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Borrowing, renewing and returning


Books are generally borrowed by using the self-issue system, which allows borrowing at all times, and under the current system, there will be a period, somewhere around 1am or 2am, when the UL switches the system off and re-starts it. If you need to borrow at that time, or at any other time when you cannot get the system to work, please use the paper slips provided.

Most books are borrowed for 14 days at a time. DVDs are borrowed for 1 week. Other exceptions include items from the Armchair Corner. You can note the due date at the time you issue the book, and you will receive a reminder as the due date approaches. You can also log in to iDiscover to see what you have on loan.

DVDs can be borrowed only when the Library Office is staffed. Find the empty box on the display at the foot of the Spiral Staircase, and bring it to the Office. We will exchange it for the duplicate case which contains the disc.

You may have up to 30 books on loan at any given time, but during the first hour of vacation borrowing, please restrict yourself to 10 books in order to keep the queues reasonably manageable.


We have not adopted the system of "automatic renewals" now used at various libraries in Cambridge. Books may be renewed using iDiscover unless they have been recalled but all items need to be brought back to the Library Office after a period equal to 4 consecutive renewals. This is a restriction on the total length of time following the borrowing of the item, not the total number of actual renewals, and the restriction cannot be over-ridden by Library staff.

On the last Wednesday of term, all books are due for return, and cannot be renewed beyond that date. Returned books will be available again on the following day for Vacation Borrowing.


If Library staff are in the Office, please hand books directly to them. They can then return them on the system immediately, and put them out for shelving. Items awaiting shelving can be borrowed exactly as normal. If the Library Office is unstaffed, please return the books at the self-service desk, according to the instructions there. If you prefer, books can be left in the "Returned Books" cupboard beside the Library Office. In that case, please protect the book(s) with padded envelopes, or put rubber bands around them. Both envelopes and rubber bands are provided, and will help protect the books as they fall into the cupboard. The cupboard will be opened, and the books taken out and returned on the system, as soon as Library staff return to the Office. If you are returning DVDs or CDs it is probably best to hand them to staff, or leave them in the Library pigeonhole, since a falling copy of Kandel's "Principles of neural science" could probably sink a punt, never mind crack a CD.