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Borrowing books from the Balfour Library

Loan periods

Important: BOOKS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM CAMBRIDGE. All of our books are subject to recall by other readers and so we need to be able to get them back easily if required. Please make sure that you return all books on loan to you BEFORE you leave Cambridge for any period of time.

Vacation borrowing exists for the Christmas and Easter vacations for undergraduates only.

Undergraduates may borrow a maximum of four titles at any one time, of which only two can come from the Overnight Loan shelves.

Members of the Department of Zoology (academic staff, research workers, assistant staff and postgraduates) may borrow a maximum of 12 books, of which only two can come from the Overnight Loan shelves. Open Shelf books can be borrowed for the length of term / vacation.

Members of other Departments in the University of Cambridge may borrow a maximum of two books at any one time.

Overnight Loan books can be borrowed after 4:00pm Monday to Thursday and MUST be returned by 11:00am the following day. On Friday, Overnight Loan books can be borrowed after 3:30pm, and MUST be returned on Monday morning by 11:00am. During vacations members of the Department of Zoology and members of other Departments can borrow Overnight Loan books for 2 weeks at a time.

Books on the Open Shelves may be borrowed by undergraduates and members of other departments for up to two weeks, subject to recall by other readers.

Loan periods can be extended to cater for readers who may have particular requirements, please see the Disabled access page for more information.


How to borrow and return a book

You will need to register your University Card with the Senior Library Assistant before you are able to borrow. Please find instructions on how to do this here.

There is a ‘self-issue’ machine in the Library, which readers use to issue books to themselves, and to return books on loan to them, 24 hours a day (N.B. out of hours access to the library granted for card holders only).

Simply follow the instructions on the screen. If you are returning books please remember to leave them on the returns shelf underneath the card catalogue as instructed – do not re-shelve them yourselves.


How to renew a book

The 'My library account' widget via LibrarySearch (see the link to this in the top right-hand corner of the LibrarySearch screen) can be used to renew your books and see what you have on loan from all the libraries in Cambridge that you have registered with. Simply enter your borrower number in the Barcode box. This is the 5-character code beginning with 'V' printed on the reverse of your University Card or on the front of your University Library Card. Enter your last name in the box below this. Click on the 'Log in' button. Click on the title of the book to renew it.

Sometimes online renewals may not work because the book you are trying to renew is already overdue, you may have renewed the book as many times as you are permitted to, or the book may have been requested by another reader. In these instances please contact the library concerned for assistance.

If you want to see and renew your books on loan, or search LibrarySearch on a mobile device, go to the CamLib Mobile Interface - search library collections, link out to full text versions, see library locations and opening hours or log in to view and renew loans, place, manage and cancel requests.


How to see if a book is on loan

At the end of the book's catalogue record on LibrarySearch, the book's 'Status' is given. If it's currently on loan, the status will be 'Charged' or 'Renewed' and a due date for return provided. If the book isn't on loan, the status will be 'Not on Loan'. On LibrarySearch a book is either 'Charged' or 'Discharged' / 'Available'.

If you are having problems locating a book on the shelves that you think should be there, please contact the Senior Library Assistant for assistance.


How to recall a book

You can do this remotely via LibrarySearch, click on the 'Help' link in the top right-hand corner of the LibrarySearch page, but you can also ask the Senior Library Assistant to recall a book for you.