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Librarian’s Guide

Access 25The M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries supports mutual access to its libraries for postgraduate research students and staff from its member institutions, which comprise both HE and scholarly research libraries.

Please note the SCONUL Access scheme is also available and is the usual scheme to use for mutual access between HE libraries. Access25 is primarily for access to and from the Consortium’s scholarly libraries.

Covid-19 notice: Members wishing to use the Access25 scheme should check individual library web pages for up to date information on their service. Application forms can be filled out electronically. We would suggest the home library makes contact with the host library to confirm any visits.

Who can issue an Access25 Card?

Library staff at M25 institutions can issue Access25 cards on receipt of an application form. A supply of Access25 cards for your library is available from the Support Team.

Who will receive visits from Access25 users?

Most of our M25 member libraries accept Access25 cards when supported with the user’s ID card from their home institution – local variations apply. Some of our libraries are already open to the public and an M25 Access card is not required. A full list is available. If in doubt it is always worth checking library web pages before sending a library member to another library.

Guidance for libraries issuing Access25 cards

Who can apply for an Access25 card? Library members at your institution that are either staff on an open or fixed term contract OR postgraduate research student registered at your institution for a qualification awarded purely by research. The user must be in good standing with your library e.g. have no outstanding debts.

How do I issue an Access25 card?

  1. Each institution will register users wishing to use the scheme via an Access25 application form. A card is then issued to the user, recording the user’s full name, home institution, and a valid start and end dates, with a maximum of one year’s duration. If less than one year it will be based on either
    • the duration of the user’s library registration or
    • the duration of the user’s institutional I.D. card validity

    Advise the user that they must re-apply for membership of the Scheme upon the expiry of their Access25 card, by filling out an application form. Access25 cards cannot be issued without an application form being completed each time.

  2. Stamp the Access25 card on the reverse with your library stamp and sign it against Authorising signature (as determined at your own library).
  3. Advise the user that they must present both their Access25 card and their library card when registering with participating libraries. Advise the user to contact the library/libraries they wish to join before their first visit. This will enable them to check opening hours and other requirements (e.g., new tickets may only be issued during office hours, they may need to supply a passport sized photograph). An alphabetical list of all M25 libraries containing links to contact details and catalogues can be found here.
  4. Inform the user that not all M25 libraries are members of the Scheme and advise them to check the list of participating libraries
  5. Application forms should be retained, see below.

Record keeping and statistics

Application forms should be kept for the duration of the card in case of any query over membership. The forms will also be needed to return management information to the M25 Consortium team in August each year. Each card issuing library should submit the number of cards issued and the number of intended visits to each M25 library.

An example of the annual submission might be:

Name of card issuing library: The British Museum

Number of Access25 cards issues in last year: 100 cards

Intended visits by Access25 users:

  • Senate House Library – 40
  • UCL – 35
  • King’s College London – 30
  • Queen Mary University of London – 15

The number of intended visits can exceed the number of cards issued, since users can indicate multiple libraries they intend to visit on their application form.

This should be submitted to the Administrator (Events & Programmes) via email at by the end of August each year (or when requested at other times).

Guidance for receiving libraries

All staff in receiving libraries should be aware of the M25 Consortium and its Access25 scheme. They should be able to register card holding applicants according to local practice.

  1. Arrangements for recovering debts (e.g. fines, charges for lost books) from Access25 card holders follow the normal pattern of reminders etc. for external readers, after which time the debt may be recovered from the home institution library.
  2. Arrangements for withdrawing membership from Access25 card holders follow the normal pattern for external readers, after which time membership of your library may be withdrawn from the scheme.

Further information and stationery requests:

Please contact the M25 Consortium support team at –