Use The Libraries

Current Rensselaer-affiliated users may borrow items owned by the Rensselaer Libraries, and may request items owned by other libraries. The following sections contain policies regarding borrowing items from the Rensselaer Libraries and the process for borrowing from other libraries.


Instruction / Reference Services


However, due to staffing constraints, the Libraries do not currently offer in-person classroom library instruction.  The Libraries do offer a robust online library instructional module InfoLit, and also assist individual students and researchers with specific research questions, either via email or at the library.  Additional campus assistance includes the Center for Global Communication+Design and the Advising & Learning Assistance Center.

Virtual Reference

For reference questions, you may choose to click on the “Contact Us” link on our website homepage. This link will take you to a fillable form that, once submitted, is directed to the appropriate person to answer the question.


We are also working with our various vendors to schedule publishers to come to campus to provide in-depth training on specific databases and journals. A calendar of events is being developed, and advanced-notice announcements of workshops will be posted on the “News” section of the website as well as in Morning Mail.   


Online / Off-campus Access

Online / Off-campus Access

Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff are generally able to access most library services and materials using their RCS ID and password. Please contact the Libraries with any login or password problems.

RCS (Rensselaer Computing System) ID and password

  • Same username and password you use to access your Rensselaer email.
  • Do not include "" when typing your username.
  • Used by most students, faculty, and staff to access most library services, including personal library record, off-campus access to electronic resources, and Interlibrary loan (ILLiad).

More RCS-related information is available from the DotCIO website.

RIN (Rensselaer Identification Number) and Library PIN (only for users without RCS accounts).

  • Your RIN is a nine-digit number, found on your Rensselaer identification card.
  • Your Library PIN is set by the library, but you may submit a request to rest your PIN change your Library PIN. Instructions are sent to the email address in your library record.

ILLiad username and password - used to access the ILLiad Interlibrary Loan system

  • Sign into Interlibrary Loan using your RCS ID and password.
  • Rensselaer users not assigned an RCS ID should contact Interlibrary Loan for assistance.

Off-Campus Access

  • Most library databases, ejournals and ebooks are restricted by license agreements to current Rensselaer students, faculty and staff. Authentication with  RCS ID and password is required for access.
  • Connect to resources through links on the library website, rather than bookmarking them. This eliminates many connection/authentication problems.
  • The VPN does not provide access to library resources.
  • Contact Library Support if you have questions, or problems authenticating.
  • Off-campus/remote use is available for many, but not all electronic resources.
Use of Library Electronic Resources

Use of library databases, ebooks and electronic journals is governed by U.S. Copyright Law and contractual license agreements. The terms of these licenses specify who is permitted to access the information and how it may be used. While license agreements vary in specific terms and conditions, the following guidelines provide a general overview of what is and isn’t permitted.

Who can access these resources?

  • Currently enrolled students, faculty, researchers, staff
  • Patrons in the library

What is generally permitted?

  • Searching, viewing and browsing the content of the electronic resource.
  • Use of the content only for educational, scholarship and non-commercial research purposes.
  • Downloading, saving and printing limited data or articles in compliance with the “fair use” provisions of Copyright Law.
  • One, not multiple, print-outs or copies of an article.

What is generally prohibited?

  • Copying or downloading entire issues of a journal, collections of data, or attempting to create large databases from bibliographic files.
  • Any systematic or substantial downloading -- manually or with specialized software -- of articles or other information. Such actions are detectable and traceable to specific computers.
  • Sharing of passwords or authorized access codes.
  • Modification of data or images from the resources.
  • Redistribution, reselling or commercial exploitation of content.
  • Removing, modifying, or obscuring copyright notices or other notices and disclaimers.


When publishers detect illegal activity, access may be blocked and may only be restored when the publisher is convinced. The Libraries are legally obligated to track down the person(s) responsible and take appropriate action, which may include completely barring access to. Copyright violators may also be subject to civil actions by intellectual property holders in addition to, or independent of, Rensselaer’s actions.


Borrowing Policies

Who Can Borrow What

The table below summarizes lending and usage policies for the Architecture and Folsom Libraries including the Institute Archives & Special Collections.

Books and technical reports

Rensselaer faculty, staff, students, and visiting researchers

16 weeks with 75 item limit

Books and technical reports

Rensselaer alumni, Courtesy Card holders, CDLC Direct Access users, Rensselaer Affiliates, Rensselaer retirees, and Friends of Folsom Library members

Three weeks with Three item limit

Class of '96
Leisure Reading
Rensselaer Community* Two weeks with Two item limit
Reference books, journals, maps, & most class reserve items

All library users

Building use only

Institute Archives &

Special Collections

All library users

Fixman room use only
Audio-visual kits and sound recordings Rensselaer Community* Ten days with six item limit
Videos (vhs, dvd, etc.) Rensselaer Community* Three days with Siz item limit
Computer software Rensselaer Community* Building use only
if not associated with book.

*Rensselaer Community - Active Rensselaer faculty, staff, and students; visiting researchers; visiting scholars; Alumni; retirees; Friends of Folsom.

Additional information regarding loans, renewals, and billing is available in the sections below.

Tips for Borrow Materials

Borrower must:

  • Locate the Library materials they wish to borrow, and bring them to the Library Service Desk
  • 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 ID Desk (students)
    • Current New York state driver’s license or other comparable picture ID, or a Courtesy Card issued by the Libraries
    • Capital District Library Coucil (CDLC) Direct Access Card (DAC) - Issued by an area library to their user who is not Rensselaer affiliated
  • 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

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.



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

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

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

Recalls and Holds

  • 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 item will be held at the Service Desk for ten days pending pick-up.


Returning Borrowed Materials

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 the US mail – NEED TO PROVIDE MAILING ADDRESS

Receipts for return of Rensselaer Libraries' materials 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

  • 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 replacements 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, at the Libraries' Service Desks, by mail, or charged to a departmental account.
  • 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 PM and 4:30 PM.
  • Any borrowers who believe a billing or record-keeping error has occurred may appeal loss of borrowing privileges and/or bills by writing to Tanis Kreiger, Manager of Public Services.

 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 bills’ payment status.
Outside Borrowers


  • 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, 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 -- $25.00 per loan. (The requesting library is responsible for arranging for the delivery of materials)
  • Requests for articles and brief publications (1-30 pages) are charged $15.00.
  • Delivery is by email
  • 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 requestor with and attached invoice.
  • Book shipment.  Books will be set via the United Parcel Service with an enclosed invoice.

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

Ordering Rensselaer Theses
  • Theses containing large-scale drawings and/or brittle paper, and/or those having supplemental parts such as video and audio excerpts, cannot be duplicated.
  • Theses PDFs are available at a cost of $35.00 per copy.  PDFs will be sent via email as a downloadable file.  Users will be billed directly for charged via OCLC’s IFM system.
  • The $35.00 fee for Rensselaer theses is to be paid in advance by check or electronic funds.  Credit cards cannot be accepted.
  • PhD theses dating from 1950 to the present, and Masters theses from 2013 to the present, may also be ordered from University Microfilm International's (UMI) Dissertation Abstract Service.

If you have any questions regarding Rensselaer theses, please contact the Libraries via email or by calling (518) 276-8310.




Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

Borrowing from ConnectNY


  • Free
  • 21 day loan period, subject to early recall
  • Renewals available upon approval by the lending library
  • Included in Rensselaer personal borrowing limit
  • Delinquent loans are subject to billing, including separate billing and processing fees. Processing fees are not automatically waived upon return of items
  • Users with outstanding bills or overdues will be blocked by the system and will need to contact the Folsom or Architecture Service Desk to resolve the issue


Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

Log in to ILLiad using your RCS ID and password.

Whenever possible the Libraries' will:

  • Obtain electronic copies of documents
  • Obtain materials without cost to researchers by seeking "free" use of materials from other libraries
  • Subsidize a portion of any costs for current Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff


  • Conditions of use are set by the lending institutions. The Rensselaer Libraries are not authorized to modify these conditions, e.g. overruling "Building Use Only restrictions."
  • Loans are typically 30 days for books, counted from their shipping dates
  • Renewal requests must be made to lending libraries 1 - 3 days in advance of loan expiration, but are frequently not granted by lending institutions
  • Users cannot request loan renewals via the ILLiad system after a loan's due date has expired.

Fees and Fines

  • Fines or replacement costs assessed by lending institutions are the responsibility of the user
  • Delinquent loans and outstanding bills for materials borrowed from other libraries will result in the suspension of Rensselaer Libraries' borrowing privileges

Use of Copies

  • Researchers should consult the U.S. Copyright law regarding “Fair Use” and retention policies and are advised to read any "Conditions of Use" statements accompanying the documents.
  • See Highlights of Copyright Law [link to page]for more detailed information about using copyright protected information.
Interlibrary Loan Service Tips
  • Citation accuracy must be verified before the Rensselaer Libraries issue a request to another library or provider
  • Citations from research databases as well as references from refereed journals or carefully edited books are usually accurate
  • Citations appearing in trade publications, theses, technical reports or conference papers are sometimes incomplete
  • If requesting a publication cited in a bibliography, do not abbreviate the title; or if the title is abbreviated, do not "translate" the abbreviation
  • If the citation cannot be verified, you will be contacted to provide additional information
  • If you have difficulty locating information about a publication, contact the Libraries' Reference Staff for assistance
  • Most service delays can be avoided by reviewing your interlibrary loan requests to make sure that you have:
    • accurately transcribed information about authors, titles, volumes, issues and date
    • noted the source of the information about the requested publication
    • indicated if willing to pay minimum document costs of at least $10 - $15 above library subsidy per request if "free" copies cannot be located
  • Allow for delivery times of 2 - 3 weeks or more if publications, especially, books, are not available locally
  • Library staff will retrieve and scan in-house copies of journal articles or conference papers for Rensselaer-affiliated users. Submit requests in ILLiad, the Libraries' Interlibrary Loan Service
Interlibrary Loan Costs and Subsidies

The Rensselaer Libraries attempt to obtain materials without cost to researchers whenever possible, either by seeking free use of materials from other libraries or by subsidizing most of these costs for current Rensselaer faculty, staff and students.

How much will it cost?

  • Most book loans and electronic copies of journal articles supplied within the Capital District can be provided without charge
  • Materials obtained outside of the Capital District occasionally may exceed library subsidies
  • Researchers can specify the amount they are personally willing to pay for a document by entering a dollar value in the appropriate field

How to pay for items?

  • Researchers need to create "account information" within their ILLiad user record. After logging into the system, click the EDIT/CREATE ACCOUNTS option located at the bottom of ILLiad's Main Menu screen
  • Researchers authorized to use research or departmental funds should enter these codes as their ILLiad account numbers. Graduate and undergraduate students may specify to have charges added to their tuition accounts by entering the word, "Bursar", in place of an account number

Who's not subsidized?

Document subsidies are not provided to employees of companies located in either the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) or Rensselaer Technology Park who are not otherwise affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Course Reserves

Course Reserves

Access the Course Reserves database directly or from the Rensselaer Libraries homepage. Use of some resources is restricted to Rensselaer faculty, staff and students in order to comply with copyright law and various licensing agreements.

Search by instructor’s last name, course name, or department.

Architecture course reserve materials are available at the Architecture Library.

Request items kept behind the Service Desk by specifying the course name and item number as displayed in the Course Reserve database. Library-owned materials must be requested by call number.

Some listed items may only be available electronically.

Deposit of acceptable positive identification is required: Rensselaer or other college ID card, Rensselaer Libraries' Courtesy Card, or current driver's license.

Loan periods and the number of items one person may use at one time vary depending on the type of material and current demand.

Usage is usually limited to three (3) items. However, loan periods for class-assigned materials are determined by Library staff in consultation with faculty.

Loan of Course Reserve materials stops 15 minutes before the Service Desk closes.

Materials are restricted to "Building Use Only".

Submit Materials

Requester will:

  • use the Course Reserves request form to list all assigned and suggested readings with complete bibliographic information (author, book or journal title, date etc.) - forms also available at the Service Desk
  • submit forms to the Service Desk before the start of classes to allow for timely processing
  • identify specific book chapters to be put on reserve
  • submit pdfs of weekly problem sets, homework answers, lecture notes, exams, etc. at least 2 days in advance of use and identified by Course Titles and Number, Faculty Name, and Type of Material
  • include a clear statement of copyright ownership on all personally authored materials submitted
  • be responsible for obtaining copies of their own authored materials before the end of each semester

Library staff will:

  • process forms in order of receipt - increased library workloads during the start of classes and final examinations may cause processing delays.
  • retrieve materials from library collections
  • recall items from loan
  • order new books – could be a 4-6 week or longer fulfillment time
  • charge orders to regular library departmental book budgets
  • screen requested materials for compliance with copyright law and library licensing agreements
  • assist in obtaining permissions to use printed or electronic copies of copyrighted information
  • remove all materials from Course Reserves within two (2) weeks after the end of each semester
  • return unclaimed personal materials to instructors via Campus Mail, and assumes no responsibility for damage or loss to materials returned by this method
  • destroy Course Reserves files (Temporary Files) at the end of each semester


Library staff will NOT:

  • purchase current undergraduate textbooks or multiple copies of items
  • guarantee replacement of personal copies of materials in case of loss or damage
  • allow the use of Interlibrary Loan materials for Course Reserves use

Information about acceptable use of copyrighted or licensed materials for classroom teaching is included in the libraries' Compliance Policies webpage. Electronic versions of copyrighted material submitted must comply with U.S. Copyright Law "fair use" [need link] guidelines, as well as with licensing agreements

Questions about particular use or handling policies, availability of equipment etc. at the Folsom Library should be directed to the Course Reserves Coordinator (tel.: 518-276-8310 or email).

Questions about course reserves materials for Architecture courses should be directed to the Architecture Library (tel.: 518-276-6465).


Computers / Printers / Scanners


All computer workstations in the Libraries have the Windows operating system and basic software including Microsoft Office. The PCs attached to scanners also have Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. Library printers are configured on all library computers.

Rensselaer students, faculty and staff can sign on to the computers with their RCS ID and password. WiFi is also available throughout the libraries.

Guests may ask at the Service Desk to be logged on to one of the public computers. Access to library computers by members of the Rensselaer community takes precedence over access by the general public.

  • Licensing agreements restrict some resources to current members of the Rensselaer community and will not be accessible to guests.
  • Guests do not have access to WiFi or printing privileges so must save documents to a flash drive, or email documents to themselves via an internet email client.

Library computers are provided in support of Rensselaer's educational and research missions. Use of this equipment for other purposes is not permitted. All library users are expected to adhere to Rensselaer's policies on Electronic Citizenship .

Printers / Scanners


Current Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff, have access to printing when logged on to a library workstation. Library guests do not have printing privileges so must save documents to a flash drive or email the documents to themselves.

To use a campus network printer on your own computer, Rensselaer users need to install the driver intended for the printer.

Names and locations of the RCS public printers in the libraries:

Folsom Library

  • li1f1lw - B&W, 8.5”x11” paper - First Floor
  • li2f1lw - B&W, 8.5”x11” paper - Second Floor
  • li2f2p3 - Color, 8.5”x11” paper - Second Floor
  • li3f1lw - B&W, 8.5”x11” paper - Third Floor
  • li4f1lw - B&W, 8.5”x11” paper - Fourth Floor

Architecture Library

  • gr306lw - B&W, 8.5"x11" paper
  • gr306cl - Color, 8.5"x11" paper, 1 or 2 sided
  • gr306cb - Color, 11"x17" paper, 1 or 2 sided
  • gr306cbg - Color, glossy 11"x17" paper


A self-service Knowledge Imaging Center (KIC) is available in the Folsom Library at the northwest end of the 2nd/main floor, adjacent to the DVD area. This is a high resolution, large-format (18"x24.4") scanning kiosk with touch screen operation. It is capable of 24-bit color, bitonal and gray-scale output. Users can store their scans to a flash drive or email them from the kiosk.

Public flat-bed scanners are available in the Folsom and Architecture Libraries.

  • Folsom - on 1st, 3rd and 4th floors near the center stairs.
  • Architecture - connected to the public computers.
  • Photoshop and Acrobat Professional are installed on the attached computers.
  • Trays for slide-scanning are available at the Service Desks.

Microform reader

A microfilm/fiche reader, which also can also be used to scan slides, is on the first floor of Folsom Library near the main stairwell.




Building Use Policies

Access Policy

Public Access
The libraries are open to the general public. A Rensselaer ID card is required to open the front doors of Folsom library. Those without an ID card may enter by using the intercom button immediately outside the doors, and may be asked to show a picture ID upon entry.

Library computers are provided in support of Rensselaer's educational and research missions. Use of this equipment for other purposes is not permitted. All library users are expected to adhere to Rensselaer's policies on Electronic Citizenship . Access to library computers by members of the Rensselaer community takes precedence over access by the general public.

Access Rules

  • Individuals may be required to show or deposit an acceptable form of identification. This may be
    • An unexpired Rensselaer or other college ID
    • An unexpired driver's license
  • Minors 16 years of age or under must be accompanied by an adult.
  • A quiet study atmosphere is expected in study and meeting rooms, reading and stack areas at all times.
  • The third and fourth floors are geared toward individual study. Group study is more appropriate on the first and second floors
  • Individuals are expected to leave promptly at closing time, in emergencies, and during evacuation drills.
  • With the exception of guide dogs, no animals are permitted inside library facilities.

Emergency Evacuation and Fire Drills
An electronic horn signals emergency evacuations. All library users and staff are required to exit library buildings by the nearest designated exit. New York State law requires periodic fire drills.

Security Alarms
Library materials are protected by an electronic security system. When the system's alarm sounds, the person exiting must return to the Service Desk. If unauthorized library materials are discovered, the incident is reported to the appropriate administrative authority for disciplinary action. Such action may include, but not be limited to, loss of library privileges, disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, expulsion from the Institute, or legal prosecution.

Closing Time Signal
Notice is given 30 minutes before closing, signaling the return of group study room keys and class reserve materials. Users have 15 minutes until the Service Desk closes to borrow library materials.

Late Night Study Hours
No desk services are available during late night study hours when only Building Safety Monitors are on duty. A public announcement is made by Public Safety 5 minutes prior to closing directing everyone to exit the building.

Requests for Exceptions to Standard Access to Folsom Library
Access to the Folsom Library is established with the issuance of a valid Rensselaer ID. Visiting scholars, visiting researchers and visiting faculty will be granted access to the library during the hours that the building is open.

Changes to the level of access, or for access not previously granted, must be requested from the library in the form of an email from the requestor's department. The request must include the individual's name, RIN, start date, end date, and reason for request. Departments requesting access prior to the building opening must provide justifications for the request. Access to the library prior to the regular opening-time constitutes a security issue and will be approved as deemed appropriate at the discretion of the library.

Approved requests will be signed and forwarded to Public Safety for processing. The requesting department will be notified of any requests not approved.

Designated individuals granted access to the building prior to opening are not to allow anyone else to enter with them. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the loss of early access to the library.


Conference and Seminar Rooms

The Folsom Library's Conference and Fischbach Seminar Rooms are used as meeting spaces for various committees, boards, study groups, and guest lecturers. These rooms may be reserved by Rensselaer faculty, staff and Union-recognized student groups. Classes normally scheduled through the Registrar may be allowed to use these rooms for a special occasion, but such reservations will be prioritized lower than those for other groups. Reservations for these rooms are subject to cancellation as a result of higher level requests. Reservations are made by contacting the Library's Administration Office, 518-276-8300, during regular Institute business hours or by submitting the Rensselaer Libraries: Folsom Room Reservation Request form.

Departments are responsible for making all arrangements to accommodate their individual meetings and must incorporate time into their scheduled reservation to set up, clean up, and return the rooms to their original configurations. Food and beverages are allowed in both meeting rooms and in the adjacent lounge areas. A liquor permit must be obtained from the Health Center if alcoholic beverages will be served.

Audio-visual equipment can be provided by the Library but must be specified at time of reservation to assure availability. Fischbach Room available equipment includes a PC with PowerPoint installed, an overhead projector, a wireless microphone, and DVD & VCR machines. Operation of equipment is the responsibility of the user. Media Operations 518-276-8282 may be contacted for A-V services and equipment not provided by the Library.

Fischbach Seminar Room

The Fischbach Room is equipped with a movie screen, chalkboards, a lectern, tables and chairs. The tables and chairs are arranged typically in a U-shape configuration to seat 24 people. Extra chairs and tables are available for larger groups, and must be requested at time of reservation.

The Krause Lounge and the foyer area are closed to the public when meetings in the Fischbach Room are in progress.

Library Conference Room

The Conference Room provides one large table seating a maximum of 12 people. The room is equipped with an overhead projector, projection screen and whiteboard. The room can accommodate simple food set-ups.

Group Study Rooms

Two Group Study Rooms located on the 3rd floor of the Folsom Library are available for up to 3 hours' use each day by any Rensselaer-affiliated group of 2 or more persons on a first-come, first-assigned basis. The Service Desk is responsible for the assignment and administration of these rooms. There are small group study rooms located on the 1st, 3rd and 4th floors that are left unlocked for both individuals and groups to use on a first-come, first-use basis. Near the end of semesters, some of these rooms can be reserved in advance to accommodate the needs of groups to finish class projects.

How to Apply

  • Reservations by student groups made in person at the Service Desk on the day of intended use.
  • Reservations by faculty and staff made in advance by contacting the Library's Administration Office 518-276-8300.
  • Reservations for room use for interview purposes may be made in advance by contacting the Service Desk 518-276-8310.
  • Library staff may request that the names of all occupants be identified on the Group Study Reservation slip.

Claiming and Extending Reservations

  • Reservations not claimed within the first 10 minutes of a reservation period will be reassigned.
  • Extension of reservation periods may not be requested until the end of the initial reservation period.
  • Extensions, limited to 1 hour increments, will be granted only when demand for meeting rooms is low.

Group Study Room Keys

  • Issued 5 minutes before the start of the reservation period
  • Registrants must present Group Study Reservation slip with 2 current Rensselaer IDs
  • May not be taken from the building
  • Must be returned within 5 minutes of reservation expiration
  • Must be returned to the Service Desk at 11:30 for reservations expiring after that time - the room may continue to be used until building closing
  • Late return of a key will result in a $10.00 fine
  • Loss of a key will result in a $25.00 fine plus a $10.00 processing fee

Conditions of Group Study Room Use

  • The individual registering for a group assumes full liability for any subsequent repair costs arising from damage to a room or equipment during the reservation period.
  • Meeting Rooms must be left clean and orderly. Please dispose of waste properly.
  • Furniture and equipment may not be moved into or out of a Meeting Room without the permission of the Service Desk Staff .
  • The Libraries' assume no responsibility for the loss of or damage to personal property left in a room at any time.
  • Conversations must not disturb other library users.

Individuals in blatant or repeated violation of the above Conditions of Use may lose room registration privileges for the current semester.

Open Study Areas

The Folsom Library offers open seating for more than 500 people at tables and study carrels in addition to group study and meeting room facilities. Much of this seating is located along perimeter areas on the 3rd and 4th floors and usually offers a combination of wireless and/or Ethernet service. Study seating is also available on the 1st and 2nd floors, but these areas are adjacent to lobbies and offices, and therefore, not as quiet.

Individuals and groups throughout the library are expected to maintain an environment conducive to study by minimizing conversations, using headphones for audio listening, and holding cell phone conversations in stairwells.

Donating Books and Other Library Materials

The Rensselaer Libraries will:

  • Accept the offer of gift books and other research materials
  • Evaluate, and use or dispose of gift items as appropriate
  • Not appraise gifts due to IRS regulations

Contact John Dojka, Coordinator of Collection Development, by email or phone (518-276-8341) regarding potential donations to the libraries..

Student Club Collections

The Rensselaer Libraries:

will attempt to provide space for informal reading collections provided by student clubs recognized by the Rensselaer Union in accordance with the below guidelines. Initial inquiries about starting or adding materials to a collection should be made at the Service Desk.

Book Guidelines

  • The Libraries have sole discretion in determining if club-offered collections can be accepted.
  • All accepted materials become property of the Rensselaer Libraries.
  • Location and size of collections are determined by the Libraries. (Recommended maximum collection size is 100 hardcover and 250 softcover books.)
  • The Libraries are not responsible for replacement of damaged or lost items.
  • Clubs must designate a liaison person who will be responsible for maintaining the collection in consultation with a designated member of the library staff.
  • Clubs must periodically review materials in order to replace or update items.
  • Items to be removed from a collection will be de-accessioned by the libraries.
  • All materials will be available strictly on an "honor system."
  • We do not accept textbooks. Textbooks may be placed on the Folsom Library's Second Chance Bookshelf located on the first floor of the library, or, they may be donated to Better World Books, an organization that will reimburse postage of mailing the books to them, and that helps fund global literacy initiatives.
  • We do not accept unsolicited eBooks.

Magazine and Newspaper Guidelines

  • Clubs must reimburse the library for subscription costs of newspapers and magazines.
  • Issues must be received directly by the Rensselaer Libraries at the following address:

Serials Dept.
Richard G. Folsom Library
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th St, Troy, NY 180-3590

  • Issues will be property stamped as library property and shelved in a designated area.
  • Issues will not be retained for more than 1 year, and the Libraries are not responsible for replacement of damaged or lost issues.
Lost and Found

The Rensselaer Research Libraries assume no responsibility for the loss of any personal property left in any study area, stack area, or meeting room.

Unattended personal property found in general study areas, stack areas or study rooms is treated as abandoned property.

Abandoned property is kept at the Folsom Service Desk for approximately 2 weeks before being turned over to APO (Alpha Phi Omega) for disposal.

Quiet, food, and drink

The primary mission of the Rensselaer Libraries is to support Rensselaer’s educational and research endeavors. The following policies have been adopted in order to promote this mission and to foster a vibrant intellectual and social collaborative place on campus. We ask that our patrons self-police these policies.


  • The first and second (main) floors are open, collaborative spaces
  • The third and fourth floors provide an environment where discussions should be subdued - both in open study areas and study rooms
  • Library users whose study is disrupted by noise are asked first to consider approaching those who are noisy to remind them to be more quiet.
  • If necessary, individuals may contact library staff at the Service Desk for assistance.
  • Individuals or groups who fail to comply with library etiquette regarding disruptive behaviors will be asked to leave the building.

Food & Drink

  • Non-messy snack foods and drinks in closed containers are permitted throughout the library with the exception of the Fixman Archives.
  • Please dispose of waste properly.
  • Messy foods (e.g. pizza, soup, chili…) and open container drinks should be restricted to the Library Café on the 2nd/main floor of Folsom Library.
Signs and Posters

The posting of signs and posters, as well as the distributing of notices or other advertisements, inside of library facilities requires the approval of Library Administration. Inquiries about posting or distributing materials should be directed to the Service Desk (518-276-8310) or to the Manager of Public Services (518-276-8684).

With one exception as specified below, no signage may be affixed to the exterior of the Folsom Library:

  • Approved campus campaign posters may be displayed on the pillars outside of the Folsom Library's Main Entrance during GM Week.
  • Display or distribution of approved materials is restricted to designated bulletin boards and easels.
  • Approved materials must clearly identify sponsoring parties and show expiration dates.
  • Unauthorized materials will be removed and discarded upon discovery by library staff.
  • Examples of acceptable notices include:
    • Announcements of local and campus meetings, special seminars, lectures, concerts, etc.
    • Examples of unacceptable notices include:
    • Advertisements and sales offers from commercial enterprises, or flyers not clearly identifying the sponsoring group or person.
    • A message board for informal, daily communications by library users is located beside the 2nd floor center stairwell of the Folsom Library. Typical postings include notes about where groups or individuals are studying in the Library, or special club programs. This location is checked daily by library staff for expired or unauthorized postings.

All soliciting for charitable or other purposes in general study or stack areas is prohibited.

Unobtrusive soliciting in support of recognized campus-endorsed programs (e.g. the United Way Campaign, MMOC, Clothe-A-Child) may be permitted at library service counters or in staff work areas with the approval of Library Administration.

Examples of unobtrusive soliciting include:

  • Display of labeled collection containers and registration forms.
  • Selling raffle ticket chances in compliance with Institute and state regulations.

Inquiries about using library space for soliciting activities should be directed to the Manager of Public Services 518-276-8684 .


Rensselaer Hartford

Hartford Affiliated Users
  • To request an item in the Rensselaer Libraries' Catalog with a status of AVAILABLE, complete the Rensselaer Libraries Shipping Request for Hartford Users form. Please include your complete shipping address.
  • To request an item in the Rensselaer Libraries' Catalog that is already out on loan, use the "Request" button on the record in the Rensselaer Libraries' Catalog. Login using your RCS ID and password.
  • If you have questions about borrowing library materials, check our borrowing policies page.


  • Requested materials typically arrive at the Folsom Library within 2 - 3 days
  • Items will be forwarded to your shipping address

Interlibrary Loan:

  • For new ILLiad users, login using your RCS ID and password to create your record including your shipping address.

Shipping Information and Policies:

  • All requested physical material will be shipped via UPS to your shipping address
  • Carefully open the shipping box and save for return shipping
  • Package includes a prepaid return shipping label
  • UPS Ground shipping from the Hartford area to Troy is appoximately 2-3 days - returned items must be received by due date to avoid overdue billing

Users with Disabilities

Users with Disabilities

The Rensselaer Libraries are committed to providing access to their materials and services in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Folsom Library:

  • Pedestrian-ramp accessible
  • Elevator located to the right of the Service Desk serves all floors
  • Kurzweil Reading Machine

Architecture Library:

  • Located on the 3rd floor of the Greene Building
  • Enter via the pedestrian ramp located at the south side of the building
  • Elevator located across from the School of Architecture Office

Staff will:

  • Assist visually-impaired users in using on-line resources
  • Retrieve items from collections when necessary
  • Assist users who have difficulty writing by filling out forms
  • Modify usage rules and loan periods for library materials when necessary
  • Photocopy or scan a limited number of pages for users who have difficulty operating equipment
  • Assist in setting up study materials for users with limited mobility
  • Check stacks for materials when a telephone request is received from a disabled patron who has difficulty traveling to the library

More extensive assistance required? Contact the libraries in advance:

  • Folsom Library, Service Desk 518-276-8310
  • Architecture Library, Greene Bldg. 518-276-6465


  • Request a Courtesy Card at the Folsom or Architecture Library Service Desk
  • For more detailed information, see the Borrowing Policies section of this site.
  • See the Alumni Login to the Poly page for details on accessing the Rensselaer Digital 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. If you have questions that are not answered here, please Contact Us .

  • Book Loans: Request a Courtesy Card at the Folsom or Architecture Library Service Desk
  • Borrowers with "courtesy" privileges may check out up to 3 books and/or technical reports for a three (3) week loan period
  • For more detailed information, see the Borrowing Policies section of this site.

Visiting/Using other libraries

Visiting Local Area Libraries

Capital District Direct Access Program (DAP)

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

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.

The Direct Access Program (DAP) brochure includes a list of participating libraries and their DAP lending policies. You can also check the DAP Directory.

Rensselaer retirees and alumni as well as spouses and dependents of Rensselaer faculty, staff and students can obtain DAP cards from their local public libraries.

The libraries of Bennington and Williams Colleges also will lend to Rensselaer users upon presentation of a current Rensselaer ID card.

You may want to search the catalogs of these other libraries before you travel to them.

Other Capital District Libraries & Library Systems

New York State Library Online Catalog, Albany, NY : The New York State Research Library's collections, which include over 20 million items, support State government work and the research needs of the general public, both on-site and via interlibrary loan. Directions to the NYS Library.

Upper Hudson Library System : This catalog contains the combined holdings of public libraries located in Albany and Rensselaer counties.

SALS/MVLA Web Catalog : This catalog contains the combined holdings of public libraries located in Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington counties.

Libraries outside the local area

WorldCat : WorldCat indexes library catalog records from around the world. Users can find records for books, journals, manuscripts, AV materials, and other items. These records give the name and location of the library holding the item, as well as other specific information that can be used to retrieve the item through interlibrary loan. WorldCat does not index individual journal articles, and it does not provide electronic full text access to the items that it describes. Includes records representing 400 languages.

LibWeb : Library WWW Servers. Lists over 7000 pages from libraries in 146 countries.

Special Libraries

Center for Research Libraries : "An international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities, and libraries that makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere."

Library of Congress Online Catalog

CISTI, the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, is one of the world's major sources of information in all areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine. CISTI Catalog

Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology : A premiere private research library for science, engineering, and technology. Online catalog

U.S. Presidential Libraries

National Library of Canada : AMICUS, online web catalog

British Library Public Catalogue

The European Library: searches the content of European national libraries.

National Libraries of the World maintained by