Borrowing and returing books and journals


Your University ID card is also your Library card. You can borrow items using self-service machines in the Main Library and Barnes Library, or take them to a lending desk.

Laptops: see our information on borrowing laptops in the Main Library and the Barnes Library.


Items (apart from laptops) may be returned via the sortation machine in the Main Library, return boxes, on self service machines or at staffed service points, at any site.

Loan periods

All items (except high-demand items) are issued for a week in the first instance, then renew automatically each day. The item is always due back in a week until: 

  • someone else requests the item, or
  • you have a large amount of fines, or
  • your membership expires 

High demand items

If other borrowers are waiting for an item you've requested, the item is considered high-demand. When you borrow it, it will be issued to you for two days. It will not renew automatically. You must check your email receipt or the date-stamp on collecting your request. 

Maximum number of loans

The maximum number of items you can have on loan at any one time depends on your borrower type.

  • All undergraduates: 25 items
  • Taught postgraduates: 25 items
  • Research postgraduates: 35 items
  • Academic staff: 45 items
  • Associate staff: 20 items
  • Support staff: 15 items
  • External borrowers: 10 items


Fines are charged on overdue items at £1 per working day. You can pay fines via the University's online shop. If you pay online, it must be for the full amount shown in your library account at FindIt@Bham.

Automatic renewals

Items on loan (except laptops) will renew automatically until someone else needs the item and requests it.  Renewals also stop if your fines reach a certain amount, when your membership expires, and when your course finishes. 

Example: if you borrow a book (which isn't high demand) on a Monday, it will be issued until the following Monday. It will renew overnight, and will now be due back on the following Tuesday. This process continues until someone requests the item. The renewals stop, and you have a week to return it.

We will send you daily emails to alert you when an item on loan to you is due back, but we strongly recommend that you regularly log in to your library account at FindIt@Bham to check your due dates. You will also be able to see if items you have requested are available to collect.

We send an email at the beginning of each month to remind you what you have on loan. 

Library account

If you are a student or member of staff at the University, you can access your library account by logging in to Findit@Bham using your University username and password. This will display your loans, requests and any outstanding fines.

Please note that if you try to renew items in FindIt@Bham, it will usually return a message saying "Renew failed". This is because it will already have renewed to its furthest extent automatically.

Requesting books

If the book you need is out on loan, you can request it via FindIt@Bham, our library catalogue.

When the book is returned, you will be notified by email. The item will be held for 48 hours.

If you need longer to collect it, please contact us. The collection time can be extended at our discretion.

Requested and recalled books

If a book you have on loan is required by another borrower, it will no longer renew automatically. You will receive a reminder email each day. 

Many staff and students use our libraries during vacations, so please be aware that your books might be requested by another borrower, and have to be returned, at any time. Please do not take books out of the country. 

Distance learners and borrowers with disabilities

Automatic renewals are intended to make life easier. Items are renewed automatically day-by-day until they are requested by another borrower. Please make sure you regularly check your library account, and emails sent by the library, to see if items you have borrowed need to be brought back. Unless an item is high demand, you will have a week to return an item once it is due back.

Please note that items become two-day loans in order to satisfy demand (see above). We may, in exceptional cases, be able to extend a two-day loan if you feel that your disability or your travel needs as a distance learner prevent you from making use of the item in two days. This is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on availability of the item, so please contact library staff.