skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

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 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 Open Shelves can be borrowed for up to two weeks, subject to recall by other readers. These can be renewed for further periods up to a maximum of eight weeks if they have not been recalled by another reader. If the eight week maximum renewal period would be on a date during the Christmas or Easter vacation the system should automatically extend the due date to the first day of term when vacation borrowing ends.

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. These can be renewed for further periods up to a maximum of 40 weeks if they have not been recalled by another reader.

Members of other Departments in the University of Cambridge 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. These can be renewed for further periods up to a maximum of 40 weeks if they have not been recalled by another reader.

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.

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

Login to iDiscover and go to 'My library account'. Click on 'Current staff and students of University of Cambridge' to login via Raven. If you are not a current member of the University click on 'Other users of the library' to login with your barcode. Once you have logged in you will be able to see what you have on loan from all the libraries in Cambridge that you have registered with. If you want to renew a loan simply click on the title of the book to renew it. Remember to logout of iDiscover when you have finished.

Sometimes online renewals may not work because the book you are trying to renew is already overdue, you may have renewed the book for the maximum period you are permitted to, or the book may have been requested by another reader. If the book has been renewed for the maximum period you will need to return the item and issue it again on the Library's self-issue system. If you are an undergraduate you may not be able to renew books for the Christmas and Easter vacations until vacation borrowing begins. This is usually the day before the last day of term. For all other instances please contact the for assistance.

 

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.