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Access and Borrowing Policies

Access and Borrowing

Borrowing privileges are only open to current Princeton Seminary students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars at this time. We look forward to welcoming all others back into the building when the public health situation improves. Please check the library website for updates. You can e-mail with any questions about borrowing. See our FAQ for more information.

The Library bookdrop (to the left of the exterior doors) is open, and books may be returned there at any time. Thank you!

Reference Service continues to be available. E-mail reference form is available 24/7. Response time may vary, but expect to receive one within 12 hours Monday-Thursday.


The Library Lot is monitored. Vehicles parked in the Library Lot without valid, current Princeton Seminary parking permits (or temporary permits issued for specific events) are subject to ticketing.

General parking information is available on the Security website.

Borrowing Privileges: Identification Cards

Seminary Identification cards are required for borrowing library materials and must be presented at the Circulation Desk on the main (first) floor.

Current students, faculty and staff of Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as Alumni and Emeritus Faculty, formally designated Visiting Scholars, and CTI members, must obtain their identification cards from the Seminary's Housing office.

All other patrons seeking borrowing privileges (e.g. PU, WCC, SEPTLA) must obtain a Library card from the Circulation Desk.

Cards are issued for the balance of the current academic year for students and faculty. Other patrons are issued cards for one year or six months from the application or renewal date or duration of stay.

Applications both for new cards and card renewals must be made in person during library hours.

Library services do not include shipping books directly to any patron* or retrieving materials for patrons.

For more information, contact the Circulation Desk at (609) 497-7940.

* See Interlibrary Loan Policy

Loan Periods and Borrowing Limits

Members of the permanent ranked faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University, along with Ph.D. candidates at the Seminary, may borrow books until the end of the academic year (June 30). Other patrons may borrow materials for a maximum of four weeks.

Fines begin to accumulate at the expiration of the borrowing period. Normally, a borrower is entitled to the use of a book for a minimum of fourteen days, after which time it may be recalled by another patron.

There is a system limit to the number of books that each patron type may borrow at any one time. Below is a list of the most common patron types.

See also: Loan Periods for Other Formats

Visit FAQ for more information.

Loan Periods By Patron Type
Princeton Seminary Faculty & Ph.D. Students 250 Academic Year (6/30/__)
Princeton Seminary Adjunct Faculty 250 Term of employment
Princeton Seminary Masters Students 50 28 days
Princeton Seminary Alumni 20 28 days
Princeton University Ph.D. Students 250 Academic Year (6/30/__)
Princeton University Students 50 28 days
Princeton University Faculty 250 Academic Year (6/30/__)
SEPTLA Member Libraries 5 28 days
BASIC Privileges ($75) 20 28 days

Renewals and Courtesy Notices

As a courtesy, patrons will receive a reminder 5 days before materials are due. Courtesy notices are sent to active patrons with a valid email address on file. If you believe you should be receiving courtesy notices, please check with the Circulation Desk to make sure the email on your record is up-to-date.

The Princeton Theological Seminary Library assumes no responsibility for non-receipt of courtesy notices. It is still the sole responsibility of the borrower to ensure that materials are returned and/or renewed on time. Failure to return and/or renew a borrowed item on or before the due date or time will incur a late fee (see below).

Library materials may be renewed online or via text (SMS) on or before the due date. You may also reply to a courtesy notice (or call the Circulation Desk at (609) 497-7940) and request a renewal. We will be happy to renew any renewable material. Books may be renewed a maximum of five times, unless there is a hold or recall on them.

Loan Periods for Other Formats

Loan Periods for Other Formats
Curricula 2 weeks
DVDs, videos 1 week
Other non-print materials 2 weeks
Periodicals (journals) and pamphlets In library use only
Reserve items See Textbooks and Course Reserves

Borrowing and Return of Library Materials

To borrow library materials, check them out (charge them) at the Circulation Desk with a valid library card. Return items to the Circulation Desk on or before their due date. A night book drop, located to the left of the front doors of the Mercer Street entrance, is available for returning items when the library is closed.

All library services end 15 minutes before the library closes. This includes copying and checking out materials.

Visit FAQ for more information.

Borrowing from Other Libraries: Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

ILL (EYE-el-el) is a service provided to Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, students and staff, and to Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) scholars. Please see our full Interlibrary Loan Policy for more information and to complete a request form.


If an item is currently checked out (charged) to another borrower, patrons with recall privileges* may recall it.

When an item is recalled, a recall notice is generated with the new due date and sent to the current borrower. The current borrower must return the item by the date indicated on the recall notice. Items recalled by the library, often for Course Reserves, are due immediately.

When the recalled item is returned, the requestor will receive an email notification to pick up the item from the Circulation Desk within 14 days. If the item isn’t picked up within 14 days, it will be returned to the stacks.

How do I recall an item?

* Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, students, staff, and CTI scholars may recall an item online using the Request/Recall button in the item’s library catalog record. Everyone is responsible for honoring recall requests and subject to fines for not returning recalled items.

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.

Textbooks and Course Reserves

Textbooks are available for purchase in the Seminary Online Bookstore.

A list of available e-books for each course can be found through the library's catalog:

Or, using the dropdown menu on the right under "(More Searches)", select either Course Reserves (by Course Title) or Course Reserves (by Instructor), and then click the arrow (or use the Tab key followed by the Enter key on your keyboard).

Use either of these searches to see which e-books are available for a course. If not all of the e-books are present there, please contact to have them added.


The following schedule of overdue fines applies to all borrowers:

  • Reserve and overnight books $1.00/hour
  • Recalled items $1.00/day
  • Media (DVDs, videos, CDs) $1.00/day
  • Other non-print materials $0.50/day
  • Books $0.25/day
  • Curricula $0.25/day

Fines are normally paid at the time of return. Recall and overdue notices are sent via e-mail and if necessary by campus mail or U.S.P.S. mail.

When the fines on any user account reach a level of $20 or more, that account will be "frozen" (e.g. no new transactions will be permitted) until the fines are paid. Failure to pay fines and penalties will result in the eventual loss of borrowing privileges.

If an item is not returned within 90 days of its due date, the item is considered lost and will be charged replacement and processing fees (see Lost or Damaged Books below).

Lost or Damaged Books

If you have lost or damaged a library book, please report it to the Circulation Desk. Once a book is reported lost, the borrower has a reasonable amount of time to search for the book, during which time the accumulation of fines may be suspended. If the item is not located, the borrower is expected to pay a replacement fee. The automated system will automatically generate a "lost book" invoice for $70.00, an average amount for book replacement and processing fee. The actual amount will vary depending on the cost and availability of the book. The fees for damaged books will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you have questions or believe you have received such a notice in error, please communicate with a Circulation Desk Supervisor in person, over the phone at 609-497-7940, or via email (select Circulation Services). Patrons may request a receipt for their account status at any time.

Defacement of Library Property

Users are expected to treat library books and other materials with special care, since they ordinarily must serve generations of scholars. Marking in books, even with pencil, cutting or bending pages, and breaking the backs of fragile items to flatten them on a copier are all regarded as defacement of library property. Persons who are found to treat books in such ways will be required, as a condition for retaining or regaining their user privileges, to compensate the library for replacement or restoration costs. Providing such compensation does not give the user title to the defaced item. Particularly flagrant cases of defacement may result in permanent revocation of library privileges and in other actions available to the Seminary under New Jersey law.

For further information on disciplinary procedures, consult the current edition of the Seminary Handbook.