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Non-Stanford Users > Visitor Access and Borrowing Policies

While the primary purpose of the Stanford University Libraries is to serve the academic and research needs of the faculty, students and staff of the University, persons not currently members of the Stanford community may also use the Libraries’ collections and facilities.

The policies outlined here apply to the Stanford University Libraries which consist of the Cecil H. Green Library (the central research collections in the humanities and social sciences), the Stanford Auxiliary Libraries, the Hopkins Marine Station Library, and ten research branch libraries: Art and Architecture, Branner Earth Sciences and Map Collections, Cubberley Education, East Asia, Engineering, Falconer Biology, Mathematics and Statistics, Music, Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

There are five separately and individually administered Coordinate Libraries on the Stanford campus. Visitors are referred to the Privileges at Coordinate Libraries section for brief information and telephone numbers.

Use of the Stanford University Libraries

Visitors are responsible for complying with library regulations, and for all fines, fees and losses incurred. The Libraries reserve the right to deny use to individuals or institutions that abuse library privileges or in any way infringe on the priority rights of Stanford faculty, staff, or students. Library privileges may be revoked at any time.

Courtesy Access Policy

Access to the Stanford University Libraries may be extended to non-Stanford users upon approval of library staff. Library privileges are granted on a personal basis only and may not be used by or on behalf of anyone else.

Courtesy access privileges for use of the Stanford University Libraries is provided free of charge for 7 days within a 12-month period (beginning the first day of registration.) These days need not be consecutive.

Visitors seeking a courtesy pass must register at the main entrance of Green Library. Visitors must present a valid, government-issued photo ID card along with the courtesy pass.

Available Services

Visitors who qualify for courtesy privileges are entitled to the following services and facilities:

  • Access to the University Libraries’ catalog.
  • Access to the reference and bibliography collections of the Information Center.
  • Access to the collections of the Green and Auxiliary Libraries, except as noted under Restricted Services.
  • Access to the microform collections in Media-Microtext (microfilm, microfiche, microcard, etc.)
  • Unlimited courtesy access is available for visitors to the Jonsson Library of Government Documents, Special Collections and University Archives (the rare book, manuscript and archival collections), and to most of the research branch libraries. Access is limited in various ways in the Music Library and the Art and Architecture Library.

Restricted Services

Visitors may not use the following:

  • Course reserve collections.
  • Computers that require a SUNet ID.
  • Computerized literature search services.
  • Databases whose use is restricted to Stanford faculty, staff, and students.
  • Connections to the Stanford University computer network via a personal computer, laptop computer, or portable handheld device.
  • Document delivery.
  • Interlibrary loan services.
  • Circulating materials from the Media-Microtext collections in Green Library (DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, etc.)

    Availability of reference services varies by library and may be limited. Policies on the use of closed stack collections, lockers and carrels also may vary. Please check with the individual libraries for their policies on use.

Purchased Privileges

Visitors requiring use of the Cecil H. Green Library or Stanford Auxiliary Library beyond the seven-day access allowed by the courtesy privilege or wishing to borrow material from Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford Auxiliary Library, or any of the eleven research branches must purchase a library card. Access privileges may be purchased for one day, one month, three months, or for one year. Purchased access cards permit on-site use only. Borrowing privileges may be purchased for either three-month or twelve-month periods and will allow circulation of materials from most of the Stanford University Libraries, subject to the borrowing regulations of the library holding unit. Payments may be made either by cash or check only. Credit cards or debit cards are not accepted. Information about fees for library privileges is available here.

Who Qualifies?

Stanford University Libraries has established several categories of people who qualify for visitor privileges. These include, but are not limited to: Stanford alumni, faculty and students of other academic institutions, visiting and independent scholars and high school students. Representatives of organizations and corporations should consult the Institutional Use of the Libraries of Stanford University web page or brochure (available at the Privileges Desk in Cecil H. Green Library.) Policies vary according to category of user. Visitors should carefully read the following sections and determine which best applies to them.

  • Alumni: Alumni may receive the courtesy privilege. Individuals who have attended Stanford University for a minimum of three academic quarters, excluding the Summer quarter, are eligible for reduced fees. Stanford students not currently registered but who have attended a minimum of three academic quarters are considered alumni. Members of the Stanford Alumni Association are eligible to receive seven additional days of courtesy access. SAA members must present their membership card at the Privileges Desk, during library hours to verify eligibility.
  • Non-Stanford Faculty and College Students: Faculty and students from other colleges and universities may receive courtesy and/or purchased privileges available to visitors. However, there are two important exceptions. Faculty and currently registered graduate students from institutions that are members of the Research Libraries Group Shared Resources (ShaRes) Program or from the University of California may qualify for extended privileges and should inquire at the Privileges Desk, Green Library or the Libraries’ Web page regarding cooperative agreements.
  • Visiting & Independent Scholars: Privileges vary depending on the status of the scholar.

Those designated as Visiting Scholars by the University are eligible to receive a University-issued ID card, which grants access privileges only. Borrowing privileges must be applied for at the Privileges Desk. The spouse or same-sex domestic partner of a Visiting Scholar may obtain access privileges (with the same expiration date) by applying at the Privileges Desk. Consult the Visiting Scholars page for further details.

Independent scholars and researchers, not officially sponsored by Stanford University as Visiting Scholars, are eligible for the seven courtesy visits within a twelve-month period or may purchase privileges available to visitors.

  • High School Students: High school students are eligible only for the seven courtesy visits within a twelve-month period. They are not eligible for any purchased privileges. Children who attend middle school or elementary school do not have to register for courtesy visits but must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Application Procedure

Visitors who wish to purchase a library card should apply in person at the Privileges Desk, Cecil H. Green Library, during loan desk hours. Registration procedures must be completed and all applicable fees paid in full before library privileges will be granted.

Visitors must present a valid, government-issued photo ID card with current address to be considered for a library card. (E.g. driver's license, passport, student ID from another institution, etc.)


Privileges at Coordinate Libraries

Privileges allowed at Stanford University’s Coordinate Libraries vary considerably. The information given here covers general policy only. Inquiries regarding fees and privileges at any of the Coordinate Libraries should be directed to the library in question.

In some cases, fees paid for the use of Stanford University Libraries will be credited toward payment of fees at Coordinate Libraries, and vice-versa. Individuals seeking reciprocal privileges should apply as soon as possible for that card, as reciprocal cards carry the same expiration dates as purchased cards. Courtesy privileges are generally not reciprocal.

Hoover Institution: Courtesy privileges are extended to all visitors for use of the materials on the premises. Telephone: 723-2058.

Graduate School of Business Library: Courtesy privileges are extended to all visitors for use of materials on the premises. Telephone: 725-2055.

Lane Medical : Courtesy privileges are extended to all visitors for use of materials on the premises. Telephone: 723-6831.

Robert Crown Law : Eligibility for courtesy use of the collection is determined on an individual basis. Borrower’s cards issued by Stanford University Libraries will be honored subject to the Law Library’s regulations. Telephone: 723-2477.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Library : Courtesy privileges are extended to all visitors for use of materials on the premises. No borrowing privileges are available for visitors. Please telephone 650-926-2411 for more details.

Contact Information:

Privileges Office, Green Library
Stanford, California 94305-6063

Hours: staffed during Circulation desk hours
Phone: (650) 723-1492
Fax: (650) 723-3992

Last modified: February 3, 2012

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