Skip to main content

COVID-19 update: Some library spaces are open to current students and staff only, with no in-person services. Check current hours.
Library staff are available on Live Chat Mon-Fri: 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun: Closed. Learn more.

Borrowing terms and conditions

We’re committed to supporting the University community through fair and equitable access to resources

Library resources are essential to achieving excellence in our teaching, learning and research and it is our shared responsibility to ensure fair and equitable access to these resources.

Find out more about the University of Sydney Student Charter
Find out more about the University of Sydney Staff Code of Conduct

Tips for good borrowing etiquette

There are several ways you can make sure you’re using Library resources fairly and without disadvantaging others.

  1. Take note of due dates
    The best way to keep track of when you need to return the items you have on loan is on My account. It’s also a good idea to add a reminder to your calendar to return your books on time.
  2. Monitor for recalled items
    If another person requests an item which you have on loan, you will need to return it within seven days. This is called a recall. Check your university email regularly to see if there are any messages about recalled items. You will also receive a notification on My account.
  3. Return your books if you’re going to be away
    If you’re going on holidays or will be otherwise unable to return books over the coming seven days, you should return all items now. This is in case they are recalled by someone else, in which case you will have seven days to return them. Once you’re back from holidays, you can borrow them again.
  4. Keep borrowed items in good condition
    To make sure the items you have borrowed can be used by the next person, store them in a safe place where they will not be damaged by water, pets or bending. When reading borrowed books, take care to avoid folding or tearing of pages and never write or highlight in a borrowed book.

How many items you can borrow

General collection

There are no limits on how many items University of Sydney staff and students can borrow from the Library’s general collection, unless you have restrictions placed on your account.

Borrowing limits apply for some other Library members.

Short loan (previously 2 hour loan)

University of Sydney staff and students can borrow up to two items at a time from this high-demand collection. Items from the short loan collection are not available for other Library members.

Rare Books and Special Collections

Up to three books or one box (for objects or items which are grouped together in a box) can be viewed in Rare Books and Special Collections at one time, by appointment.

Items borrowed from partner libraries

Different limits apply to how many requests may be placed for items from partner libraries through Resource Sharing.

Check how many items you can borrow via Resource Sharing

How long you can borrow an item

General collection

Items in the general collection can be borrowed for 12 weeks. If the item has not been requested by anyone else (recalled) and there are no overdue items on your account, a borrowed item will be automatically renewed after 12 weeks for another 12 weeks. This occurs four times before the item needs to be returned. This means that in total, items from the general collection can be borrowed for as long as 60 weeks unless they are recalled.

Short loan (previously 2 hour loan)

Items in this collection are in high demand as they are often required for a course. As such, it’s important for them to be available for many Library members to use. Short loan items can generally be borrowed by University of Sydney staff and students for up to four hours at a time. However, the return time can vary. Take note of the time the item is due back when you borrow it, to make sure you return it on time.

Rare Books and Special Collections

Items in Rare Books and Special Collections are only available for viewing in the Reading Room within opening hours. You will need to book in advance if you want to view these items.

Check Reading Room opening hours and make a booking.

Items borrowed from partner libraries

Items borrowed from partner libraries through Resource Sharing are subject to different limits. The item’s due date will be visible in your Library account when you request an item from a partner library.

Check how long you can borrow items for via Resource Sharing

Recalled items

If an item you have on loan is requested by someone else, you will need to return it within seven days to avoid the item becoming overdue. This is called a recall. If this happens, you will be notified on My account as well as by email. Please ensure you regularly check your email (including your spam folder, just in case) to avoid missing these notifications.

Overdue items

Items become overdue when they are not returned by the due date or within seven days of being recalled. If you have an overdue item, you will not be allowed to borrow or renew any other items until it is returned.

If an item from the general collection is overdue for more than 32 days, or an item from short loan or a laptop vending machine is overdue for more than two days, it will be marked as lost and you may be charged a fee for its replacement.

From 2021, we have suspended overdue fines on items borrowed from the University of Sydney Library. However, fines may still be charged on items borrowed through Resource Sharing if they become overdue.

Lost or damaged items

If an item you have on loan is lost or is damaged beyond repair, you will be liable for its replacement.

If you find an item is damaged when you borrow it, please advise Library staff immediately to avoid being charged later.

The replacement fee for a lost or damaged item from short loan and the general collection is $150. In some cases, you may be able to purchase a replacement copy of the item instead of paying the replacement fee; this could be a cheaper option. Please contact Library staff before attempting to replace the item yourself, to see if this option is available to you. If a lost item is not replaced or the replacement fee paid after three months, additional academic sanctions may be applied.

If a laptop from a laptop vending machine is damaged, please contact ICT to assess the damage for repair or replacement. The replacement fee for a lost or non-repairable laptop is $1,250. The repair fee is $50.

Penalties vary for lost or damaged items borrowed through Resource Sharing.

Fines, fees and charges

From 2021, most fines and fees have been suspended. Please see an overview of fines and fees:

Fine, fee or charge Amount
Overdue item fine From 2021, no fine upon return
Lost item replacement fee (includes overdue items marked as lost and lost or damaged items) $150
Overdue, lost or damaged fines and fees for items borrowed through Resource sharing Fines and fees are determined by the lending partner library

Paying charges on your account

You can pay charges on your account via My account using Visa or Mastercard. Alternatively, you can pay in person via Eftpos at the Fisher Library Information Desk. Please note, a $10 minimum applies.

If you are experiencing financial hardship or would like to pay charges on your account in instalments, please contact Library staff.

Restrictions and sanctions

If you have an overdue or lost item on your account, you will not be allowed to borrow or renew any other items until it is returned.

If a lost item isn’t returned, replaced or paid for within three months, it may attract additional academic sanctions. This can include denial of access to University student services or prevention from re-enrolment, graduation or receiving an offer for another course.

In cases of clear or repeated breaches of borrowing terms and conditions, the Library reserves the right to restrict borrowing, including renewal of items on loan.

Feedback, appeals and complaints

If you believe there is incorrect information on your account or you have been incorrectly charged, you can appeal via the loan enquiry form. You will receive a response to your appeal within seven days.

If you require further information, have feedback or wish to make a complaint, please contact Library staff.

Get help
Contact us on Live Chat, by phone or email