Frequently asked questions - Answers

1. Who can use the Library?
All staff and students, both clinical and non-clinical, based at the following organisations may become members of the library:

  • St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • CCG and GP practice staff in Halton, Knowsley or St Helens
  • North West Boroughs Healthcare staff working in the community

Any other NHS staff and students who live in the area may use the library for reference.

2. How do I join the Library?
Please complete the online registration form

3. What’s my Library PIN?
When you join the library we will send an email with your Reader ID and PIN. This will enable you to reserve and renew your books online via the Cirqa catalogue or MyCirqa app. You will also need these details to use the self-issue machine in the library. If you forget your Reader ID or PIN, please contact the library team.

4. How do I find out what’s happening in the Library?
See our “What’s New”page to find out about new library books, resources, promotions and events as well as holiday opening hours and other activities. You can sign up to emails of library news. You can also follow us on:

5. How do I find the library?
The library is located on Level 1 of Nightingale House on the Whiston Hospital site.

Map showing where the library is in the grounds of Whiston Hospital


6. When can I use the Library?
Our opening hours are 09:00 – 17:00, Monday to Friday.

You can use the library outside of these hours by applying for 24-hour access. If you are registering to join the library, please tick the box on the form. If you are already a member, please contact the library team.

7. How many items can I borrow and for how long?
You can borrow up to 8 items at a time. Items are issued for a 4-week loan period and we will email a reminder a couple of days before they are due back. You can renew them 4 times unseen before we ask for them to be returned.

We charge fines for late books and encourage you to renew or return them on time.

8. How do I find the books I need?
You can find out which books we have by searching the Cirqa catalogue or by using the MyCirqa app. Cirqa also lists our e-books with links for easy access as well as Trust policies.

9. How do I renew my library books?
We will send a reminder email before they are due back and you can respond to this or contact the library at any time.

You can also renew via the self-issue machine in the library. You will need your Reader ID and PIN.

Another way is to log in to the Cirqa catalogue or the MyCirqa app with your Reader ID and PIN and use the ‘renew’ option.


10. How do I reserve a book?
An easy way is to look on the Cirqa catalogue or the MyCirqa app and reserve it from there by logging in with your Reader ID and PIN. Alternatively contact us and we can reserve it for you.

11. You haven’t got the book or article I want. Can you get me a copy?
Yes, we can usually get 99% of books and articles from other libraries if we don’t hold it. You can request items by completing the article request or book request form on our website or by emailing the details to us. We can obtain most articles within 5 working days, books may take a little longer to arrive.

12. Do you have UpToDate or BMJ Best Practice?
We have both of these popular point of care tools which enable you to find current evidence-based answers to your clinical questions.

BMJ Best Practice is accessible to all NHS staff and students with an OpenAthens account.

UpToDate is available to staff and students at St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. You can find the link to UpToDate on your desktop which gives immediate access or you can use your NHS OpenAthens account to login. However, we recommend registering with UpToDate to get all the benefits.

By registering you will be able to download the UpToDate app to your mobile device for instant access whenever and wherever it’s needed. It will also register your activity for your CME/CPD records.

13. Do you have BMJ Case Reports? Can I submit a case?
Yes, we have BMJ Case Reports which lets you learn from real cases on common and rare conditions. The library has an institutional fellowship which means you can freely submit as many cases as you like. Contact the library for details.

14. How do I return a book?
You can return them in person to the library counter or use the self-issue machine. We also have a book return bin just outside the library where you can leave books. For those based off site, you can return books in the post. Please note if we have borrowed a book from another library we prefer these to be collected and returned in person.

15. Do you have e-books?
We have the Oxford handbook collection amongst other titles. You can find details and links in the Cirqa catalogue or can go directly to e-books from our the My Resources page on the library website. You will need an OpenAthens account to access e-books (please see question 19).

16. Do you only have medical books?
No, we also have a good range of management and leadership titles as well as a collection of Reading Well books. These self-help books include titles on relaxation and mindfulness. For those who like to relax with a novel, we also have our Leisure reading collection containing fiction and biographies.

17. Can I donate a book to the library?
You can donate books if they are in reasonable condition with no writing in them. If they are too old for our collection management policy we make them available for library users to take. Please note we will not take any books that are older than 20 years.

18. What is OpenAthens and how do I register for an account?
OpenAthens is a secure log in system that gives you access to electronic resources purchased by the Trust as well as national NHS resources including books, journals and databases. All NHS staff are eligible to register for an NHS OpenAthens account.

To register for your NHS OpenAthens account please complete the form at We recommend that you register from an NHS networked computer to ensure your account is authorised without delay.

You can also transfer your account from previous Trusts. Login in to your account and make changes or get in touch with the library team and we can request a transfer.

19. How do I request an article?
If you can’t find or access the article you need you can request it for free by filling in our online form. We will send you the full text article via email as soon as we have it.

20. How do I request an evidence search?
An evidence (or literature) search can support you in many aspects of work – whether to find answers to specific clinical or non-clinical queries or to provide evidence for potential changes to your practice or service.

To request a search, please complete the online form and provide as much information as possible. We will email the results to you within 10 working days.

We cannot undertake a literature search that will form part of assessed academic work but we would be happy to offer an assisted search instead. An assisted search is where a member of the team will work with you to perform the search, combining your expert knowledge with our skills on searching. Please complete the online form or get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time and venue.

21. Do you have a current awareness service?
The Knowledge Alerts on our website are updated daily and have over 80 topics on a wide range of clinical and management subjects. You will need an NHS OpenAthens account to access them.

You can also sign up to receive an email with a daily, weekly or monthly roundup of the topics you are interested in.

22. How do I get help using online resources?
We have guides available to help you access our online resources (link/links). We also offer one-to-one, group and virtual training.

23. Can I print, photocopy, scan in the Library?
You can print, scan or photocopy documents using your Smart Print login. You will be able to print black and white copies only on A4 or A3 paper. The default is set to duplex (double-sided) printing.

If you’ve not previously registered on any other printer within the Trust you will need to register your Trust ID badge by holding it next to the blue box on the left hand side of the
printer and then entering the username and password that you use for logging on to a Trust computer.

If you can’t see your print job, please check that your computer is sending it to the correct setting:

 Image showing which printer users should select on their computers

The Trust’s print policy can be seen at

24. My document hasn't printed and the light is flashing how do I fix it?
Please follow the instructions on the poster next to the printer.

25. Can I use the computers in the library?
We have 23 computers that you can use (nb this has reduced to 12 while social distancing remains in place). There is a booking system in place should you want to guarantee that a computer will be available. The maximum time slot is 4 hours. Please contact the library to book a computer.

26. Can I use my own laptop/tablet in the library?
We have a number of study spaces near the windows which have power sockets to charge your own devices. Please do not trail cables from sockets to other study desks as this may cause a tripping hazard.

Free Wi-Fi is available.

27. How do I connect to Wi-Fi?
For free Wi-Fi select NHS Wi-Fi and connect. Follow the on-screen instructions to register.

28. Where’s the nearest toilet?
Toilet facilities can be found at the far end of the Library on the left (including one disabled toilet). More toilets are available in the Education Centre during the day.

29. I work in the community. How can I use the library?
If you work in the community you may not have time to come to the Library at Whiston Hospital during our 9-5 staffed opening hours, however there are many other ways for you to use the Library Service:


30. How can the clinical librarian help me?
This service is designed to bring the Knowledge and Library Service to all staff. If you are busy caring for patients and unable to find the time to get away from your ward or department, then the Clinical Librarian can help you by:

  • Working directly with your team/ department
  • Attending departmental meetings/ assisting with projects
  • Helping with journal clubs and carrying out critical appraisal training
  • Running individual or group training sessions on literature searching and online resources
  • Carrying out evidence searches
  • Keeping your team up to date via our current awareness service

Find out more about the Clinical Librarian Service here:

31. How do I obtain my Smartcard?
Smartcard drop in sessions are no longer held in the Library. To find out how to obtain a new Smartcard or unblock your Smartcard please see the Intranet page:

Smartcard forms can be found on the Intranet here: