Institution of Structural Engineers > Resources Centre > Library > Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

1. Where is the Library and what are the opening times?

The Library is located on the First Floor of the Institution's headquarters building at 47-58 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PS. The opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

2. How can I contact the Library?

Contact the Library either by phone on +44 (0)20 7201 9105 or email

3. Who can use the Library?

The Library can be used by Institution members of all grades.

4. Do I need to make an appointment?

Students and non-members need to make an appointment in advance.

5. How do I join the Library?

Institution members do not need to register to use the Library. Their details are automatically added to the Library database when they become members of the Institution.

Non-members (including companies) cannot join the Library but limited access to the collection can be granted via appointments and inter-library loans. Please see questions three and 20 for further details.

6. How do I borrow books from the Library?

Loan requests can be accepted by phone, email or via the Library catalogue. Members may visit the Library in person from 6th January 2015.

7. Can people borrow books on my behalf?

If you want someone to borrow a book on your behalf you will need to authorise this with us first, either by phone or email.

8. Can I borrow by post?

Most items (excluding current Institution reports and most journals) are available for loan by post. Please contact us before 3pm for same day postal service.

We suggest that items are returned to us by recorded delivery. There is no charge for postal loans but we do request that you refund our outward postage costs.

9. What about non-UK members?

Members overseas may borrow up to six items at a time at the discretion of the Librarians. We ask that members cover both the outward and return postage costs. Certain rare or valuable items may not be available for loan  Photocopies and scans of pages can be supplied worldwide, within the restraints of copyright law. See 19.

10. How many books can I borrow?

Institution members can borrow up to three books, plus three reports or standards at a time – six items in total.

11. How long is the loan period?

The normal loan period is four weeks for books, reports and standards and three weeks for audiovisual material. Items can be renewed twice providing another library user has not requested them. Please quote your Institution membership number when requesting book renewals.

12. How can I renew my books?

Either by phone or email. Please quote your Institution membership number when requesting renewals.

13. How do I reserve an item that is on loan to another member?

Contact us with the item details and your Institution membership number. We will put a reservation on the book. Library staff will contact you when it is returned.

14. Does the Library charge fines for overdue books?

There are no daily overdue fines. Members will be charged a £20.00 administration fee for items that are more than six weeks overdue. If an item has been lost they must also cover the cost of replacement. Loans to the borrower will be suspended pending payment.

15. What happens if I lose a library book?

You are responsible for replacing the book if you lose or damage it once it is your possession. Please contact the Library immediately if this happens.

16. What if you haven't got a book I want?

The Librarian may consider purchasing the item or suggest an alternative publication. If you are a member living in the UK or Ireland it may be possible to borrow the book on your behalf from the British Library (subject to a fee).

17. Do you have British Standards and Eurocodes?

Yes, we keep an up to date set of structural engineering related standards and codes and keep any superseded editions. They are available for loan to members.

18. Can I view The Structural Engineer online?

Institution members and paying subscribers can view the online version of The Structural Engineer

19. How do I request a photocopy?

Photocopies are supplied according to the requirements of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003. Guidance about photocopying is available, please contact the Library for more information.

20. Can libraries borrow items?

Libraries may borrow up to ten items at one time - our charges are in line with the current British Library item loan prices and are payable either via the British Library claims system or by setting up a deposit account with the Institution of Structural Engineers Library. Although Librarians may request loans on behalf of members, without charge, the loan remains the responsibility of the member concerned. Postal loans will be sent marked "private and confidential" and for the members attention. Other loans by proxy are not permitted
Please use our deposit account form to set up an account.

21. Does the Library carry out research for non-members?

Research can be undertaken on your behalf. You are advised to telephone us to discuss your requirements. The first 5 minutes is free. We then charge £20.00 per half-hour.

22. Can I obtain legal advice from the Library/Institution?

Institution Members* can access 20 minutes of free legal telephone advice about engineering and business issues covered by construction and engineering law. The service is delivered via a partnership with Muckle LLP and covers areas including contracts, insurance and liability. To get in touch call 0191 211 7724 or email Muckle LLP and quote “IStructE/LA” and your membership number.

Plus, get a great discount on full legal services if you instruct Muckle LLP following your 20 minutes of free advice.

*excluding Student Members and Affiliates

23. Can I obtain technical advice from the Library/Institution?

The Institution does not have a technical advisory service but we may be able to suggest relevant publications or refer you other organisations. Members can also seek advice from other engineers via the Institution’s online Forum.

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