Finding and borrowing

How do I search for books and other items?

To search for an item in our libraries, simply log in and use our Library Search.

You can search for materials in both print and electronic format, and you can access the search from University or home.

You might also want to look through the University's archive collections. 

How do I borrow items?

You can borrow items using our self-service machines. If you need any help using the machines, speak to one of our library staff.

What can I borrow?

You can borrow most of our:

  • books
  • CDs and cassettes
  • DVDs and videos
  • headphones
  • language materials
  • laptops
  • maps
  • slides

Journals and newspapers are only for reference use in the library.

How many items can I borrow at a time?

Students, staff and associate students can borrow up to 15 items at a time. Eligible alumni and visitors can borrow up to five items at a time.

If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a longer loan period – contact the Disability Learning Support team for details.

How do I renew an item?

Visit the ‘My Account’ section of our Library Search pages.

If you'd like to renew any of the following items, you'll only be able to do so once and you'll need to call us or visit us in person to do so:

  • videos
  • (Harrow Library:) DVDS
  • Interlending and Document Delivery (IDD) requests

Note that you will not be able to renew an item if:

  • it has been requested by another user
  • you have overdue loans
  • your account is blocked
  • your library membership has expired

Where do I return my books?

You can return all loans to any of the campus libraries, except for videos and computer games, which need to be returned to the library you borrowed them from.

You can return books:

  • at the library counter
  • using the self-service machines
  • (when the library is closed:) in the book bins at Cavendish, Marylebone and Harrow. Anything returned to these bins may not be checked in on the same day, so make sure you use one of the above methods if your loan is about to go overdue.

What happens if I return my item after the due date?

If you return an item late, your library account will be blocked. This means that you will not be allowed to borrow, renew or request items for a period of time. We do not charge fines for overdue items.

You are responsible for knowing when your loans are due. We normally send you a courtesy email to remind you, but you must not rely on this - it is ultimately your responsibility. If you don't receive our courtesy email and you return an item late, your library account will be blocked.

For more details and to make sure you don't break any of our library rules, read through our short Library Regulations.

What can I do if the item I want is out on loan or at another campus?

You can make an online request for the item to be sent to your campus library.

You can request all items except videos and DVDs, and you can request up to seven items at a time. If you're eligible to borrow computer games, you can request one game at a time.

For 5p a page, you can also request journal articles from another campus library.

To request an item, you'll need to:

  • sign in to Library Search
  • search for the book you need (it will say ‘Available’ or ‘On loan’ underneath the description)
  • check the ‘Locations’ tab to see if it is available at your home library
  • if it's not available at your campus library, click ‘Request’, select your pick-up location and click ‘Hold’

You'll receive an email when your requests have arrived at the library counter. You can also view the status of your requests under ‘My Accounts’ on Library Search

I can't find the item I need - what should I do?

Check the catalogues of other academic libraries in the UK.

If you can't find what you need, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

If your librarian does purchase the item, note that printed books can take 4-6 weeks to arrive. E-books can be made available more quickly, but there is a limited range of titles available.

Row of colour assorted books

Guides and tutorials

Videos and guidance on printing, researching your assignments and more.

Librarian sitting around a table with students and laptops

Academic Liaison Librarians

Check who your Academic Liaison Librarian is.