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UCL Library news

Eastman, Pharmacy and Neurology libraries closing early, 31st October

Published: Oct 31, 2014 4:50:00 PM

Self service in the Main Library

Self service in Main Library opens 23rd October

Published: Oct 22, 2014 3:13:32 PM

Japanese Garden

Student Social Hub now open

Published: Oct 3, 2014 4:51:48 PM

Borrowing and managing your account

We'd love to hear from you. Contact us via email at lib-myaccount@ucl.ac.uk

Books laid out in a heart shape
We ask you to:
  • Check what you have on loan and when it is due back in the library
  • Let us know if you have any problems with your account
You can expect us to:
  • Do our best in ensuring as many people as possible get access to the material they need
  • Help you by explaining our services and giving you our personal attention as far as we can

Getting access to the material you need

Will there be enough copies of books on my Reading List?

We do our best to ensure that as many people as possible can access the reading they need. We often have multiple copies of texts on reading lists, have digitized copies of articles and chapters available on your online reading list and have short loan collections (see below) for books in particularly high demand.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with your subject librarian if you have any questions about getting material for your reading list.

Finding material

Have a look at our Getting Started guide for information about how to find material.

Borrowing books

You’ll need your UCL ID card and PIN number

Collect the books you need from the shelf and take them to the Assistance Desk or to a self service machine to borrow them. If you have trouble finding anything in the library, please ask staff for help.

Taking a book off the shelf

You can renew your loans as long as they have not been requested by other library users.

To renew:

Log onto your account at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/explore/

Explore service Sign-in option

Click ‘Sign-in’ in the top right hand corner.

Explore login-in box

Type in your barcode (on the back of your UCL ID card) and your PIN.

Explore service My Account option

Once you’re logged in, click ‘My Account’ in the top right hand corner.

Explore My Account screen

In this screen, you’ll see a list of the books you have on loan. Click ‘Renew All’ or ‘Renew’ next to the book you want to renew.

You can also renew your books by telephoning the library or in person at any Issue Desk or self service machine.

Why can't I borrow/renew my loans?

Your library account will be frozen if:

  • Your fines exceed £20
  • You have an overdue requested book
  • Your library account has expired


If you don't think any of these restrictions apply, or if you have any other questions, please email us at lib-myaccount@ucl.ac.uk, telephone the library you borrowed the book from, or speak to us in the library.

How long can I borrow books for? And what are the charges for late return?

Loan periods and fines are:

Loan type Loan period Fine if overdue
Standard 8 weeks 20p per day
1 week 7 days 30p per day
2 day (short loan) Mon-Wed
Wed-Fri
Fri-Mon
DUE BY 10 am
50p per HOUR, or each part of an hour

(Short loan items are due BEFORE 10am/1pm/4pm)
3 hour (short loan) 10.00-13.00
13.00-16.00
16.00-10.00 (next day)
50p per HOUR, or each part of an hour

(Short loan items are due BEFORE 10am/1pm/4pm)
Overnight 16.00-10.00 (next day) 50p per day
Reference NOT FOR LOAN

How many books can I borrow?

Undergraduates 10 Staff No limit
Masters degree* 10 PhD writing-up 5
MPhil/PhD* 20 External borrowers 3 or 5

*In the summer vacation, masters and PHD students can take an additional 5 books on top of the limits shown here.

Please refer to the Membership Services pages for more information on borrowing rights.

What's my PIN?

Your PIN is needed for borrowing books from self service machines, for accessing electronic resources and for logging on to your account online (for renewing books etc).

Your PIN is four digits and is set automatically to your date of birth (Day/Day/Month/Month).

If your PIN does not work, please see a member of Library staff or email lib-myaccount@ucl.ac.uk

How will I know when my books are due?

The library sends courtesy emails to you to let you know when your books are about to become due.

If your books go overdue, we will also email you to let you know.

The best way to keep track of your loans is to regularly log into Your Account on Explore, check what you've got on loan and then renew books if you want to keep them for longer.

Books remain your responsibility while they're on loan to you, so make sure you know when they're due back, and don't rely on the courtesy emails.

The book I want is on loan, what do I do?

You can request one week and standard loan books by signing into Explore.

Then click the "Request" button.

Catalogue screenshot place a request
How long will I have to wait?

The person with the book will receive an email asking them to return it within one week. Once it is ready for you to collect from an Issue Desk, we will email you to let you know.

What is the short loan collection?

Short loans are in high demand and are available to borrow for either 3 hours or 2 days. Short loans can be books, articles or audio-visual items.

Where are they?

Short loan collections are kept together in a separate section of the library to keep them secure. Ask staff in the library if you're not sure where to find them. Some short loan collections are available through self-service.

How do I use the collection?

All the books in the collection appear on Explore. We'll often have several copies of a book from a reading list, and might have 1 or 2 copies in the short loan collection.

If the book is available, simply go to the short loan collection and borrow it from there, either on the self-service machine or by asking library staff.

Once you've borrowed the book, be sure to note the return time and date.

The loan periods correspond to the following slots:

3 Hour loans 10.00 - 13.00
  13.00 - 16.00
  16.00 - 10.00 the following day (or Monday if borrowed on Friday)
2 day loans
Monday 10am - Wednesday 10am
  Wednesday 10am - Friday 10am
   Friday 10am - Monday 10am

What if they're out on loan?

They can be booked in advance via Explore. Simply sign in, search for the book and click on "book short loan". Choose the slot that's most convenient for you. Make sure you collect the book within the first half an hour of the slot start time. After this time, the book is made available to other library users.

What happens if I return a short loan late?

As the books are in high demand and can be booked, we charge fines at a higher rate than other books to encourage returning them before the end of the loan period. Fines on all short loan items are 50p per hour. So if you return an item due back at 10am at 10.01am, you'll be charged 50p.

Why are they only available in these fixed time periods?

In order to make bookings available, we have to advertise specific time periods which you can book in advance. We appreciate they might not suit everyone, but have found this is the best way to control the collection and make it available to as many people as possible.

My books are really overdue, what should I do?

You can renew overdue books as long as they haven't been requested and as long as you don't owe more than £20.00 on your account.

Once books become more than a month overdue, we'll send you a notice showing the replacement cost of the books out on loan to you. This notice incurs a £5 administration charge per book. If you return the books, there is no need to pay the replacement cost, but the administration charge and late return fines are still payable.
If you have any questions or concerns about this please do get in touch with us by email at lib-myaccount@ucl.ac.uk or speak to staff in the library where you borrowed the books.

How do I return my books?

Please return your books to the Library from where you borrowed them - either at the Issue Desk, at self service machines or in the book bins (when the Library is closed). This helps us to ensure that they are made available as quickly as possible for other Library users.

Can I return my books by post?

Yes. Please send them to the library you borrowed them from. See our webpages for a list of the Library sites and their contact details.

The book will remain your responsibility until it has been received at the library, so it is a good idea to send them by recorded delivery.

What do I do if I've lost a library book?

Contact the library you borrowed the book from and Library staff there will advise you on how you can pay for a replacement copy.

If you have any queries about this process or have any particular worries, contact the library directly, or email lib-myaccount@ucl.ac.uk

How do I pay my fines?

There are a number of different ways to pay your fines:

  • Pay in cash at any UCL Library
  • Pay by credit or debit card at the Main, Science, Cruciform and SSEES Libraries
  • Telephone the Main, Science, Cruciform or SSEES Library to pay by credit or debt card
  • Send a cheque made payable to "UCL" to the Library


Please see our Libraries and Study Spaces page for telephone and contact details

The book I want has the Due Date 'Shelving' in Explore so where do I find it?

If you look up an item on Explore and the Due Date column says 'Shelving' this means it has been returned to the library within the last 24 hours.

Screenshot of Explore showing an item with 'Shelving' status

If the book is not on the shelf it is likely to be in the process of being re-shelved via our Shelving Service and we recommend that you check the following locations:

  • The static trolleys in the reading room which the book should be shelved in
  • The Central Shelving Area in the library the book belongs to
  • Any unsorted shelving trolleys parked near the Central Shelving Area in the library the book belongs to

Please contact staff in the library if you'd like some help finding a missing book. We'll do our best to find the book in the library for you, will investigate replacing it if it has been lost, and in the meantime can recommend an alternative source for the book.

I can't find the book I want on the shelf, what do I do?

If you look up an item on Explore and the Due Date column says 'Available' but the book is not on the shelf, we recommend that you check the following locations:

  • The static trolleys in the reading room which the book should be shelved in
  • The Central Shelving Area in the library the book belongs to
  • Any unsorted shelving trolleys parked near the Central Shelving Area in the library the book belongs to

It is also possible that someone else might be using the book in the library without having borrowed it.

Please contact staff in the library if you'd like some help finding a missing book. We'll do our best to find the book in the library for you, will investigate replacing it if it has been lost, and in the meantime can recommend an alternative source for the book.

Page last modified on 27 jun 14 15:58