Borrowing Information


How do I borrow a book?

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

To borrow a book, just take it to the Issue Desk together with your card and the staff will issue the material to you. 

UKZN Students are automatically registered as a member of the Libraries. Your student card serves as your Library Card. Registration with the library is activated early in the morning, the day after being registered by the faculty office. Your card is not transferable and you are responsible for materials issued on it.

Permanent Staff are issued with a staff card which serves as the Library Card. Registration with the Library is activated early in the morning, the day after the staff record has been captured by Human Resources


Contract Staff appointments are mostly automatically registered with the Library in the same way as permanent staff, except for a few categories of Appointment Types. Should you not be automatically registered you will need to complete a registration form at the Circulation Desk of any Library. 

Please note that each user may only have one active library record. In other words, you may not use your staff and student record if you are studying. The record which gives you the least access will be barred, except for student assistants who must use their student card.


Affiliates are staff of institutions associated with UKZN but not paid by the University. They may be registered with the Library once appropriate surety forms are completed. Contact any circulation desk for further information or to be sent the surety form.


Academic Visitors on Campus who are associated with a School for lecturing or research may be registered with the Library once the appropriate surety form is signed by the Head of School. Contact any circulation desk for further information or to be sent the surety form.


Emeritus Professors will be registered as permanent staff once their letter of appointment has been received and registration form completed. 

Honorary Appointments made by the university will need a surety form signed by the Head of their School. The surety form will be forwarded by the Circulation Administrator, on receipt of the letter of appointment


Non UKZN patrons may pay a fee to join the Library. Ask the Circulation Desk for the latest fees.


Subscribers from other SA Higher Education Institutions 

Masters and Doctoral Students, lecturers and researchers from other South African higher education institutions can register with the library, provided that they have a letter of introduction from the University Library where they are registered. This does not apply to Unisa students, as their institution does not provide surety for their users. Therefore, Unisa students have to become subscribers if they want to borrow items. A fee is payable for a Library card. This only applies to South African institutions that are part of the CHELSA agreement.
Note: a Library Card does not include access to licensed databases which are restricted to the UKZN staff and students.


The Library offers subscriber membership to members of the public (visitors), honorary subscribers, retired staff and alumni for an annual membership fee. The subscription covers the use of all UKZN Libraries.  An Honorary Subscriber includes an Honorary Staff member, affiliated to a particular Department in which s/he lectures; and Retired Staff. Alumni of the university pay a fee to join the library which includes the cost of the Library Membership Card.

Alumni of University of Durban Westville, University of Natal and University of KwaZulu-Natal pay half subscription on production of an Alumni Card. This card must be obtained through Alumni Affairs at Howard College Campus. Two identity photos will be required by the Alumni office.
Contact information – Phone: 031 – 2602958

Email address:

To register online:


To Register as a Subscriber:
Library staff will provide you with a library subscriber number. Take this number to the Risk Management Services during office hours: 08h00 -16h00 Monday to Friday. Here, you will be issued with your UKZN Library Visitor Card. This is a multipurpose card which you can use to access the Libraries, take out books, and make photocopies. Your card is not transferable and you are responsible for books issued on it. If you lose your Visitor card, please report the loss to the library immediately.

Please note: Westville library does not provide user with subscriber numbers, please contact the the ID card division at Risk Management.

How many books may I borrow at a time?

Please see Table below on number of items and days a material can be borrowed.

Borrowing Quotas and Loan Periods

 No of Items

Loan Period / days

No of ItemsDays
Permanent Staff309053
Staff >1 year appointment309053
Staff <1 year appointment154253
Student Undergraduate61453
Student Honours152153
Student Masters/PhD204253
Academic Visitors152153


Books may be renewed three (3) times including the initial due date. But there are no renewals for videos, CDs, DVDs, Theses and Journals. Books reserved (placed on hold) by another user may not be renewed. The Library reserves the right to shorten the normal loan period and to recall library material before due date if the material is reserved or urgently required by other users.

You can renew items either personally at the Issue Desk, telephonically or electronically via iCatalogue, the online catalogue (self-help guide). To do this, you need to click on My Account and then select the option to renew items. If you do not have internet access you may renew them at the Issue Desk or telephonically


Returning Items

Items are returned to your campus library OR at any of our UKZN libraries. All items returned after closing times during vacation hours can be returned by placing items into the book drop at the entrance to the Library. Please note Westville does not have a book drop.

Overdues & Fines

Daily fines are charged for all overdue items. Fines may vary according to the category of material. A fine per day is levied for all library books, audio-tapes, CDs and journals that are returned late. A fine per day will be levied for all Multimedia items. The fine for Academic Reserve material is R5.00 for the first hour hour, increasing to R10.00 per hour thereafter.  Should a borrower incur a fine of R99.50 or more, (s)he will automatically be blocked from borrowing further material until the fine is paid.


Items are due back in the Library by closing time on the date due. All items returned after closing time may be put into the book drop at the entrance to the Library. You must return your items to the Issue Desk. 


Patrons are barred from borrowing new material if any items are more than 90 days overdue and / or fines are outstanding. Please report lost or damaged items to the issue desk or cashiers office in the library from where the item was borrowed. Any borrower who fails to return items to UKZN Libraries or to any library with which UKZN has a co-operative borrowing or access agreement, or who fails to pay fines or costs owing, may have borrowing privileges withdrawn or suspended.

Students’ university record will have holds placed to prevent exam results being released, academic records printed or registration for the next semester till all items are returned and bills settled. You are able to check whether you owe money for fines online at the 
iCatalogue. First log-in on iCatalogue using your user ID and PIN, (user name and password) then go click on My Account. From here, you will be able to review your account, renew your material, and change your Pin or forward change of address details.


If you have FORGOTTEN YOUR PIN please contact any circulation desk and it will be removed. You will then be able to set a new Pin. 

Replacement Charges

Any user losing or irreparably damaging a book or other item borrowed through or belonging to the University Libraries shall be liable for the replacement cost of the item. There is a processing charge per item returned after a bill has been generated.

Lost / Damaged Items
Items that have been borrowed and lost or damaged should be reported to the Issue Desk of the Library from which they were borrowed. Any user damaging an item which is repairable shall be liable for the cost of the repair. Borrowers will be invoiced for this cost.

Replacement cost will be the current price of the item from our usual suppliers. User may purchase the book themselves but it must not be an earlier edition. If there is any accompanying material provided with the replacement book this must be submitted with the replacement book to the library. A second hand copy in good condition may be provided with the approval of the relevant subject librarian. If the item is out of print then the average price of a book for that discipline will be charged, or the cost for a suitable replacement title as chosen by the relevant subject librarian. If an item is damaged the user may have the damaged item once it has been paid for or a replacement item is brought to the library.

Academic Reserves

The purpose of the Reserve Library is to make information available that is in high demand by many students. This ensures that all users have an equal opportunity of using these items in the library.

Lecturers who want groups of students to have access to specific material can put books and photocopied journal articles on Academic Reserve for specified periods of time. Please consult with your relevant subject librarian with the information such as: course codes, number of students in class etc. is required Please do this in good time, as your request will join a queue at busy times such as the beginning of semesters.

Borrowing Procedures

To borrow items from Academic Reserves, students must use their own student card and may only borrow one item at a time. Loans are for a period of one or two hours, depending on demand. Academic Reserves items have to be used in the library, but may be borrowed overnight or for weekends at certain libraries. Academic Reserves items can be retrieved by using the library’s Course Reserve Manager. 

Loan Policy

  • Resources are made available to all bona-fide members of the University
  • Staff and students with a valid registration card will be allowed access to items in
  • Academic Reserves
    Users must have the correct and complete reference when requesting information e.g. author and title for books.
  • Book references can be retrieved by using the library iCatalogue

Responsibility of Library Users

All UKZN Library Users agree to abide by the Libraries rules and regulations. Any transgression or failure to comply with the provisions of the Library Rules could result in the revoking of all library privileges or other penalties at the discretion of the Campus Librarian or Director of Libraries.

  1. Borrowers cards are NOT TRANSFERABLE.
  2. DO NOT check out items for any other person.
  3. You are responsible for all items borrowed in your name.
  4. All mailing addresses must be current so that notices can be sent to your correct address.
  5. It is your responsibility to keep track of items checked out to you.
  6. Users may be charged for items that are defaced, mutilated or stolen.
  7. Lost Library Cards must be reported to the Circulation Desk. You are responsible for all items checked out to you.

Inter-campus Loans

Borrowing items from a different campus library from where you are based is handled by Inter Library Loans at the circulation desk. Please contact the ILL section / Issue desk section at your campus to complete a request form. The item can be requested via email, by sending a request to your relevant campus library’s email address etc:  pmb library, Howard campus  email address, Westville campus email address and Edgewood campus email address Please forward your student number or  staff  number, contact number, details of the book you requesting.  The item will be dispatched to your library where you may collect it and the item must be returned back to your library.

Inter-Library Loans

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Library offers an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service, which provides access to materials/resources that are not available within our collections. This is a reciprocal agreement between institutions where UKZN Library also supplies resources to other institutions. This service therefore allows you to request resources that are not available at UKZN Library from other Southern African or International Libraries. The primary purpose of ILL is to support teaching, learning and research at UKZN. This is an online service offered to all registered students, researchers and staff of UKZN.

What can I request?

  • Print books & theses
  • PDF copies of journal articles, chapters of books, conference reports, etc.

How can I request an item via ILL?

When will I receive a response to my request?

  • Track the progress of your request in your My Library account portal OR follow up on your request at your Circulation desk using the Request ID.
  • You will receive an email notification when your :
  • Book request arrives at your pick up library
  • Article request is available in your My Library account portal
  • Request cannot be fulfilled.

When will I receive the item requested via ILL?

  • Print books & theses between 2-6 weeks.
  • PDF copies of journal articles, chapters of books, conference reports will be available within 24 hours or up to 2 weeks delivered to your My Library account

Are there any costs?

  • Copies and loans from South African University Libraries are free.
  • Other South African and International Institutions have a cost attached to each request. (Please enquire at
  • All overdue ILL books carry a cost of R5 per day.

For further assistance and training, please contact your Subject Librarian OR your Circulation desk.