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Lost property policy

1. Introduction

The following policy and procedures have been designed to manage and handle lost property. The policy applies all students and visitors.

1.1 Definition

Lost property means any unattended, misplaced or forgotten item which is the property of a person or persons, and which is found within the boundaries of the University Library study spaces by another person or persons and subsequently handed to Library staff pending the identification of the original owner or appropriate disposal. Inappropriate items such as kettles, heaters will be also be handled under this policy.

1.2 Risk

At no point can the Library be held responsible for any items deemed to be lost property. No items should be left in the Library and any that are left are done so at the owner's risk.

Please note: that thieves operate regularly in many areas of the University including the Library. At all times keep your valuables, including wallets/purses, on your person. Do not leave them in a bag or jacket unattended at a library table, Catalogue computer, or IT computer, even for a few minutes.

2. Policy statement

Library staff will endeavour to return property of high value or official hard copy documents containing personal data. If it is not possible to do this within the nominated time period, items will be donated to local registered charities i.e. Myton Hospice, Oxfam and Sue Ryder are amongst the beneficiaries, or if not suitable for donation, items will be destroyed. Handling of lost property is not seen as a core Library service and therefore the staff time available to handle lost property is limited.

2.1 Lost property procedure

Property lacking or with limited owner identification, will be disposed of in different ways according to the assessed value of the item(s). 

Assessments of value or risk of personal data loss are outlined below:

High value items

Personal data - high risk

Low value items


Jewellery (eg. gold, silver)


Items of clothing

USB sticks - due to the number of USB sticks found in Library spaces and the risk of viruses, USB sticks will be treated as low value items

Purses / wallets containing cash

Credit / debit cards



Mobile phones

Driving licence

Food boxes




Food shopping




Electronic dictionary


Electrical items of value e.g. personal MP3 players


Sports items




Work folders / paperwork



Keys - university accommodation keys should be handed into Student Reception, Senate House.

Other keys - should be returned to the owner; if they can be identified.

Fashion jewellery / books / shoes / spectacles / electrical chargers / cables


Inappropriate items / hazards e.g. kettles, heaters



Risk from burns, scalding, portable items not approved by official PAT testing.

2.1.1 High value items

Main Library and Research Exchange: High value items will be processed using security tagged number bags and the Library Lost Property Register. Details for high value items will include:

a) Description of the item found

b) Security bag number

c) Location where the property was found, if known

d) Name and details of finder (if student – University ID number; if public – include address

When searching for identifying information e.g in a purse, wallet, handbag when possible this will be done in the presence of two members of staff.

Inappropriate items will be logged in the Lost Property Register using a), c) and d) above.

Learning Grid, University House: High value items will be logged and passed to the Reception/Security staff at University House. Low value items be held in the lost property container.
Learning Grid, Rootes: High value items will follow the Main Library procedure above and locked in the in the LG Rootes office. Low value items be held in the lost property container.

Postgrad Hub: High value items follow the Main Library procedure above.

2.1.2. Official items containing personal data

Official items containing personal data will be logged in the Lost Property Register and where possible the owner will be identified.

2.1.3. Low value non-food items

Low value non-food items will be placed in the lost property container.

2.1.4 Other items

Other items will not be logged. This is due to the sheer volume of such items left in the Library e.g. diaries, files papers, USB sticks. These items will be available in the lost property containers for 1 week and then destroyed. Electrical chargers/cables that have not been retrieved within a 1 week period will be disposed of.

2.1.5. Food and drink

Food and drink will be disposed of immediately using the relevant rubbish bins.

2.2. Finding lost property

Any Library customers finding lost property should hand it to the member of staff at the Floor 1 Helpdesk.

2.3 Claiming lost property and owner identification

Library staff will attempt to contact the owners of any official or valuable found property where ownership can be easily identified. Once contact has been made, the item however will follow the normal path of lost property, as above, unless a date to collect has been agreed. Please note that the item will be returned in the condition that it is received it in.

Any person reclaiming property of high value or containing personal data, as defined in the Assessment of Value or Risk Table, will be asked for detailed information about the item. They must have their University ID card or other photographic identification prior to the item being returned. If the item being returned contains photographic ID, Library staff will check that the image matches the claimant. Additional proof of ID may be requested. When an owner reclaims an item and staff are satisfied of the owner’s claim, the property will be handed over once a declaration has been signed to confirm that they have received it.

To retrieve inappropriate items, customers will need to meet with a Library Team Leader who will explain why the item is inappropriate and also obtain signed agreement from the customer stating that they understand and that they will not use the item in the Library again. (University Ordinance 18 Health and Safety).

2.4 Disposal of unclaimed items

Disposal summary

Lost property high value items and cash will be retained for 2 weeks. The high value items will be donated to local charities and all cash will be donated to the Student Hardship Fund.

All low value unclaimed items, including books will be taken to local charity shops approximately every 2 weeks. Electrical chargers/cables will be disposed of.

Disposal periods

  1. Food and drink, or anything liquid or perishable, will be properly discarded immediately in the appropriate food bin
  2. Articles of clothing, umbrellas, and sports items with little apparent value will be added to Lost Property container. The containers will be emptied every week/two weeks during term time
  3. Papers, notebooks, etc., will be placed in the lost property containers; they will be emptied every week/two weeks during term time
  4. Books without owner identification will be held in the Customer Services Offices for 4 days. Any remaining books will be donated to the local registered charities outlined below
  5. Cash unclaimed after 2 weeks will be donated to the Student Hardship Fund
  6. High value items unclaimed after 2 weeks will be donated to local registered charities
  7. Official items holding personal data. If they remain unclaimed after 48 hours they will be disposed of following the guidance on the item. For credit/debit cards follow the Worldpay Found Card instructions. Passports will be forwarded securely to the Campus Police Officer
  8. Any unusual items of lost property will be drawn to the attention of the Facilities Manager/Customer Services Manager who will decide on the most appropriate means of disposal

Where it is not possible to return an item to its original owner within the nominated period, it will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. This includes donations to local registered charities; Myton Hospice, Oxfam and Sue Ryder are amongst the beneficiaries. Any lost property containing personal data that has not been claimed within the specified time period will be destroyed.

Lost property reminder

Periodically, via the plasma screen and promotional posters Library customers will be reminded to check for lost property.