You might be a new student at Bath this year, you may have been on placement for the last academic year or perhaps you’ve never used the library since automatic renewals were introduced in Spring 2016. In any case, it’s possible that you are unsure about how our loans procedures work and more importantly when your books are due for return to the library.
I’m drafting this post to answer some common queries or concerns that arise at the Library Issue Desk about the mysterious system of “automatic renewals” used at Bath.
When is my book due back in the Library?
At its simplest, your book will be due back when someone else asks for it. Your book will also be due for return on the 12 month anniversary of the original loan – we like to know that the book is still available for circulation by seeing it in the Library once a year. Lastly, your books will be due for return by the expiry date of your library membership as shown on your card or by the end of Semester 2 if you are graduating that year.
For as long as there are no requests on the item from other borrowers, the Library will automatically renew/extend the loan by 7 days every week.
How will I know when someone else needs it or I need to bring it back for some other reason?
The Library will send a system generated email advising you to bring the book back by the due date shown.
The mail will also list the reasons why we are asking for it back as shown above.
What if I am away from campus or I left the book at home on the day it is due?
Please just bring the loan item back as soon as possible after the due date shown. Email or phone the Issue Desk via 01225 385000 if you are worried or if you are going to be away for an extended period of time. This advice is also in the request email.
How do I renew or extend the loan period?
The Library automatically tries to renew/extend all loans one week after they were borrowed or last renewed and will keep doing that every week while you have the item. There is no need for you to renew the books yourself – this is the key difference between the current system and the new automatic renewals policy.
If you like you can still access your borrower account online and renew the books yourself for one week at a time, but you can just let the library do the work for you.
What about late fines? Will I be charged for bringing books back late?
For most books borrowed from the shelves on the Subject Levels, we don’t charge a daily late fee. However, if you ignore our request messages, you’ll get regular overdue reminder emails, Library staff may be in contact seeking the book back and ultimately your account will be billed £40 for the replacement cost of the title after 4 weeks if it is not returned.
There are some fines still charged for late return of some items:
- Short Loan Collection books – charged at £5 per day overdue
- Inter-Library Loans – charged at 80p per day overdue
- Language Learning Zone books and DVDs – charged at £1 per day overdue
Please remember that requests are placed by your classmates, peers and colleagues and they are being disadvantaged when books are brought back late.
The loan receipt/email says I can only have the book for one week!
In practical terms, you are correct, the books on the subject floors are all 7-day loans and issued for one week at a time. If you finish with it in that time, then bring it back to the Library. If you still need it you don’t have to do anything, we’ll try to automatically renew the book for you but you should look out for a message about a “Change to your borrowed item” that will advise if and when you need to bring it back.
Books are issued for 7-days so that we can get them back in a reasonable time when borrowers place reservations.
The automatic renewals system was new in Spring 2016. Many of our 360,000+ stock items may still have an old date label inside showing that they are 7-day or 28-day books. We are in the process of covering up this information to reduce user confusion.
The vast majority of items should be thought of as 7-day loans with automatic renewals. There are some exceptions though:
- Short Loan items are due at the end of the next working day Monday to Friday – no automatic renewals!
- Inter-Library Loans have a fixed non-renewable due date too
- Some Language Learning zone books and all the DVDs are due after 3-days
I got the book first why should I have to bring it back to the Library when someone requests it?
As the University Library we aim to provide a selection of key resources and study materials for the entire University. Our printed collection is a shared resource – we don’t have enough space or resources to buy a copy of every book for every student or staff member! Through careful management of the collection, purchase of additional copies and ebooks wherever possible, use of the Short Loan Collection and Digitisation services we try very hard to fulfil every member of this institution’s requirement for print and online resources.
However, it is very likely that you will find that core texts and readings need to be shared by large groups of students over a short period of time. Our reservations system is designed to maximise circulation of our stock to these groups in a fair and consistent way and relies on all our patrons sharing the resources accordingly.
I have another question, worry or concern about borrowing Library books..?
We also send a monthly summary statement by email about your borrowing that shows all the books on your account at that time. If anything on that report is wrong or you are unsure about it, please do get in touch.
You can come and ask staff at the Library Issue Desk about your account at anytime Library opening times. You can mail the Library or call via 01225 385000 if you have any queries, you are unsure about items on your account or when books are due.
Chris Roberts, Reader Services Librarian