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Getting Started

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 books

How long can I borrow an item for?

Colchester has 3 different collections: main collection, student collection, and short loan collection.

Main and student collection - You can renew books indefinitely unless somebody else recalls the item. In this case, you will be sent a e-mail with the return date.

Short Loan - Up to 4 hours

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

Normal Loan - Up to 4 weeks

Short Loan - Up to 7 days

Loughton items are available for up to 1 week, but can be renewed if they haven't been recalled by another student.

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 has been recalled or becomes overdue.

If a book has become overdue but hasn't been recalled, you can renew online or by getting in touch with your library or online.

How to borrow an item

Colchester - You can borrow books using the self service machines in the ground floor foyer, or by taking it to the helpdesk staff.

Southend - You can borrow books using the self service machines on the ground and first floors. Your Login is the letters and numbers on the back of your University card, and your PIN number will be your date of birth, 6 digits. Also, you can take your books to the helpdesk on the Ground Floor.

Loughton - You can borrow books using the self service machines in the library, or by taking them to the helpdesk staff.

How to return an item

You can only return books to the library you borrowed them from, and where you return items to depends on which library.

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.

If the item you have borrowed is an inter-library or inter-campus loan, please return it to the helpdesk.

Colchester - Using the book return in the ground floor foyer, or the external book return (opposite Silberrad Student Centre).

Southend - You can return books using the self service machines on the ground and first floors, or you can take your books to the helpdesk on the Ground Floor. 

Loughton - You can return books by using the self service machine inside the library, or by using the box outside the entrance when the library is closed.

My Account

If your book hasn't been recalled, you can renew your books online via your My Account page:

Colchester & Loughton


Get in touch

If you have an issue, feedback, or want more information, we reccomend that you take a look at our FAQs page.

If you're still not satisfied, you can find the different ways to contact us on our Contact Us page.

Searching for physical items

You can search the library in a number of ways:

A screenshot showing the Library search

Search Library - This search allows you to browse our whole collection, including our e-resources for all 3 campuses. 

It also shows the physical collections in Colchester and Loughton.

Both Southend and Loughton are able to borrow physical items from the Colchester library.

Southend books - This search allows you to browse all of the books in the Southend library, both the university and public collection.

Finding books on our shelves

Colchester and Loughton

Each item in the catalogue has a class mark, which shows which section of the library the book is held.

Each book and shelf will have a collection of class marks where the books are.


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".

Recalling items

If all the copies of an item you need are out on loan and you need it, you can recall it from our catalogue.

When you recall a book, the person who currently has it out will not be able to renew it.

You will then receive an e-mail telling you when the book is available to pick up in your library.

Loughton - you can only use the catalogue to recall items from the East 15 library. For anything else, please see a member of staff. 

Recalled items

If someone needs a book that you currently have, they can recall it.

You will receive an e-mail telling you that the item has been recalled and that it is due back.

This will stop you being able to renew and may change the due date, so make sure you read the e-mail thoroughly.

We will only recall your book if there are no other available copies in the library.

Southend - If someone has recalled 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 recalled, please call 01702 534 111 and explain your situation.  

Borrowing books from Colchester

If you are a student at Southend or Loughton, you are able to borrow books from Colchester library.

Get in touch with your librarian about the books and they can put in a request for you.

You will then receive an e-mail when the items are ready to pick up from your library.

Not in the library

If an item isn't in the library, 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 book suggestions.

Overdue items and fines

Colchester and Loughton

At Colchester and Loughton, you will only be charged for an overdue item if it has been recalled.

How much you are charged will be based on the collection the item is from.


Main and Student Collection - £2.50 a day

Short Loan Collection - £1 an hour


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

Lost/Damaged items

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

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.