Borrow and request

As a Stanford student, faculty member, or staff member, you have access to over fifteen million physical and electronic resources, including books, journals, articles, maps, data, and more. Below you'll find additional information and policies that you may find useful: 


Loan periods differ depending on your affiliation, the owning branch or center, and the type of item you borrow. It is always advisable to check the due date in My Library Account and watch for emails from Stanford Libraries with any due date changes. 

Log in to My Library Account

All borrowed items are your responsibility. Please refrain from damaging or marking them in any way, including dog-earing or highlighting pages. If you notice any damage, kindly report it to the circulation desk. 

Common loan periods


  • Undergraduate students: twenty-eight days
    • Science (Li and Ma), Earth Sciences (Branner), Engineering (Terman), and Marine Biology (Miller), Libraries: due at the end of the quarter
  • Graduate students: due at the end of the quarter
  • Faculty: due at the end of the Spring quarter 

Bound journals and periodicals

Depending on the owning branch or center, the loan periods vary from seven to twenty-eight days.


Seven days

Proxy borrowing

Stanford faculty members may designate someone to borrow materials on their behalf.  

Learn about proxy borrowing

Visitor access

If you are not affiliated with Stanford, you can visit Stanford Libraries for up to seven days per year without borrowing privileges. Beyond that, a library card must be purchased.

Learn about visitor access


Please return library materials by their due date. Most items can be returned to any of our library branches or book drops; however, there are a few exceptions: 

  • Course reserves must be returned directly to the lending branch’s circulation desk. 
  • Interlibrary Loan and Borrow Direct materials must be returned to the Green Library circulation desk or any Green Library book drop.
  • Most media must be returned to the lending branch's circulation desk during operating hours, or to a book drop after hours.
  • DVDs and Blu-rays can be returned to any library or book drop.

You may also return items by mailing them at your own expense to the following address:

Cecil H. Green Library Access Services Department   557 Escondido Mall   Stanford, CA 94305-6063

It is advisable to insure and track your package. We do not assume responsibility for items returned by mail and will only consider them returned upon receipt.

Important! Lost-item fees will be charged for items overdue by eight or more days. Please return materials on time to avoid this inconvenience.


Most library books and items can be renewed either online via My Library Account or in person. However, the maximum number of renewals allowed for an item depends on its type and the lending branch or center.

If you have reached the maximum number of renewals, you may still renew the item in person at a library circulation desk, as long as there are no holds or recalls on the item.

Important! If your account is blocked due to overdue fines and/or items, you cannot renew any items until the block is cleared. You must return the overdue items and pay any fines owed to clear the block.


If someone else recalls an item you've borrowed from Stanford Libraries, the due date for that item may change. If such an event takes place, you will receive an email notification informing you of the change. 

Important! To avoid accumulating daily overdue fines on recalled items, kindly return them by the new due date. In case you are planning to be away for more than a week, please return all the items or designate someone to return them if recalled.


Stanford Libraries aim to improve convenience by offering various request services, though availability depends on specific circumstances such as material type, item status, branch or center, and patron affiliation. Request services include:

Receive digital scan by email

Sections of a book or periodical, such as a chapter or article, can be scanned and delivered to you by email. The scan cannot exceed fifty pages or ten percent of the work, whichever is less.

Pickup physical item 

If the item is available, library staff will promptly retrieve it from the library shelves and route it to your preferred pickup location. 

If the item is currently checked out or unavailable, you might be prompted to choose whether you would like to expedite it from a partner library or wait for a copy to become available at Stanford. 

  • Expedited requests involve our staff searching for another copy at partner libraries through interlibrary loan and having it shipped to Stanford Libraries. If an alternative copy cannot be found, we might recall the item from the current borrower or, in some cases, procure another copy. 
  • Opting to wait for a Stanford copy to become available means we will hold the item for you once it is available for pickup at your preferred pickup location. Please be aware that others may be ahead of you in the queue or on the waitlist.


Place a request

Begin by finding the item you need in SearchWorks, the library catalog. If request services are available for a specific item, a blue Request button will be displayed. Click this button to place a request. When your request is ready, you will be notified by email.

Need an item that Stanford doesn't own?

If Stanford Libraries doesn’t have an item in our collection, you can request it from a partner library. 

We also value your suggestions. If we don't have a particular item or it cannot be borrowed through the aforementioned ways, consider recommending a purchase.

Suggest a purchase

Questions about borrowing or requesting?

Contact the circulation staff by email or call (650) 723-1493 with any questions or concerns.

Last updated May 21, 2024