provided, including mixed recycling bins.
  • Respect the staff: we're here for you and want to do everything we can to support your learning journey.
  • Respect the books: library resources are there for everyone, so avoid marking books with highlighter or pencil and turning down pages.
  • Switch your personal devices to silent and use the appropriate places (e.g. landings or stairwells) to make phone calls.
  • No smoking or vaping in the library, or within 2 metre of entrances or open windows.
  • No sleeping in the library.

Food and drink


The library allows hot and cold drinks throughout the building, and cold food in some areas. Hot or strong smelling food is not allowed. You may be asked to leave and consume your food elsewhere. Alcohol is prohibited.


Hot and cold drinks and food are permitted in the Learning Hub. 


The library allows hot and cold drinks in bottles or lidded cups. No food is allowed.