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Loans and borrowing: Loans & Borrowing Guide

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

Photo of a stack of books Please see our  Library Services FAQs for the latest information on loans and borrowing. If you are away from campus, we can send you books via our postal loans service.

If you are a UK-based member of the University of Southampton you can use our tracked postal return service to return library books. This is funded by the University and you will not have anything to pay. 

Who can use this service?

  • Staff and students of the University of Southampton.
  • NOC staff.
  • University Hospital Southampton staff.
  • NHS staff from other local trusts (from Health Services Library only).
  • Members of the public - by applying for an External Borrower ticket. These are issued at the Librarian's discretion.
  • Graduates of the University of Southampton - by applying for an Alumni card.

As participating members of the SCONUL Access scheme, staff and students from participating higher education libraries can apply through this scheme to use higher education libraries throughout the UK.

Membership group Number of items
Undergraduates no limit
Taught Postgraduates no limit
Research Postgraduates no limit
Staff: University / UHS / NOC no limit
NHS Staff from Local Trusts 10
External Borrowers (personal) / AlumniSCONUL Access 10
External Borrowers (corporate) 10/15

About the service

Resources are available on a:

  • Standard Loan - items issued for a week and then automatically renewed.  These items can be recalled, in which case you will have seven days to return them.
  • Reference - can only be used in the library.


We are still offering tracked postal returns (funded by the University) for UK-based students.

Holds can be placed on items in our collections not currently on loan.  We will make items available via Click & Collect.

Penalties for overdue items

The basic rule is that if you do not return books on receipt of a Library Item Return Notice, you will not be able to borrow anything or place holds until those items are returned. 

Loan type

Overdue penalty

Standard Loan (when recalled

Library account is blocked once an item is seven days overdue, and remains blocked until the item is returned.



If an item remains overdue, it will be considered as lost and recorded as a university debt.

Returning items

Standard Loan items can be returned to any library. 

If you need to return an item when the library is closed, there are returns facilities at all libraries except the Winchester School of Art Library.

Self-service: self-issue/return units

Libraries (including opening hours)

Hartley Library

Telephone: 023 8059 2180

Health Services Library

Telephone: 023 8079 6541

National Oceanographic Library

Telephone: 023 8059 6116

Winchester School of Art Library

Telephone: 023 8059 6982