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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 of Overnight Loan and Open Shelf books 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. Books on the ordinary Open Shelves can be borrowed for seven days and will be automatically renewed until the end of the Easter Term, subject to recall by other readers.

Postgraduates and University staff (academic staff, research workers, support staff) can borrow a maximum of 12 books, of which only two can come from the Overnight Loan shelves. Books on the ordinary Open Shelves can be borrowed for four weeks with automatic renewal periods of four weeks, subject to recall by other readers.

Overnight Loan books (books listed on lecturers’ undergraduate reading lists) can be borrowed for one day and must be returned on the following day. If an Overnight Loan book is borrowed on a Friday it must be returned on the following Monday. These books are shelved separately near the domed area of the Library. During vacations postgraduates and University staff can borrow Overnight Loan books for the duration of the vacation. Undergraduates can borrow Overnight Loan books for the duration of the Christmas or Easter vacation and for four day periods during the Summer vacation.

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

You may be charged a fine for overdue Overnight Loan or requested items. Please contact the Senior Library Assistant if you have accrued a fine from the Zoology Library.

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 see instructions on how to do this.

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 see if a book is on loan

Search for the book on iDiscover and open the catalogue record by clicking on the title. A list of libraries that hold copies of the book will be displayed. Click on the name of the relevant library to see how many copies they have, if any are on loan and when they are due for return. If the Status is 'Item in place' the book should be on the shelf. If the Policy is 'Loanable' it is available for borrowing, subject to the individual library's loan policies.

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

N.B. You can only recall books on loan from libraries that you are registered with.

Search for the book on iDiscover and open the catalogue record by clicking on the title. A list of libraries that hold copies of the book will be displayed. Click on the name of the relevant library. If all copies are on loan, click ‘Check request options’. The ‘My library account’ pop-up screen will appear asking you to log in if you have not done this earlier (see instructions above in ‘How to renew a book’). Once logged in click on ‘Place a recall’. You can enter a comment and change the date in the ‘Not needed after’ box if necessary before clicking on ‘Place Request’.

You can also ask the  to recall a book on loan from the Balfour Library.