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Using The Library

Borrowing, Renewing & Returning Books

Student borrowing items using self service machineBorrowing items

All University staff and students can borrow from the Library using their ID card. 

ID cards are not transferable and should only be used by the person who owns the card.  

How do I borrow? 

Take your books to the Self-service machines and follow the instructions on the screen to issue them. Please remember that you’re responsible for all items borrowed on your account. 

How long can I borrow items for? 

We have a few different loan periods for our items. Some are reference only - this means they can only be used inside the library. Our loan periods are listed below. 

  • Main stock items - 2 weeks   
  • School Experience items – 6 weeks 
  • Journals – Reference (can only be used inside the library) 

How many items may I borrow?  

Students can borrow 18 items and staff can borrow 20 items. Teacher training students can borrow an extra 15 items from the School Experience section on top of that.

For more information see our pages on borrower types and loan allowances.
Please also see our borrowing information relating to eligible distance learner programmes.

Automatic renewals 

Most of the items you borrow will automatically renew, which means you only have to return items someone else has reserved, or when the item has reached its maximum number of renewals.

You will receive automatic emails from the Library ( to your university email account, letting you know what has been renewed. Keep an eye on your Junk or Other folder, as sometimes they end up in there.

Following student feedback, we have made the decision to no longer charge Library fines for overdue books. Instead, we will be moving to a fairer system based on "blocking" your borrower permissions. When an item is due, you have a 7-day grace period to return it and your account will not be affected. However, if you do not return the item by the end of the 7-day period, we'll stop your borrowing rights until you bring it back.


Although many items will renew automatically, you can also renew items yourself online through your library account, which you can get to through the Library homepage. To learn more about accessing your account and renewing items manually, please see our How to Renew Your Items Guide.

If you experience any difficulties in returning items, please contact us as soon as you can.


Where do I return items?  

Book returns area in library            Returning items at the Library is easy. All you need to do is gently push one item at a time through our returns machines, and they will be removed from your account. If you need to return an inter library loan or have any queries, please speak to staff at our Welcome Desk.  

There's also a book returns bin in the Foyer, next to the Welcome Desk.   


How do I reserve an item?

You can reserve an item if there are no copies in the Library that can be borrowed. To reserve and pick up an item: 

  1. Find the item on the UR Library Search and place a reservation by selecting the ‘Reserve’ button, located under 'Access Options' to the right of the item's record.

The 'Reserve button' is located in the 'access options' box to the right of the item record.

  1. When the item is returned, you’ll receive an email to your university email account from the library saying it is ready for you to collect. 

  1. You can pick up your item from the self-service Reservation Shelf on the upper ground floor of the Library. To find your reservation, check the reservation slip for your name. You can then borrow the item using the self-service machines.

 Reservation shelves in the Library located on the ground floor
















To learn more about Library reservations, please see our How to Make and Cancel a Reservation guide.

Library Fees

We have made some changes to the way the Library manages overdue items. We don't add fines to most overdue items, instead your account will be temporarily blocked so you won't be able to borrow anything else until you can return the item(s) or a replacement charge is paid, when books are lost or damaged.

We have also introduced a standard replacement fee of £30.00 for most items. To pay your Library fees, log into your Library Account through the Library homepage and select the 'Fees' tab. 

Finding Books and eBooks

To find a book: 

  1. Look it up on UR Library Search - you can search the library catalogue through the Library Homepage or through one of our catalogue PCs, which are found on every floor of the library.

  1. Write down the shelf-mark details – these are found on the item’s record.

  1. Use the shelf-mark details to find the book on our shelves – the shelf-mark is on the spine of the book and there are signs on the end of each shelf to tell you what books are on that shelf.

Dewey Decimal System - see guide linked in textWe use shelf-marks to help you find your item on our shelves. To understand more about shelf-marks, look at our What is the Dewey Decimal System? pdf guide or the graphic in this box, which you can select to enlarge. We also have our How to Find A Book guide.

If you’re not sure what book to look for or are looking for ideas on resources for your course, you can browse our subject resources pages.

If your book is on one of our rolling shelves on the second floor, find out how easy they are to use by watching our short video below.

To find an eBook: 

  1. Log in to your library account. 

  1. Look up the eBook on the library catalogue using the search bar on the Library Homepage.

  1. Select ‘View eBook’. 

To learn more about finding ebooks on UR Library search, please see our How to Find an eBook guide. More information on searching for items generally can be found in our UR Library Search guide

If you’re not sure what book to look for or are looking for ideas on resources to use for your course, visit our Subject Resources pages

Finding Resources Online

If you are starting a project, you can:

If you're are starting a dissertation, you can:

Can't Find a Resource?

Inter Library Loans  

*** Please see our latest update on Library Services during the coronavirus pandemic *** 

The Inter Library Loan Service gives students and academic staff the option of requesting books, book chapters and journals articles when we do not have them in the Library collection. The items are borrowed from the British Library and U.K. and Ireland institutions and are supplied for free.   

Inter Library Loans are not available for Alumni or our partner institutions. 

You can also check the availability for the item in academic libraries near you on Jisc Library Hub Discover; it may be faster to visit another London academic library through the SCONUL scheme.  


Placing an Inter Library Loan request  

UR Library Search should be checked as only requests for items not held in our collection will be processed. Before you request a journal article we suggest that you check our A-Z Journal List. If the item is already available in the Library, your request will be cancelled, and you will be notified by email. To comply with copyright requirements, a single article only from any one issue of a journal can be copied for the same user at any time. Similarly, no more than one chapter or 10% of a book can be copied. 

  • Ensure you are logged into your library account before trying to request an ILL – you will see your name in the top right. 
  • Once you have navigated to the article or book you need in UR Library Search, click on ‘Request item through Interlibrary Loan’ under 'Check Availability'. Fill in all the required fields on the form.  
  • Enter your Roehampton email; requests with personal emails will be rejected. 
  • Under Barcode enter the number on your Roehampton ID card including the ‘P’. 
  • Click ‘Submit’.
  • N.B. If you wish to request an article that cannot be found on UR Library Search, please email with full details of the article (Journal title, Author, Article Title, Year, Volume no, Issue no, Page nos)

Articles will be sent to your Roehampton email with a link and password. Please note once a document has been uploaded, it is available for 30 days or 5 views, whichever comes first. 

We aim for a 2 week turn-around time provided the request has all the necessary information, the item is available and your Library account is not currently blocked for any reason.

We cannot guarantee the fulfilment of Inter Library Loans due to restrictions of lending institutions.

Collecting Inter Library Loans

Articles will be sent to your Roehampton email with a link and password. Please note once a document has been uploaded, it is available for 30 days or 5 views, whichever comes first.

The borrower's signature is required when both collecting and returning books. Items can only be collected and returned to the Welcome Desk during Core Hours. Inter Library Loans cannot be posted.

Please note that occasionally lending institutions have items that can only be used within our library premises. These are Reference items that you will be able to borrow for periods of 3 hours. For more information, please see the orange label on the item.


Renewing Inter Library Loans

Inter Library Loans requested as books are not renewable. In very exceptional circumstances we will attempt to renew the item once on request. To request a renewal please contact us 3-5 working days before the due date. If you do not return your Inter Library Loan by the due date or request a renewal, your account will be blocked.

Please note that the lending institution may recall the item before the due date, in which case we will contact you with an updated due date.


Returning Inter Library Loan books 

If you still have ILL books that you borrowed before Covid, please return them to the Welcome Desk during Core Hours. Your signature will be required. If you’re not coming onto campus due to Covid and you need to post an ILL book back, please e-mail for instructions.  


Inter Library Loan request cancellations  

If an item cannot be supplied, an automated notification will be sent to your Roehampton email account. This could be the case for rare items or items recently published. 



We use the British Library service EThOS to provide access to UK theses - you will need to register an account with them to download theses. 


Contact us on if you have a query.  

If you are looking for a book which is not currently in our Collection but which you think would be useful to have in our Library, you can recommend it for purchase via the form below. 

If it is an item for your own personal research, please use our Inter Library loan service.


SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other UK academic libraries which belong to the scheme, or just the convenience of studying in a library closer to your home. It's completely free to join, so sign up online today.

The scheme works on a banding system:
Band A access is for academic staff and research students.  Almost all member libraries admit band A users.
Band B access is for part-time and distance learning students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and those on placement (eg PGCE in schools). You can borrow books from libraries in this band.
Band C covers full-time taught course postgraduate students, who can borrow books from libraries in this band.
Band R full time undergraduate students can have reference access to some libraries.

Not all member libraries allow access to all bands in the scheme.  Always check before you visit a library that they allow access to your band. Each Library in the scheme is listed on the SCONUL Access website​.  To find out which libraries are part of the scheme check the SCONUL website.

To use the scheme you will need to apply for access through the SCONUL website.  The application process is simple and after you submit your application it will be authorised by a member of Library staff. You will receive an email on your University account which you can print off and take with you to visit other libraries.  Users must be in ‘good standing’ with the Library i.e. have no large outstanding fines, before they can join the scheme. 

When visiting other libraries please note:

  • The number of books you can borrow may be limited and you may not be allowed to borrow from some collections.
  • Access to electronic resources is likely to be restricted.
  • The library you visit may have specific rules.

The British Library 

The British Library at St Pancras, London is a national research library. It does not lend books nor does it aim to stock multiple copies of basic text books. If your research needs are not fulfilled by other libraries, see the British Library catalogue and Reader Registration. For more information about getting a Reader Pass, please see the British Library website. 

Specialist libraries 

There are many specialist libraries in London that may be of use to your studies. Ask your Academic Achievement Librarian for help and advice on locating and using specialist London libraries.  
General advice for access: 

  • Telephone or email first as you may have to make an appointment to see the collection. 
  • Tell the librarian what you have already found and be specific about what you still need. 
  • Record all the bibliographic details of any material you use as you may not be able to recheck them.   

Other Catalogues 

  • Jisc Library Hub Discover is a national Library catalogue that accesses the catalogues of many of the largest UK and Ireland university libraries. 

  • London Libraries allows searches and provides information on special collections. 

  • ULRLS is the catalogue of the University of London Research Library Services.