The University of Iowa Libraries

Circulation Services

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Circulation Guidelines and Loan Policies for Graduate and Honors Students

There are many separate collections within the Main Library.   Reserve, Media Services, Special Collections, Map Collection, and the Iowa Women’s Archives have their own circulation policies.

Library Card

Your University of Iowa identification card is needed to check out items. We strongly recommend against loaning your card to others.  All financial responsibility rests with the person whose ID card was used.  If your U of Iowa ID Card is lost or stolen, please notify the Iowa One® Card Center in 3 Jessup Hall, 319-335-2716, or email If your UIHC Badge is lost or stolen, notify the UI Health Care Badge Center, 319-384-7089 (after hours, call Facility Safety and Security, 319-356-2658). If you’ve lost your paper library card, contact staff (319-335-5299) at the Main Library.

Honor Students

As long as you are registered in the Honors Program, your University of Iowa identification card will reflect this status and give you the loan privileges noted below.


The library uses your University e-mail account to send recall, item available, and other notices. Please check your account daily.

Loan Information

  • Books, thesis, and classified Storage items: due the last Wednesday in June
  • Bound journals from Storage: 4-week loan
  • Journals: 1-week loan at Main Library; other libraries may have different loan policies
  • A maximum of 500 items can be checked out at any one time
  • Unlimited renewals (unless recalled)
  • A maximum of 25 videos at one time
  • Newspapers and Reference items can’t be checked out.
  • Two overdue recalled items will block further checkout privileges.

Each item will have a due date 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 Smart Search or InfoHawk helps manage library checkouts.


Items can be returned at any time to the outside return slots built into the north and south sides of the Main Library.  There are also return slots inside the east entrance available when that door is open. These slots are labeled “Books” and “Media.”


Renewing via Smart Search or InfoHawk’s “My Account” is easy.  Once signed in eligible items can be renewed from your loans list. Renewals can also be emailed, mailed or phoned in.  Items can also be brought into any library for renewal. Recalled items cannot be renewed.  The renewal period begins the first Monday in May and extends to 31 August.


If you need an item that is checked out, you are encouraged to recall it.  Simply click “Request” in Smart Search or the “Recall” link in InfoHawk. The person who has the item will be contacted by the library and given a new due date.  This date is usually a week from the date the recall is placed.  When the item is returned, you’ll receive a notice that it is available for pick-up at the library of your choosing or delivered to a campus office. You can also initiate an interlibrary loan request for the item.

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 the recalled item, return it to a circulation desk and ask for it to be recalled back for you.  (Items recalled for Reserve can’t be recalled back.) You can also initiate an interlibrary loan request for the item.

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 for use by a class, then 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 failing to check your 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 in the book stacks, please contact staff at a circulation desk to initiate a search of the item for you.  If it is located, you will receive a notice that the item is on hold for you.  If it isn’t located after a week, you’ll receive a notice to contact either Interlibrary Loan or the Acquisitions Department.  The item will also remain on search for you for a year.

Courtesy/Overdue Notice

A courtesy notice is sent in early May and two overdue notices are sent in the summer for items due the last Wednesday of June.

One overdue notice will be sent for all other items.  Please contact staff at the library that sent the notice if you have any questions.

Fines and Book Charges

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

If an item is so overdue that it is billed, both the maximum fine and the item replacement charge will appear on the statement.  When the billed item is returned, library staff will process a credit for the replacement cost (the fine is not refunded) and forward the credit to the Business Office.

All library charges appear on University of Iowa Business Office statements.


The hours of the Main Library and the departments within the building vary according to the university calendar.

revised 3/15