Book Study Spaces

Need somewhere to work quietly and comfortably?  Desks for studying at the Northampton Square and Business School Libraries are available to book on the CityLibrary website.  There are study spaces with and without PCs and computers with financial resources. 

Access to the Library is only available to students and staff who have items to collect or have booked individual study spaces. You must book ahead of your visit to the Library.  Continue reading Book Study Spaces

Financial databases on site access

We are pleased to announce that Financial resources on site are now available to students.

For those of you able to come to campus, 12 terminals are currently available in the Business School at Bunhill Row, and 6 terminals at Northampton Square Library will be available from Monday 5th October. Continue reading Financial databases on site access

Limited Library Services on campus

While we continue to provide the comprehensive online support via chat, Ask Us and online appointments, we are now also introducing limited access to study spaces and PCs, as well as to requesting items via a Click & Collect service.


These services are by appointment only, so in order to be able to visit campus, you will need to confirm you slot, as University Security has to be notified of your visit in advance.

Continue reading Limited Library Services on campus

LGBT+ History Month in the Library

As you might have noticed from the colourful flags on Library Help Desks, celebration of LGBT+ History Month at CityLibrary is in full swing. So why not look behind the flags and find what else we have in store?

If you are at Northampton Square Library this February, stop by the book display on Level 5 to browse some of the LGBT-related print books in our collection. You can also search for more books at all Library locations on CityLibrary search, or request a new book on LGBT+ or other underrepresented topics to be purchased for the Library’s collection via Liberating CityLibrary. If you are a distance-learner or simply prefer to read online, CityLibrary Search will help you find lots of exciting e-books, too, some of which you can see in the book carousel below.

If you are looking for articles about LGBT+ topics, as always, check CityLibrary Search, or you can browse any of the journals that CityLibrary subsribes to, like Journal of Lesbian Studies, Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, Journal of Bisexuality, or Journal of LGBT Youth.

Don’t forget that with PressReader you have access to the latest issues of a wide range of magazines, including Gay Times and Attitude.

And finally, if you just feel like having a break with a good film, don’t be a stranger to our DVD collection which is right next to the Help Desk on Level 2 of Northampton Square Library: Call Me By Your Name, Carol, God Loves Uganda, The Crying Game, and many more fantastic films are there for you to borrow and enjoy. Or, if you are a distance-learner or don’t have a DVD player, Box of Broadcasts (or, as we lovingly call it, BOB) will be your best ally to find recordings of films and TV shows online.

Have a look at LGBT+ History Month’s events at or around City and nationwide, and we hope to see you around soon!

Northampton Square Library, Level 6

Great news!

The silent study space on Level 6 of the Northampton Square Library has now reopened, providing nearly 200 silent study spaces.

Photo of desks on Level 6 of the Northampton Square Library.
Level 6 Silent Study Area

We had to close the floor for the autumn term to allow disruptive surveying work to take place:  this was in preparation for the proposed development of Level 7.

The additional silent study space in B411C (Level 4 of the University Building) remains open Mon-Fri 08:30-18:00.


The Story of City exhibition – ending soon

Thank you for helping us celebrate 125 years of City. As our anniversary year draws to a close we would like to remind you that Part 2 of the exhibition The Story of City: life, learning and legacy will run until the end of December, so please visit while you can. The exhibition is open to all and is located at the foot of the Great Staircase in the Pavilion, University Building.

The second part of the exhibition explores everyday life during the early years of the Institute. Find out more about the academic and social activities of the Institute. Learn about the origins of Student Union Mascot, King Carrot and travel back to the 1896 opening to the general public of Clerkenwell who enjoyed access to the swimming baths and entertainments in the Great Hall.

On display are items from the City Archive including student exercise books and early prospectus.  You can also see a reproduction of the time capsule which was buried under the Foundation Stone of the College Building in 1894. Visit the online exhibition where you can find out more and examine in detail digital replicas of a selection of documents, such as this 1923 laboratory workbook of Telegraphy student Philip de la Haye le Marquand.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the exhibition, please share your feedback or your memories of City in the comments below.

Extended loan periods

To help you prepare for your exams, Library Services is giving you extended loan periods over the Christmas and New Year break.


Seven day loans

If you borrow or renew a seven day loan on Friday 6th December you won’t have to bring it back until Friday the 3rd of January.

24 hour loans

Pop in on Friday 13th December or anytime up to closing time on Monday the 23rd of December, and you will be able to keep 24 hour loans until 10am on Friday 3rd January.

You can renew seven day loans and long loans online from your Library account.

If you would like to return books, and the library happens to be closed, you can put book returns into the library book return drop. They can be found in the following locations:

  • At Northampton Square, in the University Building Walkway at bottom of the stairs up to the library
  • At Cass just outside the Learning Resource Centre
  • In the College Building, just outside the cafe near the St John’s Street entrance 
  • At Gray’s Inn Place, just outside the entrance to the Library.

Don’t forget you can stay up to date with our opening times over the Christmas and New Year period on the Library Services website and see updates on the Library social media pages on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Seasonal opening hours

The Northampton Square Library will be open from 10am to 6pm between Friday 27th and Tuesday 31st December, 2019. Security staff will be present, and yule be able to borrow items using the elf-service machines as usual.

If you are planning to visit the Library to study or revise over the festive holidays, then check out our opening hours and plan ahead.

Graphic of bells with #CityLibraryChristmas.


All libraries will reopen on Thursday 2nd January, with Northampton Square and Cass libraries open 24/7 until the January exam period is wrapped-up.


Please note: access for SCONUL users is permitted during Library-staffed hours but restricted during 24/7: see the Library website for more information.

From the Archives: City and Space

by Stephen Penton and Conor Jackson

City Archive holds a number of pieces of material relating to space and space travel. This all relates to today’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics. One of the earliest departments when the Northampton Institute was founded in 1897 was Mechanical Engineering, and soon after in 1909 City was one of the first universities to introduce Aeronautical Engineering courses.

One of the Heads of Departments of the Aeronautics Department was Grigori Tokaty. Professor Tokaty had a highly successful career as an aeronautical engineer in the USSR, becoming chief rocket scientist in 1947.1 However, shortly afterwards he defected to the UK and has been described as ‘…one of the most prominent Cold War defectors’ (Dylan, 2018).2 He was a Professor at City between 1967 and 1975, and invited a number of eminent people involved in space to City during this time.

A photo of Professor Grigori Tokaty.
Professor Grigori Tokaty

Professor Tokaty invited the astronauts David Scott, Alfred Worden and James Irwin to visit City in November 1971, shortly after they had visited the Moon on the Apollo 15 mission. A short amateur film was made of the occasion, including footage of their arrival, and of a ceremony in the Great Hall. City still has this film in the Archive.

The mission was launched from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, using a spacecraft called Endeavour. It took nearly 100 hours to reach the moon. Once there, Scott and Irwin descended to the moon’s surface in a smaller vehicle called Falcon, and then used a Lunar Roving Vehicle to travel on the Moon (altogether it covered 17 miles). There was a greater emphasis on science than in earlier Apollo missions, particularly geology, with samples from the Moon’s surface taken and transported back to Earth. 18.5 hours were spent outside the spacecraft in all on the mission – this was a record at the time for one mission.3

In the ceremony at City the astronauts presented the University with a photograph of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, and a piece of the heat shield from the Endeavour spacecraft, both of which are still at City.

The signed photo of the Apollo 15 landing module and rover presented by the Apollo 15 astronauts. The inscription reads: "To Peter Studd, Lord Mayor and Chancellor of the City University from the Apollo 15 crew in appreciation of our visit - November 9, 1971" and the caption reads: "Astronaut Irwin with rover at Apollo 15 landing site."
The signed photo of the Apollo 15 landing module and rover presented by the Apollo 15 astronauts.

In the Autumn of 1974 – 31st October to be exact – Professor Tokaty invited science writer and novelist Arthur C. Clarke to deliver a lecture titled “The Promise of Space”. The lecture was captured using cassette tape and forms part of the modest audio-visual collection in the Archive.

The use of cassette tapes were fine for 1974, though they present an issue in 2019: this type of media is liable to degrade over time through over-playing, poor maintenance and poor playback equipment. To mitigate against any unknown deterioration and potential loss, it became apparent that the Clarke lecture would need to be digitised. The digitisation process was reasonably simple:

  • Download recording software.
  • Connect a tape player to a PC sound card or microphone
  • Insert a tape and record.

The device used to carry out the recording was a boombox-style CD and tape player from the early 2000s. I had misgivings about the basic set-up, but the quality of the recording was satisfactory for our purpose and the only drawbacks were some warm and fuzzy noises and a reduced volume at certain points in the recording. This certainly gave the recording an authentic feel, though a more refined sound was achieved using tools from the recording software.

Clarke may be best known for his fiction, but he was also something of a futurist, so we were hopeful that the lecture would contain correct predictions about technology to come. This proved to be the case as he made prescient remarks about email, digital newspapers and the internet. We transcribed a section of the tape where he discusses this in more detail:

We’re going to see things coming in like the global satellite post office. Instead of having the physical delivery of mail, which is getting more and more difficult and slower and slower, we will just get at least our commercial mail through electronic links in a few microseconds or a few milliseconds instead of a few weeks it sometimes takes now. The global electronic newspaper – the time’s going to come when you will just dial some coding in your home and you will see the front page of any newspaper in the world, if you can still use the word newspaper in that context and get through satellite links not only the current news media, but every newspaper that has ever been, every book that has ever been right back to the invention of the printing press, in fact all of the knowledge of mankind could be available to you in your home through such a device when you dial the correct thirty digit number. There’s a little problem in information retrieval here but we’re going to solve that, we have to.

A poster for Arthur C Clarke's lecture at City in 1974. The text reads: "Dept. of Aeronautics. The City University, London, EC1. A Special Lecture: "The Promise of Space" by Arthur C. Clarke, science writer & novelist ("Interplanetary Flight," "THe Exploration of Space," "The Promise of Space," "Glidepath," "2001 - A Space Odyssey," etc., etc.). Thurs. 31st Oct. 1974, 2oc to 3oc in Room U.214. All Welcome!"
A poster for Arthur C Clarke’s lecture at City in 1974.

More than 40 years have passed since City welcomed Arthur C. Clarke and the astronauts of the Apollo 15 mission and much has changed about space and space travel in the intervening years. It is impossible to know what connection City may have with space in the future, but with the advent of space tourism it may be alumni who come back to visit us.



1. White, S (1971) ‘Tokaty, space pioneer.’ New scientist and science journal, 8th July 1971.

2. Dylan, A. (2018) ‘SIS, Grigori Tokaev, and the London Controlling Section: New Perspectives on a Cold War Defector and Cold War Deception.’ War in History, 26(4) pp. 517-538.

3. ‘Apollo 15’ (2019) Wikipedia. Available at (Accessed 16th October 2019)

Silent Study at Northampton Square

Returning students will notice that Level 6 is closed for refurbishment as part of our wider work to develop the library estate.

Levels 4 and 5 are still available for silent study.  In addition to the silent spaces inside the Library, we have transformed B411c into a silent study room.  You can access this new silent study space by taking the lift or stairs from the refectory end of the Level 1 walkway to the 4th floor and following signs to Silent Study.

B411c will be open Monday-Friday 08:30-18:00.