Video viewing for exploring Ebook Central

Ever wondered how to get the most from our biggest ebook collection, Ebook Central?  These four short videos show you how!

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Get hold of the books you want

Student carrying library booksNeed a book that’s out on loan? Been asked to return a book before the original due date?

If you need a book which is on loan to another student you can easily reserve a copy, through the Library Catalogue. When a copy of the book you need has been returned, you will get an email telling you the book is ready for collection. We will hold the book for seven days for you. All books which are reserved for students are held on shelves in the Atrium, on the ground floor of the library. If you are unsure where the reservation shelves are, staff will be happy to help you.

We also launched a service last year, offering students access to ebooks, instead of having to wait for reserved books to be returned. If you have a book which someone else needs and your book is either the only copy available or the first copy due back, out of several copies we will email you and ask you to return the book within seven days. This is to give as many people as possible a fair chance to access the books.

We recall books throughout the academic year but we don’t recall books over the Christmas and Summer vacations. We continue to recall books
over the Easter vacation as we recognise that many students are busy revising for exams and will need books that may be on loan.  We will send emails about reservations and recalls to your University email account.

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Where’s your space? Take our quiz and find out!

Drop-in meeting pod and group study on the library ground floorThe Library offers many different study environments to suit you in whatever way you would like to study today.  Take this very brief quiz to help you find the best place in the library for what you want to do at the moment.

How would you like to study today?

On my own, in silence and without distractions.

On my own, but with gentle background noise.

In a room with my group so we can make plenty of noise.

In an open space with my friends, talking quietly.

Practising a presentation with others.

Any way I want, somewhere luxuriously spacious away from the library.

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Getting away from it all: introducing 3rd Space

3rd Space is a study space set apart from the main library on the first floor of the Students’ Union building.  This cathedral stands as a monument to chilled out study, group work and mind-broadening discussions.  The quirky indoor beach area complete (last time we checked) with deckchairs, pool tables and brightly coloured picnic tables, is a great place to get out of a rut and see things from an entirely new perspective.  The comfortable diner-style seating throughout the rest of the space is an extension of the library’s social learning space – somewhere you can escape your usual surroundings to work with others or on your own.  The high-speed campus wifi covers 3rd Space and help is but a button or screen tap away with 24/7 online chat, so you never need be out of reach of a librarian if the need arises.

There is a discounted Starbucks coffee outlet and the Waterhole Bar downstairs, and you are welcome to bring food and drink into 3rd Space (just please keep the tables clean!).


3rd Space

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Room service

You can book both the library meeting room or any of our eight group study rooms up to two weeks in advance through the library website or by using the room booking kiosk you can find just outside of the turnstiles in the Atrium near the Reception Desk.  Our group study rooms have whiteboards and plasma screens for you to practice presentations, and the Meeting Room has an overhead projector.  Details of what is currently available in each room are available from the online booking system and kiosk – tap on the blue ( i ) icon by each room for room-specific information before booking.  If you are attempting to book a room from off-campus, you must have the VPN set up.  Library staff cannot book rooms for you, although we are happy to talk you through the VPN set up and room booking processes.

Anyone can book a room, the only thing we ask is that at least two people use the room together.  We simply do not have enough bookable rooms to allow single occupancy at peak times.  More group study rooms are available in the Students’ Union next door, which can be booked through their Reception/Shop team: call

Woman presenting from a plasma screen in a library group study room

Library room bookings are made for an hour at a time, although any one person can book two hours back to back.  Once booked, you will receive a four-digit PIN number.  Anyone can scan their student card on the door and enter this PIN to gain entry during the first 15 minutes of your booked hour, not just the person who made the booking.  The system will however not allow you to scan in before the hour has started.  If you do not scan in during the first 15 minutes, the person who booked the room will receive an email warning them that they may face a two-week ban from booking rooms if they fail to turn up for rooms they have booked on time.

Click here for more information and to book rooms online.

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Buy, sell and swap books for free online

Student sat reading in the Book NookThere are many online second-hand booksellers, including AbeBooks and Amazon Marketplace but did you know you can also bring, sell, swap and buy pre-loved textbooks with other students (and without the service charge!) on the Library’s Book sell and swap page?  You can even advertise for books you want that have not yet been advertised.

Don’t forget to browse our Book Nook as well, if you visit the Library.  You will pass it on your way to the Library Café.  Here you can drop off, swap, and pick up books for free.  You might even find course books donated that you can take away for free!

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Learning is better with friends

Social learning near the library caféThe ground, first and part of the second floor, outside of the Individual Silent Study zone marked by its purple pull-up banners, is given over to social learning. You can study here on your own or with friends. You can talk, eat, drink (just please no alcohol consumption), and work on things together.

In these areas, you can expect an energising buzz of background chatter but it is important for everyone’s ability to concentrate that this should not get too loud.  Please try to talk quietly because, with so many people clustered together, noise levels can easily rise as everyone tries to make themselves heard until no-one can hear themselves think!

If you need to make more noise or have a heated discussion, consider dropping into one of the meeting pods on the ground floor or a group study room,which you can just drop in and use or book up to two weeks in advance.

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Happy Bi Visibility Day!

Happy Bi Visibility Day everybody!
Today we celebrate the full diversity of folk. Studies show that sexual diversity and fluidity is normal and widespread but that those who love both men and women feel they must hide their diversity and conform. It’s time to change.
Browse our book collection on bisexuality and sexual diversity in the Library Café display area all this week or find out more on the Bi Visibility Day website.  

Bi Visibility Day - Library Cafe display 2019

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Out of the Archives: Introducing our Special Collections

Some of you may have noticed that we have a new display case on the first floor of the University of Portsmouth Library.

Our new display case has been especially built to display items from our Rare Books and Special Collections that are not normally available to view. This case will protect our resources from light, heat and moisture and has been purchased to highlight to you some of our amazing resources which are otherwise kept locked away in the dark.

The Rare Books Collection is kept in a secure area. Examples of what is in there include very old items – generally anything published before 1800, signed copies and significant first editions. There are also a few hard-to-replace art books, such as nineteenth-century exhibition catalogues and a number of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century periodicals.


Each month we will be displaying something different from the collection and for our first display we have chosen books about the local area.

Items within the Rare Books Collection are listed on the Library Catalogue. The shelfmark of the book is preceded by RARE BOOKS COLL. The Build Search option allows you to search within the Rare Books Collection.

For more information on how to view the collection, please see here:

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Introducing the Individual Silent Study Zone

Individual Silent Study Zone bannerThe Individual Silent Study zone forms part of the second (top) floor of the library.  Its entrances are marked by purple pull-up banners.  In this zone, talking is not allowed, electronic devices have to be switched to silent mode, and music can only be played using headphones at volumes not audible to others.  It is a great place to settle to some quiet reading or writing.

If you are particularly sensitive to noise, or if the Individual Silent Zone is Grab a pair of earplugs from the Library Help Desk if you think you might need them, and make your way up to the second (top) floor.

In the unlikely event that you are disturbed by noise or other behaviours, please text our security team on 07860 756894.

You can learn more about the Individual Silent Study zone on the library website.

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