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Using The Library

Borrowing, Renewing & Returning Books

Lady issuing a book on self service machineThe Library building is now open for Roehampton students, alumni and staff. Please note some of our services have been temporarily adjusted. To find out more, please see our Library Building is Open information page.

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) 
  • Borrowable laptop - 4 hours (you can only borrow one laptop at a time)

How many items may I borrow?  

Students can borrow 18 items and staff can borrow 20 items. Staff and 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 come under our automatic renewal system, which means you won’t get fined just for forgetting to renew your items. 

Many items will be renewed automatically 7 days before they are meant to be returned - you only have to return items that someone else has reserved or items that have reached their maximum number of renewals. 

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


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. 

You are not able to renew: 

  • Items that have been reserved by someone else

  • Laptops  

  • Media equipment  

Book returns areaWhere do I return items?  

The Library building is now open for Roehampton students, alumni and staff. Please note, some of our services have been temporarily adjusted, please see our Library Building is Open information page for up to date information.

Items can be returned through the book returns machines in the Library. 

You can also return items by putting them into the drop boxes in Manresa Hall at Whitelands.  Please put any items you want to return into the drop boxes before 11am Monday to Friday. If you return your items to the drop boxes after 11am on Friday, your items may not come off your library account until the following week.  

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 Library Catalogue and place a reservation by selecting the ‘Reserve this item’ button 

  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 white slip attached to the book: it’ll have the first 3 letters of your surname and then the last 3 digits of your library account number e.g. SMI428 on it. You can then borrow the item using the self-service machines. 


Some of our services have been temporarily adjusted, please see our current service alert for up to date details including changes to fines and due dates.

We have a fines system in place to encourage the prompt return of reserved items, trying to keep access to resources as flexible for everyone as possible. Please note that you can only borrow items if you have less than £20 of fines on your account. 



 Two-week Loan or School Experience  

 £2 a day (only charged on items that are reserved) 

 Maximum Fine on each item 


 Four hour Laptops 

 £5 per hour (Max. fine £50) 


 £2 a day (Max. fine £14)  

 Lost Book 

 Replacement Cost + £5 administration charge 

 Lost Book - out of print   


 Lost Book - out of print School Experience Library 


You can pay your library fines by logging into your library account and selecting the 'Fines' tab. 

Finding Books and eBooks

The Library building is now open for Roehampton students, alumni and staff. Please note some of our services have been temporarily adjusted.To find out more, please see our Library Building is Open information page.

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 categoriesWe 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 pdf 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 how to search our catalogue, please see 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 or chapters or articles from books and journals 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 
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:  

  • We require you to login and complete the online request formInclude as many bibliographic details as you can on the request form to facilitate the location of the item you require;

  • 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.

We aim for a 2 weeks turn-around time provided the request has all the necessary information, the book is available for loan and the requester is in good standing.   

Collecting Inter Library Loans 

The borrower’s signature is required both when collecting and when returning books. Items can only be collected and returned at 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 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 to 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. 

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.