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Getting Started

A guide on getting started with your campus library

Borrowing & Searching

How many items can I borrow?

Students & Staff:

Colchester - Unlimited items

Southend  - You can borrow up to 26 items at a time: 12 university items plus 14 public library items.

Loughton - Unlimited items

How long can I borrow an item for?

Colchester - has 2 loan periods, 7 day for items from the Student Collection and 12 weeks for items from the Main Collection.

Southend has 2 loan periods, normal loan and short loan.

Normal Loan - Up to 3 weeks

Short Loan - Up to 7 days

Loughton - 2 weeks

Check your e-mail

You will receive e-mails when you borrow and return books. We will also get in touch with you via e-mail when one or more of your items becomes overdue.

How to borrow an item

Colchester - Readings for your modules will be available online. Print books may be requested online via the Library website and you will get an email when your book is ready for collection. You can borrow books using the self service machine on the ground floor. 

Southend - Readings for your modules will be available online. Print books may be requested online via The Southend Borough Council website. Instructions for requesting print items are here.

Loughton - Readings for your modules will be available online. Print books may be requested online via the Library website and you will get an email when your book is ready for collection.

How to return an item

Colchester - Using the external book return (opposite Silberrad Student Centre).

You can return books to the library when the library is closed, and if you can't get to the library physically, you can send it via post, and we'll take the day you sent it as the return date.

Southend - You can return books using the "Book Drop", on the right side of the main entrance to The Forum. 

Loughton - You can return items by using the drop box outside the entrance. Items will then be taken off your account by staff.

Please note, you can only return books to the library you borrowed them from initially.

My Account

You can see which print books you have borrowed, and renew them to extend the loan period, via the My Account page:

Colchester & Loughton


Searching for physical items

You can search the library in a number of ways:

Search Library - From here you can search our whole collection, including our e-resources for all 3 campuses. It also shows the print collections in Colchester and Loughton.

If you want to refine your search, you can use the filters on the left-hand side of the results screen. 

Southend books - This search allows you to browse all of the books in the Southend library, where the University books are integrated with the public library collection.

Finding books on our shelves

Colchester and Loughton

You can browse our shelves when visiting the library during opening hours. Signage will tell you what subject is on what floor and further guidance can be found on shelves.  Each item has a classification number on its spine to help you find the exact location. Print books can be requested online and will be fetched by Library staff for you to collect. You will get an email when your book is ready to collect. Readings for your modules will be available online via your reading list on Moodle. Some guidance about how to virtually browse our collection can be found in our Library blog.


Each item in the catalogue has a call number which you can use to find the book on the shelves in the library. Each shelf has a label on it showing which books are shelved on it. For example the book "Business Ethics" has the call number 174.4 BUS. On the shelves there will be a sign saying Call Number 100-200. This is where you will find the book "Business Ethics".

Requesting an item that is out on loan

At Colchester and Loughton the ability to request an item that is out on loan is currently suspended.

Southend - If someone has requested a book that you have, you will not be able to renew the book. If you are not on campus and are trying to renew a book, but can't because it has been requested by someone else, please call The Forum Helpdesk on 01702 534 111 and explain your situation.

Borrowing books from our campuses

Due to current restrictions, we are unable to offer intercampus loans. We hope to resume this service in the future.

Not in the library?

If an item isn't in one of our libraries, or available online, we may be able to get it for you.

Take a look at our Request a Resource page for more information on interlibrary loans and purchase suggestions.

Library Fines and Charges

Colchester and Loughton

At Colchester and Loughton, we charge fines for overdue items where they have been requested by another user. As we are not currently requesting items that are on loan, no fines will be charged.


Normal and Short Loan Collection - there's a 20p per day fine on each book that is overdue.


Laptop Loans

Colchester and Southend

You can borrow a laptop for 3 hours. Late returns will be charged a fine of £1 an hour or part thereof.


You can borrow a laptop for any length of time during the day but must return laptops by 4pm. Laptops cannot be loaned overnight. Late returns will be charged a fine of £1 an hour or part thereof.

Lost/Damaged items

If you lose a library item or damage it, please get in touch with your library helpdesk.

We will look at replacing and/or fixing the item, and you will be charged if a replacement item is needed. The cost of the replacement will be based on the item that was lost and/or damaged.


Interlibrary Loan Renewals

Renewal fees have been reinstated for books on loan from the British Library (£5.35 per renewal per item), however we will continue to waive the normal fees for books loaned from elsewhere. If you require a renewal, we would advise that you contact us at 

Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library and therefore not always possible.



Printing in the library is free.


Ways to Pay

Students and staff can pay using a debit or credit card online

You can also pay by debit or credit card either by phoning us on 01206 873192 or by visiting our Colchester Library Helpdesk in person.

If you are a Southend student or staff member, non-laptop loan payments need to be made to The Forum

Graduating students with unpaid debts will not be able to attend the graduation ceremony if still in debt on the day of graduation. See here for more information. 

If you have any queries or concerns about any library fines or charges, please contact our library staff who will be able to advise.