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Borrowing from the University Library

Advice for Library users about reserving, borrowing, returning items from the University Library with information about checking your borrower account.

Borrowing from the Library


University students and staff are entitled to borrow up to 30 items.

Films and TV series' DVDs are also available for loan from Level 2 of the Library.

Other members of the Library such as SCONUL Access and Visitor cardholders, may borrow up to 5 items from the subject floors.

You can borrow books and other material by using the Self-Issue machines on Level 2. You will need your Library card to access your account via the Self-Issue machines.

How to use the self-issue machines (MP4)

You should only use your own Library Card - if you are found to be using someone else's card, you may have your Library privileges withdrawn.

Loan periods

The Library operates an automatic renewals policy for most loanable items in stock. When you borrow a library loan item, it will be due for return OR renewal of the loan in 7-days. The Self-Issue machines and your borrower account information will show this due date at the point of issue.

On the due date, the Library will attempt to automatically renew your loan for another 7-days. If this is successful, you do not need to do anything to extend the loan period yourself.

You will receive an email advising you that the item is due for return to the Library when it cannot be renewed. You should always try to return the loan item as soon as possible in response to these messages.

Even if nobody else requests your loan item(s), the automatic renewal of the due date will stop after 12 months. This policy is to minimise loss of library stock and ensure long term loan items are available for users if and when requested.

Loans cannot be renewed when:

  • another borrower has placed a request for a book
  • you have had the book for 12 months already, it will need to be checked by Library staff to renew the loan
  • your library membership has expired (as shown on the date printed on your library card)

Inter-Library Loans

Inter-Library Loan items have a due date that cannot be automatically extended. You should email Inter-Library loans staff for advice if you want to keep the book for longer.

Returning Items

You will need your library card to enter the library.

Post your books through the returns slots adjacent to the Self-Issue machines and they will be processed that day or the next working day.

Books can also be returned via the Book Drop box located in the Virgil Building in the city. Visit the Virgil Building webpage to confirm opening times. Books returned this way will be delivered to campus by internal mail services, Monday to Friday.

If you can't return your books in person you can post them back to the library. You are responsible for books until we receive them. You should get postal insurance or use a tracking service in case of loss or damage. There is usually no need to use a Next Day Delivery service.

You can return items to the Library address shown on this page.

If there will be a delay in returning items due back in the library, it may be useful to inform Reader Services staff of the situation by email so we can monitor the demand for books delayed in this way and keep requestors updated.

How can I request or reserve an item?

The catalogue will show if a copy of the book you want is available or on loan. You can only request items that are on loan OR where the floor is closed due to refurbishment works in summer 2023.

During the current floor closure, Library staff will be able to access Level 4 for brief periods in the morning Monday to Friday. Requested items should be available for you the next working day AFTER you place the request.

Available items should be found on the shelves on the subject floors. You can find a short video guide at the end of this page demonstrating how to reserve a book online.

  • Use the library catalogue to search for the book

  • If the catalogue search result shows a copy or copies are currently available for loan, you will be able to reserve a copy of the book

  • You will need to sign in to the catalogue to reserve a copy of a book

  • Sign in with your University username and password

  • Click on Reserve from the Requests Options shown

  • Add a "Not Needed After" date if you wish

  • Then click on REQUEST to confirm the reservation

  • If the reservation is successful, the screen will display Request placed and indicate your place in the queue

Once the book has been collected the item will be made ready for collection on Level 2 for 7 days during semester time.

Checking your reservations

You can check what items you have reserved and if they are ready for collection or not on your borrower record.

You can find a link to access your account as follows:

Email updates about your Library loans

The Library will send messages about your loans to your University email address or, for SCONUL Access, Alumni and Paying memebrs, the email account you provided at registration.

The Library will send you a message if you need to bring your loans back. This is usually because another borrower has reserved the item.

The Library will email you when your reserved items are ready for collection from the reservations shelves on Level 2 of the Library.

Borrowers will receive a monthly account update by email.  The message will list all the items on loan to you, your reservations and any fines you have.

If you use forwarding to another email account please check that library messages aren't treated as junk mail. You should also check that your mail account has space to receive emails.

Please contact the Reader Services team with any queries about your loans or borrower account.

Check your borrower account online

Visit your borrower account online to check what items you have on loan, the status of your reservations and any fines on your account.

You can use the Check your account online link then login to review your account.

University staff and students will need to login using your University of Bath username and password.

Alumni and other paying members of the Library can check their account as follows:

  • Select the Sign-In option from the Library homepage (under the main catalogue search box)
  • Choose the "Send a link by email" option
  • Await an automated email with a single use sign-in link to access your borrower account.

Contact Reader Services staff for any problems accessing your record or queries about your borrower account. You can also open a chat window during our normal staffed hours via the Quick question link shown on the Library homepage.

How to reserve a Library book online

This video will show you how to reserve a book currently on loan to another borrower.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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