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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.


You can issue and return items at all self-service machines.

Login to Library Search:

  • To see when loans are due
  • To place holds
  • To see when holds are available to collect

You can also login to MySouthampton app to view your library account.

How many items can I borrow?

You can borrow up to 10 items*.

You are able to borrow from our standard loan stock.

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

Loan periods

Standard loan: items are issued for a week and automatically renewed (unless needed by another user)

Reference - for use in the Library only

What if the item I need is on loan?

If the item you need is currently on loan, you can ask that it be recalled by using the 'Place hold' option on the item record in Library Search.

When placing the hold, you can also choose which library to collect your hold from. 

We will email your university account when the item is available to collect.

Items are held for three days.

What if the book I need is at another site?

If the book you need is available at a different library to the one you normally use, it can be brought to the library of your choice for collection.

You can request one week loan items.

Search Library Search to find the item you would like and then use the 'Place hold' option to request the item.

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

What if the item is available but not on the shelf?

It may be someone else is using it in the library but has not issued it yet.

If you have checked the shelves and the recently returned trolleys and cannot find the item please ask at the help desk. 

How do I borrow?

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


You can borrow items yourself using one of our self-issue machines during library opening hours.

Help desk

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

Postal loans

We also offer a postal loans service.

Can I renew my loan?

Standard loan items are automatically renewed.

Login to Library Search and select My Account and then Checkouts to view due dates. 

Returning items

Self return

You can self-return using our self-issue/return units.

Returns boxes can be found in all our libraries.

Help desks

During library opening hours you can also return items to the help desks. 

By post

We are happy to receive items returned by post.

Standard loan items can be returned this way.

UK-based staff and students can use our postal returns service.

Out of hours

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.

What shall I do if I receive a recall notice?

If another user has requested an item that you have borrowed, you will receive a recall notice giving you a new due date for return.

Please ensure that the item is returned by this date.  If you return an item after this date your library account will be suspended, and you will be unable to borrow further items.

Penalties for overdue items

Please return recalled items 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. 

Different items have different penalties once overdue, this depends on the length of the loan:  

Loan type

Overdue penalty

One week loan (when recalled) 

Library account is suspended once an item is three days overdue, and for seven days starting from the date the item is returned



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

The SCONUL Access scheme.

SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme, The scheme covers most of the university libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Please note that BAND R (full time undergraduates) are unable to borrow material under the SCONUL Access scheme.

Find out how to join

The scheme has its own website where you can find out more about SCONUL membership, including how to apply.