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Borrow, renew, return

These pages explain circulation services and policies at the Stanford University Libraries, including borrowing periods, renewals, and return policies. While policies vary by library and user privilege level (faculty, staff, undergraduate, alumni, etc.), books typically have longer lending periods than other materials, such as DVDs and media. Still have questions after reading these pages? Contact


What you'll need

To check out library materials, present a valid Campus ID Card, SUL Card, or RLCP card at the circulation desk. Institutional fee-borrowers must also present one borrowing coupon per item when checking out items.

Number of items that may be borrowed

Campus ID Card holders have no book checkout limit. Some patrons, including fee-based borrowers, are limited to 25 SUL items. (Books from the Medical Library and SLAC don't count toward this limit.)

Length of time items may be kept

Most books in Green Library can be borrowed for 28 days by undergraduates, for a quarter by graduate students, and for a year by faculty. Bound journals and periodicals can usually be borrowed for 7 days. Policies vary by branch and type of material, so check individual libraries for specifics. 

Course reserves

Print materials on reserve for Stanford University courses can typically be checked out for two hours to several days. If you checkout the material near closing time, overnight checkout may be permitted at some libraries. Please inquire about the policy on overnight use from the lending library. 

Media reserve materials at Green Library can usually be checked out for four hours.  Overnight check out is available within four hours of the media area's closing time. Items checked out overnight must be returned within one hour after opening the following day.

Media & Microtext Center

The Media & Microtext collection has special policies. Please call the Media & Microtext Center if you have questions.

  • Most patrons can check out three items at a time, for three days each. Media reserves may only be borrowed for four hours.
  • Faculty are not limited to three items.  Faculty are also eligible for extended loans of media for course-related instruction. Request an extended loan at the circulation desk from a supervisor.
  • All media items must be renewed in person (except for faculty members, who may renew media items once online).
  • Some media can only be viewed in the Media & Microtext Center.
  • Patrons may reserve media items for scheduled loans, such as for a group screening. Reservations can be placed at the media circulation desk.

Borrowing by non-Stanford patrons

  • Students in the Continuing Studies Program (CSP) must obtain borrowing privileges from the privileges desk.
  • University of California students who are part of the Reciprocal Service Program (RSP) may use media in Green Library after obtaining borrowing privileges from the Privileges Desk.
  • Media is not lent as part of the Research Library Cooperative Program (RLCP).
  • Some media is lent via Interlibrary Borrowing to UC campuses and RLS ShaRes members only.
  • Individuals with day passes to the libraries and summer camp/conference attendees may not access media.