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Library Services


QM libraries house over 1,000,000 print and electronic resources, and the Acquisitions Team buys, catalogues and adds approximately 10,000 new volumes each year.

We manage the collections at all Queen Mary sites (Mile End, Whitechapel and West Smithfield) and work closely with the biggest publishers and vendors to make sure you have what you need, when you need it.

  1. Accessing resources
  2. Suggest a new acquisition
  3. Staff guide to Library Acquisitions
  4. Ebooks explained
  5. Ordering quotas
  6. Direct Book Purchase

Accessing Resources 

The easiest way to discover and access resources is through Library Search. Use the Books, ebooks and DVDs tab to find specific books and ebooks and use the Articles and more tab for broader results.

Our A-Z list of Databases is also a great way to explore the wide array of scholarly resources and packages, acquired to support teaching and learning.

The resources you need may also be available on Reading Lists Online, an online application, created by your module tutors and listing all the scholarly resources you need.

Suggest a new acquisition 

Need something for your course but can’t find it on the catalogue? Let us know and we’ll try to get hold of it as quickly as possible.

  • Students – simply fill out the More books at your request form and a member of the Acquisitions Team will get back to you as soon as possible
  • Academic Staff – See the Staff guide to Library Acquisitions below to find out more about placing book order requests

Staff guide to Library Acquisitions 

Thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier to order scholarly resources. To do so, you can either:

  1. Create a reading list on Reading Lists Online and request a review. A member of the team will make sure all Essential and Recommended titles are held in the collection
  2. Email us at with the following details:
  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
  • Reading category (i.e. Essential? Recommended? Optional)
  • Semester required (semester A, B or C),
  • Enrolment (number of students on the module. Why do we need this? See below)

To make the process work seamlessly for you (and for us), please bear the following points in mind:

  • Orders should be placed no less than 3 months before the material is needed
  • Orders are processed in the order in which they are received

Ebooks explained

We operate an e-first policy. This means if there’s an electronic version of a book, we’ll buy this and not the print. However if you have any specific needs for a print copy, let us know and we will be happy to help.

eBooks are quick to acquire, remotely accessible and don’t take up shelf space. But they tend to cost more than their print equivalents and the terminology around their acquisition can be mind boggling:

  • Perpetual Access ebooks – once paid for, it is owned by the library in perpetuity
  • Subscription ebooks – Only accessible for the subscription period, after which access will expire and it will need to be purchased again
  • Single User licence/Multi-User licence/Unlimited user licence – The number of readers who can view the book at the same time. Ranges from 1 to unlimited.
  • Individual purchase – As the name implies, ebooks sold directly to individual account holders, e.g. Amazon Kindle. The library cannot provide access to these
  • eTextbooks – A licence is purchased for every student on a module. These tend to be very expensive, depending on the number of students enrolled and are best supplied using the library’s Direct Book Purchase scheme.

Ordering quotas

The number of copies/licences we acquire is based on the following quotas:

Category e-book Print book (no e-book)


1 licence per 10 students

1 copy per 10 students


1 licence

1 copy


1 licence on request

1 copy on request

Direct Book Purchase 

The library has entered a partnership with John Smith & Sons to provide books/etextbooks for individual student use.

Rather than purchasing books for the library collection, schools now have the freedom to acquire books directly for their students, ensuring key texts are available for student use.

If you are interested in providing books/etextbooks directly to your students, contact Jenni Morton – John Smith’s.

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