August update on borrowing in Cambridge libraries

There have been changes made to borrowing policies in most Cambridge libraries this summer, including Selwyn Library. These new policies will apply to books and most other items borrowed from us and from faculty and departmental libraries and the University Library.

If you borrow a book or a DVD, you will no longer need to renew it yourself, but instead it will automatically renew unless it is requested by another library user or until the end of the year (the end of Easter Term).

If something you have on loan is requested, you will have 3 days to return it to the library. Fines of £1 per day will be charged after this 3 day return period, so contact the relevant library if you are unable to return the item promptly.

If you request a book or DVD on iDiscover, you will receive an email when it available for collection and will have 2 days to collect it from the library.

Books and other items may be requested during term time, but not during the vacation. This means that your books will continue to be renewed automatically during the vacation, but no one will be able to request them and so you will not be asked to return them during vacations. (The exception for this is the University Library, which will allow books to be requested throughout the summer.)

Your books and DVDs will be lent initially for 7 days if you are an undergraduate or 28 days if you are a postgraduate, Fellow, or member of staff. However, do be aware that a request can be placed at any time, at which time you will need to return the item within 3 days.

There are slightly different rules for books that are lent as short loans. We don’t have these at Selwyn, but any library you use that does will let you know the rules for those when you borrow them.

You can find more information and FAQs about the new policies in this guide to borrowing from Cambridge libraries. There is more information on borrowing from Selwyn Library below.

All you need to know about using the Library

Opening hours, studying here, visitors

Term time: 7.00 am – 1.45 am : Vacation 7.00 am – midnight.

Closed during Christmas & New Year, the College Snowball, and similar events.

The Library is for the use of members of Selwyn College.
Visitors, including members of other colleges, may be allowed to consult our collection between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays but must request permission from the Librarian first (phone or email). This applies to both the undergraduate and special collections.

We aim to provide a quiet and scholarly environment where Selwyn members feel welcome to study. Readers are requested to observe the health and safety and other notices displayed in the building. Students with disabilities are welcome and staff are always happy to discuss individual requirements.  Please note that access to the first floor (History) is not possible for wheelchair users.

Borrowing, reminders and returning

What can I borrow from Selwyn Library?

You may borrow up to 20 books and DVDs from Selwyn Library.

Reference books, marked “For reference only” or “Not to be taken away”, may be read in the library but not borrowed. During the Christmas vacation, reference books may be borrowed from the library office.

Other libraries will set their own item limit, each of which is independent. (There is a maximum loan limit across all Cambridge libraries of 200 items.)

For how long?

Undergraduates initially for 1 week
Postgraduates and Fellows initially for 4 weeks

Books and DVDs will automatically renew unless requested by another library user or until the end of the year (the end of Easter Term).

If something you have on loan is requested, you will have 3 days to return it to the Library.

Books and other items may be requested during term time, but not during the vacation. This means that your items will continue to be renewed automatically during the vacation, but no one will be able to request them and so you will not be asked to return them during vacations.

Limits across all Cambridge libraries (including Selwyn Library):

• Maximum number of loans from all libraries: 200
• Maximum number of requests: 100
• Maximum number of overdue items: 50
• Maximum number of overdue recalled items: 2
• Maximum fine amount owed before blocking: £100

NB Fines will continue to accrue over the block limit

To borrow:

Use the self-issue machine on the desk by the entrance. You will need to scan the barcode on your University Card and then place the items you want to borrow on the machine as directed (these can be placed in groups of 3-4 at a time). Check all items are correctly displayed and note the return date.

If the security alarm sounds as you leave the building, come back, put the details in the Incident Book on the desk and try again. If the problem persists, please use a paper loan slip and leave it in the tray provided. Library staff will add the items to your account and will email you confirmation of the loan.

The Library entrance is monitored by a CCTV camera, and alarm incidents will be followed up where necessary. No item may be removed from the Library without registering the loan on the self-issue machine or a paper loan slip.

Problems with borrowing:

If there is a problem with borrowing, either with your University Cad or with the book or DVD you’re trying to borrow, let us know and we’ll do what we can to fix it. If there are library staff in the office, we should be able to sort the problem immediately. If the office is unstaffed, email us to fix a problem with your University Card or fill in a loan slip for a book or DVD and we will add it to your library account.

To return

Return items using the self-issue machine one at a time.

Once you have done this, place them on the trolley to the left of the machine.

If your books have been requested, you’ll be instructed to put them on the “Requested books” shelf to the right of the machine.

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Checking your library account

It is a good idea to check your library account regularly to help keep track of what you have on loan. If there is something unexpected on your library account, contact the library the item was borrowed from to see if they can help fix the problem.

You will also receive a regular system-generated email letting you know what is on your library account.

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What to do if a book or DVD you need is on loan

If you need the item quickly, call in at the office, or phone/email us to Request a Share. We will contact the current borrower and ask them to get in touch with you.  This is usually the quickest method.

You can place a request for any book which is on loan during term time. From your iDiscover results, click through to the full details for the item. You’ll need to be logged in to iDiscover with Raven to request a book.  Select “Request options” from the link by the details of the Selwyn copy.  Follow the on screen prompts. This generates an email to the current borrower, who will have 3 days to return the book, so it may take longer to get the book back than via the office. You can request up to 100 items across all Cambridge libraries; if you exceed this limit, you won’t be able to borrow.

Using either of the two request methods, you will receive an email when the item has been returned and is ready for collection. If you no longer need the book, please let us know so we can put it back on the shelves for others. Please note that if you receive an email informing you that a book has been requested from you, you must return the book to the Library by the date given. Fines will accrue at £1 per item per day for overdue recalls.

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Overdues, fines and losses

If you fail to return a book or DVD by the new due date when requested, you will be fined £1 per day for each overdue item.

Please return items promptly when requested. If you cannot get to the library or cannot find the book you need to return, please email us or come and speak to us in the library office and we will do what we can to resolve the issue.

If you think you have lost a Selwyn Library book, please get in touch. We’ll check for it in the Library and let you know if we can find it here. Otherwise, we’ll recommend you checking at other libraries you use and with anyone you might have lent the book to. Once you’re certain the book is lost, we’ll check the replacement cost and be in touch with you about replacing it. We can add the cost to your college bill or you can replace the book yourself; we’ll let you know the cheaper option and be sure the book is replaced with the same or a newer edition as appropriate.

Don’t feel anxious about contacting staff about overdues, fines, and losses. Our approach is to resolve the problem quickly and easily, and at the lowest possible inconvenience and cost to you and to the library.

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Computing, printing and copying

There are 7 PCs in the Library:

  • 5 PCs on the Bridge upstairs. Raven password required to log on.
  • 2 kiosk PCs outside the library office. Login instructions on the desk.

One of the two student printer copiers is in the Library. The other is located in the Ann’s Court Computer Room.

There is more information about IT, printing, and copying facilities in College on the IT Facilities at Selwyn page.

 Anatomical Models

Half-skeletons and skulls can be borrowed by medical students. We also have a model of the brain and a set of dog bones. Please ask at the Library Office.

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Library rules

Approved by College Council on 9 June 2015

  1. The Library is for use by Selwyn College members only. Visitors may be admitted only by prior permission from the Librarian.
  2. Doors must be closed securely on exit.
  3. All loans must be registered following the procedures displayed in the library. Items marked “For Reference only” or “Not to be taken away” must remain in the Library.
  4. The number of items that may be borrowed and current loan periods are displayed in the library. Extended borrowing may be permitted on application to the Librarian.
  5. All loans are subject to recall, and items which have been recalled must be returned within the period stated.
  6. Returned items must be placed in the designated places in the library.
  7. Items retained for longer than the permitted loan period, or which are damaged or defaced, will be subject to fines.
  8. Lost items must be replaced or paid for.
  9. Members are responsible for any item borrowed in their name until it is safely returned.
  10. Items held in closed collections, such as rare books, may only be consulted in the Library during supervised hours.
  11. Smoking is not permitted in the Library.
  12. Drinks in bottles or lidded cups are permitted in the Library; food is not permitted.
  13. Conversations should be kept to a minimum and not disturb other library users.
  14. Mobile phones, laptops, and other devices should be put into silent mode as appropriate and should be used in a manner that will not disturb other library users.
  15. Library materials may only be copied as permitted by the current CLA regulations (on display by the photocopier / MFD).

These regulations have been designed in order to promote equal access to resources for all students. Failure to comply with them may result in fines being imposed and persistent offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action. If you require clarification, or would like any advice in using the Library, please contact Library staff.

Staff and contact details

College Librarian:
College Archivist (part-time):
Assistant Librarian (part-time):
Library Assistant (part-time):
Ms Sonya Adams
Ms Elizabeth Stratton
Mr Michael Wilson
Ms Katie Turner

Selwyn College Library, Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9DQ
tel: +1223-335880
fax: +1223-335837
e-mail: lib@sel.cam.ac.uk


The Library & Archives committee meets each Term and is chaired by the Senior Tutor.  It comprises 4 Fellows, representatives from the MCR and JCR, the Librarian and the Archivist.  College members are encouraged to bring suggestions and concerns to the committee via the appropriate representative.

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