A Fresher’s guide to the library

Have you found that exam and assignment period has crept up on you, and you’re still not sure of how Warwick’s library works? Fear not, as this week, blogger Edward gives us a fool-proof guide to the library, and will set you up for essay success.

By Edward Stanbury

The library at Warwick is as big as it is complex and can be tricky to navigate. However, when used correctly, it can be the most useful tool you have at university. Here are a few tips to get you started and some golden nuggets of advice from older students.

What If You Forget Your ID Card?

It is useful to get into the habit of taking your ID card with you every time you visit campus, and the library is no exception. But there will always be times when you forget to bring it. Upon entering the first floor, you will be greeted by a row of gates hold your ID card above the scanner, and the gates will open. If you forget to bring an ID card, you will have to use the temporary ID machine located right next to reception.

An interior picture of some silver entrance barriers. There are blurred people walking in the foreground.
The Library barriers. Image: University of Warwick.

Short Vs Two-Week Loans

When taking out a book, be aware of how long the loan period is for. For popular , in demand books, the maximum loan may be for 3 day s , by which time someone may have reserved it and can take it off your hands. Otherwise, the standard loan period in the library is two weeks. Although you won’t be fined for having overdue books, it is best to return them – consider not having access to a book yourself because it has not been returned.

Rows of bookshelves with numerous books on them.
Books are the most important part of the Library. Image: University of Warwick.

Taking Out Books

To check out a book, take it to the first floor of the library, and approach the machines just before the main gates. All you need to do is tap your student card and scan the book, and you’ll be good to go. The less obvious part is returning the book. On the same floor as the check out machines, there is a returns conveyor belt . You don t even need your student card for this. Just place it under the scanner and it will be taken into the return’s office automatically.

If you like to revise in the library, you can just take a book off the shelf without taking out a loan . Once you’re done, put it on one of the book park trolleys dotted around on each floor for a library assistant to return them in the right place.

Where to Study?

Most of the library is for silent study, but some parts are for quiet study/collaboration. If you want to talk to people whilst doing group study or working on a group project, you can use the collaboration areas on floors 1 and 2 . For silent study, I would try the library floor 2 /3 extension s , floors 3 and above, and the lesser known library 2: this is a very well hidden part of the library, and you enter not through the main entrance, but through a secret entrance opposite the back end of café library. It can be nice to find a favourite study location that you go back to time and time again, as you will start to firmly associate that area with studying and may be more likely to focus.

A room with a variety of green comfy chairs and some small tables.
There are lots of places to take a break. Image: University of Warwick.

Staying Nourished

The library has 2 cafés: Café Library, and a Starbucks. Café Library is situated in a sort of wood panelled building and is best entered through the ground floor of the library. It is visited most for its food, the burgers and fish and chips being among the most popular of their dishes. Starbucks has some food but is often frequented by coffee lovers needing their fix before a day long study session.

Reading Conveniently

The easiest way to access the text you need for your studies is to search for it on the Warwick library website. For convenience, use the library website to search for the book that you want and you can access it online 24/7. Or you can arrange to collect it from floor 1 in the reservations section – the the turn around on this is usually turn around on this is usually one day.

Does the Library close?

The library is open 24/7, and only closes on some special annual occasions, such as Christmas Day.

A set of stairs with people walking up and down them. There is a table and some chairs to the left with some people sitting there.
Image: University of Warwick.

Navigating Book Codes

If you want to find a certain book yourself in the library or look at the literature available on a certain topic, you need to be able to utilise the book navigation codes. If you search for a particular text or a topic in the library search bar, it will show you the relevant books available. Click on one and there should be a code, such as R 146.C87. Each floor has an outline of the different codes on each floor – in this case, R does not appear on the main floor plan, so it is likely situated in an extension. Clicking Menu in the top right and the floor 2 extension floor plan, i can see that the R section is there, in the medical books area. To find the book on the shelves, work on each part of the code at a time – find the R section, the numbers close to 146, then C, and browse the shelf until you find 87. It is always possible that the book is being used in the library at the moment that that won’t show in it’s availability. If you think this has happened, see if you can access it online, or try to reserve it.

Exam Success

We hope that this information helps you along your way this exam season. Don’t forget to check the Library website for updates regarding study space availability, wellbeing events, or other resources available. Alternatively, you can always speak to a Library member of staff at the helpdesk on floor one.


If you’d like to learn more about the library and how best to use it, check out the Library section on the blog.

Do you have any questions about the library? Chat to us on Twitter @warwicklibrary, on Instagram @warwicklibrary, or by emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

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