Senate House Library

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Senate House Library is the central library of the University of London and plays an important role in providing staff, researchers, students and visitors with access to a wide range of resources, services and facilities to support their teaching, research or studies.

The terms and conditions of membership listed below are intended to ensure that the range of resources, services and facilities are available to all who need them. They cover the use of all provisions available through the Library.  

We reserve the right to suspend the Library privileges of any user who infringes the Library Services Terms and Conditions. Where this requires an investigation this will be carried out by a senior member of Library staff. 

1. Membership and access entitlements 

1.1. Senate House Library is the central library of the University of London. Details of membership eligibility and joining instructions are available from the Membership page.  

1.2. Registration of new users, and the issuing of day passes or exhibition tickets, ends thirty minutes before Library closing time, and it is not be possible to enter the Library without a valid Library membership card or ticket. 

1.3. Library memberships are non-transferable and may only be used by the registered individual named on the membership card. 

1.4. Onsite access to the Library is permitted during advertised opening hours. No access to the Library (e.g. to gather possessions) is possible after Library closing time. If you have left something behind, it will be brought down to the Ground Floor reception for retrieval.    

1.5. The Library reserves the right to limit or refuse access by individuals or groups, particularly if their behaviour fails to comply with accepted codes of Conduct (see section 12 of this document) 

1.6. The Library may limit or refuse access to individuals with books that are more than 34 days overdue, and which have been billed, until these books are returned or replacement charges paid. (When an item has the status Billed, it means the user has been charged the replacement cost for the item.)   

2. Library services 

Senate House Library is committed to providing the highest possible levels of service to all of our users within the resources available to us. Please refer to our User Charter about what you can expect from us. 

2.1. Your opinions on our services are always welcome and can be made known to us by placing them in the Suggestion Box located near the Service Desk or by emailing us.

2.2. If you feel we have not met our commitment to you as outlined in our User Charter, please follow our official complaints procedure.

2.3 Library opening hours will be advertised on the Library’s website, and are at the discretion of the Senior Management. In extreme circumstances such as severe weather, security alerts, transport disruption or industrial strikes, the Librarian reserves the right to close at short notice or otherwise adjust the hours of opening should it become necessary.

2.4 All service points are closed and photocopiers turned off 15 minutes before Library closing time. Users are asked to ensure that they have completed any printing, photocopying, borrowing, renewing, or other library business by this time.

2.5 We provide a free ‘laptop loan’ service to members. Please enquire at a help point for details.

2.6 We provide carrels for rent using our carrel rental service.

3. Borrowing Library materials

3.1. All library material available for loan must be issued before you may take them out of the Library. You are reminded that the unauthorised removal of any item from the Library will be considered to be theft. You must have a current Library card whenever you are borrowing.

3.2. You are responsible for all items issued on your card. Items on loan should be returned or renewed by the due date. It is your responsibility to be aware of the due date(s) of any items borrowed and to maintain all personal information held (including email account details) with us at all times.

3.3. Library email reminder and overdue notices are sent as a courtesy only. Whilst we will make every effort to contact you, we cannot confirm or guarantee delivery of notices. Non-receipt of notices for whatever reason does not exempt you from overdue fines or charges.

3.4. Items on loan may be recalled at any time if required for the use of other users. If you are unable to return items due to special circumstances such as illness or bereavement we may accept, at our discretion, documentary evidence to support an appeal against a fine as a result of items not returned on time.

3.5. If a book has been recalled, you will be prevented from renewing it and must return the book by its due date to prevent fines accruing. In this way you will avoid overdue charges and contribute to a more efficient reservation service.  

4. Use of Library material and facilities 

4.1 We provide free use of data and power outlets. However, the Library accepts no responsibility if users’ electronic equipment is damaged while using these facilities. 

4.2 We provide free access to the University of London’s WiFi network. However, we cannot guarantee availability of internet access, or that Library staff will be able to assist users in connecting devices to the network or with any other use of personal electronic equipment. 

4.3 We provide a free ‘laptop loan’ service to members. Please enquire at a help point for details. 

4.4 We provide carrels for rent using our carrel rental service.

4.5 You are responsible for the well-being of all items from the collection in your care whether on loan or during use in the Library and must take care to protect them from any practice which could damage them. Examples of poor practice include: 

a. The marking of books whether in pencil, pen or highlighter.

b. The use of “Post-It” notes (or similar) to mark pages.

c. Folding down the corners of pages.

d. Placing open books face down.

e. Resting books where they may be exposed to excessive heat, light or humidity. 

4.6 You are asked to take extra care of items at home and when transporting volumes to and from the Library to keep them dry and well away from food, liquid, pets and other potential causes of damage. We reserve the right to exclude users who deface and damage items. 

4.7 If you cause damage to the Library’s fabric, furniture, fittings or equipment either deliberately or through default or negligence, you shall be liable for the cost of repair or replacement. 

4.8 Access to electronic resources are available to all Library members who use them onsite. Usage is only permitted for educational, non-commercial purposes, and staff should be consulted if you wish to use electronic resources for anything other than private study, so that the detail of the licence/terms and conditions can be checked. 

4.9 You are asked to abide by the terms and conditions for using the Archives and Special Collections reading room.

5. Making copies  

5.1 You may only use or copy material in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright legislation currently in force and the preservation policy of the Library.  

5.2 Users are responsible for the consequence of any breach of copyright. Guidelines on Copyright are displayed beside all photocopying machines in the Library.  

5.3 For copy related charges please visit this page

6. Payment, fines and refunds  

6.1. You will be charged overdue fines for late return of borrowed items in order to help maintain equitable access to Library resources. 

6.2. If you have fines of more than £10.00 your account will be blocked and you will be unable to order items from the Stack Service or Offsite Store, reserve items on loan or access the Library’s electronic resources Information about payment methods is available on the library webpages.   

6.3. The fine for overdue books is 30p per day per item and 10p per hour for a laptop key. Fines come into effect immediately the item becomes overdue. 

6.4. Books overdue for more than 34 days will be billed for loss at £50.00 per book. When the book is returned this amount will be reduced to the maximum fine of £10.20 per book. 

6.5. The Library accepts replacement copies for lost or damaged items. The book should be an exact replacement of the item lost. The library will accept second hand copies in good condition. Please contact the relevant Research Librarian if you require further information regarding replacing the lost book. 

6.6. If you have replaced or paid for a lost book, no refund can be provided if you subsequently find the missing item, or it is later returned to the library. 

6.7. You should remember to take the receipt provided as proof of payment of fines and keep it safely.  

6.8. Library Services is unable to offer refunds. If you have any concerns about a charge or fine, you must speak to a member of staff before paying.   

6.9. If you wish to appeal against any charges on your library account you have the right to appeal a fine.

7. Security 

7.1. You are asked to please ensure that you keep your personal possessions (including your membership card and any items checked out to your Library account) with you at all times. The Library accepts no responsibility if such items are damaged or stolen while in the Library. A security system is in operation at the exit gate from the Library to safeguard library property for use by everyone. You may also be asked to open books, folders and bags for inspection by a member of staff. Video cameras located around the Library provide extra security. 

7.2. Please do not obstruct entrances, fire exits or passageways nor create trip hazards. Access to staff areas and areas from the 8th floor to the roof is restricted. 

7.3. Items left unattended in the Library may be removed to a place designated for lost property. Lost property will be retained for a period of one month and then disposed of if the owner cannot be contacted or fails to collect it. 

9. Filming and photography 

9.1 Photography is permitted within the Library only with prior permission from Senior Management. Images may be used only for non-commercial research or private study. 

9.2 Filming within the Library is not permitted without explicit prior authorisation from Senior Management, and is subject to prescribed terms and charges.   

10. Data Protection Act 

Applicants for Library membership must consent to providing their name and other relevant contact details for the purposes of administering their borrower record. The Library will process all personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Library is part of the University of London, which is a registered data controller. For further information please see the University of London website. 

11. Code of conduct 

You are expected to show consideration for others and should refrain from behaviour that disturbs the legitimate activities of other Library users or staff. Hostile or rude, and other inappropriate public behaviour is not permitted in the Library. We ask that you:     

11.1. Please treat other Library users and Library staff with courtesy and respect, as you would expect to be treated.   

11.2. Please be considerate to others, respecting designated silent and quiet areas. Your mobile phone should be in silent mode or switched off when you enter the Library - if you wish to make or receive a call go to designated areas.   

11.3 Food is not allowed in the Library apart from the designated area. Hot or cold drinks can be brought in as long as they are in closed containers. No food or drink, including water, may be consumed in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Sterling Library, on the fourth floor. This is in the interests of preserving early printed books, archives and manuscripts. Cold food and snacks are allowed in a ‘food and drink’ area within the Membership Hall on the 4th floor. Hot food or alcohol are not allowed anywhere in the Library.   

11.4. Dispose of all litter responsibly using appropriate bins.   

11.5. Please do not leave personal property unattended. We ask that you take responsibility for all your belongings whilst in the library. We are unable to accept responsibility for any loss of items left unattended. Please do not leave anything of value unattended, even whilst you go to the shelves, toilets or another part of the building.    

11.6. Potentially harmful or inappropriate use of resources such as books, periodicals, seating space, or computers is prohibited. Inappropriate use of computing resources includes: tampering with equipment, excessive recreational use, or viewing websites or images which violate the Janet Acceptable Use Policy or the University of London Equality Policy.    

11.7. Please do not distribute or place any flyers, handbills, newspapers or literature within the library spaces without prior approval from Senior Management.    

11.8. Smoking and the use of e-cigarettes (or vaping) is strictly forbidden in the Library.   

11.9. Library materials belong to everyone, so please treat them with care. Do not write, highlight or underline in books, or deface them in any way as it will prevent others from using them.   

11.10. In the event of an emergency, it’s important that you follow the instructions of Library staff and leave the building promptly by the nearest exit if you are asked to evacuate. Users are advised to leave all library laptops and reference materials behind during an evacuation. In the unlikely event that the Library is unable to re-open on the same day, any personal possessions that are left behind will be brought to the Ground Floor reception for retrieval.  

For illustration purposes, the following are some practical examples of unacceptable behaviour:    

a. Using somebody else's ID card or login, or providing yours for somebody else to use.   

b. Using belongings to 'reserve' a space for an extended period.   

c. Threatening, intimidating or offensive behaviour towards others.   

d. Ignoring reasonable requests from library staff, such as requests to reduce your noise level or present your ID card.   

e. Highlighting or writing in Library books or bending page corners.

11.11. All visitors, members and staff within Senate House Library are required to comply with Government guidance on Coronavirus (i.e. to comply with guidance and recommendations around masks; social distancing and, if symptoms manifest, to comply with relevant recommendations with regards to self-isolation). Anyone deemed to not be compliant with these will be asked to leave immediately and may be suspended from the Library in line with our Misconduct procedure.

12. Misconduct procedure 

12.1 Unacceptable behaviour will usually be addressed by a member of Library Services and/or Security staff in the first instance. We may adopt a variety of approaches: you may be asked to leave or move to an alternative space, you may have your name taken and a letter may be sent to your institution or department, and/or you may be required to attend an interview with a senior member of Library staff.  

12.2 The matter may also be referred or escalated as appropriate in line with University’s Misconduct Procedure. 

12.3 For Library Users who are not members, unacceptable behaviour may lead to sanctions including suspension or cessation of access to spaces, services, facilities and/or resources.