Frequently Asked Questions

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Where are you located?

The Library is located from the first to fifth floors of the Centre William Rappard. The main Library is on the first floor next to the Cabinet Office (room 1080). The statistics collection is located on the third floor (room 3068) while an Official Documents collection can be found on the fourth floor (room 4002). We also have an online presence ( where you can consult many of our resources and request reference assistance.

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Who can use the Library?

Anyone with a research interest in the multilateral trading system can use the Library. The Library is open to all Secretariat staff, Member or Observer delegates, academic researchers, UN or UN-agency staff, or NGO staff. Contact us if you have a question on your usage rights.

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Can outsiders use the Library?

Yes. Outsiders must first present themselves to the Registration and control building (BCI) and request access to the Library. A staff member will meet them at the visitors' entrance. For outsiders wanting repeated access to the Library, we request that they provide a copy of their passport and a brief letter of intent. They will also be asked to fill in a visitors' access form.

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Where can I find a visitors' access form?

These forms are available at the Library, and can also be downloaded.

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Can I use your online resources away from the Library?

Since the Library catalogue is accessible through the WTO website, you can use this wherever you have access to the internet. However, due to licensing restrictions, we are unable to provide our paid content over the public internet. Rather, only those individuals with access to the intranet, or with a Citrix connection, can use our Electronic Reading Room and New for You. Otherwise, you can consult all of our online resources in the Library.

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Who can borrow books from the Library?

Only Secretariat staff and Member or Observer delegates can borrow books directly from the Library. UN/UN-agency staff and students studying at Swiss universities can borrow books through their institutional libraries through an inter-library loan arrangement. Secretariat staff on short-term and fixed-term contracts can borrow books. Staff on short-term contracts cannot borrow a book if they are within one month of their contract expiring.

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How can I borrow a book from the UN Library, or the library of a UN-agency or Swiss university?

The Library has inter-library loan arrangements with the United Nations, UN agencies, and the Swiss university libraries, which we can use to borrow items which we do not have in our collection. All loans need to be made through the WTO Library; we ask that you not attempt to borrow items directly from our partner institutions, unless you have an independent arrangement (for example, if you are also a lecturer at a Swiss university, you may have borrowing rights directly from that university).

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For how long can I borrow books?

As per the Library Circulation Policy (Office(09)/44), books can be borrowed for periods of one month. These must either be returned or renewed at the end of this period. Failure to return or renew a book for three months will result in that book being declared lost. The user will then be expected to replace the book at his/her expense.

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What happens if I damage or lose a book?

As per the Library Circulation Policy (Office(09)/44), users who damage or lose a book will be expected to either replace the book themselves, or pay for the replacement value.

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How can I get an article from a journal you do not have?

The Library can obtain articles from journals to which it does not subscribe through its partner institutions, including the British Library which has a collection of over 20,000 titles. Otherwise, we can purchase an individual article for you if we are unable to find this through another source.

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Can I order a book through the Library?

All staff may order a book through the Library for their professional use. Supply us with the title, author and date of publication (or as many elements as is known) and we will endeavour to purchase this. We will only refuse requests for purchases which are not intended for professional use, or which are too expensive.

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