About the Library

Mission of the Online Library

The Online Library's mission is to develop and maintain online resources and services in support of the present and future teaching, learning and research needs of the University of London's Distance Learning community.

We believe that:

  • Access to adequate library services and resources is essential for the attainment of superior academic skills in post-secondary education, regardless of where students, faculty, and programs are located.
  • Members of the distance learning community are entitled to library services and resources equivalent to those provided for students and faculty in traditional campus settings.

ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Service

History and Background 

The University of London's Online Library, launched in 2001 as a key component of the University's Virtual Campus initiative, has become a vital resource for distance learners globally. Now recognized as the world's oldest fully online university library, it exemplifies the University's dedication to using technology to make education accessible globally.

This Online Library, developed as a collaborative project between University of London External System and Senate House Library, was borne out of the need to meet the diverse learning, teaching and research needs of its hugely distributed distance learning community. Initially focused on specific courses like the LLB and EMFSS programmes. By 2005, it expanded to include all distance learning programmes, reflecting the University's commitment to accessible education. 

Continuously evolving, it’s now fully integrated into the curriculum, features the Athens single sign-on and Summon, a research discovery tool, to streamline access and aid in content discovery. Additionally, it incorporates information and digital literacy skills, catering to its diverse student body of over 50,000 students from over 190 countries of the world. This range of programs demonstrates the University's commitment to providing accessible and flexible education on a global scale. More information is available on the University of London's website.

 Key resources and services

Eligibility for services

To use the services, you must be enrolled with the University's of London distance learning programmes or a member of staff involved in delivering and supporting the distance learning programmes and directly employed by the University of London.

You can access all the Online Library’s resources using your Portal username and password. 

The Online Library Team

The Online Library is staffed by a team of professional and qualified librarians.  You can contact us at onlinelibrary@london.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)20 7862 8478. You can also use the Contact Us webform or talk to us in real time using the Chat with us! tab in the bottom left corner when it is green.

We look forward to welcoming you all to the Online Library!

Dr Sandra Tury (Associate Director-Online Library Services)