Borrowing books

For more information regarding borrowing from the library contact Rachel Posaner.  

How do I find my books on the catalogue?

You can search the library catalogue here to see if we have the books you need.

Help searching the library catalogue

I have lost my library card number, what shall I do?

Complete this online form to be reminded of your borrower number. 

What happens if you do not have the book I need?

Look on your user group services page to see what to do if we do not have your book in the library

How do I find my book on the shelf?

Make a note of the shelf mark and the class mark when looking your book up on the catalogue.

The library has four shelf marks

  • books (no prefix)
  • oversize books (prefix q)
  • pamphlets (prefix p)
  • quarto pamphlets (prefix qp)

Within each shelf mark the collection is shelved according to the Library of Congress cataloguing system

For example, 'Raising Standards in the NHS' by the Department of Health is classified as RA 399 D.

  • The first letters 'RA' indicate the main class of the subject - Public Aspect of Medicine
  • The following numbers '399' indicate the subclass - Regulation of medical practice
  • The final letter 'D' is the first letter of the authors surname

To find this book on the shelf

  1. As there is no prefix, go to the book section
  2. Travel alphabetically to the R section, then progress to RA
  3. Then work up numerically to 399
  4. Within the 399 section you will find the book under D for Department of Health

How many books may I borrow

You can borrow up to six items at any one time.

Journals, dissertations and reference material cannot be borrowed.

How long can I borrow books for?

You can borrow items for a period of three weeks.  You can then renew them for two further three week periods making a total of nine weeks borrowing time. 

Please note that books that have been reserved by another user cannot be renewed. 

Can I renew my books?

You renew your books for two further three week periods making a total of nine weeks borrowing time. Please note that books that have been reserved by another user cannot be renewed.  

You will need your HSMC borrower number (including the four zeros) on your library card with the coloured stripe.  If you have forgotten your borrower number complete this online form for a reminder.

Can I borrow books from the New Book Display?

Yes, these items are a selection of some of our recent acquisitions and are available for loan.

Will you post books out to me?

Yes we will, free of charge!

We ask that you check the library catalogue first to see if the items you require are available for loan.

If they are available order your books here.  Don't forget to include your address!

You should receive your items within 4 days.

Can I post books back to you?

Yes, as long as they are suitably packaged.  Please use a jiffy bag and not brown paper as this ALWAYS rips and books go missing. 

Send them to:

HSMC Library,
Park House,
40 Edgbaston Park Road,
B15 2RT

Please note that you are responsible for the books until we receive them back into the library. 

We recommend that you send items to us in registered post as academic texts tend to be expensive to replace.

Can I return my Main Library books to the HSMC Library?


Items that belong to the Main Library should either be taken back there in person or put in the post. We cannot take any responsibility for returning Main Library items.

How much do you charge for overdue books?

We do not charge for overdue items at present.

However, we do expect you to return your books to us by the due date for the consideration of all our users.  We take a very dim view of those who abuse our generosity in this matter. 

What do I do if I lose a library book?

Get in touch with us straight away.  It might have been returned to us and be in the library on the shelf.

If the book is lost then you can either pay for its replacement or provide us with a copy. 

How do I reserve an item and when will I get it?

Reserving an item online

We will aim to send out a recall email on the day the reservation is made and the item should be returned to us by its due date.  We will then notify you of its availability by email and ask you if you would like to pick it up of have it posted out to you.

Please note, we keep reserved books aside items for seven days and following that time it will be returned to the shelf. 

You cannot reserve an item that is available on the shelf. 

What is a recall?

If an item is on loan to a user and another user reserves that item, then we send out a recall email to the original user for that item.

It will tell them that the item is reserved and so they will not be able to renew that item for another three week loan period.  The recall email also asks the current borrower to make sure that they return the item to us by the due date or sooner if they have finished with it. 

Can I search the library catalogue from home?

You can search the catalogue from home with no further log on or downloads. 

However to access your library account online you will need your borrower number on the laminated borrower card with the coloured strip or QR code.  

Can I see the dissertations of previous students?

All dissertations are listed on the catalogue.   Some dissertations are in paper format and more recent ones are in PDF format.  All dissertations are available for reference only and can not be borrowed. 

How to find dissertations on the catalogue

Paper dissertations are for reference only and cannot be taken away.  We will need the author and title of the items you require and the date of your visit and we will have them ready for you to see.  Please note we cannot access the dissertation store after 5pm. 

PDF dissertations can be emailed to you on the understanding that when you have finished reading it your delete it from your computer.  You cannot print copy or amend an electronic dissertation. 

To request a dissertation please contact Wendy Spurr.

Can I use the Main Library?

If you are a student or a member of staff then you can use any of the university campus libraries

What other libraries can I use?


You can use the Sconul scheme whereby you can borrow from a university library near to where you live.

Look on Canvas for details of all sources of books you can access.

University members

As a member of the university you can use any of the university campus libraries. .

NHS employes

You will have a library supporting your Trust and you will be able to borrow from them. 

NHS employees in the West Midlands

You can access resources via the Base Library a consortium of all the health libraries in the region.