Borrowing from the Libraries

We've put together a series of Frequently Asked Questions which help to explain how to borrow items from the different Libraries.

Who can borrow from the libraries?

  • Staff with permanent or fixed term contracts
  • All students enrolled on courses lasting 10 weeks or longer
  • Students enrolled on pre-sessional courses
  • SCONUL members with borrowing access (Bands A, B and C)
  • Visiting and Emeritus professors.

Alumni (past staff and students) can use UAL libraries for reference. Please see our alumni information.

How can I join the Library?

  • Students automatically become members of the library.

  • Staff need to fill in an application form, and obtain their line manager's approval. Staff Registration Form (PDF 330KB)

How many items can I borrow?

  • Undergraduate students (BA, BSc and FdA): 15 items
  • Postgraduate and research students and staff: 20 items
  • Further Education (Foundation and Pre-Sessional): 10 items
  • Short Courses (10 weeks or over): 10 items
  • SCONUL bands A, B & C: 3 items
  • Visitors, Alumni and SCONUL band R: Reference only.

How long can I borrow an item for?

You can borrow most items for either 3 weeks or 1 week. Some items are only for reference use in the library. The loan period for an item will be indicated on Library Search.

  • Books are mostly 3 week loans and will show any loan period other than this on the item.
  • DVDs are mostly 1 week loans, or if reference this will be indicated on the item.

You can check your loans and due dates by logging in to Your Account.

How do I borrow and return items?

You can borrow items using the self service machines. You will need your UAL ID card.

Some laptops, IT accessories and reference items can only be borrowed from and returned to the library information desk.

You can return other items at any UAL library, not just the library you borrowed from. Use the self service returns machines in the library or the 'book drop box' near the entrance if the library is closed. Please note there is no 'book drop box' at Wimbledon. At the London College of Fashion, books can be left in a library box at reception.

If you cannot come in to the University you can return items by post - please send by recorded delivery. The addresses can be found on the Opening hours and locations page.

Renewing items

All 3 week and 1 week loans will be renewed automatically for you where possible.

Equipment loans are not renewable. Interlibrary loans (ILL) to renew non-UAL items must be requested through the ILL team at the site where the item was requested. 

How many automatic renewals are allowed?
The maximum is 10 renewals. For example, a 1 week loan can be renewed for up to 10 more weeks.

Can I renew my loans before the due date?
No. Automatic renewal means items wil be automatically renewed for you. Once 10 automatic renewals have been used, you will need to return items and borrow them again if you still need them. 

How do I know if my items have been renewed?
You will receive an email letting you know when your items have been renewed. You can login to your library account to check your due dates. 

What happens if the renewal fails?
You will receive an email letting you know if an item has not been renewed and should be returned to the library.

What happens if items are not returned on time?
You will receive your first email overdue notice on the third day after the item was due. If you do not return it within 7 days after the due date, your account will be blocked until the overdue item is returned. 

How will I know why an item did not renew?
You can check your library account to see if an item is reserved or has reached the renewal limit. 

Can I keep an item if it is no longer reserved?
Yes, but you will need to return the item first if your account is blocked. 

Why is my library account blocked?

Your account will be blocked if:

  • You have fines of £10 or more
  • You have an item on loan which has been requested by another borrower, and you have not returned it within the 7 days after the due date
  • You have long outstanding overdue loans
  • Your library membership has expired. 

Please check your UAL email account for emails from the library with further details of any problem with your account.

You will not be able to borrow from any UAL library until you have returned outstanding overdue loans and paid any library debts.

Library fines

UAL Libraries charge the following fines for overdue loans:

Loan typeFines charged
3 week10p per day
1 week20p per day
1 day£1 per day
3 hour 50p per day
ReferenceN/A


Once your fines reach £10, they must be paid (in full or in part) for you to continue borrowing.

What if I have lost an item?

You will be charged the replacement cost. You will also be charged fines if the item was overdue.

Can I order/reserve a book from another UAL library?

Yes. You can reserve items from any UAL Library. No borrowed copies of that item will be renewed until one is returned for you. (Please note it may take up to two working days for an available item to be sent from another site library).

The book I want is not available in UAL Libraries – what can I do?

• You can make recommendations to Library staff to purchase items not already in stock. Please use the New Items Suggestion Form.
• You can place an interlibrary loan (ILL) request to borrow the item from another library. Please see the Interlibrary loans FAQ.
• You may be able to visit another university library which holds a copy of the item under the SCONUL Access scheme. Staff and postgraduate students may be able to borrow from other university libraries.

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