Avoiding busy spaces

Many people feel anxious entering a building that is noisy and bustling with people.  There is the potential for the Library to become noisier and busier as the year progresses.  This page is intended to offer some  basic advice on how to get the most from the Library if you find navigating noisy, busy buildings particularly difficult.  

Visiting the library

Choosing a quieter time to visit the library

The Library is quietest before 10.30 am and after 7 pm.  If you enjoy studying in the Library but are averse to moving through busy spaces, we suggest you try to arrive early or late.  You can use the Library catalogue or Discovery Service to find the locations of books you need in advance, making it quicker and easier for you to find them when you arrive.  If you make your way to the Individual Silent Zone on the second floor, an area clearly marked with purple pull-up banners, you should be able to study without distraction.  

When you want to leave, the stairs nearest the unstaffed office, opposite the lift with the green doors, in the Individual Silent Study zone lead directly to the Atrium and offer the shortest route to both the Library café and the exit turnstiles.  In the Atrium you will find self-service kiosks where you can borrow books you wish to take out of the building and/or return books you no longer need. 

Wellbeing facilities

  • Reusable sound cancelling earplugs are available for free on request from the Library Reception Desk.  These can make areas of the Libary that might otherwise be too noisy for comfort seem much quieter.
  • Drop-in meeting pods on the ground floor are available on a first come, first served basis.  These offer cloistered study space for anyone who finds visual and sound distractions interfere with their concentration.  Each incorporates a fully adjustable light strip and gentle ventilation.  
  • If anyone is making too much noise or otherwise creating a distraction, please use the Text Security Service.  Discreetly and anonymously text the location and a brief description of the problem to our Security Team, who will com and speak to the people creating the nuisance.
  • The nearest toilet block is immediately on your left after you cross the footbridge to Area 2B.  

Working remotely

If you are a current student or member of staff at the University, it is possible to do almost all your work without visiting the Library.  Please see the following for further details.

  • Request books be posted to you if you are unable to visit the Library and live in the UK.
  • The Click and Collect service lets you reserve books in stock or on loan online without having to browse the shelves. You will be emailed when the book is ready for collection.
  • You can get help from a trained librarian 24/7 by live exchange of messages and screenshots using our popular online chat service.  Just click the chat icon on any Library webpage.
  • Comprehensive referencing help is available from Referencing@Portsmouth, found by clicking the [r] icon on any Library webpage.
  • There are a variety of free tools and web browser extensions that may help you study more comfortably and easily.  

Requesting service adjustments

  • If you need service adjustments, such as being met outside the building and taken straight through to a quiet meeting room for one-to-one specialist subject support, please let us know when asking  for help.  
  • If you have any difficulty using print materials, please let us know as soon as possible.  We have some devices that some people find making reading print easier.  In many cases we can also supply materials in alternative formats, such as audio books, but this can take a short while to set up.  The sooner you make contact and let us know your particular needs, the sooner we can work with you to make sure they are met.  
  • If you are unsure how to do something, whether we offer a service, or you need any assistance or advice, please ask us right away.  We are a very friendly team and always happy to help.

Links to free study tools and browser extensions

Click here for our 'personalise your learning' guide that lists some free tools and web browser extensions that may help you study on the library website complete with links. 

You can also find this guide by selecting the following options from the purple menu bar near the top of the library website: Using the Library > Wellbeing and Community Support > Personalise your learning.

Silent study zone


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Toilet locations


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