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Ask a Librarian: Renewing Library Material

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What is a HOLD?

A HOLD means that the item requested is out on loan and has been placed on the Waiting List for the next person or persons who have requested that item. Holds are indicated on the Library Catalogue under STATUS, and the number of holds will also be indicated, e.g. 1 hold/ 2 holds. You may also see that the STATUS of an item is reflected as ON HOLDSHELF, which means the item has been returned and is about to be sent to the next Library user in the queue.

If you request an item that is on hold, expect a delay before it can be delivered to you.

What does it mean when a book is recalled?

A book is recalled before your loan period expires, or before you can renew your loan period, when another client needs it and there are no other available copies of that item.

If you borrow a loose-leaf publication, it may be recalled early if a new supplement that updates the content has arrived and the loose-leaf publication needs the new pages to be inserted.

Remember that even if you have to return an item early, you can always request it again at a later stage.

Can I renew Library material?

Yes, you can renew the Library material that you have out on loan, although certain conditions attach to your freedom to renew an item.

Renewals (that is, an extension of your loan period) are granted only if:

  • there is no Waiting List (holds) for that item
  • you do not have overdue items or an outstanding amount owed on your loan record
  • you have not exceeded the number of times you may renew an item*
  • you have completed your final examination for the semester or year
  • your registration is about to expire

* Undergraduate students are allowed two renewals and postgraduate students are allowed three renewals.

How do I renew books and other material I have borrowed?

Library material may be renewed in a number of ways. Choose whichever method is the most convenient for you:


Telephonic renewals


Mon to Fri 07h45-16h00

+27 012 429 4164


+27 011 471 3068/ 2933

After hours number:

+27 012 429 3560



Have your student number and the details of the books at hand when you call.


Online renewals via the Library Catalogue


Visit the Unisa Library home page.

Glide your cursor over My Library, and select myLibrary/ Renewals/ Login. Enter your student number and myUnisa password and click on LOGIN.

Scroll down to see the items that out on loan to you. You may renew items individually by clicking in the box to the left of each book or item you wish to renew and then click on Renew Marked, or you may Renew All.



Always check:

  • that the renewal was successful. If the renewal fails, the reason will be indicated, and you will need to return the book or item; and
  • note the new due date and make a printout as a reminder.


Postal renewals by letter, card or fax

Post letters or renewal cards to:

The Head: Request Services, Unisa Library, PO Box 392, UNISA, 0003, RSA.

Fax letters or renewal cards to: 

+27 012 429 8128




Requests for renewal must reach the Library 4 days before the due date.



Note that the item being renewed does not need to be returned to the Library together with the request. It may remain with you at this stage.