Circulation Guidelines and Loan Policies for Community Borrowers

Please note that the following is general information concerning circulation policies.  The Hardin Library for the Health Sciences and branch Libraries and collections within libraries may have differing circulation policies.

Library Card

Your Community Borrower Card is needed to check out items.  This card isn’t honored at the UI Law Library. We strongly recommend against loaning your card to others.  All financial responsibility for items rests with the person whose ID card was used.  If your library card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, contact staff (335-5299) at the Main Library as soon as possible.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Any adult Iowa resident who has no affiliation with the University of Iowa
  • Friends of the UI Libraries
  • Iowa K-12 students with written request from a school authority or parent
  • Valid email address


The library uses e-mail to send notices. Please check your e-mail account frequently.


The hours of the libraries vary according to the university calendar.  Paper copies of library hours are available, and hours information is also found at

Loan Information

  • Books, theses, and Storage items: 4-week loan
  • Journals: 1-week loan at Main Library; other libraries may have different loan policies
  • Items with a loan period of more than 3 days can be checked out.
  • A maximum of 25 items can be checked out at a time
  • A maximum of 5 holds (recalls and/or searches) at a time
  • Most items can be renewed up to 99 times
  • A maximum of 5 videos at one time with one renewal
  • Newspapers and Reference items can’t be checked out.
  • One overdue recalled item and/or five overdue items will block further checkout privileges.
  • Overdue fines and replacement costs are charged according to the policies and procedures that apply to UI students.  The University Business Office processes library charges.

Each item will have a due date noted at checkout.  Please note this date since this can prevent overdue fine and book replacement charges. Please be aware that items can be recalled from you, often resulting in a new and earlier due date. (Please see information under “Recalls”.)  Checking “My Account” on InfoHawk+ can help manage your library checkouts.


Renewing via InfoHawk+ “My Account” is easy.  Once signed in, eligible items can be renewed from your loans list. (If you have five or more overdue items, you will be blocked from renewing online.)  Renewals can also be emailed, mailed or phoned in.  Items can also be brought into any library for renewal. Recalled items cannot be renewed.


If you need an item that is checked out you can recall it. Simply click on the “Recall” link in InfoHawk+ and follow the directions to place the recall.  The person who has the item will be contacted by the library and given a new due date.  When the item is returned, you’ll receive a notice that it is available for pick-up.

Items you have checked out can also be recalled from you. You will receive a recall notice giving a new due date.  Recall overdue fines are high and having overdue recalls can block you from checking out new items.  If you still need an item, return it to a service desk and ask for it to be recalled back for you.  (Items recalled for Reserve can’t be recalled back.)

Everyone is guaranteed two weeks with an item that has a four-week (or longer) loan, and then it can be recalled.  If an item is needed for Reserve use by a class, it can be recalled immediately (no two week guarantee), and it can’t be recalled back for you.

Promptly returning recalled items is of the utmost importance.  When classes are in session, being out of town, failing to maintain a current address or email address, or failing to check your mail or email account will not be considered a valid excuse for their delayed return.  To avoid recall fines, please either return your library items or make sure that someone can respond to your mail and return recalled items.


If you are unable to locate an item that should be on the shelf, contact staff at a service desk to initiate a search.  If it is located, you will receive a notice that it is on hold for you.  The item will remain on search for you for a year.

Courtesy/Overdue Notice

One courtesy notice will be sent just before the due date and one overdue notice will be sent after the item is due.  Please contact staff at the library that sent the notice if you have any questions or concerns about the notice.

Fines and Book Charges

  • Overdue recalls – $4.00 per day fine; maximum fine $40.00

All library charges appear on University of Iowa Cashier’s Office statements.  If an item is billed, both the maximum fine and the item replacement cost charge will appear on the statement.  When the billed item is returned, library staff will process a credit for the item replacement cost (the fine is not refunded) towards your account at the Cashier’s Office.


Off-campus access to library databases and resources is not available, due to licensing restrictions.  For further information, please see the Access to Commercial Databases policy and the Appropriate use of Electronic Resources policy.

Library cards are issued only to individuals, not to groups or businesses.  The individual named on the card takes financial responsibility for each item checked out on the card.

A card may be revoked if a holder demonstrates poor borrowing habits (e.g., repeatedly returning materials overdue, failure to respond immediately to recall notices, or violation of the “personal use only” guideline).

A librarian may restrict any cardholder from borrowing normally circulating materials in collections for which s/he is responsible if, in the librarian’s opinion, such a loan will interfere with the needs of the UI community.  The UI Libraries are not intended to take the place of a public library – they are intended primarily for the use of UI students, faculty and staff.

revised 9/16