Library conditions of use policy

UNSW Library facilities and resources are provided to support the educational, research and administrative activities of the University. UNSW Library aims to provide resources, services and study spaces that are conducive to learning and research. These conditions of use are intended to ensure equitable access for all Library clients.

The scope of this policy excludes UNSW Canberra.

Authorised clients

a) Members of the University Council, all members of staff and all students of The University of New South Wales are registered as UNSW Library members.

b) Other people may be registered as UNSW Library members under conditions determined by the University Librarian.

Access to facilities and services

a) All authorised clients and visitors to the campus have access to designated public areas within the Library building/s and to the facilities and collections in these public areas. Access may be restricted to authorised clients at particular times or dates. Booking of group study rooms, booths, study pods, individual study desks and desktop computers is limited to USW students only.

b) Authorised clients defined above in Authorised clients (a) have access to the Library's subscribed electronic resources. Some electronic resources are not available to authorised clients defined above in Authorised clients (b).

c) Authorised clients and visitors may be asked to show relevant identification when using Library facilities and may be required to authenticate themselves before using Library electronic resources.

d) Use of other clients' accounts, or attempting to gain access to Library resources under false pretences, is prohibited. Authorised clients and visitors are also prohibited from helping unauthorised clients gain access to resources and facilities.

e) UNSW Library facilities may not be used for commercial purposes.

Conditions of use of library resources

a) Borrowing conditions, loan periods and penalties for overdue items are specified in the Using the Library section of this website. It is the responsibility of authorised clients to familiarise themselves with all borrowing information on the Library website and adhere to loan periods and conditions. For information on penalties related to borrowing see Fines.

b) Library computers are provided for authorised clients and visitors for use of Library and course related resources. Clients using Library computers must comply with the following University-wide policies and procedures:

c) Library members and visitors must observe the Copyright Act 1968 provisions and regulations at all times when accessing library resources both on and off-campus. Most of the electronic resources provided by UNSW Library are subject to licence agreements and copyright restrictions. Individual clients are personally responsible for ensuring their use of these resources complies with all relevant legislation and agreements. For more information see Copyright.

Conditions of borrowing

a) Conditions of use

  • Always present your UNSW ID or Library membership card when borrowing.
  • The card is not transferable.
  • You agree to accept responsibility for all items issued on your card and agree to return all items by the due dates - the due date may change if the item is recalled.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, notify UNSW Library and the relevant University department (UNSW staff contact Estate Management and UNSW students contact The Nucleus) immediately as you may be held responsible if items are then borrowed with your card.

b) Your responsibilities

  • Return items including recalled items by the correct due dates as you will be blocked from borrowing until overdue items are returned.
    • Note: if you return overdue items outside of staffed library hours, you may not be able to borrow again until the next working day.
  • Ensure that items on loan to you are returned to the Library before travelling away from Sydney as items can be recalled at any time.
  • Pay accrued fines as you will be blocked from borrowing once your Library fines reach $20.00.
  • Check myLibrary regularly.

c) Lost or stolen cards

Report your lost or stolen card immediately to the Help Zone to prevent illegal use. The cost of card replacement is $25.00. To obtain a replacement card:

d) Library notifications - email

  • UNSW Library may send notifications to you via email. These notifications relate to requests, recalled items, overdue items and fines for lost items.
    • Notifications are sent to your official UNSW email account. Notifications for non-UNSW clients are sent to the email address nominated on your application form.
    • If you use a SPAM filter, ensure you include as a legitimate sender of emails.
  • All notifications from UNSW Library are a courtesy only and non-receipt of a notification is not considered a valid reason to waive fines. Notifications may fail to reach your email due to factors beyond UNSW Library's control. It is your responsibility for returning or renewing loans on time regardless of receipt of notifications.
  • To avoid fines and penalties check myLibrary regularly.

Conditions of use of electronic resources

a) Access to UNSW Library's electronic resources is governed by licence agreements.

b) Electronic resources may only be used for non-commercial academic research and educational purposes.

c) Conditions for downloading and copying material:

  • Downloading an entire issue of a publication is prohibited. A number of download limits are in place but are not made public for security reasons.
  • Only limited copying of copyright material is allowed. The limits are:
    • all or part of one article in a journal, more if on the same subject
    • 10% or one chapter (whichever is greater) of a book.
  • Copyright and proprietary notices must not be removed from any printed or downloaded material.
  • Use of material must be cited appropriately.
  • Use of software, including scripts, agents or robots to systematically download data/information is prohibited.

d) Failure to meet these conditions may result in the information provider suspending or cancelling access to the resource for the entire UNSW community.


a) Library members and visitors must respect other Library clients at all times and not participate in behaviour or conduct likely to interfere with the comfort or convenience of others, in accordance with the UNSW Code of Conduct and Student Code of Conduct.

b) The Library aims to be a safe and healthy environment, conducive to study for all clients.

  • Be mindful and respectful of others and keep noise to a minimum:
    • Discussions and mobile phones conversations should be kept at an acceptable level that does not disturb other clients.
    • The volume of mobile phones and electronic devices should be at a level that cannot be heard by other clients.
    • Disruptive behaviour and excessive noise are not acceptable in any space in the Library.
  • UNSW, including the Library, is a smoke-free environment, which includes all forms of smoking and e-cigarettes (vaping).
  • Hot and cold drinks (non-alcoholic) are permitted provided they are in a covered container.
  • Cold dry snacks may be eaten in most areas in the Library.
  • Meals and hot food may be eaten in one of the designated eating spaces.
  • For your own safety and the comfort of other clients, sleeping in the Library for an extended period is not permitted. Staff reserve the right to wake a sleeping person.

c) The University reserves the right to check bags, folders or other belongings of Library members and visitors.

d) Keep your personal belongings safe to prevent loss, damage or risk of injury to others.

  • Personal belongings may not be left unattended in the Library.
  • Personal belongings and power cables should not obstruct walkways or exits.
  • Any unattended items may be removed. Details are outlined in the UNSW Library's Left property policy.
  • Personal devices used in the Library are to be appropriately maintained and safe to use.
  • The Library is not responsible for any loss or damage that may occur to personal belongings.

e) Displaying posters and notices is allowed in designated areas of the Library at the discretion of the University Librarian. To request authorisation prior to display, submit an Ask a question form.

f) Photography and filming requires prior authorisation from the University Librarian. To request permission, submit an Ask a question form.

g) Children under 12 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times.

h) UNSW Library reserves the right to ask any visitor to leave Library premises for noncompliance with UNSW Library Conditions of Use, the UNSW Code of Conduct or Student Code of Conduct.


December 2023