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Using the Library


This page will inform you how to borrow physical books from the library.  To find out more information about what type of books you can borrow, please head to our book resources page. 

  • The easiest way to borrow books is to use our self-service machines. 
  • These are accessible 24/7.
  • We have a self-service machine on each site.
  • You will need to make sure you have your library card with you, so you can scan the barcode on the back of the card.  You will also need to know your library PIN (email the library to request a PIN reset).  


  • Books can also be issued to you from the library enquiry desk during office hours. 
  • Books which you have on hold can only be picked up from the library enquiry desk during office hours.  
  • You will receive an email "receipt" telling you the books you have borrowed and when they are due back (unless you opt out of this service).

Ipswich Hospital Library Self Service MachineSelf-Service Machine Colchester

     Self-Service machines at Ipswich and Colchester Hospital Libraries


  • The library operates an automatic renewal system. 
  • This means that provided there is not a reservation on the book/s you have borrowed, or your loan is not from a library outside the East of England region, your loan will automatically renew for another 28 days without you having to do anything.
  • You have 3 automatic renewals on each book* (this is on top of your initial 28 day loan period when the book/s are first issued to you).
  • The automatic renewal will happen around two days before your current due date and you will receive an email to notify you that the book/s have been renewed.  
  • If you receive an email saying a book cannot be renewed and you have had it for less than 3 months please email us - it may be the book has been reserved for another user. If a book is reserved then you must return it to the library.  
  • If you still require the book after your three automatic renewals, then please email us and we shall see if another renewal is possible. 
  • Books on loan from outside the East of England region do not qualify for automatic renewal.  If you still need your loans after 28 days please email us as we will need to check with the loaning library if renewal is possible. 

Please note: The library has the right to recall books at anytime.  Therefore, you must return a book if you are asked to do so by a member of the library team, even if it is before the due date. 

* Some books may not be eligible for automatic renewal. 


  • Return books to the library enquiry desk (either Ipswich or Colchester) during office hours.
  • Return books via the self service machine at any time and place them in the return boxes in the library.
  • Place books in the 'Library Book Return' boxes at anytime - for Colchester this is the blue box outside of Villa 8 and for Ipswich this is the red box located along the Education Centre corridor. Library staff check these boxes daily, and any books found there will be returned on the system by staff.

  • If you are returning books borrowed from another library the self-service machine will not recognise them. Don't worry - just put them in the returns box and library staff will make sure they are removed from your account.

  • You can also return books to any other NHS Library within the East of England region and they will post it back to us.                                                     



Missing Books

The library may charge you for lost or significantly damaged books: 

  • You are responsible for every item issued to your account.
  • If items are damaged or lost you may be charged replacement costs and an admin fee.
  • The exact details will be discussed on a case by case basis with the Library Services Lead. 
  • If you have not returned books on loan from us, and do not respond to our correspondence within a certain amount of time, we shall treat the books as missing and you may be charged a replacement cost and admin fee.

Please note:  you must not let any one else use your account to borrow books. Each member of staff must have their own account if they wish to use our services. You are responsible for every item issued to your account. If they are damaged or lost you may be charged replacement costs and admin fee. 

Colchester - 01206 742146 | Ipswich - 01473 702544 (ext 1544)

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