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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Universitätsbibliothek

Lending Service

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General policy for borrowing books

The library policy for borrowing books has been set down in the Conditions for Use of the Library along with the fee regulations. Copies are available in the Library. Charges for overdue items and special services are determined by the University Library's fee regulations. From January 1st 2007 we charge a basic fee to use our library's services. Members of Heidelberg University (scientists, staff) and all students of all universities may use the Library free of charge. This also applies to pupils and further groups mentioned in § 2,5 of the fee regulations. Prove must be presented at registration.
Under age pupils need for registration a copy of the identity card of a legal guardian and the declaration of liability signed by the legal guardian on the registration form.

Library card

A library card is required in order to check out items, to order items from the closed stacks and to use our electronic services such as databases, electronic journals e. g..

Students of Heidelberg University

Students will receive the multifunctional Student ID-Card, which also functions as a library card. After you have unlocked your UniID, you can sign up online with Heidelberg University Library.

Other users

Library cards are issued upon presentation of a valid personal identity card or a passport with proof of residence as well as a completed application form from the loan services.

Users from non-European Union countries may be required to present additional documents such as proof of residence or a third-party guarantor. Persons under the age of 18 are also required to present a signature of a parent or legal guardian.

The application form is online (pdf) available. However, please note that you must print it out and that you must register personally at the loan services desk.

  • Members of Heidelberg University (scientists, staff) and all students of all universities may use the Library free of charge. This also applies to pupils and further groups mentioned in § 2,5 of the fee regulations. Prove must be presented at registration.
  • Underage pupils are required to present a copy of the personal identity card/passport of a parent or legal guardian as well as the signed declaration of liability on the registration form.

Library account

The library card number is used to set up an account in the online system. Borrowers may access the data in their accounts at any given time.

Change of address

Any change of address must be reported to the University Library.

Loss of library card

  • Protect your account from misuse by informing the library if your library card is lost or stolen. Cardholders are responsible for damage ensuing from inappropriate use of their library card.
  • We can lock your library card at the issue desk main library (Phone 54-2568) or at the branch library Neuenheim (54-4265), respectively. Outside opening hours of the loan desk and before 22.00 please refer to the reading room main library (54-2385) or to the information center at our branch library Neuenheim ( 54-4272).
  • Payment function of the multifunctional student ID card cannot be locked. This can only be achieved through a replacement card at the Student Office.
  • In case of loss of a blue library card a new card may be obtained at the cost of 5.00 € during the opening hours of the loan desk.

Suspension of borrowing rights

Borrowing rights may be suspended if fines are accrued, more than 3 overdue notices have been sent or if an invalid address is given. Privileges can only be reinstated once the reasons for their suspension have been determined or the overdue materials returned.

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How can I borrow an item?

The holdings of Heidelberg University Library contain over 3.1 million volumes. In order to borrow items from the library you need a library card, which is available for a basic fee from the borrowing desk. Members of Heidelberg University (academic staff, employees and students) are exempted from the basic fee. Once you have found an item that you would like to borrow in the University library catalogues (see information brochure no. 9), you need to find out whether this item can be borrowed and how you can obtain it.

As a special service for the scientific staff of the University of Heidelberg, copies of articles may be ordered via Heidelberg Electronic Document Delivery HEDD . In the event that your article is not available in a library of Heidelberg, you can order it via the conventional interlibrary loan system or via commercial electronic document delivery services.

Textbook collections / Open stacks

Books in the textbook collections and in the open stack areas do not need to be requested online and may be accessed directly in the bookstacks. They will be entered on your library account at the exit of the borrowing area. Books in the open stack areas of the Neuenheim Branch can be ordered via HEIDI in the main library and vice versa. It is also possible to order items from the collections of the South Asia Institute to be delivered to the Main Library in the Old Town.

Closed stack areas

If the item you would like to borrow is kept in the closed stack areas you must request it through HEIDI. If the item is available, then if the request is made by noon (Monday - Friday) it usually can be collected out the borrowing area after 2:30 p.m., otherwise it will be available the next working day. Requested items will be held for 5 days (Mo-Fr).
If the item has already been borrowed, you can find out through HEIDI how long it will be out and whether or not you can request it. The item will be entered on your account upon collecting it in the borrowing area.
If you order a book which is not yet included in our online catalogue (this applies to some of the older books in the holdings), the requested title can be ordered through an online form. In this case, the book that has been requested will not be available for collection for at least two working days.

Non-borrowable items

Items from the non-borrowable part of the collection (those in the information centres and the reading rooms (Reading Room Main Library (LSA) / Reading Room Neuenheim Branch Library are not available for use outside the library. It is, however, possible to borrow books in the reading rooms overnight or over bank holidays. All printed items appearing prior to 1850, such as rare books, art panels and journals are non-borrowable. These must be ordered and used in the reading rooms.

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Where do I collect items I have requested?

  • Loan desk
    Items that have been requested should usually be collected at the borrowing desk. Please present your library card when you wish to borrow an item. Upon borrowing an item, you will be given a slip with the return date of the item you are taking out. You may check the status of your account and the return dates of borrowed items via HEIDI.
  • Reading Room Desk
    However, it is also possible to request that items you intend to use only in the reading room of the main library and the reading room in the branch library be collected there.

It is not possible to take items out without your card or if borrowing rights have been suspended.

How long may I keep items I have borrowed?

Loan Period

Monographs: 20 working days
Periodicals: 10 working days.

First and Second renewal

A renewal is possible twice via HEIDI as long as no other user has requested the item. The loan period for each renewal is 20 working days for books and 10 working days for journals. Renewing borrowed items is only possible less than 5 working days before the current return date. The new return date is based upon the end of the originally loan period. Using HEIDI, you may renew borrowed materials on an item-by-item basis, or you may renew all items in your account at the same time. In this case, the return dates of all the items are checked and, if possible, items are automatically renewed. You can also renew books of interlibrary loan orders yourself twice via HEIDI, but they may be recalled if they have been requested by another reader or if the loaning library has sent a reminder.

Third renewal

Items may be renewed twice. If you wish to keep an item longer, you must present it at the borrowing desk. Once it has been checked in you may check it out again, as long as it has not been reserved by another user.

Renewal of interlibrary loan items:

You can renew the items electronically through HEIDI once, but they may be recalled if they have been requested by another reader or if the loaning library has sent a reminder.

How can I request an item?

If an item you would like to borrow has already been checked out by another user, you may request it via HEIDI.

Notice and collection

As soon as the item has been returned you will be notified via email or regular mail and the item may be collected at the borrowing desk (charges for postage will be billed to your account). The item will be held for you for 5 days and will be given to you upon presentation of your library card. If you decide that you no longer need the item you have reserved you can cancel the reservation via HEIDI, thereby saving yourself the cost of postage. When requesting an item on hold it is also possible to ask that you not be notified in writing. In this case, however, you will need to go to the borrowing desk once a week in order to check whether the item you have reserved has been returned.

Where do I return items I have borrowed?

  • Issue desk
    When you have finished using items that you have borrowed, you will need to return them to the borrowing desk so they can be removed from your account. This applies to all items, whether they have been borrowed from the open stacks, the textbook collection or whether they have been ordered from the closed stacks. You will receive a written receipt for items that you have returned. In the main library it is also possible to return items that are not overdue without having them checked in individually. This means that you do not have to wait in line.
  • Reading room / Neuenheim Information Centre
    When the circulation desk is closed, items may be returned in the reading room of the main library or the information centre of the Neuenheim Branch.
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