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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to reveal the answer.

  • Where is the library and when is it open?

    The library is situated on the ground floor of Playfair's 1832 "Surgeons' Hall" building and is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. It consists of a Fellows' Reading Room, Reception Room, Library Office, the Surgeons' Internet Café or East Reading Room, and a large storage area and archive at the lower ground level.

    For more detailed information on how to find the College itself, please see our contact & opening hours page - the library is open 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday.

  • Can anyone use the library?

    The library's prime function is the support of the surgical educational and information needs, current and historical, of the College's Fellows, Members and those doctors preparing for College examinations. We also welcome researchers, medical historians and others by appointment. Scheduled visiting groups and individuals are always very warmly welcome in the library, where they will usually find a library or archival treasure on show.

  • Do you take the journal of...?

    The College Library takes a large number of current medical and surgical journals, printed and/or electronic, as well as having an extensive holding of older titles dating back to the 18th century. Please see our journals collections page for further details.

  • Will the library provide copies of journal article for me?

    Yes. The Library provides a document supply service, and can supply articles to anywhere in the world. Please see our Document Supply Service page for more information including prices and copyright information.

  • I am writing an article / book, can you check references for me?

    Yes, we are happy to check references for Fellows and Members, for their articles and other publications. As this can be time-consuming, references numbering over 20 may be subject to a small fee.

  • Can I get access to electronic journals?

    There are a large number of electronic journals available onsite. Please contact the library for more information.

  • Can the library offer IT support?

    We give support and advice on any profession-related queries Fellows and Members may have, such as some tuition in MEDLINE and other useful resources. We can scan positive and negative images into digital format, photograph items and source and supply images for use in presentations and seminars e.g. relating to the history of medicine and surgery. All this is subject to compliance with Copyright Law. Some services may be fee-based. Please contact the library for more informatio

  • Can you give me information on a surgeon from the past?

    Yes. Please see our Historical Enquirie

  • Will the library carry out literature searches on specific topics for me?

    Yes. The College Library provides a gratis literature search service to all Fellows and Members. Comprehensive searches can be carried out on any particular subject by a qualified librarian. We also offer a Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) service: regular bespoke literature updates to your subject specifications sent out to you by e-mail or post. Please see our Literature Searches page for more information.

  • I suffer from a medical condition, can you give me medical advice?

    No. Patients seeking advice on their medical condition should consult with their general practitioner or a health professiona