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Library Borrowing Policy


The purpose of this policy is to set out the entitlements of users in relation to borrowing items of stock from the Libraries. Items of stock include printed books, DVDs, CDs and classroom resources.   

All users are expected to acquaint themselves with the Library Code of Conduct.

1. Borrowing, Returning and Renewing 

1.1 Borrowing entitlements 

All St Mary’s staff and students are entitled to borrow items from the library. Borrowing entitlements are detailed on the University portal and in the library services leaflet. 

1.2 Borrowing restrictions 

Users must present their St Mary’s ID card in order to borrow items. Certain categories of stock may not be borrowed and are for reference use only within the library.       

1.3 Loan periods 

Items are issued for a fixed loan period. This can be extended as long as items have not been requested by another user.  

Additional loan extensions can usually be granted to academic staff who require items for teaching purposes. These should be requested by staff when borrowing items.     

1.4 Suspension of borrowing rights 

Borrowing rights will be suspended if fines on a user’s account exceed a designated limit. These rights will be re-instated as soon as fines are cleared to within the limit. Borrowing rights may be suspended if a user is in breach of the Library Code of Conduct.  

1.5 Borrowing from other libraries 

St Mary’s participates in the national SCONUL Access scheme. This enables students and academic staff to access other university libraries. Part-time students, postgraduates and distance learners are entitled to borrow from certain institutions through the scheme; full-time undergraduates are entitled to reference access.

1.6 Proxy borrowing 

In certain special circumstances (e.g. where a user has disclosed a disability) proxy borrowing is offered as an alternative to a user borrowing in person. All such arrangements should be agreed in advance with the appropriate member of staff.   

1.7 Return of items 

It is the user’s responsibility to return items in time in order to avoid incurring fines. An outdoor book return facility is provided at the Main Library in recognition of the fact that some users may find it difficult to return items during library opening times.  

2. Charges 

2.1 Fines for late return of items 

Users will be charged fines for the late return or late renewal of items. Please see the fines section of the website for full details of current charges. 

2.2 Charges for replacement of lost items 

Users will be charged the full replacement cost of lost and damaged items. This charge will include an administration fee.  

2.3 Resolution of disputes  

Any disputes regarding fines should be referred to the Head of Library Experience, or the Senior Library Advisors. Fines may be waived if extenuating circumstances apply. 

3. Reserving and recalling 

3.1 Reservations 

Users may reserve items on loan to other students. It is not possible to reserve items which are already available in the Library.  

3.2 Recalled items 

Items that are loaned for longer than a one week period are subject to recall after seven days if requested by another user. Fines are charged for the late return of recalled items.  

4. Communication 

4.1 Methods of communication 

The Library provides a number of options for users to access their Library accounts in order to renew and reserve items. Users can do this in person, by telephone or via the online library catalogue.  

4.2 Use of email

All communication regarding Library matters, including overdue and reservation reminders, is sent to a user’s University email address by default. Users are expected to check this email account on a regular basis. If an alternative email address is the preferred method of communication the user must either provide the Library with this email address or alternatively set up a forwarding service from their University email account 

4.3 Reminder emails

Emails reminding users that they have items about to become overdue are sent to a user’s University email address (unless an alternative address is provided). These emails are a courtesy service only and it is the user’s responsibility to ensure that loans are renewed or returned on time. Due dates are shown on the receipts when items are first issued, and this information can be viewed through the 'My Record' section on the Library Catalogue.  

5. Provision of information to users

Information regarding the library regulations for borrowing, renewing, reserving and fines is available on the University’s website.