Skip to Main Content
The University of Edinburgh home
Show/hide site search
Information Services

Library for leisure and wellbeing

Welcome to this guide to the library for leisure and wellbeing

I'm looking for...

You can make use of the huge range of the library's collections for your leisure reading; fiction, poetry, memoirs, history, the list goes on! 

As an academic library, the collection of fiction books are mostly to support the study of literature. But, you are welcome to borrow and enjoy whether you are a student of literature or not. 

Where to browse for fiction

The Main Library holds the majority of physical collections for English Literature. Books relating to English Literature are mostly classified under PR (e.g. PR5484 Ste.) which are located on the 3rd floor. Older lending collections that are classified in the Dewey decimal scheme (e.g. .82389 Ste.) are located on the 4th floor.

Here's just a small selection of some titles you could explore for leisure reading in the Library...


The Library’s Wellbeing Collection contains resources on all aspects of wellbeing, including but not limited to: depression, eco-anxiety, exercise, financial wellbeing, happiness, loneliness, relationships, self-esteem, sleeping well, and university life. 

The Wellbeing Collection is for all University of Edinburgh staff and students.

Take a look at a selection of books from the Wellbeing Collection below.

You can explore all the books in the Wellbeing Collection in DiscoverEd or browse a list of books by subject area in the resource list.

Make a Suggestion

Is there a book you would like us to buy to add to the Library’s Wellbeing Collection?

Use the Request A Book (RaB) purchase request form and add “Wellbeing” into the comments field at the bottom of the form to send us your suggestions.

Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcasts home screen

Select and record any broadcast programme from over 2.2 million broadcasts across 75 TV and radio channels.

The University of Edinburgh subscribes to the BoB National service which enables all staff and students to select and record any broadcast programme from over 60 TV and radio channels.

Subscribe to Box of Broadcasts website using your University email

Please note that due to UK broadcasting rights restrictions, the broadcast material offered by Box of Broadcasts is only available to users accessing it from within the UK.

Accessing the service

The Box of Broadcasts service is accessed via web browser and uses your university credentials for authentication (a link to the BoB site can be found at the bottom of this page).

Box of Broadcasts by Learning on Screen

DVDs in the Library

Shelves of DVDsThere are several thousand DVD films in the Library system in various categories, ranging from slient films, art films, and dramatisation of literary classics to contemporary TV drama and world cinema. Most such DVDs are located in the Main Library and ECA Library.

All the DVD films are catalogued in DiscoverEd. Information about video formats and DVD regional codes is also provided on the library catalogue, and it is important to check this before playing films on your machine. Please note that films may be borrowed for educational purposes only, and that commercial copyright regulations strictly forbid the copying of DVDs and videos.

How to find a DVD in DiscoverEd?

To find an known DVD item, search by the DVD film title (e.g. In the mood for love) or by the name of the director (as an author, e.g. Kar-wai Wong), or by a combination of both, and then either set the limit to "Audio Visual" before excuting your search or, after the search, use "REFINE MY RESULTS" on the left side menu to limit your search results by "RESOURCE TYPE" for "AUDIO VISUAL".

To find DVDs on a particular topic, search by the keyword and then do the same pre-search limit or use "REFINE MY RESULTS" after the search in the same way as explained above. Example: to find all the Chinese films or films on China, use "Chinese OR China" as keyword and limit the search for "AUDIO VISUAL" only:

Screenshot of DiscoverEd


Streaming media

Streaming is a method of viewing video or listening to audio content without actually downloading the media files.

The University Library provides access to the following streaming services. UoE login is required. See Databases section for detailed descriptions.

  • Academic Video Online
  • BFI Player
  • Box of Broadcasts
  • Kanopy (UoE users have full access to several dozen films which the Library has purchased for teaching. These films will be displayed after you login in and can be accessed from any device including computer, IOS and Android devices.)

Main Library music collection

Headphones on a yellow backgroundThe Main Library collection of music consists of nearly 11,000 carefully selected audio recordings on LP, cassette and CD, and a small number of DVDs .

You can borrow the material or use the library listening facilities:

  • Play the CDs and DVDs through library desktop computers using a regular pair of headphones.
  • For a better listening experience, use the equipment in the Listening Room at the East end of the second floor (no booking required - see below). You will need headphones with a 6mm jack - you can borrow jack adaptors from the helpdesk during helpdesk opening hours. If you do not have your own headphones, the helpdesk can give you a set.
  • Group listening is possible in the listening room; you can plug multiple sets of headphones into the same system. Alternatively, if you are using a CD, you can book a group study room and listen through the computer there.

Online music collections

Beyond the Library

Main Library Exhibition Gallery

Various exhibitions take place throughout the year in the Exhibition Gallery, open to the University community and to the public.

The Exhibition Gallery is located on the Ground Floor of the Main Library, to the left of the entry gates. 

Admission is free.

Discover exhibitions in the Main Library:

St Cecilia’s Hall: Concert Room and Music Museum

Home to one of the most important historic musical instrument collections anywhere in the world. This free and accessible museum displays around 500 musical instruments, allowing visitors to explore the history of music and musical instruments while the Concert Room hosts a wide range of concerts and events.

Guests view the instrument collections at St Cecilia's Hall

St Cecilia's Hall is Scotland's oldest purpose-built concert hall. Originally built by the Edinburgh Musical Society in 1762, the Georgian venue is a real hidden gem, tucked away in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.

Having undergone a £6.5million renovation St Cecilia’s Hall and Music Museum is now the University’s first visitor attraction and a fantastic addition to Edinburgh’s offer of museums and event venues.

St Cecilia’s Hall comprises of a Concert Room, hosting a range of concerts and public events, and a Music Museum, which is open to the public and brings together the University's collection of musical instruments for the first time.

Admission is free.

Talbot Rice Gallery

One of Scotland’s leading public galleries of contemporary visual art, the Talbot Rice Gallery can be found in Old College.

Working with both international and local artists Talbot Rice hosts three to four exhibitions per year, as well as running a unique Artist in Residence programme.

Recent solo exhibitions have showcased the work of Céline Condorelli, Samson Young, Lucy Skaer and John Akomfrah. Ambitious group exhibitions have explored themes including; female self-empowerment, the ‘new normal’ resulting from the pandemic, and borders in the time of Brexit.

Admission is free.

Prescribe Culture is the University of Edinburgh Museums award-winning, heritage-based, non-clinical health, social care and wellbeing support initiative.

Advert for public library audiobooks and ebooksIn the UK you can join your local public library for free, to get access to thousands of books, films, magazines and newspapers. 

Joining Edinburgh public libraries is free. With a library card you can borrow books, CDs and DVDs, and download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers.

You can reserve items which are out on loan to someone else or held at another location to collect from your local library.

The public library locations can also offer an alternative place to study if you want a break from your usual study spaces, or live at a distance from the University libraries. 

Student Health and Wellbeing Services

While university life is full of exciting opportunities, it can also be an overwhelming time. A range of services are provided by the University and throughout Edinburgh to support your physical and mental wellbeing.

Staff Health and Wellbeing Hub

The Staff Health and Wellbeing Hub brings together all of the information, resources and services available to University staff.

These pages are created and updated by the HR and Health and Safety departments.

They have been developed to bring together, in one place, the variety of information on health and wellbeing support and services available to staff including:

  • Self-help resources and guidance
  • Internal and external services
  • Accessing help in a crisis

Something missing?

Suggestions for useful resources to include and feedback are always welcome. Please get in touch with us and ask us to add something to this page