Scottish Books Exchange

Frequently Asked Questions

National Library of Scotland -
What is the Scottish Books Exchange?

The SBE is a network of public, school, academic and research libraries for the purpose of exchanging Scottish books. Libraries wishing to dispose of unwanted books and periodicals may offer them on the SBE, where other libraries may select them to complement their own stock. This encourages sharing of resources and safeguards the cultural heritage of Scottish material for the benefit of readers.

What kind of material can be offered on the SBE?

Any books, periodicals, or non-print items that are published in Scotland, or contain material relating to Scotland. If you have the last Scottish print copy of such an item, please see SCURL?s Scottish Collections Policy:

Who runs the SBE?

The Acquisitions team at the National Library of Scotland. Please feel free to get in touch with us directly if you have any questions left unanswered by this FAQ! Our contact details can be found at the bottom of each page.

Who can register?

Any Scottish libraries are welcome to register for the SBE.

Can more than one staff member from a library register?

We would recommend that only one member of staff per branch registers, but there are no restrictions. Monthly email reminders are sent to every registered email address.

I ’ve forgotten my password. How do I retrieve it?

Please click the ?continue? button under ?forgotten your password?? on the front page. You will be asked to enter the email address you registered with; the password will then be sent to that email address.

How do I offer an item on the list?

Once you log in, you will see the list of items currently on offer. Click the ?add to the list? link at the top of that page. Before you enter any information, select the format (book/journal/non-print). Please then fill in as many fields as you can with the information you have. If there is any extra information that is not suitable for one of the text fields, some users add this in square brackets after the title if they think this will be helpful. For example, [leaflet] or [exhibition catalogue]. You may edit this information after submitting the listing by clicking the ?edit? button in the Request column on the list. Only the user who listed the item may edit these details. If you have more items to add to the list, click ?add next book?. If not, click ?submit and view?.

How many items can I offer on the list?

There is no limit. Please submit as many as you wish.

How do I add multiple copies of the same book?

The number of copies can be increased using the drop-down menu. Up to 9 copies per title may be selected.

How long do the items stay on the list?

All items will remain on the list for a maximum of three months from the submission date. If a book has not been requested by another library after this time, the user who listed the item will be emailed to confirm it has been removed. The owning library is then free to dispose of the item (via book sales, charity, pulping etc.), or they may re-list it on the SBE if they wish..

Can I re-arrange the list into a different order?

Yes. By default, the list is arranged with the most recently submitted books at the top of the list. At the top of the page are headings for Title, Author, Publisher, Date and Format. Click on any of these headings to arrange the list in that order. You may also search the list for keywords using the search field at the top of the page, with the option of filtering results by format type.

Where can I find more information about the books on offer?

Click the ?Full info? link to view extra information, including the condition of the item (good/fair/poor), the place of publication, and the date it was listed.

How do I request a book?

You will see a tick box next to the title of each item on the list from another library. Select each item you would like, then click the ?request item(s)? button at the bottom of the page. You will then see a list of all the items you have selected. If this looks correct, click ?confirm request(s)?. This will automatically send an email to the user who listed the item, instructing them to mail the item to you at the address you provided at registration.

What if someone requests a book I listed?

You will receive an email with a list of titles requested, and contact details for the requester, including a delivery address. To avoid confusion, when packing the books for posting we recommend including a note indicating that the items were requested from the SBE, and where they came from. You are also free to email the requester informing them the books are on their way.

What costs are involved in using the SBE?

Only the postage cost of sending your library’s books to the requester. If you are the sending library and you wish to discuss having your postage costs reimbursed by the recipient, please get in touch with the recipient directly, before posting the items.

What notifications can I expect to receive?

The administrators send one email per month to notify users that 3-month-old items will soon be removed from the list. This also serves as a reminder to check the list for any items you might want to request. The only other notifications you will receive are an email when someone requests an item you added to the list, and an email when older items you listed are removed.

How do I deregister from the SBE?

Please email the administrators at, and we will remove your email address. If you are leaving your current role, we would encourage you to ask another person at your organisation to take over so your library doesn?t miss out. They should register separately to ensure we have an up-to-date email address for any notifications.

Many common questions about the SBE can be answered in the FAQ.
For any other help, comments or suggestions please contact Acquisitions. Email: Tel: 0131 623 3700 (ext. 3935)