Borrowing Books

Authorized Users

  • From age 16
  • Place of residence or study in Switzerland, or members of an institution belonging to the Internationale Bodensee-Hochschule higher education network

You need a valid library card to borrow material.

Library Card

The following count as valid library cards:

  • NEBIS library cards
  • IDS library cards

The following items of ID can be used. However, the holder must register before using for the first time:

  • UZH Card
  • Careum Training Center ID
  • BibliOpass library cards

If you're not sure whether your card is valid, please drop by and we'll check whether your card can also be used at our library.

If you don't have a library card you can register with us.

If you've lost your library card, please go to one of our information desks so that we can block your old card and issue you a replacement. The replacement pass is free of charge.


If you don't yet have a library card you can register online. Your registration can be activated at one of our information desks or at the desk of a NEBIS member library. For your registration to be activated, you must produce a personal ID, for example your ID card.

You can borrow material as soon as your card has been activated.

Lending Desk & Self-Service Point

Anyone with a library card can take out borrowable material direct at the self checkout or information desk.

A maximum of 20 documents may be borrowed from each site library.

Loan Periods

General loan period 28 days each time
1st and 2nd renewal: automatic 28 days each time
3rd to 5th renewal: via your user account 28 days each time

Once the loan period has elapsed, the Main Library will send you a reminder (no charge) with the request that you renew or return the material.

You can only renew if no one else has reserved the material and you have not yet reached the 6-month maximum loan period. If renewal is not possible, you must return the material.

Once the loan period has elapsed, the material is automatically deemed to be overdue, and the reminder process will be activated as per the Main Library Regulations (PDF, 88 KB). After a recall, the first reminder and subsequent reminders (a maximum of three in total) will be sent at intervals of least one week. The third reminder will be sent by registered mail. Non-deliverable recalls and reminders will not be accepted as justification for late returns.

Ordering for Delivery to Another Pick-Up Point

The Main Library does not belong to the NEBIS loan network.

The following services are available (some subject to a charge):

What? Where to? Charges?
Material from the Main Library and the Library of the Department of Psychology To the information desk at the other sites No
Material from the Main Library and the Library of the Institutes for Systematic Botany and for Plant Biology To the information desk at the other sites No
Material from the Main Library By mail to your home address Yes
Material from any external library (Interlibrary Loan) To the information desks of the Main Library (order documents) Yes

Staff in departments at the Irchel Campus can order material from the ETH Library to pick-up at the Main Library – Science. To activate this service, please fill out the form.


Material out on loan can be reserved. You will be notified when the reserved material is made available. Material is made available for one week.

It is not possible to make a reservation for a specific date or time.

User Account

Your library card is linked to a user account.

You can use your user account to:

  • Manage your address, email, and password
  • View your material on loan, orders, and charges
  • Renew media

If you've forgotten your password, please notify us so we can reset it. You can then modify this password as desired in your user account.

Your UZH short name and UZH passwords are independent of your user account, and must be managed in the Identity Manager.

Returning Borrowed Material

Material borrowed from the Main Library can be returned at the following locations:

  • Main Library – Medicine Careum
  • Main Library – Science
  • Library of the Department of Psychology
  • Library of the Institutes for Systematic Botany and for Plant Biology

Returns by mail are possible.

The Main Library will not take back material borrowed from other libraries.

If you lose any borrowed material you must notify the Main Library immediately. You will be charged the actual costs of acquisition and a processing fee, plus reminder fees (see Main Library Rules & Regulations (PDF, 88 KB)).


Borrowing material from the Main Library's holdings is basically free of charge.

In certain cases, for example if material is returned late, specific fees will be charged (see Main Library Regulations (PDF, 88 KB)).

You can pay reminder fees at the Main Library – Medicine Careum and Main Library – Science information desks.

Using the Historical Collection

Special terms apply to the library's collection for the history of medicine. See Historical Collection.