To borrow media from the library, you will need to be a registered user, i.e. you need a library card, which is for free.
If you only wish to browse or copy books, media or journals in our reading room, you can do this without having to register for a library card.
Anyone who is resident in Germany can apply for a library card in person by visiting ZB MED.
As well as your personal details, the library will also require the following information:
- Employees of the University of Cologne: office/department, including address and faculty
- Students at the University of Cologne: faculty and student registration number
- Students of other Cologne institutions of higher education: student registration number
Official documents must be submitted to verify the information you write on the application form and to show that you fulfil the eligibility requirements. Should this not be possible, then some other form of proof must be provided.
- a valid ID card, or
- a passport together with proof of residence in the form of a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung)
- a driving licence together with proof of residence in the form of a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung)
- a foreign ID card together with proof of residence in the form of a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) or electronic residence permit (eAT)
Note that we can only accept your registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) if it is less than two years old.
Minors must include the written consent of their legal representative (guardian) with their application. Declaration of consent (PDF)(German)
By signing the application form you are agreeing to the ZB MED library regulations.
In exceptional cases, the library may choose to waive certain requirements of the application process.
Library cards are valid for one semester in the case of students, and one year for everybody else. After this period, you can extend the validity of your library card by presenting the required documents.
The authorisation for a library card can be annulled on request. Please note that the card will no longer be valid if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements. Please return invalid library cards to ZB MED.
Please also inform us without delay if there are any changes to or inaccuracies in the information you provided on the application form, or if there are any changes that affect the eligibility requirements.
What if I lose my library card?
Your library card remains the property of the library and is non-transferable. It must be handled with care and kept in a safe place. If you lose your card, you must notify the library without delay. Remember that you are liable for any misuse of your library card even if no fault or negligence has occurred. The charge for issuing a new copy of a library card is 10 euros.
Maintenance of our computer systems takes place on the first Friday of every month between 7 AM and 10 AM. The library's lending system and LIVIVO may not be available for some or all of this time.
The following types of media are available for borrowing at ZB MED: For an overview of where different items are located, please see the section entitled Where can I find...?
Textbook collection (located in the ground floor reading room):
- These items are issued at the self-service issue machines on the ground floor, which scan the number of your library card and then require you to enter your password (date of birth: DDMMYY)
- Please return items to the lending desk on the ground floor.
- Books from the textbook collection cannot be reserved, renewed or taken out on loan for an entire semester.
- Textbooks can only be borrowed by individuals who are resident in Cologne or who work/study in Cologne and by members or employees of the University of Cologne and of other institutes of higher education in Cologne.
Books acquired since 2010 and patient reference materials (located in the ground floor reading room):
- These items must be issued and returned at the lending desk on the ground floor.
Books acquired up to 2009, dissertations, CD-ROMs and other media (shelved in the stack):
- Can be ordered using LIVIVO
- They will be kept available for collection for a maximum of 10 days (not counting days when the library is closed).
- These items are issued, returned and collected at the lending desk on the ground floor.
New! Book Return Box
You can now return borrowed items outside library opening hours by depositing them in the book return box located in the foyer.
Please note that items you leave in this box will not be registered as returned until the next working day – this is the date which will be logged in your account as the actual return date. If you are leaving items in the box which will be past their due date once they are logged in the system on the following working day, please make sure to pay any fines you may have incurred at the issue desk within a maximum of two weeks.
Remember that you use the book return box at your own risk – in other words you are still liable for the items until they are actually logged in the system as returned.
If you prefer to receive a printed confirmation of returned items, we recommend that you return the items during normal library opening hours.
To search for books and other media, please use our LIVIVO search portal. The search results give details of the location and tell you whether the item is currently out on loan. Any items that are marked as available for borrowing can be taken out on loan immediately.
If you need assistance with conducting a search, please contact the reference desk.
Ordering items from the stack
The following media are not freely accessible to the public. However, they can be ordered through LIVIVO for borrowing:
- Books acquired up to 2009
- Doctoral and postdoctoral (Habilitation) theses.
- CDs, DVDs, accompanying materials, videos, etc.
Contrary to the delivery time announced in our search portal LIVIVO we provide your ordered media hourly between 9 AM and 3 PM.
Orders placed before the full hour can be collected from the lending desk 30 minutes later. Orders submitted after 4 PM cannot be collected until the following day (from 9 AM onwards, weekdays excluding Saturdays). Special conditions apply to media published prior to 1962.
These conditions also apply to media with the location “Ausweichmag. Altbestand”. These media can be collected from the lending desk from 2PM on the same day if ordered before 1PM. Orders submitted after 1PM cannot be collected until the following day (weekdays excluding Saturdays).
Unfortunately we are unable to accept orders by telephone.
Items cannot be taken out on loan if your user account has accumulated fines of 20 Euros or more or if you have reached the limit of 50 loaned items, orders and reservations.
If you would like someone else to pick up your items, you will need to provide us, in advance, with a signed document authorising them to act on your behalf (PDF).
- Reservations can only be made for items that are out on loan (except for textbooks).
- When the reserved item is available for collection, we will notify you by email (free of charge) or by post (charge of 0.70 euros for postage).
- Items must be collected from the lending desk on the ground floor.
- It is not possible to reserve items if your user account has accumulated fines of 20 euros or more.
- As a general rule, the loan period for all items is four weeks.
- The loan period may be shortened for service-related reasons or if another user has made a reservation.
- If you return items by post, you will be liable for the risk and costs involved. The return date will be the date the items actually arrive at the library.
- Items must be received by the library no later than the last day of the loan period.
- Overdue fines shall be charged for any items that are returned late in accordance with § 1 of the ZB MED scale of fees and charges.
The following conditions must be met to renew an item:
- You can only renew items if there are five days or fewer remaining before the loan period expires.
- You need to submit your request no later than 9 PM on the final day of the loan period (overdue charges will become due after this time).
- You can also request a renewal after the loan period has ended, though overdue charges will be payable for the interim period.
- Items can only be renewed twice (provided that the item has not been reserved by another user).
- The library is entitled to shorten loan periods if an item has been reserved and will send you a message if this becomes necessary.
You can renew items:
- using LIVIVO
- in writing by post or fax: +49 (0) 221 478-7062 (the date of receipt shall apply)
- by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is not possible to request renewals:
- by phone
- for books from the textbook collection
- if your user account has accumulated charges of 20 euros or more
The following media are not available for borrowing but can be used in the reading room where applicable:
- newspapers, journals;
- books from the reference stacks;
- unbound works issued in instalments and booklets;
- typewritten theses;
- loose-leaf editions, maps, special formats, microfiches;
- manuscripts and autographs;
- works of particular value or age, or those in a poor state of preservation;
- other information materials, which are not suitable for borrowing.
In exceptional cases, the library may permit a non-circulating item to be taken out on loan if its use outside the library is clearly required for research purposes.