Attention Covid-19 adjustments to Library services

Borrowing from the Library and reserving items

Borrowing Library Items

You can easily borrow, renew and return Library items using our self service systems in the Library Atrium whenever the Library building is open. The self-service kiosks are powered with RFID technology that allows you to issue all the items you need all at once and without any hassle. You may also check your account details and renew your loans using the interactive touch screen. If you need help, just ask us. Our friendly staff are always happy to help.

If you are away from the University on a placement, a year abroad, or extended study leave, please be aware that items borrowed are subject to recall (see Recalled items below) and must be returned promptly at your expense.

Details of borrowing entitlements for students, staff and external readers can be found under Further Information below.

Additional arrangements are in place to support borrowing for Distance Learners.

Returning Library items

Please note: In line with the need to maintain social distancing and operate in a COVID-19 Secure fashion returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours. During this quarantine books will remain flagged as 'on loan' in the Library catalogue. The quarantine will also be applied to books removed from shelves but not borrowed (e.g. left on tables).

In the University Library you can return your loans at the self service returns sorter, located in the Atrium. All University Library loans must be returned to the University Library.

If you do not return your books, our automatic renewal service means that your books will renew themselves unless they are reserved by another client.  Please read the emails the Library sends to your University email account to check for any books that have been recalled.  You can also manually renew your loans.

There's a book on my library account which I think I've lost/returned/which has been stolen

If you let us know about this, the book will become a 'loan query'

What we will do:

  • Check on the shelves
  • If we find the book, we will tell you
  • If the item has not been found or handed in, you will be sent a notification with the replacement cost of the item
  • If payment is not received, you will be invoiced by the University Finance Department who will pursue this matter on behalf of the University Library

What you should do:

  • Check at home, in your department and with your friends and colleagues immediately
  • If you find the item, return it to the library

Please remember:

  • You can continue to borrow books whilst you have a query on your library account. Your ability to borrow is suspended only if you do not respond to our notifications.

Recalled items

Why do some books have to be returned before the original due date?

You may receive a "recall notice" if someone else has reserved an item on loan to you. This recall notice is sent to your University email address. When a reservation is placed on an item on loan, the library system is set up to reserve all copies of that title, and recall one of them (the one that is due back soonest).  This is an automated process, designed to be as fair as possible to everyone.

This may mean that we have to ask you to return an item on loan to you before the date given when you borrowed it. The recall notice will give you seven days to return the loan and advise you to ignore the original due date. We know that nobody likes having loans recalled and we understand that it can be frustrating to have a loan that you planned to have for four weeks recalled for return next week. However, Library staff have to try and ensure fair access to stock in demand and balance the needs of everyone.  The person who reserves the book may not be able to wait four weeks for it to be returned.

If your item is recalled and you have had to return it, you can also reserve it if you still need to use it. Alternatively, you could check to see if there is an e-book available. If there is a queue of people who need the same item, each person will automatically get only one week to use the book so that everyone gets a fair chance.

Note: If you do not return the item by the new due date, your library account will be blocked and you will not be able to borrow or renew anything until the matter is resolved.

When does the recall process run?

The recall process runs every night during the Autumn Teaching Block, during the Spring Teaching Block and during the Consolidation & Assessment period, up to one week before the end of each. In order to give fair access to books when there is increased demand, the recall process also runs during the Easter vacation, in the run up to the handing in of assessments and revision for exams.

Please check your university email regularly in case we ask you to return your loans sooner than expected as your library account will be blocked if recalled books are not returned. If you are away from the University during the Easter vacation, you can post your books back to us by sending them to The University Library, Cambridge Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK, PO1 2ST.

When does the recall process not run?

The recall process is suspended during the Christmas and summer vacation which means that you can place reservations, but items won't be called back early during these times. If an item has an outstanding reservation on it, then it will only be issued for one week, even if it is the vacation. This also means that it cannot be renewed as the reservation takes priority, even if it is the vacation.

The recall process is restarted at the end of the vacation and recalls are sent out for ALL reservations made during the vacation. Although recalls are suspended for the summer vacation, we will try and contact the person to see if they are able or willing to return the item requested if it is urgent. However, if they are out of the country this may not be possible.

Alternatively, it may be possible to obtain a copy through our Interlibrary Loan service


You can reserve items that are on loan via the Library Catalogue. You cannot reserve books which are showing as available on the Catalogue.

When an item you have reserved becomes available, you will be notified by email and you will have seven days to collect it.

Please phone (023) 9284 3228 or email if you have any questions about Library membership, loans policies and procedures.

Email delivery of Library notifications 

This service is open to all students and staff where we have an email address available and to all External Readers who have supplied us with an email address.

As a student, you will be given your own University email account when you join which will be used by the Library. You are expected to check your account daily – you can do this through the MyPort website. Failure to do so may result in you missing valuable information.

If you have any problems with your University account, visit the Google Apps page of the Information Services website.

If we do not have a record of your University email account, we will continue to send a paper alternative to your main contact address (or to your department if you are a full-time student).

What if I don’t have an email account?

Staff and students will be given a University email account on joining the University. If you are an External Reader, library notifications can be printed and posted to your local address, but we cannot offer the "reminder" service to anyone who has opted out of email delivery.

Why have I not received an email for my reserved items?

You will only receive an email if an item on your account has been recalled i.e. the copy you have is the one due back soonest. You won't get an email if an item on your account has been reserved i.e. there are other copies of the item on loan and somebody else's copy is due back sooner. The recall process means that, whilst all copies of the item are reserved, we will only ask the person who has the copy due back soonest to return their copy. We obviously hope that the recalled item is returned, but it is possible it won't be, so all the other copies are reserved to prevent them from being renewed. However, once the recalled item does come back, the reservation on the other copies is dropped and they can be then be renewed again.