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Bolus Herbarium Library Borrowing Information

Frequently-Asked Questions

Borrowing | Renewing | Returning | Requests | My Library Card | Vacation Loans | Fines


How do I borrow a book?

Your student card, staff card, or third party card is also your library card - you use it to borrow materials from the Libraries.

To borrow a book, just take it to the Loans Desk together with your card and the Loans Desk staff will issue it to you. A loan receipt containing all pertinent information will be sent to your UCT email address. You need to keep this message as of the transaction and when you have to either return or renew it.

How many books may I borrow at a time?

Undergraduates may borrow 6 items (books, DVDs, CDs) at a time.
Postgraduates may borrow 12 items (books, DVDs, CDs) at a time.
Staff members may borrow 30 items (books, DVDs, CDs) at a time.

How long is the loan period - and can I renew the loan?

Undergraduates: Books are issued to you for 7 days, and you may renew your loans up to a maximum loan period of 28 days.
Postgraduates: Books are issued to you for 35 days, and you may renew your loans up to a maximum loan period of 140 days.
Staff: Books are issued to you for 90 days, and you may renew your loans up to a maximum loan period of 180 days.

CDs, DVDs and journals are issued for 3 days and are renewable.

Can journals be borrowed?

Postgraduate students and staff members may borrow 6 bound journals for 3 days, in addition to the items listed above.
Journal loans may not be renewed.

What if the book I need is already out on loan to someone else?

You can place a request for the book on Primo. When you do this, the book will be recalled from the person who has it out and will be reserved for you. For more information, see Requests below.

Renewing loans:

How do I renew my books?

There are 4 ways to renew your books: online, at the self-service point, by phone or in person.

To renew your books online by logging in to My Library Card. Login as a UCT  registered user using your student or staff number and password. Then “select loans” to renew each item or to renew all.

To renew your books at the self-service point by scanning your card at the machine and accessing “My Library Account”. Select “Go to Account” and then “Items Out”. Select individual items or select all to renew. Upon completion of the transaction a renewal receipt containing all pertinent information will be sent to your UCT email address.

To renew by phone: contact the Loans Desk at 021 650-3774. (Have your student/staff number handy.)

To renew your books in person, just take them to the Loans Desk and ask for a renewal. (Have your card handy.)

How many times can I renew my loans?

Users may renew borrowed items ones to the maximum loan period.
Journals may not be renewed.
Books that have been requested by another library user may not be renewed.

Returning materials:

Where do I return books?

To return books or journals hand them in at the counter or just put them in the returns hatch which is located next to office entrance of Bolus Herbarium Library.

CDs and DVDs must be handed in at the Loans Desk. Please do not put them in the returns hatch.

I wanted to return my books, but the Library was closed. What should have I done?

There is an overnight returns hatch situated outside the Main Library where users can return library materials when the Library is closed. The returns box is at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the main entrance to the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library. The returns hatch is open when the library is closed and closed when the library is open .

Requesting books:

The book I need is out on loan ... can I request it?

If the book you need is out on loan, you can make an online request for it in the Primo, or you can ask a member of the Loans Desk staff to do this for you.

How long will it take to get the book?

When you request a book, the book will be recalled from the person who has it out on loan. That person will be given a maximum of 7 days in which to return the book.

How will I know when the book is back in the Library?

As soon as the book is returned, you will be sent an email telling you that the book is waiting for you to collect.

What if I need the book really urgently and cannot wait for 7 days?

Ask at the Loans Desk. Our staff will do everything they can to retrieve the item as quickly as possible.

How many requests can I make at a time?

The maximum number of online requests you can make is ten.

According to Primo the book I need is "On Shelf" ... but I can't find it. Should I request it?

If you cannot find what you are looking for on the shelf, you can place a request by using Primo. The library will be alerted to your request and staff will search for the book. You will receive an email when the book is available for you to borrow.

The book I need is in a Branch Library on another UCT campus ... can I request it?

If you need a book from another branch of the library, you can place a request using Primo. You can specify a pick-up location for the book and the book will be transferred on your behalf. You will receive an email when the book is available for you to borrow.

I have placed a request for a book, but I don't need the book any more. How do I cancel the request?

You can cancel book requests in My Library Card.
Open Primo and sign in to My Library Card (See the section below this for more about My Library Card.)

  1. Click on your Requests to see a list of the books that you have requested.
  2. Click on Cancel to delete the request that you no longer require.

My Library Card :

I can't remember what books I have out ... how can I find out?

You can look up this information in My Library Card which is your personal space in Primo.

In My Library Card, you can:

  • see what you have out on loan (Loans tab: Active loans);
  • renew your books;
  • see what books you have borrowed previously (Loans tab: Previous and historic loans);
  • see what material you have requested (Requests);
  • cancel hold requests;
  • check to see if you have outstanding fines (Fine+Fees).

How do I access My Library Card?

  1. Open Primo
  2. Click on My Library Card in the top menu bar:
  3. When asked to identify yourself, log in using your UCT network credentials

PASSWORD NOT WORKING? Please consult ICTS for assistance and they will assist you to reset your password if need be.

Once in My Library Card, you will see the activities available to you (view your loans, your previous loan history, your requests, and your fines), as well as your personal details on the system. To see a list of the books you have out, click on the drop down menu and select Active loans. To see a list of the books you have taken out previously, click on the drop down menu and select Previous and historic loans.

How do I renew my books in My Library Card?

See How to renew your books online above.

Vacation Loans:

May I take out books over the long vacations?

Registered UCT postgraduate students and UCT staff may borrow books for extended loan periods over the long mid-year and year-end vacations. The Loans Desk staff will issue books to you for the duration of the vacation, with the proviso that the Library can recall a book at any time.

If someone else requests a book that you have out on vacation loan, the Library will recall the book and you must then return the book at once, even if that means using a commercial courier.


What happens if I return my books after the due date?

To ensure that library materials are equally available to all library users, please make sure that your books are returned on, or before, the due date. Late returns will incur a fine of R2.00 per day.

If you are late with returning a book that the library has recalled (because it has been requested by another borrower), a fine of R5 per day will be charged.

But what if I simply forget that my books are due?

You will receive a notification, by email reminding you of the due date, and informing you that a fine will accrue should your books not be returned in time.

I have been "blocked" from taking books out of the library ... why?

If you owe a fine of R50.00 or more, the system will automatically block you from borrowing further material until the fine is paid.

What is the maximum I might have to pay in fines?

Fines accrue to a maximum of R50.00 per item.

Where should I pay my fine?

Fines accrued from Bolus Herbarium Library items are settled at Chancellor Oppenheimer Library Loans Desk.

What should I do if I lose a library book?

Go to the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library Loans Desk and inform the staff. Lost library materials must be paid for by the borrower who has lost them, and an additional handling charge of R250 (to cover the costs of reordering, cataloguing, and processing) will be payable per item.

Payment is cashless using a card machine.