Circulation Policies

Contact Circulation staff in Firestone Library at or (609) 258-3202 with questions or for information not covered in the policies listed below.


All library users must present a valid identification card to access the collections. Princeton students, faculty, and staff must present their University ID card (TigerCard), with current academic year validation, in order to borrow materials from the Library. Non-University "guest" borrowers must obtain a photo-ID card from the Access Office. Loss or theft of an identification card should be reported immediately to the nearest Circulation Desk.

All cards, except those issued to organizations, are non-transferrable. Bearers of access cards are not eligible for certain library services such as tracing missing books, using reserve material, requesting items through interlibrary loan or borrow direct, and retrieving books that have been received but are not yet processed. They may use electronic resources on-site (see Visitor Access to Electronic Resources).  Remote access is limited by licensing agreement to current Princeton University faculty, staff and students.

Borrowing Privileges

All Princeton University faculty, staff, and students, their spouses, domestic partners and dependents, the faculty and students of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the members and staff of the Institute for Advanced Study are eligible to borrow books and other material from the Princeton University Libraries.

Other individuals or entities who wish to use the library collections should contact the Access Office in Firestone Library by email at or by telephone at (609) 258-5737. 

Borrower Responsibilities

Items charged out on a personal identification card remain the responsibility of the individual named on that card. All eligible borrowers are expected to have a current postal and e-mail address on file with the Library.

Borrowers are responsible for recalls at all times. If circumstances require individuals to leave town, they should make arrangements for responding to the recall and the prompt return of the item(s) to the Library. Items charged to an individual must be returned in good condition, without evidence of defacement, mutilation, or other damage.

Loan Periods

Loan periods vary in different libraries and by borrower status. Please select your appropriate library status on the left of this page to see the loan period to which you are entitled.

Please note that some material does not circulate. Some examples of materials that do NOT circulate are reference books, books from the Marquand library, as well as books in Graduate Study Rooms in Firestone. All materials are subject to be recalled if needed for Reserve or if requested by another borrower.

Books Not Found in the Stacks (Traces)

If you cannot locate an item in the stacks and it is not checked out, patrons with borrowing privileges may request a search by completing a "trace" request online. A full trace for a missing book may take several days, however many of these books are found within 2 business days. You will be notified of the results of the trace. If an item is missing and you are eligible to use the services, you may request it through Borrow Direct, a rapid book borrowing and delivery service, or Interlibrary Loan.


All patrons are responsible for honoring recall requests and are subject to recall fines at all times of the year. If a library item is checked out to another borrower, you may place a recall on it for your use. This recall request may be placed directly from the Library catalog. In the event an item is recalled, a notice is generated with the new due date and sent to the current borrower. The current borrower will have up to ten days from the date on which the recall is placed to return the recalled item. Failure to return a recalled item by the new due date will incur a fine of $1.00 per day, and the borrower will be prevented from borrowing again until the item is returned.

As an alternative to a recall, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to request items through Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.

Fines and Lost Book Fees

Most borrowers are subject to fines for the late return of Library books and other materials. For non-reserve items, these fines are $0.25 per day. Reserve fines, where applicable, are higher; consult individual libraries for more information.

Unpaid fines of $20 or more will result in the suspension of borrowing privileges for most patrons. Library fines can be paid at the Firestone Circulation Desk by credit card, check or student account. 

If a book is long overdue or damaged, a standard processing fee of $50.00 plus a minimum replacement fee will be applied to your account. The Library reserves the right to adjust this replacement fee upward if it does not cover the cost of the replacement. In some libraries you may replace the lost item with a new book of the same edition, and only the $50 processing fee will be charged. Please consult with a circulation supervisor concerning lost items.


Princeton University Library records relating to an individual patron's use of the Library and its resources are confidential.  Please read the Library’s Policy on Confidentiality of Library Patron Records