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Plan your Library visit: The basics

Latest Updates

Key changes to Library opening hours at Level 5:

  • Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher Complex and the Hamilton Library from Wednesday 22 October:
  • Monday to Friday: 10am – 6pm (pre-booking required)
  • Counter services available from 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday/Sunday: closed
  • Access to study spaces, open shelf books and self-service borrowing

  • Kinsella Hall (floors 1-3 in Ussher Library) from Tuesday 27th October:
  • Monday to Friday: 5pm – 8pm (pre-booking required)
  • Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 8pm (pre-booking required)
  • Access to study spaces and PCs only (no access to open shelf books or self-service borrowing)

  • John Stearne Medical Library:
  • Monday to Friday: 9am – 4pm (pre-booking required)
  • Counter services available from 9am – 4pm
  • Saturdays: closed

  • The Research Collections Joint Reading Room (i.e. Manuscripts & Archives and Early Printed Books):

  • 1937 Reading Room

Monday to Sunday: 8am – 8pm (pre-booking required)


A lot has changed in the Library since the lockdown in March 2020. This guide offers a useful overview of the key changes on the ground, and some advice for new and returning students on how to plan ahead and get the most from your visits to the Library.

The safety of all users and staff is paramount, so please take a few minutes to review the new measures we have put in place, which include mandatory face coverings, two metre social distancing, and the introduction of a booking system (to be launched on Wednesday 30th September), which all users will need to use to gain access to Library reading rooms.

What you should do ahead of your visit

Book a seat or a 'quick visit' slot

  • Bookings available via the Library homepage or directly via the booking system itself.
  • Bookings are mandatory to gain access to the Library. 
  • There will be two main booking options: 1) you can reserve a seat (if you need a place to study) or 2) you can book a ‘quick visit’ slot (if you just need to collect or borrow a book, or print etc.)
  • You can also return books without entering the Library. Simply use the book-drops at each Library entrance. There is no need to pre-book a slot for this option. Please note, however, that books returned via the book-drops will be put into quarantine and won't actually come off your Library account for a couple of days. If you need the books to come off your Library account immediately, you will need to book a 'quick visit' slot and use a self-service kiosk inside the Library of your choice.

Place your 'Click and Collect' requests ahead of time

  • If you need to place a Click and Collect request for an item from storage, you should do so at least 2 or 3 days before you plan to visit the Library.
  • Wait to receive the email notification that your item is available to be collected before booking a slot to enter the Library. You will have two days to collect your books once they arrive in from storage.

Borrowing Books

  • If you intend to borrow books, consider prioritising the ones that are most important for your studies and remember that you do not need to borrow all of the books on your reading list in one go!
  • Books (especially textbooks) can often be quite bulky and heavy. Take this into consideration when planning what you should borrow during your visits to the Library.
  • For more information on borrowing rules, please see this page.

New Students

  • If you are a new student, check out our Welcome page, which has lots of useful information and tips for getting the most out of the Library.
  • Take a look at our 3D Floorplans to familiarise yourself with the layout in each building. You should also take a look at our tour videos.
  • Make sure you have downloaded the Trinity Live App if you intend to use it to gain access to the Library. We accept the app ID or the physical student ID card for access to the Library.

Continuing Students

  • If you are a final year student who has been granted an extension, you should check with your supervisor to ensure that Academic Registry have updated the expiration date on your account. If your account has not been updated you will not be able to borrow material or avail of other self-service options

Make sure you have funds in your T-Card and Datapac Printing accounts

  • If you intend to do any printing or scanning on the MFDs (multi functional devices), make sure you have topped up your Datapac print account ahead of time. You can also top-up your Datapac account in the Library by using one of the T-Card Fundshuffle devices in the Berkeley, Hamilton and John Stearne libraries

An overview of the Library booking system

As part of a package of measures to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, readers will need to book in advance to gain entry to the Library. This requirement will come into effect on Monday 5th October, with the booking system going live on Wednesday 30th September. To book a visit, please use the 'book a visit' link on the Library homepage or go straight to the booking system via this direct link.

Key features of the booking system

  • Bookings can be placed up to 2 weeks in advance
  • You must use your Trinity email address to place bookings
  • You will receive a confirmation of your booking by email. If you choose to book a seat, the email will include a link to 3D Library floor plans to help you find the exact spot
  • Bookings can be cancelled by clicking the cancellation link in your booking confirmation email

Booking options

Seat bookings

  • Minimum bookable slot is 1 hour
  • The maximum number of back-to-back slots is 3 hours. If you need to spend more time in the Library, you will need to place a separate booking.
  • All seats have power sockets unless otherwise indicated.

Quick visit bookings

  • Quick visit bookings are ideal for routine transactions like Click and Collect pick-ups, borrowing books from the open shelves or printing.
  • The minimum bookable slot is 1 hour.
  • Back to back bookings are not permitted, though you can place two or more bookings in a day, but with a minimum gap of 1 hour between slots

Useful advice

  • To gain entry to the Library, you will need your student ID card or Trinity Live app
  • Be prepared to show your booking confirmation email, if requested
  • Please make every effort to arrive on time for your slot. It’s better to be on time than early!
  • When your time slot is up, please leave the Library promptly. This is important as social distancing measures have drastically reduced the number of seats in the Library, which means the reading rooms are likely to be at capacity on a regular basis. The longer you dwell after your time slot, the more likely you are to inconvenience those who booked later slots.

Service eligibility

The booking system is currently only available for registered staff and students of Trinity College Dublin. Until further notice, we will not be in a position to facilitate physical access to reading rooms for visiting readers. This includes alumni, Music PAL card holders, staff & students of other universities, and members of the public.

What to bring with you when visiting the Library

  • Make sure to bring a face covering and wear it throughout your visit to the Library. It’s a good idea to have one or two spare coverings if you intend to study for a few hours

  • Bring your TCD Student ID card to the Library. There are many services you will not be able to use if you don’t bring your ID card! For example, you will not be able to:
    • Collect storage books from the service counters
    • Borrow books on the self-issue machines
    • Pay fines at the self-service fine payment terminals (located near the counters in each Library)
    • Top up your T-Card account and ‘shuffle’ funds from your T-Card account to your Datapac print account on the FundShuffle kiosks

  • If you lose or forget your physical ID card, you can use the ID in the Trinity Live App to gain access to the Library. But please bear in mind that the Trinity Live App cannot be used to avail of the services listed above

  • Have a copy of your booking confirmation email ready on your phone. You will need to show this to the Library Guards to gain entry. A picture or printout of the confirmation is also acceptable

  • If you intend to study in the Library, it’s a good idea to bring some water in a non-spill container. Food and hot drinks are not permitted

COVID-19 Safety Measures in the Library

To ensure the safety of all staff and readers, please note the following:

  • Readers must wear face coverings in all Library spaces for the full duration of their visit. If you forget your face covering, you can purchase one from the Students’ Union Shops (in House 6 or by the Hamilton building entrance)
  • There is a 'keep right' policy in most Library spaces. Where readers must keep to the left (for example, when entering the Hamilton Library), signage will make this clear
  • Readers are required to maintain 2 metre social distancing and not to congregate. We also ask that readers do not move chairs around. They have been carefully placed to maximise your safety and their locations have been recorded on our 3D Floorplan system
  • The Library provides hand gel at key locations throughout the reading rooms. Please feel free to use
  • Wipes are also available near the entrance to each floor so that study desks can be wiped down before and after use. Special wipes will be provided near PC clusters and equipment
  • Readers should feel free to browse and use books from the open shelves. When finished with a book, it should be placed on the nearest available trolley. Books should *not* be re-shelved - Library staff will take care of this
  • When leaving the building, please ensure that all books are removed from your study desk and placed on trolleys. This will make the job of cleaning the reading rooms safer and easier for Housekeeping staff
  • For readers in the Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher complex, please note that the Lecky entrance to the Arts Building is closed. You will therefore need to use the Berkeley entrance to enter and exit the complex

Book return options

For new and returning students, there are three main options for returning books, depending on your circumstances:

  1. If you can drop by the Library but prefer not to book a place to enter, you can return your books via the book return boxes near each entrance in the Berkeley, Hamilton and John Stearne Medical libraries. These books will not come off your Library account for roughly two days as they will go into quarantine before being processed by Library staff.
  2. If you can drop by the Library and wish to book a place to enter, you can return books via the self-issue kiosks in each Library.
  3. If you can’t visit the Library (for example, because you are self-isolating or because of local lockdowns), you may be able to avail of our free postal return scheme, which we provide in collaboration with An Post. We will consider each application on a case by case basis. For further details, and to place requests, please follow this link.

For students who have already completed their studies and are waiting to graduate, and who still have books out on loan, there are two main book return options:

  1. If you are in a position to travel to the main campus, but have not yet applied for an alumni card, the Library can arrange for you to access campus so that you can return your books via the book return bins at the Berkeley Library entrance. Please contact to avail of this option.
  2. If you are not in a position to travel to the main campus, you can avail of our free postal return scheme, which we provide in collaboration with An Post. For further details, and to place requests, please follow this link.

Postal delivery service

The Library provides a book postal delivery service for postgraduate students and postgraduate researchers in Ireland who are not in a position to pick up books from the Library (e.g. because they are self-isolating or impacted by local lockdowns). This service is free of charge.

How does the book delivery service work?

  • Requests must be placed via this online form
  • You can place up to 5 requests at any one time. Additional requests may be placed once previous ones have been posted out
  • Library staff will retrieve the requested materials, issue them on to requestors' Library accounts and post them out to the specified address
  • The due date for all books posted out will be 12 weeks from the date of issue
  • Normal borrowing limits apply. If you hit your limit, you will need to return some books before you can place further requests

Who can avail of the service?

The service is primarily aimed at postgraduates and postgraduate researchers, but we will consider requests from other registered staff and students in urgent situations.

What materials can be requested?

Registered staff and students (undergraduate and postgraduate) can request materials from the open shelves in the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher, Hamilton and John Stearne Medical libraries. Staff and postgraduate students may also request material from Santry and other storage locations. Periodicals and reference materials are excluded from this service, regardless of their location.

Scan on demand service

The Library provides a scan on demand service for registered staff and postgraduate students to enable requests for scanned copies of print book chapters and journal articles.  Scan on demand is designed to support readers who cannot physically make it to the Library and who may require materials not within the scope of the Postal Delivery service. As such, scan on demand is primarily for periodical and other reference materials.

The scan on demand service is free of charge. Please note that it can often take a week or two (sometimes longer) to fulfil requests due to delivery schedules from off-site storage and staff capacity.   

How does the scan on demand service work?

  • Requests must be placed via the scan on demand online form
  • You will need to accept a copyright declaration as part of the request process. In summary, scanned items are for individual research use only, and may not be shared, distributed, or posted elsewhere online. If you are a lecturer and wish to request a scan of a print book chapter or journal article for uploading to BlackBoard, please e-mail your request to
  • You can place up to 5 requests at any one time, but each request will be processed in turn
  • Library staff will create scanned copies of requested book chapters and journal articles in compliance with copyright legislation
  • The files will be made available for download from OneDrive via a unique link. The files will remain available for download for a period of 7 days, with an extended grace period of 28 days if the file is accidentally deleted. Contact if this issue arises. Scans of items held in Early Printed Books will be e-mailed directly to the requestor
  • Orders for Manuscripts and Archives material can be made by contacting

Who can avail of the scan on demand service?

The service is available to registered TCD staff and postgraduates, but we will consider urgent requests on a case-by-case basis from undergraduate students if capacity allows. We are not in a position to accept requests from external/visiting readers.

What materials can be requested?

Due to copyright legislation, requests are limited to book chapters and journal articles. We cannot fulfil requests for scanned copies of entire books or journal issues etc. Orders for material from holdings in Early Printed Books & Special Collections outside copyright restrictions will be considered on a case by case basis.

Manuscripts & Archives material is also available for scan on demand on a case by case basis; for further information and to place an order, please contact

If you have any questions, please contact us at, or as appropriate.

Top Tips for Postgraduates

Top Tips for Undergraduates

A Tour of the Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher Library Complex

Hamilton Library Tour

3D Floorplans