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Borrowing books

Eligibility to borrow books from the Chemistry Library

University of Cambridge academic and research staff and research students may borrow from the library. Part III, II and IB undergraduate students reading chemistry may also borrow.

Please visit the Access to the library web page for more information on borrowing rights for different categories of reader.

Borrower registration

Before borrowing for the first time it is necessary to be registered on the Chemistry Library circulation system. Please bring your University card to the library office to set up a borrowing account.

How to borrow and return books

After registration books may be borrowed and returned using the self-issue machine - see this blog post for instructions (with pictures!).

Loan periods

  • A maximum of 10 books from the main collection be borrowed at any one time, for a period of up to 4 weeks.
  • A maximum of 2 books from the Blue Book (short loan) collection can be borrowed for 3 days only.
  • Periodical bound volumes and individual issues may not be borrowed but some series volumes can, please contact a member of library staff to check.

The borrowing period remains the same throughout the year and there is no special provision for vacation borrowing.

Please visit the How collections are organized page for more information on these collections.

How to renew books

It may be possible to renew a book provided it has not been requested by another reader. A maximum of 3 renewals is permitted. .

Go to iDiscover and click on 'My library account' (at the top of the screen) to renew your books online and see what you have on loan from all the libraries in Cambridge that you have registered with:

  • Enter your borrower number in the Barcode box. This is the 5-character code beginning with 'V' printed on the reverse of your University Card or on the front of your University Library Card.
  • Enter your last name in the box below this.
  • Click on the 'Log in' button.
  • Click on the title of the book to renew it.

Sometimes online renewals may not work because the book you are trying to renew is already overdue, you may have renewed the book as many times as you are permitted to, or the book may have been requested by another reader. In these instances please contact the library concerned for assistance.

You can also email or telephone the library to ask a member of staff to renew the book(s) for you; there is no need to bring them to the library to renew them.

Library toolbox

Access library services from wherever you work best with these online tools: the Cambridge Libraries Widget, available for embedding in your own web page; and the CamLib mobile interface for searching library collections and managing your account.

How to see if a book is on loan

At the end of the book's catalogue record on iDiscover, see the 'Get it' section for the book's library locations. If it's currently on loan, the status will be 'Out of library' and a due date for return provided. If the book isn't on loan, the status will be 'Available'. 

How to recall a book that is on loan to someone else

You can do this remotely via iDiscover. Click on the library location that the book has been borrowed from, then click on 'Check request options'. This will require you to logon to iDiscover using your Raven password, and then you will be able to place a recall for the book. The borrower will then have 7 days to return the book. When it has been returned you will be alerted by email so you can borrow it.

You can also ask a member of library staff to recall a book for you. 

How to place a hold on a book that is on loan to someone else

You can do this remotely via iDiscover. Click on the library location that the book has been borrowed from, then click on 'Check request options'. This will require you to logon to iDiscover using your Raven password, and then you will be able to place a hold on the book. The current borrower has up until and including the due date to return the book. When it has been returned you will be alerted by email so you can borrow it.

You can also ask a member of library staff to place a hold on a book for you. 

Security

All books and periodicals are security tagged and there is CCTV surveillance at all times. Anyone who abuses any item, tries to remove a tag or exits the library with 'reference only' items, or books they have not checked out may lose their library access rights.