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Requesting and finding library material: Request and download recommended library material

This guide will cover library services to students who cannot visit a Unisa library

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

If you are experiencing problems accessing the form, please use this link


This is a quick guide which will orientate you about  the available services to be used in conjunction with your Tutorial Letter 101

Please note : Any registered Unisa student or staff member, with the exception of students of certain certificates and programmes, may borrow Library material.

The borrowing of Library material is subject to the Library's lending regulations.

The Copyright Law of South Africa (Copyright Act 98 of 1978) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. One of the conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction may be used only for the purpose of private study, scholarship or research.

Please familiarise yourself with the Policy for Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism.

How will material be delivered?

Postal delivery is the default method of delivery of requested Library material. Note that there are additional delivery options available to you that you may find more convenient.

NOTE : If the item is on the Waiting List?

Your requested Library material will be delivered to you in any one of the following ways :

1. Collect at the SA Post Office

Books and other Library material will be delivered via the secure service of the South African Post Office. 

  • You will receive a parcel collection notice when the parcel arrives at your Post Office
  • Collect the item promptly to avoid incurring a Library fine
  • The Post Office will return the parcel to the Unisa Library if it is not collected promptly
  • When you collect the item at the Post Office, you will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of receipt which you must keep

You are able to track the status of the item(s) posted to you on myUnisa:

  • Choose My Admin
  • Select Parcel Tracking menu
  • You will see the parcel Track and Trace Number and the corresponding status

2. Collect at a Unisa Regional Branch Library

If you wish to collect your requested material from the following Branch Libraries, you must indicate your choice of collection point in the “special instructions” section of the online request form: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Ekurhuleni, Ethiopia, Florida, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Pietermaritzburg, Polokwane, Rustenburg, or Sunnyside.

  • The Branch Library will notify you to collect the parcel when it has arrived at the Branch Library. Collect the parcel promptly to avoid incurring a Library fine
  • The Branch Library will return the parcel to the Unisa Library within 10 days of the notification, so collect your parcel promptly
  • Make sure that you get an acknowledgement of collection

3. Collect from a Partner Library

Library material may also be collected from one of the following partner libraries.

If you wish to collect your material from one of these Libraries, you must indicate your choice of collection point in the “special instructions” section of the online request form.

4. Courier

NOTE : Courier delivery to a preferred address is available only to a disabled Unisa student or staff member.

Request recommended books listed in TUT 101

You can request the required recommended books in the following ways:

1. Via the Summon Library Catalogue 

  • Go to Summon
  • type the title of your recommended book in the search box
  • select the relevant title from the results list and click on the Request it button
  • log in with your Unisa student number and myUnisa password

2. Via your mobile device

Please indicate whether there is a deadline for the material as well as any special instructions and submit the request.

You can indicate if you want your requested material delivered at any of the Branch Libraries or Partner Libraries.

text box where you can indicate special instructions regarding the request, e.g. deadline, delivery destination

Please note: Request material well in advance of the various due dates of your assignments 

How many items may I borrow at a time?

  • Undergraduate: 8 items including audiovisual items
  • Postgraduate: 16 items including audiovisual items
  • Undergraduate music students: 12 items of which 8 may be audiovisual items
  • Postgraduate music students: 20 items of which 8 may be audiovisual items
  • Non-degree purposes, short learning programmes and certificates: 4 items (no audiovisual items)

Download e-reserves listed in TUT 101

You can download e-reserve articles listed in your TUT letter by typing in your course code in the box below :

Course Code Search

Select the relevant title

Select an item to download

Before downloading you will be asked to log in with you student number &  password

You may also download the e-reserves via your mobile device at or  the Library app available  from iStore or  Google Play store

How do I renew material?

You may renew your Library material in a number of ways:

Renewals will be declined if there is an outstanding account on a student /staff member's loan record or if the student /staff member failed, upon request, to return an item that is on the waiting list for another user.

Only two consecutive renewals are allowed. Items that cannot be renewed must be returned to the Library immediately.

How do I return material?

Library material can be returned on or before the due date of the loan period in the following ways : 

  • in person at a Regional Branch Library or at a Partner Library,
  • by post, or
  • by courier.

Please note :

  • students are liable for the cost of returning Library material by courier or by post (SAPO)
  • Library material may be returned in person at any of the following Regional Branch Libraries: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Ekurhuleni, Ethiopia, Florida, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Pietermaritzburg, Polokwane, Rustenburg, or Sunnyside. The Branch Libraries will then return the items to the Pretoria Library on your behalf free of charge
  • alternatively, Library material may be also returned in person at one of the following Partner Libraries
  • when you return Library material in person, you must get a receipt that you keep as proof of return
  • you do not need to return photocopies of articles, law reports, etc., to the Library. The photocopies are for your personal use, and should be kept.
  • return Library material in strong, secure packages to avoid damage or loss in transit
  • when returning assistive devices,please return the device in its original packaging and ensure that all the contents are safely included and returned

Postal address for returning material:

Request Services, Unisa Library
PO Box 392
UNISA, 0003

Important to Note :

Damaged or lost Library material is replaced at the student’s or staff member's cost.

If you have any unreturned Library material or an unpaid Library fine against your account, you will:

  • be temporarily blocked from accessing the Library’s various electronic resources
  • may have your examination results withheld
  • may not be able to register for the next semester or academic year of study

Pay close attention to any reminders or messages from the Library.