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Borrowing, Reservation, Returning

Borrowing of Items

The library's holdings are shelved in classified order and for the most part in open stacks in the various departmental libraries (shelf classification).

You may take the items from the shelves and present them at one the circulation desks for the circulation transaction. For borrowing items it is required to show your library card. All items borrowed are charged to your loan account.

Call Number Labels

  • White call number labels on the spine mean that these items circulate,
  • Yellow labelled ones do not.

Before you look for the items on the shelf please check the availability in the library catalogue first. There you will find out, whether the book is on the shelf or on loan. At this point you can release a reservation for the item as well.



If a library item of interest to you is currently on loan, you have the option to make a reservation for it. Reservations can be made in the library catalogue. Do not forget to check beforehand, whether the library holds more circulating and accessible copies and thus the reservation may be obsolete!

When the requested item is returned, an email or postal notification with information on where and when to collect the item will be sent. The reservations will be saved for a 7-day period. For a cost free notification by email, enter your email address in your loan account. For postal notifications on reservations, postal charges amounting to 0.80 EUR will be added to your account.

In your loan account you can track filled or outstanding reservations and as the case may be, cancel them.

Borrowing / Returning Items at Circulation Desks

The circulation desks are located in the entrance areas of each departmental library. At these desks you can return and check out library items and collect reserved books. After the circulation transaction you will get a receipt which indicates all books you have borrowed and the respective loan periods. Please be aware of the due dates! The library is obliged by federal law to impose overdue fees already the very next day after the end of a loan period.

Item return is possible in any of the departmental libraries. You will get a receipt which you should check for correctness and keep for possible objections on your part.

The personnel will of course assist you and be of help in case of questions and problems concerning library issues personally or by phone.


Borrowing / Returning Items on Self-Service Units

During the complete opening hours borrowing and retuurning of items is possible on self-service units.

Students with a valid UniCard need no library password for borrowing on the new self-service units. These machines, recognisable by the green-lit surface, can be found in the foyer of the departmental libraries in areas D, T and U as well as in Building X.

When borrowing on self-service units with bar code scanner, your UniCard / library card is required and your library password as well. These units are located in the foyer of the departmental libraries in area D, E, U und V as well as in Building X.

The return of items is generally possible without UniCard / library card. Self-service units for returning can be found in the foyer of the departmental libraries in area D and U, as well as in Building X.

When borrowing / returning items on self-service units you will receive a receipt, which you should check for correctness and keep carefully.

Loans under special conditions and books you have ordered via Interlibrary Loan can only be returned at the circulation desks or at the Central Loan Department from Mon through Fri 8.00 - 18.00.


Loan Conditions (Bar Codes) and Renewals

Each book bears an individual distinct bar code. This code describes the location of an item and the loan period. You find the bar code inside the book on the very first pages.

Example - the bar code on the right hand side (158/4127305+1) in detail:

Loan condition Loan period
0 or 6 non-circulating
4 or 7 15 days (5 renewals possible)
8 or 9 30 days (5 renewals possible)
Number Meaning

The first two characters represent the number of the departmental library where the item is shelved. The linguistics library, for example, is numbered 15. All possible location can be looked up in the Site map

8 The third character represents the loan condition and tells you about the loan period. The 8, as shown in this example, means that you can loan this book for 30 days (renewable).
4127305 The following number is the basic bar code which is individual and distinctive.
+1 If the library holds more than one copy of this item, it is marked with a "+" and the copy number (+1 first copy, +2 second copy etc.).


You have the option to renew a book, when first, there is no reservation for it and second, the loan condition assigned is 4 or 8. The renewal must be made on the last day of the loan period at the latest otherwise overdue fees will accrue.

Until further notice, a maximum of eight extensions are possible in the course of the special corona regulations. After expiry of the corona regulations, a maximum of five extensions will again be possible.

The new loan period starts on the day of the renewal. Since other users may reserve items any time, please make sure that the borrowed item can be renewed at all by checking your loan account. You can renew the items online by using the renewal feature in your loan account - simply press the button "verlängern".

You may also request a renewal at the circulation desks by phone, in writing or personally on presenting your library card or library card number.
Items provided by interlibrary loan service unfortunately can not be renewed!

Written requests for renewal must be in before the due date! Please check in any case if your renewal request has been realized! You will be held responsible for renewing items in time!

Address for written renewal requests:
Universitätsbibliothek Bielefeld
Zentrale Leihstelle
Postfach 10 02 91
33502 Bielefeld


Loss or Damage

If you happen to lose or damage a borrowed library item, you are obliged to pay compensation. In case of loss, please contact the Central Lending Department (A1 - 151) or use the provided notice of loss form (in German only). In case of damage, please present the respective item to the Central Lending Department.