Borrowing Books

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Borrowing Books

How many books can I borrow?
Library members may borrow up to 12 books at any one time from HHLS libraries (books obtained on your behalf from other libraries are in addition to this).  Conditions apply to Partner and External members.  For more information, see membership eligibility or contact us.

How do I borrow a book?
If you visit the library in person please select the book and take it (and your library card) to a member of library staff.  If you cannot visit, please email your request to the Library or make your request via our request pages.  We can either put books aside for you to collect from the library, or arrange them to be sent to you at your workplace.  We will email you to check which you prefer.

How can I borrow a book when library staff are not there?
Please follow the local arrangements that are in place for each library.  This may involve completing a form for each book you take, or emailing the library with the necessary details.

How long are books issued for?
You can keep a book for 28 days, unless it is marked as 'short loan'.  You may renew it unless someone else has requested it.  If this happens we will let you know.

How do I renew /  extend the loan length of my book?
If you telephone or email us with the book title and author, we can do this for you.  For books that come from the HHLS libraries, you can also do this for yourself if you wish:

  1. At the SWIMS library catalogue,, log into your account (See FAQ: 'How do I create an account for the Library Catalogue')
  2. Under the 'My Loans' list, click 'Current Loans'.  This lists your books
  3. Choose the books to renew, then click button 'Renew selected loans' or 'Renew all loans'.

How many times can I renew / extend the loan length of my book?
You can do this three times.

What do I do if I can't renew my library books?
Please contact us or bring the book into the library so we can sort it out for you.  It may be because:

How can I borrow a book from another library on the SWIMS Library Catalogue?
You can request a book from other NHS libraries by completing the form Make a Request.

How can I borrow a book that isn't on the SWIMS Library Catalogue?
Please let us know as we may be able to obtain it for you.  Request the book via the Make a Request form or contact us with as much detail as possible.

How do I ask the Library to buy a book for its collections?
We consider all requests.  Please contact us with as much information as possible.

I've forgotten my library card - can I still borrow books?
You can still borrow books, but the transaction is quicker if you have your library card.

My library card is lost / damaged / stolen - can I still borrow books?
Please let us know so we can cancel your card and give you another one.  There may be a replacement charge.

What should I do if I think I have lost a library book?
After searching thoroughly for it, if you still think you have lost a book you have borrowed, please let us know.  We will need to charge you for it, or ask you to replace it with a suitable copy.  Administration fees may also apply.  Should you opt to replace it yourself, we can provide the book details and suggest suitable suppliers, but you will need to pay for it and arrange the purchase yourself.

How can I return my books?
You may take your books into the library when it is open.  When unstaffed or closed you can post the books into the returns box nearby.  You can also post books back to us via internal post (for free) or Royal Mail (you pay).  For the addresses and opening times of the HHLS libraries click here.  Please pack them well, preferably in a jiffy bag, with the library's address clearly marked on the front and your (sender) address on the back.  Please note that the risk for returning books safely by post remains your responsibility.