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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 can vary depending on users’ status, and are detailed on the University’s website. 

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. Most books will automatically renew every seven (7) days, other items can usually be extended as long as items have not been requested by another user.  

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 (for example, 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. 

2. Charges 

2.1 Fines for late return of items 

Users will be charged fines for the late return of items requested by another user. 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 Library and Student Hub Manager. 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 

All items 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 provide the Library with this email.

4.3 Reminder emails

Emails reminding users that they have items that should be returned 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 returned on time. Additionally, a monthly summary is sent via email to all users with loans or fines, and this information can be viewed through the ‘My Library Card' 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.