Using our libraries

Accessing our libraries

On registering, you will be given a library card which you will need to have with you whenever you visit the Library. A card-operated access control system is in operation in the Main Library and most of the other sites and resource centres. 

Electronic resources

Visitors can access many of the electronic resources from our libraries.

Off campus

We have a range of free and open access databases, e-journals and e-books that are available from FindIt@Bham using a guest login. Please note: access to our entire range of visitor resources is limited when searching from an off campus computer. 

On campus

In addition to our free and open access resources, you can access a range of online journals and databases that we subscribe to using our dedicated computers in the following libraries; Main Library, Barnes Library, Orchard Learning Resource Centre and Shakespeare Institute Library.

Please apply at the Reception and Information Desk on the day of your visit for a username and password if you wish to use this facility. 

Please note: We are unable to provide internet access or printing facilities from our dedicated computers.


External members of the Library can borrow up to 6 books at a time.

How long can I borrow a book/journal for?

  • Short loans -  due back 11.00am the following day (only 2 items may be borrowed at once).  Short loans may only be available during vacation periods - you should check with the issuing library for more information.
  • Week loans - issued for 7 days
  • Long loans - issued for 28 days  

Renewing books and journals

  • As long as no one else has reserved them, you may renew books up to 99 times without having to take them into a library.
  • To renew online, log into your Library Account using your unique borrowers ID, and select which items you want to renew. If the renewal is successful, you will be given a new return date.
  • If you are unable to renew online please contact the library for help.
  • Please remember that you are solely responsible for keeping track of all materials you borrow from our libraries.   
  • Please note: Short Loan items must be renewed at the library from which they were borrowed and cannot be renewed online.

Returning books and journals

Books and journals should be returned on or before the due date stamped on the date label inside the book or printed on your self-service receipt. Books may be returned via return boxes, on self service machines or at staffed service points.  Except for short loan items, books may be returned at any site.

Recalled books

  • If you have a book which a student or academic has reserved, you will receive an email from the library asking you to return it. This may be earlier than the original due date.  The new return date will be indicated in this email and is normally 10 days after the reservation was placed.
  • Many library users continue to use us during the vacations.  You should therefore be aware that books may be recalled from you at any time. 
  • As books may be recalled at any time, you should not take them out of the country.
  • If you have a book out which is reserved, you will not be able to renew it.

Recalling and reserving books

Unfortunately, external members are unable to recall books from other members or make reservations online.

For more advice regarding reserving a book, please contact the library.  


You will be charged for items that are not returned when recalled or have been returned late . An outstanding fine may prevent your from borrowing, renewing or placing reservations.  

  • Long loans - 30p per day
  • Week loans - 50p per day
  • Recalled items - 50p per day
  • Short loans - 50p per hour, or part hour

Replacement library cards

Should you lose your library card you must notify the Library so that we can prevent its misuse. 

A replacement fee of £10.00 is charged.

Re-use of PSI

The University of Birmingham Library is now subject to the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 . Please see our information on the regulations as these relate to the Library and how to make a Re-use application.