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Our services: Using the Library: Return

Ask DULib

Contact us through our enhanced virtual enquiry desk, Ask DULib. Search our FAQs, email us, or chat with a librarian. 
Ask DULib is available to all students, staff and users.

Ask DULib, Library Help


Please return books by posting them into our external book return located to the left of the main entrance of Bill Bryson Library. This means you don't need to access the building or book a timeslot to return your books.

If you wish to take advantage of this service, we would ask the following of you when you arrive at the Library:

  • You will be expected to adhere to the social distancing measures we have put in place

  • Wipe the book return down with the anti-bacterial wipes provided before and after using the book drop

  • There will be a hand sanitiser dispenser located next to the book return for use before and after you deposit your returns

  • You must ensure you push your books all the way through the letterbox and that they drop down on the other side

If you are unable to post your books into the book return for any reason, you must not leave books outside the Library – you are still responsible for them and their safe return. Please be aware that any of the items returned via the book drop may remain on your Library record for four days, as they are quarantined.

Self-service returns

If you have booked to visit the Library for Browse and Borrow or Stay and Study and wish to return items, you can now use the two self-service returns machines opposite the Help and Information Desk on Level 2. 

How to use the self-service returns machine:

  1. Rest the spine of the item in the “V” and push it forward so the barcode label is under the red line. Listen for the “thud” sound. 

  2. Check the message on the screen and either: 

  • Place the book in the Green Bin (“Normal return”) 
  • Place the book in the Orange Bin (needs further attention from staff) 

        3. If you would like a receipt, press the “Print receipt” button once you’ve returned all your items. 

        4. Provided you have checked the book in and it needs no further attention from staff, it should be removed from your account immediately. If you discover an item is still on your account, please let us know.  

The barcode should be inside the front cover of the item; if not, look inside the back cover. If you have any problems checking your item in, please take it to the Help and Information desk. Staff will not be routinely checking items in, so please make sure you use the correct machine and the correct slot/bin.  

While Covid-19 restrictions apply, these books will be quarantined for up to four days. This quarantine period will apply as follows: 

  • books returned via the external book drop will be quarantined before they are taken off your account and returned to the shelves 

  • books returned via self-service returns are taken off your account immediately, but will be quarantined before they are shelved. 

Check your account to make sure all the items you returned have been removed from your account, being mindful of the quarantine periods outlined above. Let us know if there’s a problem. 

If you have any queries, please contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk. 

Free Postal Returns


Available to all UK-based staff and students 

We are offering a free postal returns service to all UK-based staff and students, allowing books to be returned to the Library by those who are not able to access campus in the current situation. 

How does it work?

To use this service, simply visit the Royal Mail web portal to prepare and print your own postage label at home or generate a QR code. Please ensure that each parcel you send weighs less than 3kg (you can send more than one parcel) and is packaged securely and robustly with the use of appropriate parcel packaging to avoid any potential damage.  

You can then take the parcel to any Post Office branch or a Customer Service Point attached to any Royal Mail Delivery Offices to be posted; if you selected the QR code option, Royal Mail staff will print the label for your parcel at this point.  

Your parcel will then be tracked by Royal Mail until it is safely returned to us. The items you return may not be removed from your library account immediately. Please continue to check your library account and if they are still there 10 days after posting, please contact us on  

If you have any questions about this process, or have books to return but are not currently in the UK, please contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk.