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Senate House Library

Borrowing and renewing books

Borrowing books

The number of books you can borrow at any one time will depend on your borrowing allowance.

If an item doesn’t scan, it might be because it’s:

  • for “Reference use only” within the Library
  • you might have reached your loan limit
  • or you may have a fine on your account

Checking your loans receipt will ensure your books have been correctly checked out. The receipt also shows when each item is due back. If you experience any issues, staff at the Service Desk will be happy to help.

Most books have a four week loan period. Some of our more popular ones have one or two week loans. Reference items, journals, theses and books over 100 years old are ‘Reference only’, for use in the Library

You can also borrow books via our Postal Loans service.


Books are automatically renewed five times, unless the book has been requested by another reader. The automatic extension of the loan will be for two or four weeks each time (depending on the loan period of the specific item). This ensures that readers are not penalised for forgetting to renew items that are not in demand by other readers.

Further information