You will need your UCard to borrow books and journals.


There are self-service machines at all libraries. To borrow using self-service machines you will need your UCard.

Loan periods

There are two loan periods: 7 day loans and 1 day loans (please note - currently all 1 day loans have been extended to 7 day loans due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

All items will be automatically renewed on the due date if possible.

Borrowing limits

Borrowing limits
BorrowerNumber of items
Undergraduates and taught postgraduates 40
Staff and research postgraduates 75

Limits include:

  • 4 one-day items

Vacation loans

Most 7 day loan books can be borrowed for the duration of a vacation (known as a vacation loan). If you take a book on vacation loan you will not be required to return it until a set date, even if it is requested by another library user. The date that 7 day loan books switch to vacation loan is advertised by the library in advance; this is usually a week before the last day of term. All library users are eligible for vacation loans.

Please note: 1 day loan books do not switch to vacation loan and must be returned when requested. If you take a 1 day loan book away for the vacation and then receive a notification that it has been requested by another library user you will need to return it to the library.

(Please note - as of Spring 2021, all 1 day loan books have been extended to 7 day loans due to the current pandemic.)


  • If you need to use a book that has been loaned for the vacation, please get in touch with the relevant subject librarian to ask if they can try to obtain it from an alternative source
  • Some 7 day loan books do not switch to vacation loan; check the due date of all items you borrow before leaving for the vacation

Please check individual library pages for borrowing restrictions and limits.

Check your loans and return dates online

Your loans and their return dates are shown in your Library Account. Please return any items by the due date if you receive notification that automatic renewal has failed (see below). We trust you to use the library fairly and return books on time so that other people can use them.

Automatic renewals and reservations

If a book you have on loan is reserved by another library user automatic renewal will no longer be possible and you will be notified. You must then return the book by the date requested. If you do not return the book by the date requested your library account will be blocked. It is important that you always read and respond to notifications from the library. To ensure that the library is used fairly by all we trust you to return books when when others need to use them and as requested.  

If you are not a member of the University, the notice will be sent to your registered email address or your postal address.

If there is a reason why you cannot return a book you must contact the library as soon as possible so that staff can advise you what to do.

Account block and replacement charges

A block will be automatically applied to your account if you fail to return books that have been reserved by other library users. If your account is blocked you will be unable to borrow further books and other items you have on loan will not automatically renew and may become overdue.

Books issued to you are your responsibility, do not pass them on to others. You will be charged the full replacement cost of books that you have not returned when requested, lost or damaged while issued to your library account.

Academic staff

If items are in particularly high demand, please use our 1 day loan request form (Office document, 16kB) to request that they are transferred to 1 day loan.

Accessibility and support

Find out about the services and support we provide for disabled and dyslexic learners. We can also support part time learners or those with caring/parental responsibility where time on campus is limited. 

Using other university libraries

University of Bristol staff and students can access the libraries of over 200 UK and Ireland universities. Register online for SCONUL Access.

Edit this page