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UCL Library Services

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Borrowing and managing your account

All you need to know on how to borrow and renew items, how long they can be borrowed for and managing your library 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
How can I renew my loans?

You can renew your loans as long as:

  • They have not been requested by someone else
  • You don't have fines over £20

To renew:

You can log into your account at www.ucl.ac.uk/library/explore

Click 'Sign in' in the top right hand corner.

Explore service Sign-in option

You are then given the choice to log in as either 'UCL students and staff' or 'Non-UCL library members'. Pick the appropriate option.

Explore login-in box
UCL staff and students

Choose 'UCL students and staff' and you will be presented with the UCL Single Sign-on login page. Enter your UCL userid and password.

Non-UCL users

Upon joining the library, you will have received a library card with a barcode on it and a separate password. Use these to log in.

Once logged in

Once you’re logged in, click on your name in the top right hand corner and then choose 'My Library Account' from the pop up menu.

Explore service My Account option

In your library account screen you’ll see a list of the books you have on loan. Click the ‘Renew All’ button to renew them. You can also go in to the 'Loans' tab and renew each item individually.

Explore My Account screen
Renew by telephone or in person

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

Why can't I borrow/renew my loans?

Your library account will be frozen if:

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

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 many books can I borrow?
Undergraduates20Staff40
Masters degree20PhD writing-up30
MPhil/PhD30External borrowers3 or 5

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

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

Normal loan periods and fines are:

Loan typeLoan periodFine if overdue
Standard8 weeks20p per day
2 week2 weeks20p per day
1 week7 days30p per day
3 day (rolling)Due at 23:59 on third day. Due at 23:59 on Monday if borrowed on Wednesday or Thursday.50p per day
1 day (short loan)Due at 10:00 the next day. Due at 10:00 on Monday if borrowed on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.50p per hour
3 hour (short loan)Due at 10:00 next day if borrowed after 15:00. Due at 10:00 on Monday if borrowed after 15:00 on Friday or on Saturday or Sunday.50p per hour
ReferenceNOT FOR LOAN 
What's my PIN?

Your PIN is needed for borrowing books from self service machines.

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/Collection Point, 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 1 day. 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

  • 3 hour rolling loan period from 10:00 - 18:00 Monday to Friday
  • If borrowed after 15:00 due at 10:00 next day
  • If borrowed after 15:00 on Friday or any time on Saturday or Sunday due at 10:00 on Monday

1 day loans

  • Due at 10:00 next day if borrowed on Monday - Thursday
  • Due at 10:00 on Monday if borrowed on Friday
  • Due at 10:00 on Monday if borrowed on Saturday or Sunday

What if they're out on loan?

You can check on Explore when the books are due back. Short Loan books cannot be re-borrowed within 30 minutes of returning them.

What happens if I return a short loan late?

As the books are in high demand, 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.

My books are really overdue, what should I do?

You can renew overdue books as long as:

  • They haven't been requested by someone else
  • You don't have fines over £20

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. If you return the books, there is no need to pay the replacement cost, but 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/Collection Point, 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 IoE Libraries
  • Telephone the Main, Science, Cruciform, IoE 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.