The University of Iowa Libraries

Circulation Services

print page banner

Circulation Guidelines and Loan Policies for Undergraduate Students and Merit Staff

There are many separate collections within the Main Library.   Reserve, Main Media, 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.


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


The hours of the Main Library and the departments within the building vary according to the university calendar.  Paper copies of library hours are available at the library. Hours information is also found at

Loan Information

  • Books, thesis, and Storage items: 4-week loan
  • Bound Journals from Storage: 4week loan
  • Journals: 1-week loan at Main Library; other libraries may have different loan policies
  • A maximum of 98 items can be checked out at any one time
  • Unlimited renewals unless recalled
  • A maximum of 10 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 east 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.


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 service 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.

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, 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 on the shelf, please contact staff at a service desk to initiate a search of the item for you.  If it is located, you will receive a notice that it 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.

Overdue Notice

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 Business Office statements.

If an item is so overdue that it 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 overdue fine is not refunded) and forward the credit to the Business Office.

revised 3/15