Returning books

You can bring them to the Service or Membership desks, or return them yourself at the self return machine on the 4th floor. The self return machine will issue a receipt for your transaction, which you should keep for your records.

If you would like help using the self return machine, please ask a member of staff and they will be pleased to assist you.


Late returns or renewals

Fines are charged on items returned or renewed after their due date. You can pay online via the University of London Online Store.


Returning books when the Library is closed

An out of hours Returns Drop Box is located on the ground floor of Senate House next to the reception desk. It is available from shortly before the library closes until 9.00 pm Monday to Friday when the building closes and until 6 pm on Saturday when the building closes.

The building and Library is closed on Sunday and some University and public holidays, please see our operating hours. The box is collected and emptied at the start of each day the library is open from Monday to Saturday. Books are checked in on the morning the box is opened.  If your book was due back the day before, you will accrue a fine of 30p per book.

Our Offsite Store in Egham, Surrey has a Returns Drop Box for Senate House Library books for members at Royal Holloway, University of London. The box is located in the fence by the green gates leading to the Offsite Store at Spring Rise. The Drop Box is open for books 24/7. Books are checked in at 4pm each working day.


Postal returns – how it works

If you are unable to return your books in person and cannot renew them, you may post your books back to the Library. We recommend that you use a recorded delivery service as you are still liable for books and responsible for fines or the cost of replacement if they were delayed or went missing while they were in transit.

Please return them to: Book returns, Senate House Library, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU and allow sufficient time for them to be received. You can check that they have been returned by logging into your Library record.


Lost books – fees and other options

  • There’s a £50 replacement fee or the option to buy an exact replacement (and pay a £10 administration fee).
  • The Library will accept a second hand copy in good condition.
  • If you replace or pay for a lost book we will waive the fine for its late return, if it has one.
  • Once you’ve either replaced or paid for a lost book, no refund can be provided if you find it later on.
  • Please contact the relevant Research Librarian for further information about replacing a lost book yourself.


Claimed Return Policy

  • Please contact a member of staff either in person or by emailing
  • Please give full details of the book concerned including where and when you believe the book was returned to the Library.
  • Library staff will then carry out a full search process over a number of weeks and update you by email regarding any progress.
  • The book remains your responsibility until it is either found by library staff or returned to the Library.  If the book is returned late to the Library, you will incur fines.  If the book is not found by the end of the search process, you will instead be charged for a lost book and the fines for its late return will be waived.