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Print books are great and we have a large selection, in each of our libraries, that are relevant to the courses taught on that campus, but for academic purposes ebooks are often more easily searchable, more readily available and provide you with 24-hour access to a wider variety of titles.

See the tabs below for more information.


ebooks and devices, A student using ebooks for academic work

You can search for ebooks in two ways

Use OneSearch to search across all of the collections in one go - Ebooks will appear in your results with an "Available online" link. Click on that to see the collection that holds the ebook and follow the link.

Or search each ebook collection (listed below) individually, to make more advanced searches of the content.

For more help finding and reading ebooks download the EbooksGuide.

You will need your University of Cumbria email address and password to access ebooks from off campus and generally the collections require that you have a recent version of Adobe installed on your computer, which you can download.

Why 'Library' ebook licences are different from 'individual' licences (e.g. Kindle books), and restrictions to be be aware of.

Because libraries want to make ebooks available to as many students as possible, the publishers set licence restrictions that are much more prohibitive than the ebooks that indivuals can purchase (e.g. Kindle books), and are significantly more expensive.

These licences determine such things as:

  • How many students can access the book at the same time,
  • What proportion of the text can be printed or copied,
  • Whether the ebook can be downloaded offline, and for how long,
  • The number of time a book can be accessed within a calendar year.

We endeavor to purchase the least restrictive ebook licences available for each title, but the choice is limited by the publisher.

If you find that you are unable to access an e-book as all copies are in use, please try the following:

  • Check again in 15-20 mins and keep checking until the e-book becomes available,
  • Depending on the ebook platform, you may be given an option to be notified when the ebook becomes available,
  • Use the Get More Books scheme to recommend that we purchase an additional ebook licence.

Downloading ebooks

Generally the functionality and accessibilty is better when ebooks are read Online but it is possible to download them to read at a later date or on different devices.  Different collections have different dowload access and software requirements but most use Adobe Digital Editions software which can be downloaded here.   This works for EPUB files, both Windows and Mac and provides high contrast modes, text resizing, screen reader support and keyboard support.

You can read eBooks on your device in the same way you would on a laptop or PC but you will need to first install the Adobe ReaderBluefire Reader or Kortext apps on your device in order to read downloaded eBooks successfully. These are free apps available to download from the iTunes App Store for Apple devices, and from the Google Play Store for Android devices.

For students with accessibility requirements, please also see our Assistive Technology pages and our Eresources and Assistive Technology page.

Device accessibility options 

Make your online reading experience more comfortable by learning how to activate read aloud on your device, change background or contrast colours and adjust your device's text display settings.  

Android accessibility settings

iOS – iPhone iPad accessibility settings

Mac accessibility settings

PC/Windows accessibility settings

Find out more about our ebook collections below


CollectionPlatformSubjectPublisher Accessibility Statement 
Biomedical and Life Sciences  Springer  Biomedical & Life Sciences  Springer Accessibility Statement
Dawsonera books have now moved over to the VLeBooks platform (link below)      
Early European Books ProQuest  400 Pre-1700 ebooks  ProQuest Accessibility Statement
Ebook Central ProQuest  Multidisciplinary   ProQuest Accessibility Statement
Ebsco  Ebsco  Multidisciplinary   EBSCO Accessibility Statement
Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences ScienceDirect  Forensic science  Elsevier Accessibility Statement
Encyclopedia of Life Sciences Wiley  Life Sciences  Wiley Accessibility Statement
Environment and Sustainability  Routledge  Environment  Routledge Accessibility Statement
FORENSICnetBASE Taylor & Francis  Forensic science Taylor & Francis Accessibility Statement
International Children's Digital Library ICDL  Children's books  not available 
ScienceDirect collection ScienceDirect   Science  Elsevier Accessibility Statement
Taylor & Francis Arts  Taylor & Francis   Arts  Taylor & Francis Accessibility Statement
Taylor & Francis Research Methods Taylor & Francis   Research methods  Taylor & Francis Accessibility Statement
VLeBooks VLeBooks Multidisciplinary Accessibility Guidance



How are the books arranged ?

librarybooks, Books on bookshelves in a library

The books are arranged on the shelves in numerical order according to the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme, using numbers 0-999.

Books will be issued initially for two weeks then renewed automatically for you unless they have been requested by another borrower. 

Look out for the 'shelf talkers' that will indicate where a book classified as Essential on a reading list is available as an ebook.


OneSearch - your route to library discovery

Using OneSearch, which can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection, you can search for everything that we keep in our libraries. There are also dedicated computers for using OneSearch, located within each of the libraries.

The most efficient way of locating a specific book is with an author/keyword (word in the title) search. Check in which campus library it is held. If it is at your campus and there is a copy available, make a note of the classmark and location and collect it from the shelf. If the book you want is on loan or held in another campus library, you can request it yourself from OneSearch and it will be sent to your home library.


Reading lists

The library aims to stock copies of all Essential reading list books in electronic and/or print format depending on availability. Remember that your reading list is a starting point. Successful students will develop searching skills to go beyond the reading list to demonstrate independent learning. 

We provide electronic reading lists that link your reading list directly to the catalogue so you can easily check the availability of your books in the library. A link to your module list should be available on your Blackboard module site. 


Our students come to us from a diverse range of backgrounds and to reflect this we want to increase the range of books in the library which are written by people from a BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) background. You can get involved by suggesting books through the Get More Books scheme.

Suggesting books for purchase - Get More Books Scheme

If you are a student and find the library does not stock a book that is on your reading list or any other title you think would be useful to you and other students, you can use the Get More Books service. If the book is appropriate for the library and money is available, the book will be purchased.  Orders can take anything from a couple of weeks to several months to be delivered depending on availability.

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