Library Rules

1. Introduction

1.1 The Library Rules are determined in consultation with the Library Policy Committee and, following approval by Senate or Council, form part of the Rules of the University.

1.2 The Library Rules must be observed by everyone using the Library's resources, services and facilities within the Library building or remotely.

1.3 The limits, charges and privileges relating to borrowing in these rules are reviewed and determined at regular intervals in consultation with the Library Policy Committee.

1.4 In these Rules the term "book" encompasses all types of library material.

2. Use of the Library

2.1 The Library building is open to all, subject to any restrictions and limitations outlined in these Rules.

2.2 Digital information resources are subscribed to under licence agreements with the University. Networked access to such resources is available to:

  • Registered students of the University
  • Members of staff of the University (including Emeritus staff)
  • Others to whom the University has conferred membership (excluding those whose sole relationship is that of an alumnus)

Access to digital resources by others is limited by licence terms to use at specific PCs within the Library building.

2.3 Borrowing privileges are available to:

  • Registered students of the University
  • Members of staff of the University (including retired and Emeritus staff)
  • Others with formal relationships with the University
  • Individual members of institutions participating in reciprocal borrowing agreements

Borrowing may be extended to other applicants, including Lancaster University alumni, for an annual subscription charge.

3. Registration

3.1 Current students are registered with the Library through enrolment with the University. University staff are registered through their contract of employment. Others granted borrowing privileges are required to register directly with the Library.

3.2 Change of postal or e-mail address must be reported immediately. Students should notify any change of term-time or vacation address via the Registry's online Student Web Services and staff through the online Human Resources Self Service. Other registered users should inform the Library directly.

3.3 Communications from the Library to Lancaster University students and staff will be by email, using the approved Lancaster University email address. Communications to other Library users will by email wherever possible, or, exceptionally, by post.

3.4 Communications sent to the last reported address of a user are deemed to have been duly sent.

3.5 Cards are issued to all persons with borrowing privileges. The card should be carried on all visits to the Library and is required for borrowing. The card may be used only by the person to whom it is issued and whose name appears on it. Any books borrowed on a card must be surrendered when the period of registration ends.

3.6 Lost or stolen cards must be reported to the Library immediately. Cards may be replaced on payment of a fee.

4. Copyright and Licences

4.1 Current members of Lancaster University are issued with a username and password on registration. Usernames and passwords must not be deliberately or inadvertently revealed or made accessible to others. Users of the University’s electronic information systems are bound by the University's Computer User Agreement, which may be found in the Rules of the University, Appendix C at

4.2 The Library purchases and subscribes to electronic resources on behalf of the University. Under the terms of nationally-negotiated agreements, licences may place limits on who may use electronic resources, the number of concurrent users and the locations from which networked access is permitted. Library users are responsible for ensuring that their use of electronic resources, whether inside or outside the Library, complies with licence conditions.

4.3 Electronic resources are licensed solely for learning, teaching, research, personal educational development, and for the administration and management of Lancaster University. They may not be used for consultancy, for purposes leading to commercial exploitation of the data, nor for the benefit of employers of students on industrial placement or part-time courses. Licences should be checked before electronic resources are used for anything other than reading on screen or the production of single copies for personal use.

4.4 Physical and digital publications are protected by copyright legislation which permits the copying of extracts only. Systematic copying of material in any format is prohibited. A selective summary of the provisions of the Copyright Act is displayed near photocopiers and scanners. Individuals are personally responsible for observance of copyright legislation.

5. Borrowing

5.1 Loan and renewal limits for each category of Library user are determined and published by the Library.

5.2 A separate loan record is made for each book borrowed. Users remain responsible for each book borrowed until the loan record is discharged.

5.3 All loans must be returned or renewed or presented for inspection on or before the time and date due. Recalled loans are subject to a revised return date as advised in a recall notice and must be returned on or before the revised date.

5.4 A user who fails to return a book when it is due or when requested to do so by the Library shall be liable to a fine which will increase with time. The rate of fines is determined and published by the Library.

5.5 If fines accumulate to a level determined by the Library, or remain unpaid for a period determined by the Library, borrowing privileges will be suspended until payment is made.

5.6 Users are responsible for the care of books loaned to them and will be held accountable for loss of, or damage to, books issued in their name.

5.7 Users who mark, damage, lose or refuse to return a book, or have the book stolen whilst on loan, will be sent an invoice for the cost of replacement, fines due and an administration charge. The fines and administration charge will be charged whether or not the book is eventually returned.

5.8 Staff and students must return all books borrowed by them and pay any outstanding fines or charges before leaving the University or, in the case of final year undergraduate students, by the day following the end of the Part II examinations. Fines and charges imposed by the Library are regarded as debts to the University: students who are not in good standing with the University are not permitted to graduate.

5.9 Books borrowed from the Library may not be taken or sent abroad by borrowers during term-time. As loan demand drops outside term they may be taken abroad during vacation periods subject to prompt return at the user's expense, if required by another reader, and the use of secure postal or courier services as determined by the Library.

5.10 Loans obtained from other libraries may be subject to additional conditions imposed by the lending Library in addition to the University Library's Rules.

6. Use of the Library Building

6.1 People over the age of 16 may use the Library for reference and reading. Everyone entering the Library must show acceptable proof of identity on request.

6.2 Restrictions on conversation or noise in areas of the Library designated as 'Silent Zone' or 'Quiet Zone' must be observed by all Library users.

6.3 Children aged 16 or under who enter the Library (other than those registered on a course at the University) must be accompanied at all times. Those who bring children into the Library are responsible for their safety and for ensuring that they cause no disturbance or damage.

6.4 Personal belongings may be brought into the Library at the user's own risk. The Library is not responsible for loss of, or damage to, personal property. The Library reserves the right to inspect what is brought into the Library and what is taken out.

6.5 Laptop computers or portable devices are used in the Library at the owner's risk. Devices requiring a power supply may only be used at desks immediately adjacent to power sockets, to avoid the safety hazard caused by trailing electrical cables. Computing equipment should be used with consideration for others.

6.6 Electrical sockets in the Library must not be used for personal equipment other than laptop computers and similar portable devices.

6.7 Conduct adversely affecting the proper use and enjoyment of the Library by others is a disciplinary offence. In particular, it shall be an offence:

  • to attempt to remove a book from the Library without carrying out the proper borrowing procedure;
  • to damage a book in any way, including marking or annotating it or interfering with evidence of the University's ownership;
  • to cause or participate in a disturbance in the Library or to obstruct Library staff in the course of their duties;
  • to smoke in the Library;
  • to bring hot foods into the Library, or other items likely to damage books or equipment;
  • to make or receive calls on mobile telephones, except in designated areas;
  • to bring animals into the Library, except for guide or assistance dogs;
  • to infringe, by the use of Library facilities or materials, copyright legislation or the terms of any copyright licensing agreement entered into by the University.

6.8 All members of the Library staff are empowered to enforce the Library's rules.

7. Investigation and Penalties

7.1 Alleged breach of any of the above Rules may be investigated by the Librarian or an authorised deputy.

7.2 The Librarian has authority to take disciplinary action, including the imposition of fines or exclusion from the use of some or all Library services, against anyone who infringes these Rules.

7.3 Serious or persistent breaches of Library Rules by students may be referred to the University Dean for action under the Rules of the University. Serious or persistent breaches of the Library Rules by members of staff may be referred to the Director of Human Resources. Formal proceedings may result in withdrawal of privileges, a reprimand, a fine, the imposition of charges for damages, or more serious penalties.

7.4 Where a Library user considers that a fine or replacement charge has been applied unfairly he or she may invoke the Appeals Procedure outlined on the Library's web pages. Appeals against penalties for more serious breaches of Library Rules may be considered under the provisions of the Rules of the University.

a. Libraries operate reciprocal access schemes whereby students and staff may be given privileges to use other libraries, including the British Library. Any offence caused by a member of one institution when using another's facilities may result in disciplinary action by either body, or both.

Rev. 19.10.11, & 6.3.12