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Borrow, renew, return

These pages explain circulation services and policies at the Stanford University Libraries, including borrowing periods, renewals, and return policies. While policies vary by library and user privilege level (faculty, staff, undergraduate, alumni, etc.), books typically have longer lending periods than other materials, such as DVDs and media. Still have questions after reading these pages? Contact


Renewal limits

Many library items may be renewed but once the renewal limit is reached, the item must be returned before it can be checked out again. Items that are on reserve or whose loan period is three days or less cannot be renewed. Renewal limits on media materials and equipment vary by library.

Loan period Renewals
4-14 days 1
28 or 90 days       2
Quarter 3
Semester 1
Year 2

Renewal methods

Most library materials may be renewed any of four ways: online, in person, via email, or by phone.

Online: Book materials may be renewed online within 14 days of the item's due date.

  • SUNet ID users should log into My Account with SUNet ID. Non-SUNet ID users should log into My Account without SUNet ID. You'll see your list of checked out items. Select the ones you want to renew, then click Renew Items. When the page refreshes, you'll see a column with the new due dates.
  • Faculty and academic staff may renew media items online once; after that, the item must be brought into the library for renewal.

In person: You can always renew items in person, but in-person renewals are required under the following circumstances:

  • If you've reached the maximum number of renewals allowed online. (If so, be sure to bring the material with you.)
  • To renew items from the Media & Microtext Center (faculty and academic staff may do first renewals of media online.  Subsequent renewals must be done in person.)

Email: Policies on email renewal vary by library, so be sure the individual library accepts email requests. In general, you may renew by email in two ways:

  • Reply to the reminder email you receive prior to the item coming due. Request that the item be renewed.
  • Email the library where you borrowed the item, requesting it be renewed. Include your Stanford ID number or library barcode number and the barcode number for the items you wish to renew.

Phone: Many libraries accept renewal requests over the phone; consult the library for its policy on phone renewals.

Blocked from renewing?

If your record is blocked for any reason, you can’t renew books online, via email or by phone. Check My Account to see why you are blocked. You must clear your account (often by returning overdue items or paying fines) before you can renew or borrow more items. See suspended privileges for more information.

Items recalled from you cannot be renewed. Instead, return the item by the recall due date to make the material available to others in the Stanford community (and to avoid fines).

Items requested by another user to be held cannot be renewed. Holds on items do not shorten the due date, but they do prevent the item from being renewed. Return the item to the library by the due date. If you need to use the item again, you can request a hold be placed for you.  Speak to a staff member at the circulation desk.

Billed items cannot be renewed online, via email or by phone. After you receive a replacement fine and $5.00 billing fee for the item, you must return it to the library. Speak with a staff member at the circulation desk if you would like to pursue re-checking out the item.