Monday, 8 September 2014

Significant changes ahead: borrowing after 7 October 2014

From Tuesday 7 October 2014 there will be a number of significant changes to the borrowing and fines system at the Marshall Library. If you are pressed for time, please go to which summarizes the new rules in tabular form.

Books on reading lists will be ‘Short Loan’ books (identified by orange labels, on the spine and on the cover); these can be borrowed for 2 days (and in theory one can renew them 50 times, but other readers can put a hold on such books, and you will need to return it).

The advantage of doing this is that all the non-‘Short Loan’ books (most importantly the rest of the books on open shelves) can now be on 4 weeks loan (as Basement items already had been), and we offer 5 renewals, a potential total borrowing of 20 weeks (unless – of course – someone recalls a book. In that case you have 5 working days to return the book, so please check your emails).

Loan periods for each book are strictly related to the type of item (on reading lists = ‘short loan’), not who is borrowing it. This is done for two reasons:
  1. If we have say 30 or 40 short loan copies of a book for 150-170 undergraduate students, and some of the books are out for 7 days (to Ph.D. students or lecturers), it skews the potential for a copy to become available to students, and they might not believe that putting a hold on a book makes much sense.
  2. These short loan books are on reading list for taught courses, so should not be of much interest to Ph.D. students and academics. 
If you are teaching for the Faculty and feel that you desperately will need us to supply you with a textbook copy for your teaching please contact us stating for which teaching you will need this book (and if applicable whether this is within the College or Faculty).

Changes to fines: 
they will be reduced for most volumes in the Marshall Library! The overdue charge per day for Short Loans will be £1 (so no change from the charge before, or for Open Shelf books in 2013-14), but for Open Shelf books (i.e. any book which is not a Short Loan) and Basement books it will only be 10 pence per day. As we are trialling longer opening hours in Michaelmas term on Saturdays (11:00 to 18:00), it seems to be appropriate for Saturdays to be counted as normal open days. (Before, the four hours we were open on Saturdays did not count as a ‘borrowing day’, and therefore readers were not fined).

Change to Reserve Books borrowing:
Also, following logically from this, it makes sense for Reserve Books issued on Friday afternoon (after 16:00), now to be issued until Saturday 11:00, not already until Monday 10:30. On Saturdays after 16:00, Reserve Books can be taken until Monday 10:30. If in doubt, please check your library account via or [The fines for Reserve Books will remain as they are: 50 pence per book per hour (term time), and £1 per book per day (vacation time).]

No copy of a book available to you? 
Please place a hold (on how to do this see: to make sure that you get a copy as soon as possible if all Short Loan copies are out. We have worked hard over the summer to add more copies of core textbooks at the Marshall Library, to have a better ratio between number of undergraduate students and textbooks; however, your hold will be useful for us to monitor the demand for individual titles. Alternatively, help us by suggesting that more copies of a book should be bought: please do so via
Place a ‘recall’ on Open Shelf & Basement items means that instead of a book being unavailable for up to 4 weeks, the person borrowing it will have 5 days to return the book they have borrowed. After that they will be fined £1 per day!

We hope that you will be able to see that we are trying to improve the borrowing system so that in-demand textbooks are more available to undergraduate students, and books which are of interest to only a small number of students will now be borrowable for longer.