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


Due to staffing constraints, the Libraries do not currently offer in-person classroom library instruction.  However, the Libraries do offer a robust online library instructional module -- Instruct --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

Use the Ask Us 24/7 widget to talk with a reference librarian, live right now!

We are excited to bring you an enhanced chat service, Ask Us 24/7, offering you IM research assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You’ll be chatting with one of our librarians or a librarian from other colleges and universities worldwide.

For reference questions through email, 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 records, 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 initially set by the Library.
  • You may submit a request to reset your PIN.  Instructions will be 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, and staff
  • Library users

What is generally permitted?

  • Searching, viewing and browsing the content of the electronic resource.
  • Using 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.
  • Making only one, not multiple, printouts 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 for all Rensselaer users and may only be restored when the publisher is convinced that appropriate action is being taken to address the problem. We are legally obligated to track down the person responsible and take appropriate action. This may include barring access to Rensselaer computing and library facilities and services. 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 Room
Rensselaer community* Two weeks with two item limit
Reference books, journals, & 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 six 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 Borrowing Materials

All borrowers 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 Campus Card Office (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:

  • 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 Reserves 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.

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 via the US mail: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Folsom Library, 110 8th St, Troy, NY 12180, or, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Architecture Library, 110 8th St, Troy, NY 12180 .

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.
  • 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. Make checks payable to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This may be done at the Libraries' Service Desks or by mail: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Folsom Library, 110 8th St, Troy, NY 12180; bills may also be 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 4:00 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 Tracy Allen, 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, 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 -- $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.
  • 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 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 or 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

Connect NY materials may be borrowed free-of-charge for a 21-day loan period.  These materials may be subject to early recall, but renewals are available upon approval from the lending library.  ConnectNY materials are included in your personal Rensselaer borrowing limit.

Delinquent ConnectNY loaned materials are subject to separate billing and processing fees. Processing fees are not automatically waived upon return of the delinquent items.

The ConnectNY system will block access to any users with outstanding bills or overdue charges.  Those individuals will need to contact the Folsom or Architecture Service Desk to resolve outstanding issues.


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

Loans and Renewals

  • Conditions of use are set by the lending institutions, and the Rensselaer Libraries are not authorized to modify these conditions.  For example, the Rensselaer Libraries cannot overrule any building-use only restrictions.
  • Book loans typically last for 30 days, with the loan period starting as of the book’s shipping date.
  • Renewal requests must be made to the lending libraries one to three days in advance of loan expiration.  However, these 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

  • The user is responsible for any fines or replacement costs assessed by the lending institutions.
  • Any 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
  • You can avoid most service delays by reviewing your interlibrary loan requests to make sure that you have:
    • Accurately transcribed information about authors, titles, volumes, issues and dates
    • Noted the source of the information about the requested publication
    • Indicated if you are 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 two to three 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 who submit their requests through 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 ILLiad system field.

How do I pay for my items?

  • Researchers need to create account information within their ILLiad user record. To do this, log into the ILLiad system, and click the EDIT/CREATE ACCOUNTS option located at the bottom of ILLiad's Main Menu screen.
  • Researchers who are authorized to use research or departmental funds should enter those 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, as they are not otherwise affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Course Reserves

Tips for accessing and using Course Reserves
  • Access Course Reserves directly or from the Rensselaer Libraries homepage.
  • Keep in mind that the use of some Course Reserves resources is restricted to Rensselaer faculty, staff and students in order to comply with copyright law and various licensing agreements.
  • Search the Reserves by instructor’s last name, course name, or department.
  • Remember that Architecture Course Reserves materials are only available at the Architecture Library.
  • Request Course Reserves items kept behind the Service Desk by specifying the course name and item number, as displayed in the Course Reserves database. Library-owned materials must be requested by call number.
  • Note that some listed Course Reserves items may only be available electronically.
  • Be prepared to deposit a required acceptable, positive form of identification – such as a Rensselaer or other college ID card, a Rensselaer Libraries' Courtesy Card, or current driver's license – to collect Course Reserves materials.
  • Remember that 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.
  • Be sure to collect any Course Reserves materials at least 15 minutes before the Service Desk closes.
  • Keep in mind that some Course Reserves materials cannot be removed from the Libraries, and are restricted to building use only.
How to Submit Materials for Course Reserves

Any individuals who wish to submit materials for Course Reserves must:

  • Use the Course Reserves request form to list all assigned and suggested readings with complete bibliographic information, including author, book or journal title, date etc. Request forms are also available at the Library Service Desks.
  • Submit request forms to the Service Desks before the start of classes to allow for timely processing.
  • Identify specific book chapters to be put on reserve.
  • Submit PDF versions of weekly problem sets, homework answers, lecture notes, exams, etc., at least two days in advance of use. All materials must be identified by specific course titles and number, faculty name, and type of material.
  • Include a clear statement of copyright ownership on all personally authored materials which are submitted.
  • Be responsible for obtaining copies of their own authored materials before the end of each semester.

Library staff will do the following with all Course Reserves materials:

  • Process request forms in order of receipt. Requestors should keep in mind that 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. It may take four to six weeks, or more, to fulfill some book orders.
  • 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. The Libraries assume no responsibility for damage or loss to materials which are returned by this method.
  • Destroy temporary Course Reserves files at the end of each semester.

Library staff will NOT do the following with regard to Course Reserves items:

  • Purchase current undergraduate textbooks or multiple copies of items
  • Guarantee replacement of personal copies of materials in the event of loss or damage
  • Allow Interlibrary Loan materials to be used for Course Reserves

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 the particular use, handling policies, and availability of Course Reserves materials in the Folsom Library should be directed to the Course Reserves Coordinator by calling (518) 276-8310 or via email).

Questions about Course Reserves materials in Rensselaer’s Architecture Library should be directed to the Architecture Library by calling (518) 276-6465.


Computers, Printers and Scanners


All of the computers in both the Folsom and Architecture Libraries, which run on  the Windows operating system, include basic software such as Microsoft Office.  Photoshop and Acrobat Pro are also available on the computers which are attached to the library scanners.

All library computers are configured to access the various printers which are located throughout the libraries.

For those library patrons who prefer to use their laptops, WiFi is available in both the Folsom and Architecture Libraries.

Guests who are visiting the Rensselaer campus may inquire at the Library Service Desks to be logged in to one of the public computers.  However, access to library computers by members of the Rensselaer community takes precedence over access by the general public. 

In addition, Library guests should note that licensing agreements restrict some resources to current members of the Rensselaer community, and these resources will not be accessible to campus guests.  Similarly, campus guests do not have access to WiFi or printing privileges, so they must save documents to a flash drive, or send documents to themselves via an internet email client.

It is important to note that all Library computers are provided in support of Rensselaer's educational and research missions, and therefore use of this equipment for any other purposes is not permitted. All library users are expected to adhere to Rensselaer's policies on Electronic Citizenship.

Printers and 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.

Rensselaer users need to install the appropriate print driver(s) in order to access and print to a campus network printer from their own computers.

Names, formats, and locations of the Libraries’ public printers:

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, one- or two- sided
  • gr306cb - Color, 11"x17" paper, one- or two- 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 second/main floor, adjacent to the DVD area. This is a high-resolution, large-format (18"x24.4") scanning kiosk with touch screen operation, and is capable of 24-bit color, bi-tonal 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.  In Folsom Library, scanners are located near the center stairs on the first, third, and fourth floors; in the Architecture Library, scanners are connected to the public computers.

Photoshop and Acrobat Professional are installed on the computers that are connected to all Library scanners. Trays for slide-scanning are available at the Service Desks in both Libraries.

Microform reader
A microform reader, which can also be used to scan slides, is available on the first floor of Folsom Library, near the main stairwell.



Building Use Policies

Building Use and Access Policies

Public Access
Both the Folsom and Architecture Libraries are open to the general public.  However, a Rensselaer ID card is required to open the front doors of Folsom Library, so those without an ID card may request entry to the Library by pressing the intercom button located immediately outside the front doors.  These individuals 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, such as an unexpired Rensselaer or other college ID, or 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, and in all reading and stack areas, at all times.
  • The third and fourth floors of the Folsom Library are geared toward individual study. Group study is more appropriate on the first and second floors of the Folsom Library.
  • 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 will sound to signal either a fire drill or an actual emergency evacuation.  In both cases, all library users and staff are required to immediately exit library buildings by the nearest designated exit.  Note that periodic fire drills are required by New York State law.

Security Alarms
When the system's alarm sounds, the person who triggered the alarm must return to the Library Service Desk.  If that person has any unauthorized library materials in his or her possession, Library staff will report the incident 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 over the loudspeaker, signaling the return of group study room keys and class reserve materials. Users have 15 minutes until the Library Service Desk closes to borrow library materials.

Late Night Study Hours
The Library Service Desks are not available during late night study hours, when only building safety monitors are on duty. Public safety staff will make an announcement five minutes prior to closing and direct everyone to exit the building at that time.

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.

For individuals who did not previously have Library access, or who wish to change their level of access, the requestor’s department must send an e-mail to Manager of Public Services for their approval.  All requests must include the individual's name, their RIN, the start date and end date of their library access, and the reason for the request.  Departments requesting library access prior to the building’s normal opening time must provide justifications for the request, as such early access constitutes a security issue and will be approved as deemed appropriate at the discretion of the library.

Library staff will sign any approved access requests and forward them to Public Safety for processing.  Library staff will also notify the requesting department of any access requests which are not approved

Designated individuals who are granted access to Folsom Library prior to the building’s official opening time 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 Service Desk, 518-276-8310, 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. However, a liquor permit must be obtained from the Health Center if alcoholic beverages will be served.

The Folsom Library can provide some audio-visual equipment for conferences and seminars, but the equipment must be requested at the time of the room reservation to assure its availability.  Individuals requesting the equipment are responsible for its operation during the event.  Those requiring A/V services and equipment not provided by the Library should contact Media Operations by calling 518-276-8282.

Fischbach Seminar Room

The Fischbach Room is equipped with a lectern fitted with a PC running PowerPoint software, an overhead projector and large projection screen, a wireless microphone, chalkboards, and both DVD and VCR players.  The tables and chairs are typically arranged in a U-shape configuration to comfortably seat 24 people. Extra chairs and tables are available for larger groups, but must be requested at the time of the room reservation.

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

Library Conference Room

Folsom Library’s Conference Room contains one large table which seats a maximum of 12 people. Equipped with an overhead projector, projection screen and whiteboard, the room can also accommodate simple food set-ups.

Group Study Rooms

Two group study rooms located on the third floor of the Folsom Library are available for up to three hours' use each day by any Rensselaer-affiliated group of two 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 also small group study rooms located on the first, third and fourth floors of Folsom Library that are left unlocked for both individuals and groups to use on a first-come, first-use basis. Near the end of the spring and fall semesters, student groups may reserve some of these rooms in advance to finish their class projects. 

How to Reserve Study Rooms

Reservations are made by contacting the Library's Service Desk in person or by telephone, 518-276-8310, during regular Institute business hours or by submitting the Rensselaer Libraries: Folsom Room Reservation Request form.

In all cases, Library staff may request that the names of all study room occupants be identified on the Group Study Reservation slip.

Claiming and Extending Reservations
Room reservations that are not claimed within the first ten minutes of a scheduled reservation period will be reassigned.
Users may not request a time extension until the end of the initial reservation period. Such extensions are limited to one-hour increments, and will be granted only when demand for the study rooms is low.

Group Study Room Keys
All group study room keys are issued five minutes before the start of the reservation period, and all room registrants must present a completed Group Study Reservation slip with two current Rensselaer IDs.

Room registrants must return study room keys to the Library Service Desk within five minutes of the room reservation’s expiration. For reservations expiring after 11:30 PM, the key must be returned to the Library Service Desk prior to that time, but occupants may continue to use the room until the building’s scheduled closing time.  In all cases, study room keys cannot be taken from the building,

Users who return study room keys late will receive a $10.00 fine; those who lose the key will receive a $25.00 fine, plus a $10.00 processing fee.

Conditions of Group Study Room Use
The following conditions exist for all groups who reserve study rooms:

  • The individual who registers for a group study room assumes full liability for subsequent repair costs arising from any room or equipment damage that occurs during the reservation period.
  • The Libraries assume no responsibility for the loss of or damage to personal property that is left in a study room at any time.
  • A group that reserves a study room must dispose of any waste properly and leave the room clean and orderly.
  • Study groups may not move furniture and equipment into or out of a study room without the permission of the Library Service Desk staff.
  • All study groups are expected to keep their conversation level low so as not to disturb other library users.

Individuals or groups who blatantly or repeatedly violate the above conditions of use may lose their study room privileges for the current academic semester.

Open Study Areas

The Folsom Library offers open seating for more than 500 people at tables and study carrels, as well as in various group study and meeting room facilities.

Much of the open seating, which is located along the perimeters of the third and fourth floors, usually offers a combination of wireless and/or Ethernet service. Study seating is also available on the first and second floors, but these areas are adjacent to lobbies and offices and are therefore not as quiet.

All Library users are expected to maintain a conducive study environment by minimizing conversations, using headphones for audio listening, and holding private cell phone conversations outside or in the stairwells..

Donating Books and Other Library Materials

The Rensselaer Libraries will:

Although the Folsom and Architecture Libraries will accept the offer of gift books and other research materials, the Libraries also reserve the right to evaluate, use, or dispose of any gift items as deemed appropriate.  Also note that, due to IRS regulations, the Libraries cannot appraise any gift items.

If you have any questions regarding potential donations to the Libraries, please contact John Dojka, Director of Collection Development, by email or by phoning (518) 276-8341.

Student Club Collections

The Rensselaer Libraries will attempt to provide space for informal reading collections which are donated by Rensselaer Union-recognized student clubs, in accordance with the guidelines given below.  Student clubs who wish to start or add to a collection of materials should inquire at the Library Service Desk.

Book Guidelines

  • The Rensselaer Libraries have sole discretion in determining if they choose to accept any club-offered collections.  Once accepted, the donated materials become property of the Libraries.
  • All donated collection materials will be available strictly on an “honor system” basis.  The Libraries are not responsible for replacing any damaged or lost collection items.
  • The Libraries determine the location and size of the donated collections.  The current recommended maximum collection size is 100 hardcover, or 250 softcover, books.
  • The Libraries will de-accession all items which are to be removed from a collection.
  • The club donating the materials must designate a liaison person who will be responsible for working with a Library staff member to maintain the club’s collection. 
  • The club must periodically review their 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."

Please note that the Folsom Library does not accept textbooks for its collections, nor does it accept unsolicited eBooks.  Library patrons may place used textbooks on the Folsom Library's “Second Chance Bookshelf,” located on the first floor of the library, or they may donate them to Better World Books, an organization that will reimburse postage of mailing the books to them, and that also helps fund global literacy initiatives.

Magazine and Newspaper Guidelines

  • Clubs must reimburse the library for any incurred subscription costs of newspapers and magazines.
  • Student clubs who wish to donate magazines and/or newspapers to the Folsom Library must do so by sending them directly to the Library at the following address:

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

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

The Library staff will treat any unattended personal property they find in general study areas, stack areas or study rooms as abandoned property.  As a result, the Rensselaer Libraries assume no responsibility for the loss of any personal property that is left unattended.

The Folsom Service Desk staff will hold any abandoned property for approximately two weeks before they turn it over to Alpha Phi Omega (APO) for disposal.

Policies Regarding 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 in the Folsom Library 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 Library 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 and Drink

  • Non-messy snack foods and drinks in closed containers are permitted throughout the Folsom Library with the exception of the Fixman Archives.
  • Messy foods – such as large sandwiches, pizza, soup, chili, etc –  and open-container drinks should be restricted to the Library Café on the main floor of Folsom Library.
  • Please dispose of waste properly.
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. No signage may be affixed to the exterior of the Folsom Library, with the exception being approved campus campaign posters, which may be displayed on the pillars outside the Folsom Library’s main entrance during GM Week.

Examples of acceptable notices which may be posted within the Libraries include announcements of local and campus meetings, special seminars, lectures, concerts, etc.  All acceptable notices must:

  • Be displayed or distributed only on designated Library bulletin boards and easels.
  • Clearly identify sponsoring parties and show expiration dates.

Examples of unacceptable Library notices include advertisements and sales offers from commercial enterprises, or flyers which do not clearly identify the sponsoring group or person.

In addition to the bulletin boards and easels designated for more official postings, a message board for posting informal, daily communications is also available beside the second-floor center stairwell in Folsom Library.  This message board -- which typically includes notes regarding special club programs, or individuals’ or study groups’ study locations within the Folsom Library – is checked daily by Folsom Library staff for expired or unauthorized postings.

Library staff will remove and discard any unauthorized materials they find posted within the Folsom and Architecture Libraries

Inquiries about posting or distributing materials should be directed to the Library Service Desk (518-276-8310) or to the Manager of Public Services (518-276-8684).


All soliciting for charitable or other purposes in general study or stack areas is prohibited within both the Folsom and Architecture Libraries. However, unobtrusive soliciting in support of recognized campus-endorsed programs – such as the United Way Campaign, Clothe-A-Child, and the Meanest Man on Campus campaign held during GM Week – 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
  • Sale of 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 by calling (518) 276-8684.


Rensselaer Hartford

Hartford Affiliated Users


ConnectNY materials typically arrive at the Folsom Library within two to three days 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 the 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.


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.

To this end, the Folsom and Architecture Libraries have the following features:

Folsom Library

  • Ramps for both pedestrians and those with impaired mobility
  • Elevator located to the right of the Library Service Desk
  • Kurzweil reading machine located in room 411

Architecture Library

  • Ramp at the southeast corner of the Greene Building for both pedestrians and those with impaired mobility
  • Elevator located across from the School of Architecture office.
  • Any users with disabilities who may require more extensive assistance should contact the Libraries in advance by calling the Folsom Library Service Desk at (518) 276-8310, or the Architecture Library at (518) 276-6465.

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



Rensselaer alumni/alumnae may request a Courtesy Card at the Folsom or Architecture Library Service Desk. 

For more detailed information, see the Borrowing Policies section of this site, and also refer to 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.

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.

For more detailed information, see the Borrowing Policies section of this site. If you still have questions, please contact the Library staff.



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. Rensselaer borrowers 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.

Borrowers may want to search the catalogs of these other libraries before traveling to them.

Other Capital District Libraries and 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