Biblio Blog: Beyond our Books

Beyond our Books: Borrowing from our SAIL Consortium Partners

Did you know that the students, staff, and faculty at St. Mary’s University have access to the collections from other post secondary institutions in Calgary?

St. Mary’s University is a founding member of the Southern Alberta Integrated Library system (otherwise known as SAIL) which forms a reciprocal lending agreement between the University of Calgary, St. Mary’s University, Bow Valley College, and Ambrose University. All you need is an STMU ID card, and voila! – you have access to an additional 2.7 million books.

Searching for SAIL Resources

Since implementing the new PRIMO discovery service in May 2018, searching for resources at the University of Calgary, Bow Valley College, and Ambrose University is now easier than ever.

Simply type your query in the search bar, and then select “STMU, UofC, Ambrose, BVC” from the drop-down menu.

The results will display all of the physical items – books, CDs, DVDs, and other non-digital materials – in the catalogs of all four SAIL libraries alongside the online resources already available to STMU students, staff and faculty.

In order to determine which library an item is at, please select the orange link labelled “Check Holdings” or “2 versions of this record exist”.

The results should then display which universities have that item. By selecting a library, you can check the availability, loan policies, and call number.

Borrowing from SAIL Libraries

The most important thing to remember when borrowing from SAIL libraries, is that while these items are freely available to you, they do involve a little bit of leg work! Items borrowed from the University of Calgary, Bow Valley College, and Ambrose University must be picked up at their respective campuses, so be sure to plan your trip and research well in advance.

While neither Bow Valley College nor Ambrose University offer on-shelf holds (sorry, STMU doesn’t do this either!), the University of Calgary offers the option to “Request” an item. When an item is requested, University of Calgary library staff will collect the item from the library shelves, delivery it to the requested branch location on campus, and then provide notification via email when the item is ready to be picked up.

The “Request” option will only be available in the “Get It” tab from items available at the University from the University of Calgary.

Once selected, you will be asked to identify which University of Calgary library you would like to pick up from, and a date after which you will no longer need the item. Any items not picked up by the identified date will be removed from the hold shelf and returned to their shelf locations.

Managing SAIL Item in an STMU Library Account

All items borrowed from SAIL partner libraries can be easily managed within an STMU library account.

You simply need to sign in (if you are having problems accessing your STMU account, please contact

And then select the “My Loans” tab from the drop down menu.

From here you will be able to select which SAIL library you would like to manage the loans for, view item due dates, renew loans, monitor fines and fees, and see whether or not any recall notices have been issued for items in your care.

Returning Items Borrowed From SAIL Libraries

While you are more than welcome to make a return trip to the lending institution, all items borrowed from SAIL libraries can be returned to the STMU Library circulation desk or to the book drop on or before the due date. We will happily make sure all items are checked-in, so as to not accrue any late fees, and arrange for their transfer back to the owning institution.

A Few Notes on SAIL Borrowing Restrictions

While the SAIL consortium provides access to a wide variety of resources, there are a few rules that STMU borrowers must abide by:

  • The SAIL agreement only extends to physical resources. Items such as eBooks, journal articles, and academic databases at partner institutions cannot be searched for or borrowed through the STMU Library Catalog;
  • STMU users may borrow a maximum of 50 items at one time from SAIL partner libraries;
  • Items placed in General Reserves or on Course Reserve will not be available;
  • Fines and fees for overdue or lost items will be assessed at the rates determined by the lending library. Should you happen to accrue fines and fees for items borrowed from SAIL libraries payments can be made at the STMU circulation desk. However, if you would like to dispute a fine issued by another university you will need to call or visit that campus in order to resolve the dispute;
  • And finally, items available at all Calgary libraries – including our SAIL partners – are not eligible for Inter-Library Loan. For more information on our Inter-Library Loan services please visit our Services | Inter-Library Loans information page.

We hope you take advantage of these incredible resources!

Blog Post Written By: Jessica Macaulay, Acquisition & Circulation Specialist

 Jessica joined the StMU Library team in May 2018. Prior to joining StMU she worked with the Calgary Catholic School District, the University of Calgary Doucette Library, and interned with the University of Edinburgh Special Collections & Digital Imaging Units. Her research interests lie in Middle English literature, Medieval and Early Modern reading networks, and the history of the book as material object.

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