Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the Library, and finding information.

General queries about Library Services

How can I renew my books?

We will renew your books automatically on your behalf unless they are requested by another borrower, in which case we shall email you requesting their return. You can review your Library account by logging in via SurreySearch with your IT username and password. 

For further information, please see our Borrowing page. 

How do I get a replacement campus card and how much does it cost?
Replacement campus cards can be obtained from the Ask Me desk on Level 1 of the Learning Centre during library staffed hours.  
A charge of £10 will be made for the replacement of a lost card. Please visit our campus card page for more information.
Where can I top-up my campus card with photocopying/print credits?
The print credit top-up machine is on Level 1 opposite the Support Hub (see Library Level 1 floor plan).  It accepts coins and notes (denominations up to £20) but does not give change. You can also top-up your print credit online (minimum spend £5).
How can I have access to the Library if I am no longer a student?
University of Surrey alumni living in the UK can apply for free external membership to the Library. To do this, you can either log in to your Alumni account and request your alumni library card or contact the Alumni office in Senate House.
Alumni may have visitor access to our online resources, but cannot access electronic journals or databases off-campus.
How do I connect to WiFi in the library?

Students and staff of the University of Surrey can connect to WiFi using eduroam, the secure world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

You must configure your device to connect automatically. IT help sheets for all operating systems are available at the Support Hub on Level 1; alternatively, you can drop-in to see one of our IT Support team between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

Visitors to the University can use The Cloud, a free public access WiFi service.

For more information about eduroam and The Cloud, visit our IT User Support wireless network webpage

Can I leave my things in the library?

You cannot leave your possessions in the Library whilst you are gone. However, you may need to take a break from time to time. You can use our Take A Break sheet (available at the Support Hub on Level 1) at your desk to let us know when you start your break. Please never leave a desk for longer than 40 minutes as desk space is at a premium and you risk having your belongings removed.

How can I book a Group Study Room?

You can book a Group Study Room online. Go to the Book a Group Study Room link on our library website.

You can sign in using your university username and password, and select the required date and an available room.

You can view details of room size, location and facilities, together with a photograph of the room.

We will send you an email confirming your booking.

Please remember to cancel your booking if you no longer want the room by going to 'My Bookings' and selecting 'cancel'.

You must occupy the room within the first 15 minutes, or other students can use the room for the remainder of the hour.

Queries about electronic or online resources

I can’t get into an article / journal / ebook / database

Do we have access?

Check that the content you are trying to view falls within our subscription. The easiest way to do this is to search on SurreySearch and see if it appears.

Do we have access to the years you want?

Our subscriptions to online journals and databases are often limited by the publisher to a fixed date range (eg 1997-present). To check if the content you want to access is covered, search for the title on SurreySearch.

Are you off campus?

If you’re trying to access online content from off campus, you may need to use a different login route. Details of any special login route required are shown on the individual resources under their SurreySearch entry. Simply look for instructions under the Authentication Notes.

Still no access?

If you’re still having trouble accessing the resource you need, you can always email

Can I print from an ebook?

Most publishers allow some printing from an ebook. However this is dependent on the platform and the publisher. These are some general guidelines for our larger packages:

Publisher Name

Do they allow printing?




10% of the total pages contained in the title.




Download full book for 14 days. You will need to download some additional software to do this. Instructions are on the ebrary site.


If you’re not sure, it is usually detailed on the site itself. Or you can email

Can I download an ebook to read offline?

Most platforms do not allow you to download ebooks. Two exceptions are:

  • MyIlibrary - who allow you to download 10% of the total pages contained in the title and
  • Knovel - who allow for a 14 day download.

Both of these require you to download some separate software to do this. Instructions can be found on the platforms websites.

I’m seeing an error message that says the ebook is locked/being used by another patron. What does this mean?

Due to licensing reasons, some ebooks can only be used by a set number of people at the same time.

If too many people try to access these ebooks simultaneously, the last person to open the ebook will see a message telling them it is currently in use. They will then need to wait for the first person to stop using it, before they can.

Think of it as being the same as reservations. Someone needs to return a book in order for another person to use it. It works exactly the same with the electronic copies, but much quicker. Rather than waiting days for the book to be returned, you only need to wait for someone to close the browser window with the ebook in it, before you’ll be able to read it.

Any other queries?


Finding Information for Your Study

How do I find a book or journal?

Use SurreySearch to explore our print and electronic collections, and to find the shelf mark for and location of physical books. If you are searching for items on a particular topic, use a keyword search. Books in heavy demand are labelled 'Reference Only' and are inter-filed with the main collection.  

There is specific information on finding and using information on the Subjects web page and in SurreySearch tutorials. You can also pick up our handy library bookmark on 'How to find a book in 5 steps' from the Support Hub and Ask Me desk on Level 1.

Can I borrow DVDs and CDs?
All CDs and DVDs are available as 1 day loans and are stored in lockable boxes on Learning Centre Level 2.
There is a self-service kiosk and unlocking device on Level 2 next to the DVD collection.
You can also borrow DVDs and CDs by using the self-service kiosks on Level 1. The external boxes should be unlocked manually after leaving the exit gates, using the 'swipe through' un-locker located on the opposite wall.
You can return CDs and DVDs unlocked through the self-return system as usual.  Please ensure you check that the CD/DVD disc is in the box when you return it.
Staff may borrow AV material for up to a week on a temporary basis for teaching purposes, by prior arrangement with the relevant Faculty Engagement Librarian.
NB:  It is illegal to copy any media format using the library AV equipment.  Anyone found copying media will be liable to Library disciplinary procedures.
How can I find out more about my subject?
Your subject page provides links to key subject resources available both in the library and online (accessible on and off campus), guides about using information for your studies, and links to additional resources.

Finance FAQ

Why do I have to pay fines for books which are late back?
The Library is a shared resource and has a high demand for its books and resources. It is important, therefore, in fairness to other users, that books are returned on time. We automatically renew items on your behalf - the only time you will be fined is if an item has been reserved by another user and is not returned on time. We will periodically email you with an account summary and you will be notified by email when a book has been requested by another user. These emails, however, are courtesy emails and it is ultimately your responsibility to check your account which can be accessed online.
What do you do with the money that you raise from fines?

The money that we raise from fines is used to purchase additional materials (books, CDs, etc.) or equipment (DVD players, etc.) for the library’s users.

Why did you charge me for losing my campus card?
Your campus card is your responsibility as a University of Surrey student. When this card is lost, you are liable to pay for the cost of a replacement. We charge for replacing a lost card because of the cost involved when producing a new one (the card itself, the equipment to produce it, and staff time to amend your record). If your card is stolen rather than misplaced, we are happy to re-issue at no additional cost if you can produce a crime number and police statement. Your card will also be replaced if it is damaged through normal wear and tear. Please see our web pages for further information on replacing a campus card.
Why did you charge me for losing a book?
You are responsible for any books borrowed on your library account, so when books are reported as lost, you are liable to pay for the cost of a replacement which is £70 per item.
Why do you charge for photocopying?

As you would expect, we need to recoup the costs associated with providing a photocopying service (machines, paper, toner, etc.). We review the cost of photocopying from time to time and adjust it in light of the rates charged by other local suppliers. 

Remember that the copying facilities in the Library are of a higher quality and more flexible than those in local newsagents, etc.

Please see printing and photocopying costs for our current rates.

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

More contact details
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