Library Access and Borrowing Policies 2015

Student being helped at the Service Desk

Including: Eligibility, Borrowing Privileges, Loan Periods, Interlibrary Loan, Borrowing and Return of Library Materials, and Reserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Laptop Loaner Policy

Library Food and Beverage Policy

Library Code of Conduct

NOTE: Smoking is prohibited by New Jersey law in library buildings.

Library Locations


In addition to serving PTS faculty, students and staff, the Princeton Theological Seminary Library offers complimentary library privileges to individuals from a number of institutions. The institution list includes Princeton University (faculty, staff, and student body), the Institute for Advanced Study, Westminster Choir College, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association's (SEPTLA) network of member libraries. Persons who are not current PTS students, faculty, staff or graduates and who do not have privileges by virtue of a status at another institution may purchase privileges according to one of two categories:

  1. BASIC fee paid privileges are $50 per year and allow for up to twenty books to be charged at any given time.
  2. ENHANCED fee paid privileges are $250 per year and allow for up to fifty books to be charged out at any given time. Patrons with this card may also recall books from other patrons.

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Borrowing Privileges

All persons who wish to borrow materials are required to obtain an identification card and to present it at the Service Desk when charging books. Identification cards are issued for the balance of the current academic year for students and faculty. (On-site borrowing only; materials cannot be mailed to patrons.) Other patrons are issued cards for one year or six months from the date that they applied. Applications both for cards and for card renewals must be made in person during library hours. Current students and faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary must obtain their identification cards from the Housing office; all other persons (including PTS Alumni/ae) must obtain them from the Service Desk, located on the main floor of the Library. For more information, contact the Service Desk at (609) 497-7940.

Loan Periods

Members of the permanent ranked faculty of and Princeton University, along with Ph.D. candidates at the Seminary, may charge books until the end of the academic year (June 30). For all other borrowers, books may be charged for a maximum of four weeks. Fines begin to accumulate at the expiration of the borrowing period unless the materials have been renewed. Normally a borrower is entitled to the use of a book for a minimum of fourteen days, after which time it may be recalled by another patron. Books may be renewed a maximum of five times, unless there is a hold on the item, in which case it must be returned. Books may be renewed online before or on the due date. Books recalled by the library, often for reserve use, are due immediately. There is a system limit to the number of books that each patron type may charge at any one time. The following is a list of the most common categories.

See also: Loan Periods for Other Formats

Loan Periods By Patron Type
PTS Faculty and Ph.D. Students 500 Academic Year (6/30/__)
PTS Alumni/ae 10 28 days
PTS Student 50 28 days
BASIC Privileges ($50) 20 28 days
ENHANCED Privileges ($250)† 50 28 days
Princeton University PhD 50 56 days
Princeton University Student 50 28 days
Princeton University Faculty 250 Academic Year (6/30/__)
SEPTLA 5 28 days

†Patrons who have purchased ENHANCED borrowing privileges may also recall books from other patrons.

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Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

ILL is a service provided to PTS faculty, students and staff, and to CTI scholars. Requests are made at the reference desk, or online. Materials may be retrieved at the Service Desk. The loan period for ILL materials is set by the lending library. In the event that an item is recalled by the lending library, the borrower will be notified and instructed to return the item to the Service Desk immediately. Students must use borrowed books within the library. Please see our full Interlibrary Loan Policy for more information. Authorized users may complete the ILL Request Form.

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Borrowing and Return of Library Materials

Books are borrowed by charging them at the Service Desk. A valid PTS or PTS Library identification card, issued to the borrower, must be presented. Books may not be borrowed on another patron's card, nor may borrowing be done on behalf of a third party, except for research assistants who have been given written authority by faculty to do so. Books must be returned to the Service Desk book drop during hours when the library is open; when the library is closed, materials may be returned through the night book drop, which is located to the left of the front doors of the Mercer Street entrance.

All library services end 15 minutes before closing time. This includes copying and checking out materials.


If a library item is checked out to another borrower, patrons with recall privileges may recall it. All patrons are responsible for honoring recall requests and are subject to recall fines at all times of the year. In the event an item is recalled, a notice is generated with the new due date and sent to the current borrower. The current borrower must return the book by the date indicated on the recall notice. Failure to return a recalled item by the new due date will incur a fine of $1.00 per day, and the borrower will be prevented from borrowing again until the item is returned. When the book is returned, the requestor will receive an email notification to pick up the book from the service desk. The item will be held at the service desk for 14 days after which it will be returned to the stacks.

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Course Reserves and Textbooks

Reserve materials are kept at the Service Desk. To request a reserve item, go to the Service Desk, and request a book (by call number). Reserve materials for M.Div. classes have a two-hour loan period, six-hour for Ph.D. classes. Generally, reserve materials must be used within the library. However, up to two reserve books may be charged out of the library beginning two hours before the library closes. The book(s) must then be returned to the library within one hour of the library opening the next day.

As a courtesy, patrons will receive a reminder 5 days before materials are due. The Princeton Theological Seminary Library assumes no responsibility for non-receipt of courtesy notices. It is still the sole responsibility of the borrower to ensure that materials are returned and/or renewed on time. Failure to return and/or renew a borrowed item on or before the due date or time will incur a late fee. Failure to pay fines and penalties will result in the eventual loss of borrowing privileges.

Textbooks are available for purchase in the Seminary Online Bookstore.

Fines and Lost Books

The following schedule of overdue fines is applicable to all borrowers:

  • Reserve and overnight books $1.00/hour
  • Books $0.25/day
  • Media $1.00/day
  • Recalled items $1.00/day

Fines are normally paid at the time of return. Recall and overdue notices are sent via e-mail and if necessary by campus mail or U.S.P.S. mail. If an item is not returned within 90 days of its due date, the item is considered lost and will be charged replacement and processing fees (see below).

When the fines on any user account reach a level of $20 or more, that account will be "frozen"—that is, no new transactions will be permitted—until the fines are paid.

Persons who lose or damage a library book should report the matter to the Service Desk. Once a book is reported, patrons have a reasonable amount of time to search for the book, during which time the accumulation of fines may be suspended. If the item is not located, the patron is expected to pay a replacement fee. The automated system will automatically generate a "lost book" invoice for $70.00, an average amount for book replacement and processing fee. The actual amount will vary depending on the cost and availability of the book. The fees for damaged books will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions or believe you have received such a notice in error, please communicate with a Service Desk Supervisor in person, over the phone at 609-497-7940, or via email. Patrons may request a receipt for their account status at any time.

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Loan Periods for Other Formats

Loan Periods for Other Formats
Curriculum 2 weeks
DVDs, videos 1 week
Other nonprint material 2 weeks
Periodicals and pamphlets In library use only
The following schedule of overdue fines will be charged:
  • Curriculum, pictures $.25 per day
  • DVDs, videos $1.00 per day
  • Other nonprint material $.50 per day

Fines are normally paid at the time of return. Recall and overdue notices are sent through campus mail and campus email. If an item is not returned within 90 days of its due date, the item is considered lost and will be charged accordingly.

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Defacement of Library Property

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

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