Access Code for Western Libraries

1. General guidelines for ensuring maximum access to Library services and resources

The purpose of this Code is to provide guidelines that will promote the maximum accessibility to, and the efficient sharing of, the materials and resources available in, or provided by, Western Libraries. Western Libraries recognizes that information is of paramount importance to members of the academic community and that access to information should not be restricted by unnecessary or arbitrary regulations. Western Libraries strives to offer reliable and efficient services that are courteously delivered and, therefore, the guidelines and regulations provided below are intended to be as generous as possible.

2. Intellectual freedom

Western Libraries supports the Ontario Library Association’s “Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual” and the Canadian Library Association’s “Statement on Intellectual Freedom” which is reproduced in part below:

All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation’s Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.

Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.

It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials.

Libraries should resist all efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.

3. Privacy

To protect the privacy of users and their personal right to consult and borrow library materials without prejudice, it is library policy that, except where required by law, the records of library users are not released to any person, institution, association, or agency outside of the University for any reason except as may be required in applying the penalties specified below.

4. Access

4.1 Access to collections

Western Libraries is open to the general public and visitors are welcomed. Most collections in the libraries are on display and available for browsing and use within the Libraries. Access to some resources may be restricted and use of those resources reserved exclusively for the faculty, staff and students of the University and its immediate affiliates. Limitations on staffing, equipment and material resources constrain the level of support Western Libraries can provide to non-University users.

4.2 Access to electronic resources

The catalogue of Western Libraries is freely available electronically as are many of the guides, policy statements and publications produced by the Libraries. Where possible, Western Libraries allows access to some workstations and unrestricted databases and to those electronic resources which are available free to the public. Library workstations are provided primarily, however, to access information in support of the University's teaching and research and to enhance scholarly communication. Priority is given to academic use. Western Libraries complies with the campus policy for the use of computing resources and corporate data.

Electronic databases for which Western Libraries or other units within the University pay subscription fees are generally restricted to immediate members of the University community. Licensing constraints applied by the vendors typically limit access to currently employed faculty and staff and currently enrolled students, and use of the databases is intended for academic purposes exclusively. Economic constraints or vendor requirements may limit the use of some databases to students and faculty in a particular academic department or professional discipline. Access is also not permitted to non-University users accessing Western Libraries remotely.

5. Users

Western Libraries is open to the general public and everyone may use most of the materials housed in the libraries or consult library staff for assistance in accessing the collections and some of the services. Western Libraries supports the principle of open access to the library resources while keeping in mind that the primary purpose of the Libraries is to plan for, develop and provide access to the information resources and services required to support teaching and research at the University. Western Libraries is funded primarily to meet the research and curricular needs of the members of the University community who are given priority access to library services and collections.

5.1 Primary users

The privileges of Primary Users include the borrowing of any materials that circulate, the recall of materials on loan that are eligible for recall, the use of Interlibrary Loan Services, access to extended loan privileges, and access to a wide variety of electronic resources and databases. Primary Users include:

  1. all undergraduate students taking courses for credit, graduate students and faculty of the University of Western Ontario and its affiliated institutions;
  2. all people employed by the University of Western Ontario and its affiliated institutions;
  3. all recipients of the “Professor Emeritus/a” or “Clinical Professor Emeritus/a” designation;
  4. all people on campus for periods of limited duration who are engaged in activities supported or organized by the University of Western Ontario and its affiliated institutions;
  5. all people who enjoy an ongoing affiliation with the University through research, instructional, professional or administrative activities.

5.2 Secondary users

Secondary Users are permitted to borrow any materials that circulate, with the exception of a small number of items that are reserved specifically to support the University’s teaching or research. Secondary Users are not permitted to have extended loans, recall items on loan or use the Interlibrary Loan Services. Access to electronic resources may be prohibited because of licensing agreements. Secondary Users include:

  1. all alumni of the University and its affiliated colleges;
  2. retired faculty not designated “Professor Emeritus/a” or “Clinical Professor Emeritus/a”and retired staff of the University and its affiliated institutions;*
  3. students and faculty of other universities that have reciprocal arrangements with Western Libraries;
  4. individuals engaged in legitimate research or instructional, professional, administrative activities. To qualify, individuals must complete an application form and, if approval is granted, a library identification card will be issued.

*The user status of these groups will depend in part upon the various administrative or collective agreements in force at the University, as well as campus computing arrangements and the legal requirements outlined in the licenses of the electronic products to which Western Libraries subscribes.

6. Identification

Western Libraries needs to be able to identify users in order to operate efficiently, allocate resources appropriately and be in compliance with licensing agreements. Library staff may require identification to ensure users are eligible to use various services or resources. Access may be denied if adequate proof is not presented.

6.1 Identification cards

In order to borrow materials, patrons must have a valid University identification card at the time of borrowing. In those instances where individuals have more than one University identification card, only one will be validated for library use. Those Secondary Users who do not have university identification will be issued a library identification card. Identification cards are not transferable and are intended for the sole use of the individual named on the card (except as noted below). The person named on the identification card is responsible for all materials charged out on that card. Lost or stolen cards must be reported immediately to the Libraries as well as the appropriate University office to avoid possible misuse. It is the responsibility of the user to report to the Libraries as well as the appropriate University office any change in address, e-mail or telephone number.

6.2 Surrogate identification cards

Faculty members may designate one or more people to borrow items for them by registering their proxies at a Circulation Desk.

6.3 Identification numbers/passwords

Numerical identification and passwords may be used in some cases to access electronic resources or to borrow material. The access rights and privileges associated with the numbers are not transferable and are intended for the sole use of the person to whom they have been granted. Western Libraries adheres to the campus computing policy for the use of computing resources and corporate data where it is noted that sharing of accounts is not allowed.

7. Circulation regulations and procedures

The circulation policies of Western Libraries are based on a need to extend the limited resources to meet the demand, and the desire to see that material circulates quickly and fairly to users.

7.1 Regular loan periods

The regular loan periods for most circulating material are defined in the table at the end of this document. All materials out for regular loan periods are subject to recall.

7.2 Shortened loan periods (high demand materials)

It is desirable for the Libraries to strike a balance between the length of the loan period and material availability. Material in high demand may be placed on short loan status at the discretion of the library staff. Periodicals in some libraries also circulate for a short loan period.

7.3 Extended loan periods

Primary Users may be granted selected materials for an extended period. Eligible borrowers may request such a loan and the decision concerning the request, the number and type of materials to be borrowed, and the length of the extended loan will be made by the head of the charging unit or a designate. All materials on extended loan are subject to recall. Secondary Users are not eligible to apply for extended loans.

7.4 Recalled loan periods

Any item on regular or extended loan may be recalled. The original borrower is assured of at least seven days use of the requested item before it must be returned. Any library material which is recalled must be returned directly to the issuing library by the date specified. Secondary Users may not recall books on loan.

7.5 Renewal of loans

Items that are out on regular or extended loan may be renewed prior to the due date unless they have been recalled or reserved for another patron, or the user requesting the renewal is suspended. Items that have been assigned a short loan status are not renewable.

Material can be renewed online through Western Libraries’ catalogue or brought in person to one of the libraries. Material not renewed before the due date must be returned to one of the libraries for renewal. There are no telephone renewals. Users who renew books electronically are expected to keep track of the new due dates.

7.6 Return procedures

Library material should be returned as soon as it is no longer needed so that it is available for use by others. Short loan material that is signed out for less than a day should be returned promptly. It is the responsibility of the borrower to ensure that hourly limits have not been exceeded. Other materials are to be returned on or before the due date or date specified on the recall notice. All regular loan material that has not been recalled can be returned to any of the libraries. Short loan and recalled material must be returned directly to the issuing library.

7.7 Non-circulating material

In order to assure fair and efficient access and to protect rare resources, there are materials in each library that, because of their nature and use, do not circulate. Generally these materials include: reference works, government documents, periodicals, microforms, manuscripts, maps, pamphlets, audiovisual items, and materials housed in the Special and Regional Collections. Exceptions and additions are noted in each location where applicable.

NOTE: Some of the non-circulating materials may be circulated for a limited period at the discretion of the head of the unit holding the materials. These materials will be subject to overdue fines noted elsewhere.

8. Penalties for violation of circulation privileges

8.1 Suspension of borrowing privileges

Borrowers who hold library materials overdue, or who are otherwise indebted to the Libraries, will have their borrowing privileges suspended. Borrowing privileges will be reinstated when all overdue materials are returned and all fines and processing fees are paid. Repeated violation of borrowing rules may lead to the permanent suspension of privileges.

8.2 Fines for overdue materials

  1. Daily fines are assessed for each of the following types of materials:
    • each item on loan (regular, short or extended) not returned by the due date;
    • each recalled item not returned by the date specified on the recall notice.
  2. Hourly fines are assessed for each item on short loan for two hours or less not returned by the time due.
  3. Fines accumulate until materials are returned or replaced.

8.3 Billing fees

Materials not returned within 35 days after the due date are presumed lost. Non-refundable fees will be charged to cover the costs associated with ensuring overdue library materials are returned and fines paid.

8.4 Damage to or loss of Library materials

A fee will be charged for the repair of damaged material or the replacement of lost material. Damage to, or loss of, materials should be promptly reported. Where applicable, a fine accumulates until the library is notified that an item is damaged or lost. A user who returns or replaces an item reported lost remains subject to the fine. Borrowers are also responsible for any processing fees assessed for any lost or damaged material. Such materials, although they have been paid for, remain the property of the University of Western Ontario and must be returned.

8.5 Collection of charges for overdue, lost or damaged materials

  1. Borrowers who fail to pay fines, or who fail to pay for lost or damaged library materials, or for any charges otherwise incurred will be billed by Western Libraries.
  2. Failure to pay library fines and/or bills will result in the application of sanctions approved by the University which include sealing of the academic record, withholding of Grade Reports, Permits to Register, transcripts, degree diplomas, and the right to further registration. Sanctions will be in force until such time as indebtedness to the University, including payment of the fee for removal of the seal, is cleared to the satisfaction of the University.
  3. Those who are not covered by university applied sanctions may face other penalties. Western Libraries reserves the right to take appropriate action and/or engage the services of collection agencies.

8.6 Non-receipt of notices

Borrowers must notify the Libraries as well as the appropriate University office regarding change of address, telephone number or e-mail. The non-receipt of library notices by a borrower does not relieve the borrower from any of the above fines and/or fees, and suspension of privileges.

9. Abuse of Library materials

9.1 Offences

It is an offence for anyone to:

  1. wilfully fail to return library materials on loan;
  2. steal, or attempt to steal, any library materials;
  3. mutilate or deface library materials;
  4. wilfully misplace or conceal library materials so as to deprive others of their use;
  5. wilfully misuse or damage library equipment.

"Library materials" include, but are not limited to, books, periodicals, newspapers, monographs, maps, documents, compact disks or floppy disks, microform or audiovisual materials and any other forms or means of recording or storing data or information which may from time to time be used in Western Libraries.

"Library equipment" includes, but is not limited to, furniture, files and records, photocopying, audiovisual and computer equipment, and all other equipment and appurtenances incidental to the operation of Western Libraries.

9.2 Penalties

When someone is alleged to have committed an offence listed in section 9.1, the University Librarian shall inquire into the matter and, if it is determined that an offence has been committed, the Librarian shall:

  1. order the offender to pay the full replacement cost of the library materials affected, or the full cost of repair or replacement of the library equipment, as the case may be;


    give notice to the offender that the right to access services and materials provided by Western Libraries has been suspended;


  2. report the incident and consequences to the appropriate departmental Chair or Dean, and to the Manager of the University Police Department.

Criminal offences such as theft or vandalism of library property shall, in the absence of compelling extenuating circumstances, be reported to the City of London Police.

10. Appeals procedure

Questions concerning fines or other charges should be directed initially to the Circulation desk in the Library where the charge was incurred or the problem originated. Every attempt shall be made to provide a fair and reasonable application of the regulations outlined in this code and of the fines and charges assessed when the regulations are violated. In disputed cases the process for appealing decisions is outlined below:

10.1 Stage one: discussions with the Director of the Library

If the dispute remains unresolved, the appellant will be referred to the Director of the Library who may request that the appellant put the appeal in writing. In turn, the Director of the Library is bound to respond in writing after having discussed the appeal with the appellant. These submissions will be part of the documentation of any subsequent appeal.

10.2 Stage two: written submissions to the Associate University Librarian (Information Services)

The appellant and the Director of the Library shall present written submissions to the Associate University Librarian (Information Services) (Room M16, The D.B. Weldon Library) within 14 days of the decision of the Director. The Associate University Librarian (Information Services) will provide a written decision.

10.3 Stage three: final appeal to the University Librarian

The appellant who remains dissatisfied can present a written appeal to the University Librarian (Room 201, The D. B. Weldon Library) The University Librarian will make the final decision based on the written submissions presented by all parties. The University Librarian shall provide a written decision of the appeal to the appellant, and to the Director of the relevant library as appropriate.

Appeals should be made within six months of the infraction. No appeals will be heard against the principle of fining or the rate of fines.

11. General regulations

11.1 Security:

Users are required to submit library materials, brief cases, purses, knapsacks, etc. for inspection when the security system is activated or when requested to do so by library staff.

11.2 Food and drink:

To protect the environment within Western Libraries, eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited in all areas of all libraries unless otherwise designated.

11.3 Comportment:

Western Libraries follows the standards for appropriate behaviour outlined in The University of Western Ontario Code of Student Conduct [pdf]. As stated in the Code “all members of the University community are responsible for ensuring that their conduct does not jeopardize the good order and proper functioning of the academic and non-academic programs and activities of the University or its faculties, schools or departments, nor endanger the health, safety, rights or property of the University or its members or visitors”.

11.4 Copyright:

It is the policy of Western Libraries to comply fully with both the letter and spirit of the law with respect to copyright for print materials and electronic databases, and thereby honor intellectual property rights. In addition, unless stated otherwise, it must be assumed that all software and database content are protected by vendor license agreements.

New Access Code as Accepted by Senate May 2001 (Revised September 2002)
Regular Loan Period:
Undergraduate Students, Staff 120 days
Faculty, Post Doctoral Fellows, PhD Students, Masters Students 120 days
Librarians & Archivists 120 days
Faculty / Librarian / Archivist Emeriti 120 days
Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program 28 days
Retired Faculty & Retired Staff 28 days
Alumni, Guest Borrowers & Direct Borrowers 28 days
Fines (per item):
Hourly Loans $2.00 per hour
Short Loans (1 - 7 Days) $2.00 per day
Recalls $4.00 per day