Open Day: Take a Tour of our Southend Library, The Forum

Located in the centre of Southend, the library is based in The Forum, a partnership library between the University of Essex, South Essex College and the Public Library Service of Southend.

At a glance

We offer a wide range of services here at the University of Essex Library in The Forum – more than we could fit in a short list! But here’s a snapshot of some of our main services, to give you a flavour of what you can expect from your library:

  • 24/7 opening hours.
  • Access to over 190,000 items, including books, articles and DVDs.
  • Access to hundreds of online databases with countless articles, ebooks, movies, theatre productions, and more.
  • Individual study spaces, as well as group study areas.
  • Over 50 PCs (including some at height adjustable desks).
  • Borrowable laptops.
  • Free printing.
  • Live chat support.
  • Personal support from subject experts to help you get the best out of your studies.
  • Specialist academic and research support services.
  • Request a resource and Interlibrary Loan Services.
  • Access to an archive including a wide range of historically pertinent resources.


When you enter The Forum, the first thing you’ll see is the main help desk, staffed by the Southend Council Library. This is where you’ll be checking out and returning your books. Located near the entrance are self-service machines where you can also borrow and return books. You can also browse and borrow the fiction books; you’ll find these behind the main help desk.

First floor

Here you will find your University books alongside the Public Library books and South Essex College books. With your library card you can borrow any of these books.

Normally, when you borrow books from us, you’ll get them for 3 weeks and can renew them, free of charge, online, at the main help desk or at the self-service machine.

Some of our books are short loan, which means you can borrow them for 7 days. This helps ensure everyone gets access to the resources they need to be a success.

The first floor is open to our students 24/7, so you can borrow and return books at a time that suits you.

Second Floor

The second floor is home to the Learning Hub. A space dedicated to University of Essex students and is open 24 hours, every day of the week, even Christmas Day and New Year’s Day!

Inside the Learning Hub you will find the Library and IT staff at the Info Point. Here you can get assistance from our friendly staff. The library staff can show you how to search the library databases or how to reference. The IT staff can help you set up Wi-Fi, emails and software you may need to use.

Next to the Info Point you’ll find our whizzy Laptop Loans lockers. Just scan your card and you can borrow a laptop from us, for free!

Southend Laptop Loans

At the North end of the building there is an Open Study Space, with 40 PC’s. 

We also have 10 PODS that are great for collaborative work or group study.

If you’re looking for somewhere private, we have 2 individual rooms dedicated to quiet or group study.

You may have lessons in our Innovation Space or Skills Space. Equipped with computers and projectors, you’ll be able to easily interact in your lecture and when these rooms aren’t being used for a class you can use them for studying.

If quiet study is your thing, our Reading Space is a Quiet Zone with 6 PC’s and 35 individual desks for studying at.

Used to using a MAC? We have 3 Media rooms with Apple MACs so you don’t need to worry about switching between a PC and MAC when you’re working.

You can connect your devices to our Wi-Fi and you’ll find plenty of sockets/power points. We even have some in our couches! 

You won’t go thirsty or hungry either, we have vending machines for food, tea, coffee, hot and cold water.

We can’t wait to see you!

The University of Essex is a great place to study and here at Southend, in The Forum we have excellent library facilities, as well as kind and helpful staff. In fact, in 2018 Essex was named ‘University of the Year’ by Times Higher Education and the library team was shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Library Team’ award the following year too!

As our founding Vice Chancellor once said: ‘the library is the university’s heart’, so if you choose to study at Essex we’ll make sure you won’t regret it.

Why not check out our Instagram page for loads more great pictures of our library? Or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see what we’re up to?

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