Skip to main content

Getting Started

The Basics

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 in our FAQs, 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

You do not need to sign up - if you are a current student and have completed your university registration then you can use the library.

Library card

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

Your user card

Login details

Your usual university username (e.g. ab123456) and password are used to log into the library website and computers.

How we contact you

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

Joining the Library at Southend

The Powerpoint below gives you details on how to join The Forum Library if you are based at the Southend Campus.

Library locations

Our libraries are spread across 3 campuses; Colchester, Southend, and Loughton. You can borrow and return books to your campus library. Southend and Loughton can request books from Colchester.

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

You can apply for access to other libraries using the SCONUL Access scheme.

Resources and services

  • Print and e-books, print and e-journals/newspapers, databases, CD's, DVD's, and other resources to support your course.
  • PCs with internet access, printers, and Microsoft office.
  • Staff who specialise in subject and topic specific enquiries.
  • Internet access for personal devices.
  • Colchester has 96 laptops, Southend has 36 laptops, and Loughton has 24 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 Southend libraries are split into zones to allow group study and quiet individual study, so there should be a space that suits your needs.

Loughton library and IT centre is a study zone and students are asked to keep their voices low.

Navigating your library

Colchester - The library is separated into 3 sections. In the middle section, there is an elevator and a staircase that will take you between all floors. In the north wing, there is an elevator and staircase that will take you between floors 2 and 5. In the south wing, there is a staircase that will take you between floors 1 and 5. Colchester AccessAble Floorplan.

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.  

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

  • 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 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.


  • Respect other users: this includes observing noise level rules for each area 
  • Respect the environment: help keep the library clean and tidy by using the bins provided
  • Respect the staff: we're here for you and want to do everything we can to help
  • Switch your personal devices to silent and use the appropriate places to make phone calls
  • Help keep the library clean and use the mixed recycling bins dotted about the site
  • No smoking or vaping in the library
  • No sleeping in the library

Food and drink


The library allows hot and cold drinks, and only cold food.

You may be asked to leave if the food you bring in is hot or has a strong smell.


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.