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Loans and borrowing: External Borrowers (inc. Alumni, NHS Trusts & SCONUL)

The Loans service remains a primary Library service, with over a million items you can borrow.


There are various self-service options associated with loans and borrowing.

  • Self-issue and self-return

Many are available through Library Search:

  • Renew your items on loan
  • Place holds
  • My Account (displays your loans, holds, etc.)

and the MySouthampton app.

How many items can I borrow?

You can borrow up to 10 items*.

You are able to borrow from our long loan and one week loan stock.

*With the exception of full time undergraduates on the SCONUL scheme.

Loan periods

Long loan: items are issued to a date in June or September (unless recalled) depending upon the time of year.

One week loan

Reference - for use in the Library only

What if the item I need is on loan?

If the item you want is on loan, you can recall it using the Place hold option in Library Search. When placing the hold, you can also choose at which library to collect your hold. Once placed, a notice will be sent the following day requiring the recalled item to be returned within 7 days.

You will be notified when that item is returned and available to you. Library notices are sent to your university e-mail account.

Items are held for collection for 3 days.

What if the book I need is at another site?

If the book you want is available at one of the following Library sites (Hartley, Health Services, NOL, WSA, Avenue), it can be transported to the Library of your choice for collection.

This service applies to any long loan or one week loan items.

Requests are made by searching Library Search to find the item you want, then use the Place hold option.

We will inform you when the item is available. This should be within two working days. Items are held for collection for 3 days.

What if Library Search says the item is 'available' but I cannot find it?

It may be someone else is using it but has not borrowed it.

Please look for it on more than one occasion and if you still cannot find it ask for a Missing Item Form. Library staff will make a further search. We will inform you of progress within five working days.

How do I borrow?

Using your ID card, which is also your library card you can borrow items through: 


You can borrow items yourself using one of our self-issue units.

Self-issue enables you to borrow items throughout library opening hours.

Staffed Desk:

You can take items to a staffed desk and have staff issue the books to you. Some library opening hours are longer than the times our service desks are staffed so please check opening hours.  

Postal loans:

We also offer a postal loans service.

How do I renew (extend) a loan?

Self-service is probably easiest using Library Search or the MySouthampton app.

Login to Library Search and select My Account and then Checkouts.

One week loan items can be renewed (except LRC one week loan items).

Long loan items are automatically renewed on your behalf at the end of the summer term and the end of the summer vacation.

Recalled items, items with holds and course collection items cannot be renewed.

You can also contact us to request renewals by telephone, e-mail or via our Chat service.

There is no limit to the number of times you may renew an item - as long as it is not required by anyone else.

Returning items


You are able to return items using the self-return units at Hartley, Health Service, NOL & WSA. Doing this yourself immediately removes the items from your record enabling you to borrow up to your limit again if necessary.

Returns boxes / containers are available at or close to self-return units and staffed desks.

Staffed Desk:

During library opening hours you're also able to return items to the staffed desk. 

By post:

We are happy to receive items returned by post as well as in person.

Please return all course collection items in person to the site from where they were borrowed. Also all Avenue and Language Resources Centre items.

Long loan and one week loan items can be returned to any of the University Libraries (excluding Avenue Library and Language Reseources Centre).

Returns when we're closed:

If you need to return an item when the Library is closed, you'll find a returns facility is available at all sites except WSA.

What do I do if I receive a recall notice?

If another person needs an item you have on loan, you will receive a recall notice giving you a new due-date for return.

This 'new due-date' will be 7 days from the date of the notice.

You must ensure that the item is returned by this date. As this item is deemed 'in demand', if returned late, a 7 day suspension will result.

What will happen if I do not return items?

The basic rule is that if you do not return books and they become overdue, you will not be able to borrow anything or place holds until your record is cleared. 

You will receive a reminder notice the day before long loan and one week loan items are due.

Different items have different penalties once overdue; this is dependent upon the length of the loan and if the item is 'in demand'.

If items remain overdue we will bill you for their estimated value. 

Penalties for overdue items

The table below outlines measures to encourage everyone to return or renew items on loan before they become overdue.

The basic rule is that if you do not return books and they become overdue, you will not be able to borrow anything or place holds until those items are returned or renewed. 

Different items have different penalties once overdue; this is dependent upon the length of the loan and if the item is in demand (see table below).

If items remain overdue, they will be recorded as a University debt leading to the withdrawal of services and facilities (for example, e-mail).

Loan type

Overdue penalty

Effective from

Short loan (course collections)

Record blocked for 7 days from date item returned

As soon as item is overdue

Recalled items/holds (long loan & 1 week loan)

Record suspended for 7 days from date item returned

Once item is 3 days overdue

One week loan

Record blocked for 7 days from date item returned

Once item is 21 days overdue

Long loan

Record blocked for 7 days from date item returned

Once item is 21 days overdue

My Account - check your Library record

Select My Account in Library Search to find out:

  • the due-date of your checkouts (items on loan)
  • how many checkouts you have
  • the status of your holds
  • details of any suspensions
  • details of any reservations
  • details of any inter-library loan requests

Also using the MySouthampton app.