SFU Library Loan Policy

Effective: May, 2018


The purpose of this policy is to provide equitable access for the SFU Library community, to maximize the availability of library material and resources, to minimize inconvenience to library users, to ensure the provision of high levels of quality service and to promote efficiency in all Loans operations.


1. Library cards: The Library shall extend borrowing privileges to any registered students, eligible faculty/staff, alumni and others approved by the Library. There shall be two basic categories of library cards, those authorized by the Registrar and Information Services, and those authorized by the Library. Library cards are not transferable and will be honoured only when presented by the legitimate cardholder.

2. Borrower's responsibility: The Library will hold the borrower whose name appears on the card responsible for all use made of the card. Responsibility shall include: immediate notification of lost, stolen, or damaged cards; reporting and payment for lost or damaged materials and reporting any changes of address (see Procedures #4: Address information). Borrowers will also be held responsible for returning all material, including recalls, when due. It is the responsibility of all borrowers to ensure that they are aware of all circulation policies and practices to avoid difficulties with fines and/or suspensions on their patron record. Lack of knowledge of loan regulations, failing to note due dates, failing to renew on time and failing to receive notices (e.g. courtesy, overdue, etc.) will not qualify for cancellation of fines or other charges.

For security and privacy reasons, borrowers must not share their library bar code with anyone or use it for any purpose not expressly permitted by the SFU Library.

3. General Collection Borrower categories, loan periods and renewals: The loan period for any material circulating in the General Collection at Bennett, Belzberg and Fraser Libraries depends on the material type and borrower category as summarized below:  

Borrower Categories Loan Period†   Reduced Loan Period (when a request/hold exists) Online Renewals*
Undergraduates Semester loan†     1 week   Unlimited*
Graduate students Semester loan†     1 week   Unlimited*
Faculty / Staff Semester loan†     1 week   Unlimited*
Alumni 3 weeks†     1 week   Unlimited*
External Borrowers 3 weeks†     1 week   Unlimited*

†Loan periods will be reduced when someone places a hold on any item out on loan.

*Unlimited number of renewals when no outstanding holds are present on the item

When there are one or more requests on an item when it is checked out, the loan period on that item is reduced to 1 week.

See the Reserves guide for loan periods for the Reserves collection.

All circulating general collection books may be requested ie. recalled or hold placed, by other patrons. You are encouraged to place a request as this will reduce the loan period in the cases of semester loans or multiple holds. The book will be flagged so that you are next in line. We may also purchase extra copies of the book if the demand justifies it.

Borrowers receive an email with the date-due time at the time of checkout. You may also check the due date of materials, recalls, or status of Requests via the My Library record link on the SFU Library homepage. All patrons will receive notices by email.

**NOTE: Patrons are responsible for returning materials within the specified loan period. In the event of labour disputes or similar disruptions to normal library services, patrons are responsible for returning materials within the specified loan periods.**

Due dates will be set by the Library to be no less than one week after the end of exams.

4. Special Loans Collection: Specialized materials in the library collections (Reserves, AV material, rare books, media equipment, games, etc.) are subject to special loan periods and requirements, as authorized by the area responsible for the material. Alumni and External borrowers may not have access to this material.

5. Renewals (also see policy #3 above): Three-week loan material in the General Collection may be renewed prior to the due date for an additional three weeks from the date of renewal. Semester loan material may be renewed starting on a fixed date each Semester (March 31, July 31 or November 30). All Semester loan material borrowed on or after the renewal date will become due on the next Semesters's due date. Renewals are not allowed if another patron has requested the book or when a patron's privileges are suspended.

6. Suspensions and Fines will be assessed on items from the General Collection.  Fines and suspension of borrowing privileges are only applied to overdue recalled items.   Library borrowing privileges will be suspended until all overdue materials have been returned and fines have been paid. [Exception: for fines outstanding of $35 or less, borrowers may access services until they have the opportunity to pay - effective June 21, 2021]. See Fines and penalties: Borrowing Library Materials for further information.

There are no fines for overdue material from the General Collection that has not been recalled for another patron. This policy does not apply to fines accrued before May 2018.

7. Unpaid fines in excess of $50 will result in patrons being blocked from registering for courses or receiving parchments or transcripts.

8. Borrowing regulations: Patrons shall be subject to the borrowing regulations which pertain to the General Collection and to all special loans collections within the Library loan system.

9. Disruption of service: In the event of a system failure or other disruption of normal services such as public mail or transportation, the Library will make every reasonable effort to satisfy all requests. The Library will hold borrowers responsible for informing themselves regarding the current status of all materials checked out on their cards, and for returning materials when due. The Library will attempt to facilitate an in-person return of such materials. If the material is returned by mail during disruption of normal service the date of postmark will be considered the official date of return.

10. Patron conduct: The Library accepts that from time to time borrowers will express criticism of its Loans policies and practices. However, if in the process Library staff are additionally subjected to acts by a borrower which in the opinion of the Head of Access Services or Branch Head, acting reasonably, are abusive and/or threatening, the Library may, on the recommendation of the Head of Access Services or Branch Head and the authority of the University Librarian & Dean of Libraries, suspend the borrowing privileges of that borrower for a specific or indefinite period. Such action may be appealed through the Library Penalties Appeal Committee. Patrons are also subject to University policies GP 25, Emergency Response to Threatening Behaviour, and GP 18, Harassment Policy.


1. Cards: All university ID cards will be issued by the Registrar and Information Services. The Library will directly authorize the issue of all External Borrower library cards. Ultimate authority resides with the University Librarian & Dean of Libraries. The Library, on receipt of confirmation from Registrar and Information Services, will authorize the use of all library cards.

2. The person to whom a library card is issued must personally present the card every time material is checked out. No material will be checked out without a library card. Cards loaned to other users will not be honoured.

3. Library users should inform Loans staff at any SFU Library immediately when a card is lost or stolen, at which point a stop will be placed on the card. A replacement fee is charged.

4. Email information

  • Students: all student library records are loaded automatically with their official SFU email address. Students preferring to access email via an alternate server are requested to set up email forwarding from @sfu.ca to their preferred server. Go to http://www.sfu.ca/acs/email/index.htm.
  • Alumni: All notices are automatically directed to their email address that is on file with the SFU Alumni Relations Office .
  • All Other Categories:  Patrons wishing to request the Library Email circulation service and/or wishing to make an email address change can do so by accessing My Library Record on the Library Web Site http://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/services/notify_by_email.htm. Patrons can request the Library Email circulation service and/or make an email address change by accessing My Library Record on the Library Web site.

5. Contact Addresses: Borrowers are responsible for notifying the appropriate authority of any change of contact address. Patrons who receive printed notices must change their address as follows:

  Borrower Category   Location to submit address change
  External borrowers  
  • Library Loans/Circulation counter at any SFU Library
  • Human Resource Office (contact address defaults to departmental address unless Library email requested)

6. When any material is lost or damaged, it should be reported immediately to the location from which it was borrowed.

7. Patrons wishing to obtain checked-out materials from the General Collection may do so by placing a request on the library computer system or by arrangement with Loans/Circulation staff. All short-term loan material must be returned by the due date; no recall notice will be sent to the current borrower. Borrowers of Term loan material will be notified of the revised date when requested material is due back in the library. When the item is returned, either in response to a recall or because it is due, it will be held for the patron who placed the request until the hold period expires. It is the requestor's responsibility to check whether a requested item has been returned and is being held. Patron requests for checked-out material from all Special Loan areas may be placed with staff in the special area concerned. (*In some cases, computer based requests will also be accepted.)

8. The material in the General Collection, Reserves, and media collections may be renewed on-line or at the checkout point where borrowed (limits apply). General Collection material may be returned at any Library book return that is accessible to the borrower. Special loan material must be returned to the location where borrowed.

9. When an item becomes overdue, the Loans Division will send an overdue notice. Bills will be sent to cover penalties incurred for outstanding overdue or end of Term items. Borrowers will be assumed to have received any notices or other correspondence sent to them.

10. If a borrower wishes to appeal assessed penalties or suspension of library borrowing privileges, s/he may do so in writing to the Head of Access Services or by submitting an on-line appeal form. Decisions made by the Loans Division about penalties may be appealed to the Senate Library Penalties Appeal Committee, whose decision shall be final.

11. During disruptions of normal Library services, public mail, or transportation services, borrowers should check with any library area through which they have borrowed material to ensure that there are no outstanding requests and to obtain information regarding return procedures.

  • 3 weeks for 3 week loan periods.
  • 3 weeks for Term loan periods.