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Your WatCard gives you access to all print and electronic resources available at University of Waterloo libraries, and many resources at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph by placing a hold. You can also borrow items from other Ontario universities.

Loan periods

The following information applies to most items in our catalogue, but there are some exceptions. Learn more about borrowing privileges.

  • books = 2 weeks
  • journals = 3 days
  • theses = 2 weeks (graduate students only)
  • films = 3 days

Graduate students, faculty and staff members can sign most books out for term loan.

Learn more about borrowing privileges.


Renewals can be done online through your account or in person at any library branch. Online renewals must be done before the due date. Most items can be renewed an unlimited number of times, provided there are no holds or recalls on the items. The exceptions are:

  • course reserves = no renewals
  • theses = no renewals
  • films = no renewals
  • journals = 2 renewals


Fines can be paid in person at any library location by cash, debit or credit card. We can also accept fines payment over the phone with a credit card. Overdue charges are:

  • 1- and 3-hour reserves = $0.05/minute
  • 1- and 3-day reserves = $20/day
  • recalled items = $1/day
  • all other items = $0.25/day

Learn more about our fines and overdue charges.

Holds and recalls

You can place a hold on most items in the Library catalogue using the request tab.

If an item is already signed out, you have three options. You can:

  • Place a hold. There is no guarantee when you will receive the item, but the person who currently has it will be prevented from renewing it.
  • Ask at the Help Desk for Name Release.
  • Place a recall. The person who has the item will have 7 days to return it, and will face increased fines after the new due date.

Interlibrary loan

Use interlibrary loan (ILL) to borrow items that aren't in the catalogue. Learn more about using ILL.

Returning items

Return items to the Help Desk inside Musagetes Library. Outside of library hours you can place them in the book return slot, across the hall from the third floor staircase. Call Security from the intercom located at the Melville Street entrance to access the building.

Items can also be returned to any branch of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier or Guelph libraries. If you're in Toronto, items can be returned to Ryerson University, York University or OCAD libraries.

Name release

Saying "yes" to name release allows us to give your name and contact information to another student who is interested in looking at a book you have signed out. This may prevent the book from being recalled. You can update your name release status with any staff at our Help Desk.

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