covid 19 library faq

GSA Safe Campus measures mean that your use of the Library during this academic session will be significantly different than in previous years. This page outlines how you can discover and access our resources and services during this period.

Remember that GSA-wide updates on the School’s overarching approach to provision are being published regularly on the GSA Student Intranet.

When is The Library Open?

The Library is currently open 10.00-16.00 Monday-Friday.

Will I Be Able To Visit The Library Without An Appointment?

No. You will not be able to visit the Library without an appointment. This applies to all students, without exception.

If you have not booked to use the Library, you will be denied entry. If you miss your allocated slot, you will similarly be denied entry and will need to re-book.

You will not be able to access the Library without your GSA swipe card.

We apologise that these measures are a little strict. They are designed to ensure your own health and safety, and the health and safety of your peers and staff. Our rules replicate those that are in place for accessing other GSA buildings on campus.

How Can I Book A Study Visit?

To book a 2-hour study visit to the Library:

  • Go to the GSA Bookings Portal at least 48 hours in advance
  • Under ‘Book by Category’, select ‘Library’
  • On the following screen, click’ Make Me Owner’
  • You will then be presented with a series of bookable options
  • Library Study Space bookings can be made up to 4pm for the following day
  • If you experience any problems logging into the Bookings Portal, email us

Please note there are also 39 safe study spaces in the Reid Building that can be booked from 09:00am – 17:00pm Monday to Friday, these can also be booked via the GSA Bookings Portal.

How Many Study Visits Can I Book Per Week?

You will be permitted to book up to 2 study visits across a single day of the week, providing a maximum of 4 hours study time. You will not be permitted to book study visits across multiple days. This is to ensure that access to the Library is available to as many students as possible and in as fare a manner as possible.

Will Study Desks Be Available?

Yes. 36 study spaces are available and can be booked for a 2 hour slot.

Will Computing Facilities Be Available?

Yes. 20 of the 36 bookable study spaces will provide access to PCs or Macs.

What Can I Do During a Study Visit?

During your study visit, you will be able to browse the library’s collections. You can return books at the self-service machines. You will be able to request reference items such as dissertations, zines, journals, and short-loan books from the Library Service Desk.

At the end of your timed study visit, you will be required to leave the Library. Please start to vacate your study space in good time and clean it with the antibacterial wipes we will provide.

During your visit you must wear a mask and observe physical distancing guidelines at all times.

If you simply wish to borrow specific print titles from our collections, there is no need to book a study visit. Use our Click & Collect service instead – details below.

Will I Be Able To Borrow Books?

Thousands of digital resources relating to different topics or interests are available in the Library Catalogue. You should prioritise these resources in your studies wherever possible. Further information on how to access these resources is provided later in this document.

You may require specific texts that are unavailable digitally but that we hold physically. Remember, you are not be permitted to arrive at the Library without an appointment, whether to borrow books or browse our shelves.

Instead, book our Click & Collect service:

  • Go to the GSA Bookings Portal
  • Under ‘Book by Category’, select ‘Library’
  • On the following screen, click’ Make Me Owner’
  • Select a collection slot. Each collection slot lasts for 30 minutes, and you must arrive at the Library during this time. If you arrive outside of your allocated slot, you will be denied entry and will not be able to collect your books
  • You will be asked to list the books you require, up to a maximum of 5 books
  • The books will have been issued to your library account prior to collection
  • Collection slots are issued solely for the quick pick-up of books. They do not allow you to browse the library shelves, use our study spaces or computing facilities, or consult reference items. If you wish to do any of these activities, you must book a study slot instead.
  • Click and Collect bookings can be made up to 8am for the following day
  • If you experience any problems logging into the Bookings Portal, email us

Can I Return the Books I Have On Loan?

Although all loans have been extended and fines waived, we are asking that you now start to return any books that you no longer require.

From Monday 26th April we will have a returns box for GSA library books just before the barriers in the Library. Available Monday-Thursday 10-4, you will not have to book a slot if you just want to return your books. Your books will remain on your record until the following Monday due to quarantine restrictions.

Will I Be Able to Request Reference Items, Such as Dissertations or Short-Loan Texts?

Yes. When you book a study visit, you will also be able to request reference items such as dissertations, theses, zines, journals, and short-loan books from the Library Service Desk. For instructions on how to book your study visit, see above.

If you need to consult our dissertations or theses solely to understand the required length or formatting, you should not book a library visit. Instead, some representative examples of past dissertations and critical journals are available for you to access online via Canvas. A significant number of past GSA PhD theses can be read, without login, on RADAR, the School’s institutional repository.

What Differences Will I Notice When I Visit the Library?

When you visit the Library, your experience will be significantly different than in previous years. Upon arrival, your name will be checked against a list of bookings and you will be asked to undertake a compulsory but unobtrusive temperature test. Inside the Library, you will be required to follow social distancing, and to wear a face covering at all times (unless you have a medical exemption). Route markers and barriers will be in place to help you keep socially distanced from others. You will find ready supplies of hand sanitiser throughout the Library.

How Can I Access Digital Resources?

Even with bookable study visits and Click & Collect, access to the physical library will be more restricted than in previous years, and you should expect to make greater use of the digital resources available to you. Digital, rather than physical, will likely be the default mode of access for many of the texts you require.

During summer 2020, we have prioritised the purchase and discovery of e-resources. These resources can be accessed from home by all matriculated GSA students via your GSA network credentials. You will find several thousand e-books, e-journals, databases and articles in our Library Catalogue and you should prioritise these in your study and research during this period.

Whenever you discover a digital resource in the Library Catalogue, we have tried to provide very clear access instructions under the access link. It is important that you read these instructions, as the method for accessing content will vary between publishers and platforms. However, if you experience problems logging into any particular resource, please let us know here.

Our Magazines-on-the-Go service provides around 50 digital magazines across art, design and architecture, all through an easy-to-use app. Please follow the instructions here.

Planet eStream is our online streaming platform and provides access to over 2 million TV and radio broadcasts. We have over 3000 items already in our collection and are adding more all the time. Login using your GSA network credentials. If you experience any problems using Planet eStream, please contact us here.

If you are a matriculated postgraduate student, you will also have access to online resources from University of Glasgow. To access these resources you will need to use your GUID, which will you should receive from GSA Registry via email a week or so after you matriculate. If you have not received your GUID within a fortnight of matriculating, please contact GSA Registry. Postgraduate students can also register to use the National Library of Scotland’s online resources from home – please register online.

Can I Attend a Library or Canvas Orientation Session?

All our inductions and workshops have been redesigned for online delivery this academic session. If you are new to the Library, or would like to refresh your skills, particularly with regards to digital content, you can access our easy-to-understand, self-paced orientations on Canvas.

How Can I Contact The Library if I Have a Problem?

If you have any questions relating to Library collections or resources during this time please email If your enquiry concerns Canvas, learning technologies, or problems logging into online resources, please email You can also telephone us during the hours of 09.00-17.00 Mon-Fri at 0141 353 4551.

How Can I Access My GSA Email?

During Academic Session 2020/21 important information may also be sent to your GSA email. Click here for instructions on how to access your GSA email off-campus.

What Services Are Available for Students with Additional Support Needs?

We recognise that adaptions to Library services during this period may pose particular issues for those with additional support needs. If you have a physical or learning difference and would like to discuss your requirements with us, please contact us here

Can I Visit Other Libraries?

Where other UK HE libraries have reopened, nearly all are restricting access to their own matriculated students in line with Government advice. This means that the SCONUL Access scheme previously open to postgraduate students remains suspended.

In particular, the University of Glasgow Library remains closed to GSA students other than those on jointly delivered GSA/GU programmes of study. Do not visit GU Library during this time as you will be denied access.

Will External Visitors Be Able to Access GSA Library?

No. Bookable access to the Library will only be available to GSA matriculated students and staff. If you have paid for external membership and would like to know more about how this will affect you, please contact us here.

Can I Request Items from Special Collections?

Special Collection items are housed in our remote store and cannot be requested at this time. Some of these collections have been digitised, with links provided here.

Can I Request an Inter-Library Loan?

Find out more about our inter-library loan service here.