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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

Circulation FAQ

What do I need to check out an item?

You need your own valid Stanford Campus ID Card, SUL Card, or RLCP card. Institutional borrowers must also present one borrowing coupon per item. Members of the public (visitors) can purchase borrowing privileges.

How do I see a list of my checkouts, requested materials, and bills online?

SUNet ID users can use My Account to view their account.

I received an overdue notice for something I returned on time- why?

It could be that you returned an item to a book return bin right before it became due. Our inventory system will automatically send out an overdue notice overnight when things become overdue. When the library staff empty the book return bin, they will back-date the return to the last date they emptied the bin, which will remove the overdue fines. To see the current status of your account, check My Account, then correspond with the library that sent you the notice if you have any questions.

Can my friend use my card to check something out for me?

No; the ID Card presented must belong to the holder. Items on hold may only be released to the requestor.

How many books can I borrow at once?

If you have a Stanford ID card, there's no maximum limit to the number of books you can check out at most Stanford libraries, including Green. Some patron groups, including fee-based borrowers, are limited to 25 items (books from the Medical Library and SLAC don't count toward this limit). 

How many DVDs can I borrow at a time?

Most borrowers (except faculty) may only borrow up to 3 DVDs at a time from the Media & Microtext Center. Only faculty and academic staff are eligible to renew media items if the item is not requested by another patron. 

I need something that's checked out--what can I do?

From the Searchworks record, request a recall. The current borrower will have between three and seven days to return the material (after that, steep fines begin accruing). Additionally, you can request disclosure of the borrower's name so you can contact him or her yourself. Don't hesitate to contact the relevant library if you need assistance.

I'm going out of town. What happens if an item is recalled from me?

If you are going to leave the area for more than a week, you should return all library items or arrange for them to be returned by someone else if they are recalled. Absences requiring special arrangements should be made in advance with staff at the individual lending library.