Come for a Tour of The Sir Duncan Rice Library – No booking required

Following on from our already fully-booked Library Tours, which will take place on September 4 and 5, we will be running open tours of The Sir Duncan Rice Library over the rest of that week and the following two weeks for all students, new and old. This is to make sure that as many people as possible get the chance to learn about the Library.

small library tours sign cropped

Starting on Wednesday September 6 and running until Friday September 22, come and meet staff on the ground floor of the library at 10am or 2pm. There is no need to book a place and each tour group will contain a maximum of ten people.

There will be more than one tour taking place at a time, lasting approximately 30 minutes. The tours by our friendly staff will introduce you to not only the beautiful building, but also the services available from the library. We will also tell you:

  • How materials are organised in the building
  • How to begin borrowing the library books on your reading lists
  • How library staff can help you during your time at The University of Aberdeen

Please note that there will be no tours taking place at the weekends, but staff working then will still be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Library Service.

Please speak with staff in the Taylor and Medical Libraries for help in finding your way round their collections and spaces.

We look forward to showing you around, and also take this opportunity to wish you all good luck with the year ahead.​​


PhD students – Library Induction Sessions now available for booking

Library induction sessions for new PhD students are now available for booking on the University’s course booking system. Held in The Sir Duncan Rice Library, these sessions introduce how to get the best out of the Library here at the University of Aberdeen and are highly recommended for those postgraduate researchers who are new to the institution.

There will be three opportunities to attend one of these sessions over the next three months, with the first taking place next Wednesday, October 26. The dates and times for al three sessions are:

  • October 26: 10.00 – 11.00
  • November 1: 10.00 – 11.00
  • December 14: 10.00 – 11.00

During the hour-long introduction to the Library service we will cover:

  • The basics of how to search our catalogue, Primo
  • How to borrow and return items in our libraries
  • How to locate high-quality online scholarly materials
  • How the Library can help you as you progress with your research
  • Tour of The Sir Duncan Library

As every university is different in how they operate their library service it has proved useful to new arrivals to attend these sessions, to learn exactly how we do things here at the University of Aberdeen.

These induction sessions complement more detailed Library Information Skills Workshops which we offer to PhD students. The next series of these are to take place next month, in November. Click here for further details on these workshops.

We look forward to meeting with any new PhD students, to help you get the best out of our extensive resources while you carry out your research.

The Library launches induction sessions for PhD Students

The Library Service has recently introduced new and regular induction sessions to our services and resources for new PhD students and they are proving popular. Complementing the Information Skills Workshops which we have been delivering to them for a number of years, these induction sessions introduce the fundamentals of how to get the best out of the Library, while the workshops go into much greater detail on the research cycle they will be undertaking during their time here in Aberdeen and the role that the Library can play in that.

The second of these definitions is what we aim for in the induction sessions, and we hope for them to be regular, not rare.

The need for these regular sessions was identified due to the fact that PhD students now arrive at the University of Aberdeen throughout the academic year and, more importantly, from all around the world. The culture of libraries and how they operate differ greatly throughout the world, and also vary between each academic institution, with the systems of one library being designed for the specifics of the particular University of which they are a part. We recognised, therefore, that many of these PhD students needed more basic guidance in terms of how to use our services.

The induction sessions begin with the basics of library opening hours, how many books they can borrow and how to search for them with Primo, and even how they can find them on the shelves. In some countries, for example, students themselves do not go and get the books from the shelves as that would be the work of a librarian. That is not something we normally do here in Aberdeen, unless, of course, someone is struggling to find it themselves. We also cover how to borrow and return them using our self-issue and returns machines.

We then move on to introduce the vast range of online resources we offer, such as e-book collections and academic databases, and their importance to doing great research. We also outline how to access them easily when away from our campuses – important when much research is done in the field and all around the world. The Information Skills Workshops we run are also introduced to let them know that further detailed help is available to help them get the best out of these online materials and our paper resources, and make it clear that Library staff and subject-specific Information Consultants are here to help throughout the time they are working to achieve their Doctorates.

After introducing these services they are given a tour of the impressive Sir Duncan Rice Library to begin to turn the theory of the library which we have just introduced into reality. This also gives them the opportunity to ask any questions about any aspect of the library which we have not already covered.

These inductions sessions are a great opportunity for us to begin to build the relationship with the Library Service that these early career researchers will need over the next few years. It is an exciting time as they set out on the start of their research, but can also be a daunting time with so much to take in and learn in a very short space of time and often in a new country and culture, and our aim with these sessions is to simplify and clarify the Library Service as much as possible for them and make it clear that we are here to support them in their information needs, so that they can focus on the fundamental research questions they are here in Aberdeen to investigate and answer.

To book on one of these induction sessions, or any of the workshops offered by the Library Service visit the University’s Course Booking System and search for Library Information Skills. There are two sessions on offer this week and another on May 12, but do keep an eye on the Course Booking site for details of our next Workshops (not yet confirmed) as well as other excellent classes delivered by other areas of the University.


Come for a Library Tour between January 15 and 22

New student? Current student who has just realised that it would be useful to find out more about library and information services? Get your new programme off to the best start, or kick-start your ongoing studies, by discovering what is available to you from The Sir Duncan Rice Library and beyond….

WHO: New (or not so new!) students of any level (undergraduate, postgraduate). New members of staff are also welcome

WHEN: Friday 15 January and Monday 18 January – Friday 22 January, 10:00 or 14:00. There will be no tours at the weekend.

WHERE: Welcome Desk on the ground floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library

WHAT: 30-40 minute tour of the building and services/facilities. Discover where your subject books are held, how to borrow them and where to get help. Stay on for an optional 15-20 minute demonstration on how to use Primo to search for and find items on your reading list. The tour will be subject-tailored to those who attend

No booking necessary – just come along on the day and time slot that suits you best. Invest a little time now to find out what is available to support your research and study activities – you will be glad that you did!

For more detailed help with research resources for assignments and dissertations you can book onto our lunchtime Find it Fast! workshops (undergraduate and taught postgraduate students) which start on 19 January.

Workshops for research postgraduate students are provided in the Researcher Development programme and can also be booked online. Log in to for further details, or speak with library staff.

Welcome to The Library Service – We are here to help You

As the new academic year begins and the campuses fill with new and returning students Library staff would like to wish everyone all the very best for the coming year at the University of Aberdeen.

While you may have been away enjoying the summer months we have been here, busy enjoying ourselves getting ready to welcome you all through the doors of our three libraries, ready to help you find the books, journal articles, in fact any type of information you need to help you broaden your learning and complete your assignments, dissertations or theses.

Read on to learn (or remind yourself) of some of the ways in which the Library is here to help you.


Library Tours

small library tours sign croppedOver the rest of this week and next we are running short tours of The Sir Duncan Rice Library (TSDRL) for all students, new and old. Come and meet staff on the ground floor of the library at 10am or 2pm, there is no need to book. There will be no tours taking place at the weekends, but staff working then will still be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Library Service. Further information on the tours is available here.

Speak with staff in the Taylor and Medical Libraries for help in finding your way round their collections and spaces.


Getting help in our libraries

Library staff are here to help you locate the materials you need or answer any questions you may have about our service. That is our job. And we can do that for you in person or online.

Face to Face

Staff are available Monday-Friday, 09.00-17.00, in each of our three libraries to help in person. There is a reduced service at all three sites outwith these hours but staff are still available to help.

For general enquiries within The Sir Duncan Rice Library about our services please speak with staff at the Information Centre on Floor 1.

For more subject-specific assistance in The Sir Duncan Rice Library you will find staff with knowledge of the collections on each of the subject floors (floors 3-6). They will either be based at the clearly marked Information Points, or they will be available to help in the Enquiry Offices which are located right beside them. More details on staff help available here. At evenings and weekends please take any subject questions to the main Information Centre on Floor 1 of the building.

The Taylor Library and the Medical Library also have very knowledgeable staff happy to field any enquiries you may have about their collections. Come and speak to them.

Online Help

chatboxWe are also able to take questions about our collections and services via a Quick Query Chat-Box available on the library homepage. The service is available weekdays during term-time from 09:00 to 17:00. You will find the chat-box on the centre of the Library homepage.

Outside of these hours you can send an email to with your enquiry and it will be passed on to the most appropriate member of Library staff to get back to you.

There is an extensive list on our website with contact details for most Library staff.

We are also on Twitter and Facebook and will be happy to take any questions and comments you may have that way too. They are not generally staffed in the evenings and at the weekends but it is another way in which you can contact us for any help you might need.

We are here to help you find the library materials you need throughout your time here at the University of Aberdeen and are ready and waiting for your questions. And don’t ever be embarrassed to ask us a question because you think it might be a silly question. There are no silly questions, only questions, and we love to hear them all.


Ewan Grant, Information Adviser

Video-style guide to Taylor Library published on YouTube


Poster by Sarah McIntyre 2012

Staff here have been very busy recording a short introduction to the Taylor Library in preparation for the new academic year. So… if you are a prospective student, a new student, a visitor, or perhaps someone who wants to conjure up happy memories, you may want to take a look at our PowToon video and slideshow, or even sit back and listen to Ross’s dulcet tones.

Learn more about the Taylor Library and European Documentation Centre on our website.

Elaine Shallcross
Information Consultant, Law and Business

The Library Warmly Welcomes Applicants to the University of Aberdeen

atrium interior


Now that the dust has settled after the two applicant days last month we just wanted to update our readers with the news that the two days were a great success.

The sun shone on both days, which always makes things easier as the campus is so beautiful on a lovely sunny day. Potential new students, parents and guardians had a great time across the campus learning about all that the University of Aberdeen has to offer.

The library tours went very well, with The Sir Duncan Rice Library being a great draw for all visitors to the campus. Over the two days we took over 500 people round the library on official tours, alongside the many others who went round under their own steam. It was a great opportunity to show these potential students our resources and services, and also show them a great bird’s-eye view of the campus and the city beyond from floor 7 of TSDRL.

And one of the great things about taking new visitors round TSDRL is that it reminds you just how stunning a building it is, to study or work in, when you see the reactions of people who have never visited before. There is a reason the TSDRL is often included in lists of the most beautiful libraries in the world! See below…



The campus at Old Aberdeen will be busy this week with prospective new students as the University hosts two of its Applicant Days. The Science & Engineering Day takes place on Wednesday 25th and the Arts and Social Sciences Day will be on Friday 27th.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library (TSDRL) is one of the venues that will be warmly welcoming potential students through its doors. For those of you who currently use the TSDRL I’m sure you can understand why they might want to come in and have a look around our stunning library, and also to see the wonderful views of the sea, the campus and the wider city.

So, please understand that the TSDRL will be a bit busier than usual on Wednesday and Friday as people come in to have a look around. It is an important time in the University’s calendar and as the library is an integral part of the University experience people will want to visit.

We will do all we can to keep any disturbance to a minimum, by restricting any formal tours to the ground floor and floor 7 only. So, to our current students, and staff, who use the TSDRL we thank you in advance for your understanding and patience while these important events take place.

Further information on the Applicants Days is available here.