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Distance Learners: Distance Learners

Everything you need to know about using the Library as a distance learner.

This page contains information for students who rarely visit the university campus.  It offers advice on making the most of the Library whilst studying from home and directs you to information about:

  • WorldCat
  • Borrowing books*
  • Using resource request services
  • Accessing online resources
  • Using your university email and Blackboard accounts
  • Asking for help and advice    

*Not available to students based overseas

Contacting You

It is important that you check your university email account regularly.  Loan reminders, overdue notices, and messages about reservations and loans are always sent via email.

Computer Accounts

At the start of your course you will be contacted with details of your library, email and Blackboard* accounts. If you visit the campus you are welcome to use any of the computers in the Library or the 24/7 IT Suite, or you can bring your own device and connect to the BGU wi-fi network; for more information on this and other library facilities see our Facilities and Equipment LibGuide.

*The University’s virtual learning environment. 

Using Other Libraries

If you live some distance away from Lincoln it’s worth checking if you can use other libraries that will be more local to you.  Public libraries are the obvious example but you might be surprised to learn how many other types of libraries you can visit. For more about this please see our guide on Using Other Libraries.


The Library provides access to over 140,000 printed resources as well as thousands of e-books and millions of journal articles.

WorldCat is our library catalogue and resource discovery tool and allows you to search across many of the Library’s holdings - print and online - at the same time.  You can also check what you have on loan, renew items and place holds using the My BGU Library Account link.  For more about WorldCat see our All About WorldCat LibGuide.

For more about online resources, including how to access them off campus, see our Online Resources LibGuide, and for more about library resources in general see the subject LibGuide relevant to your course: go to the LibGuides homepage and click on Subject Guides.

Returning and Renewing Loans

We strongly advise, before borrowing library resources, that you take time to consider if and how you will be able to return them, particularly if you live some distance away, and particularly with items such as one week loans which attract higher fines.  

If you have items on loan we recommend you check your library account regularly to make sure nothing is overdue or about to become overdue.  You will receive an email reminder three days before each return date. If you plan to renew any of your loans it is best to do this as early as possible in case there is a problem.  For example, an item will not renew if:

  • a hold has been placed on it by someone else
  • it is overdue
  • your library fines exceed £10

Fines will only be excused in cases of authorised absence (e.g. illness) where the absence can be corroborated by a member of academic staff. For more information about fines please see our guide to Fines.

You, or a friend or family member, can return loans in person by handing them in at the Service Desk, by using the self-service machine, or by placing them in the drop box outside the Cornerstone Building.  Items placed in the drop box will be checked in when it is next emptied (afternoons and evenings on weekdays, afternoons on Saturdays and Sundays).  Items placed in the drop box after the last emptying will be checked in the following day.  NB. Because we operate a one-day grace period, if you place an item in the drop box on its due date and the drop box is not emptied until the following day, you will not be charged a fine. 

Loans can be posted back to us, at your own expense, but please make sure you ask for proof of postage.  

Resource Request Services

The Library offers a number of resource request services including holds, postal loans, document supply and scanning.  For more on all of these services please see our guide to Requesting Resources.

Your ID Card

You will need a university ID card if you intend to visit the campus and use any of the following facilities:  

  • The Library
  • The 24/7 IT Suite
  • The campus car park
  • Photocopiers and printers

To obtain an ID card visit the IT Helpdesk in the CELT Centre (please check before making a special journey that the Helpdesk is open, especially if you plan to visit in the evening or at a weekend - see here for information on how to contact them). If you had a photograph taken at enrolment IT Services will be able to use this, otherwise you will need to bring your passport, photo driving licence, or another form of photo ID with you.  Without photo ID IT Services will be unable to issue you with an ID card.