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Borrowing books

Who can borrow?

Staff and students of SOAS and all external users who have registered for borrowing membership.

What can I borrow?

Most books and CDs can be taken out on loan, with the exception of journals, reference books, theses, rare books and archives which are for use in the Library only.

How do I borrow?

Take your items to the Issue Desk on Level E (Ground Floor) OR use the self-issue machines.
Have your Library/ID card ready

  • The date/time stamped in the book or on the self-issue receipt indicates when it is due for return or renewal.
  • All items are liable for recall if another user requests them
  • Fines are charged on all overdue items
  • The Issue Desk shuts down 5 minutes before the end of staffed hours

Please note that the exit alarm will sound if you do not have items issued to you before leaving the Library.

How many items can I borrow?

Type of memberLoan allocationLong loan period
SOAS staff50 items (of which 2 can be overnight loans)3 months
SOAS research postgraduates (MPhil/PhD)50 items (of which 2 can be overnight loans)3 months
SOAS taught postgraduates (MA/MSc)20 items (of which 2 can be overnight loans)2 weeks
SOAS undergraduates15 items (of which 2 can be overnight loans)2 weeks
All other borrowing members3 or 6 books* depending on type of membership. See under Admission for more details.4 weeks

*Overnight and one week loans can be borrowed by SOAS staff and students only

Please note that an item with many reservations on it will only be issued for 4 days and cannot be renewed

How can I beat the queues?

You can use the self service machines located on level E (ground floor) opposite the Issue desk. You may issue long loan, one week and overnight loans from here, provided you don't have any outstanding fines or overdue items. 

Don't forget to wait for your receipt - the due date is printed on it!
Your receipt is the only proof of a transaction. It must be produced in cases of dispute. If you do not have a receipt there will be no investigation. Please ask a member of staff for a demonstration if you have difficulty following the on-screen instructions.

Using the self issue machine

Self issue video