Library: Frequently asked questions

Library services

Who can borrow books from the IMechE Library?

IMechE members and reciprocal borrowers (IET, ICE, IStructE, Energy Institute, IOM3, TWI) based in Europe can borrow items from our collection.

How can I borrow books from the library?

IMechE members can request books by reserving them in our online catalogue, by emailing us at or calling us on +44 (0)20 7973 1274. Other borrowers can request items by email or telephone.

We will post the items to you for free or you may collect them.

How many books can I borrow and for how long?

Each borrower can borrow up to six books at a time. The loan period is usually three weeks, with up to four three-week renewals possible, provided nobody else reserves the book/s.

How do I renew my books?

You can renew your books by signing into your account in our online catalogue or by contacting us at or tel:+44 (0)20 7973 1274.

How do I return my books?

All items must be returned to:

The Library
Institution of Mechanical Engineers
1 Birdcage Walk

Please post them first class from within the UK, or airmail from elsewhere, unless the loan slip says Special Delivery is required.

Can you source books or articles which aren’t included in the library collection?

Yes, if an IMechE member requests a title we don’t hold we will consider acquiring it or will try to borrow it from another library.  In Library Search you can choose to search for Libraries Worldwide (Held By Library filter) to see which other libraries hold an item, and then place a request for an inter-library scan or postal loan or just contact us

How can I access online books and journals?

The Library Search  searches across our online databases. You will need your IMechE login to click through to full text articles or books.

Alternatively you can scroll down our search page for direct links to individual titles and databases.



Common enquiries


Where can I find out about apprenticeship schemes?

See our apprenticeships page and our list of useful apprenticeship weblinks.


How do I access and use the archive collections?

Visit our archive for information about our collections and how to access them. Also read this guide to using archives and historical collections. Discover what archives are, how to use catalogues and access collections.


How can I find out about setting up my own business?

Our library has a range of resources to help you. Search our library and digital resources.

The following websites also offer useful information and advice:

How can I find company information?

See the company information section of our careers guide.

Car repairs, testing and disputes

Where can I get my car repaired or tested? / Where can I get expert advice on mechanical failure or technical problems with my car?

The following organisations may be able to help:


Careers advice

Where can I get careers advice?

See the careers advice section of our website.

Code of Conduct

Where can I access the Institution’s Code of Conduct?

View our Code of Conduct.


Where can I find a list of engineering companies?

See the  company information section of our careers guide.


What guidance is available on becoming a consultant?

Our library has a range of resources to help you. Search the library.

Standard contracts for engineering consultants are available:

The IMechE Support Network offers Institution members access to a free employment coaching service which includes advice on becoming self-employed.

The following websites also offer useful information and advice:

You may want to consider a listing in searchable online directories:


What are the main forms for engineering contracts?

Model Forms of Contract

For more information please our library's Model Forms webpage.


The other main forms of engineering contract are:

Cost indices

Where can I find out about the standard rates to charge for mechanical engineering services or products?

  • National Schedule of Rates produced by NRS Management.
    This is a priced publication which is not available from our library but may be available to members via interlibrary loan. Our library does hold a reference copy of Spon's Mechanical and Electrical Services Price Book.


Where can I find out about engineering short course providers?

See the courses section of our careers guide.


I am in dispute with my employer. Where can I find out about my employment rights?

The IMechE Support Network offers Institution members access to a free legal helpline.

The following websites may also be of interest:


Where can I find statistics about energy use and emissions?

Engineering statistics

Where can I find statistical information about the number of engineers in the UK, and the number of engineering students and graduates in the UK?

Statistics are available from the following websites:

  • Engineering UK - publishes a major report each year containing engineering statistics related to education, graduate recruitment, salary levels, and the number of professional engineers in the UK. It can be downloaded for free, although free registration is required to access the current year's report.
  • National Statistics - data relating to employees, self-employed, full-time and part-time workers by occupation group and by sex - search for Labour Force Survey and ASHE 4 digit.
  • Higher Education Statistics Authority
  • UCAS: Statistics
  • What do graduates do?

Expert witnesses

How do I find an expert witness?

The following websites may be of interest:


Where can I obtain engineering images?

Images from our historical collection can be purchased from the Mary Evans Picture Library and are available to view on our VADS pages.

If you are seeking modern images (or other sources of historical ones) you may find the following image sites useful:


How can I find someone to test or inspect my equipment?


Where can I get advice about protecting and developing my invention?

The following organisations can provide advice:

British Library Business & IP Centre

Trevor Baylis Brands (formerly the British Academy of Inventors)

The National Enterprise Network


Organisations that can help with funding:

British Private Equity and Venture Capitalists Association

Innovate UK


Useful websites:

UK Intellectual Property Office

Dragons Den

Espacenet (free international patent database)

Legal advice

Where can I get free legal advice?

The IMechE Support Network offers Institution members access to a free legal helpline.


How can I get hold of a copy of a UK Directive?

The official revised edition of the primary legislation of the UK as well as all UK Statutory Instruments from 1987 are available to download.

How can I get hold of a copy of an EU Directive?

EU Directives are available for download

Manufacturing statistics

Where can I find up-to-date manufacturing statistics for the UK and EU?

The following websites provide manufacturing statistics for the UK:

  • National Statistics - search for Turnover and Orders in Production and Services Industries and PRODCOM
  • Manufacturing Outlook -  a quarterly manufacturing industry survey produced by Make UK: The Manufacturers' Organisation" (Engineering Employers Federation).


How can I find out about the mechanical properties of a particular material?

  • The Knovel data search is available to our members online. It allows you to find specific types of properties data for materials and substances with on-the-fly unit conversion.
  • Members can also use McGraw-Hill’s DataVis tool to visually explore materials and their properties.
  • You can also find material properties data in the full-text resources by using the Library Search.

Presidential Addresses

Where can I obtain copies of the Institution's Presidential Addresses?

You can find some digitised Presidential Addresses in our online collection. Please contact us for further help.


How can I benchmark my salary?

See the salaries section of our careers guide.

Voluntary work

Which charities organise voluntary work for engineers?

See the volunteering section of our careers guide.

Work placements

See the work placements section of our careers guide.