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Changes to Library Services, 2017-2020

The Royal College of Surgeons’ Library in Lincoln’s Inn Fields closed to visitors in May 2017 as part of a major refurbishment project due to be completed in 2020.

During the closure, we will be working with partner institutions to provide managed access to our collections for study and research. We anticipate this access being in place by autumn 2017. We will also continue to deliver other services from the College's Lincoln's Inn Fields building.

You can find out more about the ‘Transforming Surgery for Tomorrow’ programme. This page will be updated regularly.

Changes to Library services

On the 19th May, the Library closed to all visitors to allow essential work on the collections to be completed and for their removal to offsite locations.

It will not be possible to provide research appointments to consult the Library's collections until autumn 2017. This will also affect our ability to supply requests from printed material via the Document Delivery service. Our staff's ability to deal with enquiries relating to these collections is limited; we will advise further when responding to any requests.

Access to our online resources and services will be unaffected by the redevelopment project, with staff supporting these services throughout the project. See our FAQ section below for more information on specific services.

We look forward to re-opening the Library in 2020 in refurbished and restored spaces where our collections can be discovered, viewed and studied. You can follow this process through our Library Blog.


Access to online resources

Access to our online resources will be unaffected by the redevelopment project at our Lincoln's Inn Field home. RCS and FGDP members will continue to have full access to e-journals, e-books and databases with support available via our help pages or by contacting staff via email

Literature Search service

The Literature Search Service will continue to be available for members. Access to our online resources will be unaffected by the redevelopment project.

Document Delivery service

During the preparation and removal period we will not be able to support a full Document Delivery service from our print collections. We will continue to provide articles from our online holdings as normal. If we are unable to supply an article from our collections, the request can be supplied via the British Library. Please see our Document Delivery page for more details on ordering articles.


From January 2017, access to print journal titles has become more limited as collections are prepared for the move off-site. Articles can be requested via our Document Delivery service if titles are unavailable.

Over 90% of our current journal holdings are available electronically and access to these will be unaffected during the project. Use SurgiCat+ or the Journal Finder to search for titles held by the RCS.

Historical Collections

The closure of the Library in May 2017 means that our historical collections will not be accessible until autumn 2017, when new arrangements with partner organisations will become available. Please contact if you have any questions.

19th Century Tracts & Pamphlets

As part of the UK Medical Heritage Library project, 21,500 nineteenth-century tracts and pamphlets from our collections have been digitised to make them accessible to the public. They are available via JISC and can be viewed online or downloaded as a pdf.

Borrowing books

The Library closed in May 2017 to prepare collections for the move offsite. The borrowing service has been suspended until autumn 2017. Please email if you have any questions.

While we need to recall all loans in order to move our collections to a new offsite location, we will be able to retrieve these items for loan in future. We anticipate this being possible in autumn 2017.

Books for exam preparation

The collection of books for exam preparation will remain onsite. Members will be able to borrow these books from the Library Enquiry Point in the Nuffield Lounge from autumn 2017. More details on this new service will be made available later.

Books and other material available electronically

There are over 1000 textbooks and reference manuals available via our subscription to ClinicalKey which allows book chapters to be saved as PDFs to be read later. Members can access ClinicalKey using their College Login details and illustrated help on accessing the service can be found on Surgicat+.

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