Borrowing Policies

Some services have changed or been suspended due to COVID-19. Please check for updates before visiting the library.

Per the Spring 2022 Community Health and Safety Protocols, one important precaution we are taking is to strictly limit physical contact between members of the Rensselaer community who have campus access, with those who do not have campus access, as well as people outside of our community. At this time, no visitors, including families, alumni, retirees, or visiting researchers are allowed on campus. Additionally, only active students who are current in their participation in the Institute’s pool testing protocol may enter the Folsom and Architecture Libraries. If you are unsure about your level of campus access, please contact Campus Access directly.

In order to borrow materials from the Rensselaer Libraries, all borrowers must:

  1. Locate the Library materials they wish to borrow, and bring them to the Library Service Desk.
  2. Provide one of the following as an acceptable form of identification:
    • Rensselaer ID card: Issued to current faculty, staff and students, their dependents and spouses, guests of the Institute, and Rensselaer retirees. More information regarding Rensselaer ID cards is available from Human Resources (faculty, staff) or the Campus Card Office (students).
    • Picture ID: Current New York state driver’s license or other comparable picture ID, or a Courtesy Card issued by the Libraries.
  3. Regularly check their Rensselaer email account. Because the Libraries use Rensselaer email addresses to send out notifications regarding overdue materials, recalls and billing, all Library users must regularly check their Rensselaer email account, and maintain their campus directory information. The Libraries will mail notifications to any unaffiliated borrowers who do not have Rensselaer email addresses.

Capital District Direct Access Program (DAP)

Rensselaer faculty, staff, and students with Direct Access Program (DAP) cards may borrow books directly from many of the Capital District's academic, public, medical and technical libraries. DAP cards are issued in-person at the Service Desks of the Architecture and Folsom Libraries. 

Per the return-to-campus pandemic protocols, non-RPI affiliated visitors are prohibited from accessing campus facilities, including the libraries.

The Direct Access Program (DAP) brochure includes a list of participating libraries and their DAP lending policies. Rensselaer borrowers can also check the DAP Directory. Rensselaer borrowers must abide by the lending policies of individual libraries and will be held accountable for any fines or fees incurred at other libraries.

  • Renew loans or return materials within specified time periods.
  • Return materials within ten days after being notified of another user's "Recall From Loan" request. (Vacations or other absences from campus do not exempt borrowers from this condition.)
  • Accept responsibility for payment of fines for overdue materials or replacement costs for materials lost or damaged while on loan.

Lending and Usage Policies

  • Books:
    • 16-week loan, guaranteed three weeks, except if needed for class reserves
    • 75-book maximum with renewals
  • Reading Room Books: Two-week loan, one renewal, two-book limit
  • CDs, LPs: Ten-day loan, one renewal, six-item limit
  • DVDs: Three-day loan, one renewal, six-item limit

Includes Architecture and Folsom Libraries, the Institute Archives and any Special Collections

Need to present a picture ID, driver’s license, passport etc.

  • Books: Three-week loan, one renewal, three-item limit
  • Reading Room Books: Two-week loan, one renewal, two-book limit
  • CDs, LPs: Ten-day loan, one renewal, six-item limit
  • DVDs: Three-day loan, one renewal, six-item limit

Includes Architecture and Folsom Libraries, the Institute Archives and any Special Collections

  • Books: Three-week loan, three-book limit

Includes Architecture and Folsom Libraries, the Institute Archives and any Special Collections

The Rensselaer Libraries offer limited services to employees of companies located in the Rensselaer Technology Park, or the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) in the Rice Building.

For book loans, Rensselaer affiliates may request a Courtesy Card at the Folsom or Architecture Library Service Desk. Borrowers with these "courtesy" privileges may check out up to three books and/or technical reports for a three-week loan period.

If you still have questions, please contact the Library staff.


ConnectNY materials typically arrive at the Folsom Library within four to five of being requested, and will be forwarded to the shipping address that the Hartford affiliate supplied in their request form.

Interlibrary Loan

Hartford affiliates who are new to Interlibrary Loan should log in to ILLiad using their RCS userID and password to create their personal record, including their shipping address.

Shipping Information and Policies

All requested physical materials will be sent via UPS to the Hartford affiliate’s specified shipping address. Each package contains a pre-paid return shipping label, so all affiliates should take care opening the shipping container and save it in case it is needed for return shipping.

If return shipping is required, UPS Ground service from the Hartford area to Troy takes approximately two to three days. The Libraries on the Troy campus must receive any returned items by their due date to avoid any overdue billing.

  • A borrowed library item becomes overdue ten days after it is due or has been recalled. Borrowers may be billed for the full replacement cost, plus a $20.00 processing fee for each unreturned item.
  • Replacement costs are obtained from library acquisitions data and other professional sources and may include an additional $150.00 search fee for out-of-print materials.
  • Borrowers will be billed for the repair or replacement costs of any library materials that are returned damaged.

Payment and Billing

  • Unsettled Rensselaer student library fines are considered delinquent 30 days after issue. These fines will be billed to the student’s Bursar account and may be paid at the Bursar’s Office.
  • Bills to all other borrowers must be paid by check, and made payable to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This may be done at the Libraries' Service Desks or by mail. Bills may also be charged to a departmental account.

Folsom Library
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th St, Troy, NY 180-3590

  • Ownership of billed library material resides with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Payment of replacement costs and/or other charges does not transfer ownership.
  • Borrowing privileges may remain suspended until billed materials are returned to the Library, regardless of the payment status of bills.
  • Billing inquiries should be directed to the Folsom Service Desk Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM, or to the Architecture Service Desk Monday through Friday between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM.
  • Any borrowers who believe a billing or a record-keeping error has occurred should contact the Service Desk at Folsom Library.

Loss of Borrowing Privileges

  • General borrowing privileges will be suspended for individuals who owe fines or who have overdue ConnectNY or Interlibrary Loan books.
  • Borrowing privileges may remain suspended until billed materials are returned to the Libraries, regardless of any bill's payment status.


  • Loans are for four weeks from the date of shipment.
  • Loan renewals must be requested in advance of loan expiration.
  • Libraries failing to return items after loan expiration will be subject to billing procedures and loss of borrowing privileges.
  • Electronic materials, journals, and reference books are not available for loan.


  • Reciprocal libraries (including Connect NY, the RapidILL group, Libraries Very Interested In Sharing "LVIS", the Capital District Library Council and users of the Empire State Library Network ELD statewide delivery service): No charge for standard surface delivery
  • Other libraries: $15.00 for libraries using IFM; $25.00 per loan for any library needing an invoice.
  • Requests for articles and brief publications (1-30 pages) are charged $15.00.
  • All libraries: Additional fees may apply for non-IFM billing

Services Available to Unaffiliated Users

  • Email requests for books and/or articles.
  • Journal article-scanning. PDFs will be emailed to the requester with an attached invoice.
  • Book shipment. Books will be sent via the United Parcel Service with an enclosed invoice.

Unaffiliated library users may supply the required shipping account information for all service requests.


You may renew your loan in one of the following ways:

  • With your personal library account, if the item is not overdue.
  • In person at the Service Desk
  • By email
  • By telephone: Folsom Library: (518) 276-8310; Architecture Library: (518) 276-6465

Renewal loans will be extended provided the following conditions are met:

  • The items are not needed for Course Reserve or by another borrower.
  • It has been less than ten days since the loan expired.
  • The borrower does not have other delinquent loans, unsettled fines, or suspended borrowing privileges.


  • All loans are subject to recall by the Libraries at any time for Course Reserve, or three weeks after date of loan when needed by another borrower.
  • Replacement costs, plus a processing fee, will be charged for recalled items not returned within the specified time period.
  • When a recalled item has been returned, the requester will receive an email notification, and the Service Desk will hold the item for ten days pending pick-up.


  • You may place a hold on a physical library item, and pick it up from the library when you receive an email notifying you that the item is available.
  • Find the physical item you want in the Catalog or in Quick Search and select "Place Hold." Then, login with your RCS ID and follow the prompts to place a hold on the item.
  • If the item is available, library staff will retrieve the item within 24 hours (Monday - Friday), and you will receive an email when the item is available at the service desk.
  • Bring your RPI ID card with you to pick up the item.

You may return your borrowed Library materials in several ways:

  • Drop them off in person at the Library Service Desks.
  • Use the book drop located outside the main entrance of Folsom Library.
  • Send them via campus mail or via the US mail to:

Folsom Library
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th St, Troy, NY 180-3590


Architecture Library
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th St, Troy, NY 180-3590

Receipts for return of Rensselaer Libraries' materials are supplied upon request. Materials borrowed directly from other area libraries with a CDLC Direct Access Card, Interlibrary Loan or ConnectNY may also be returned to the Folsom Library.

The Service Desk staff will check the shelves for items thought to have been returned. Fines and replacement costs will not be automatically waived.

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