Library Registration & Circulation

Library Privileges Policy

Only those individuals with Library privileges may enter and use the non-public areas of the Library, including the Main Stacks, Botany, Geology, Birds, Mammals, Insects, Invertebrates, Fishes, and Amphibians & Reptiles Libraries. All those who have a valid Museum identification badge may request Library Privileges. The Library Privileges Form must be completely filled out, signed, and submitted to the Library Reference Desk before privileges will be granted. At that time, a Library orientation session should be scheduled. Please stop by the Reference Desk during service hours (Tuesday-Friday, 1pm-4pm) to pick up a form.

  • Full Library Privileges apply to the status categories listed below. Users will have access to all stack areas, the ability to borrow materials and request interlibrary loans.
    • Full-time staff, Postdoctoral fellows, Curators emeriti, Adjunct Curators & Research Associates.
  • Partial Library Privileges apply to the status categories listed below. Users will have access to all stack areas. Those with partial privileges cannot borrow books unless an FMNH staff member with Full Privileges sponsors them. Note: It is the responsibility of the Department/Division to ensure that these individuals register with the Library and comply with its policies. If these individuals fail to return library materials, then the Department/Division is responsible for their replacement.
    • Graduate Students, Professional Visitors, Volunteers, Interns, Temporary or contract staff.

Circulation Policies & Procedures

All new library users should schedule an orientation of the Library in order to learn how to access Library materials. ALL MATERIALS MUST BE CHARGED OUT AT THE CIRCULATION/REFERENCE DESK BEFORE BEING REMOVED FROM THE MAIN LIBRARY. (Each satellite library has a designated circulation area; please charge out all materials before removing items from these locations.) The efficiency of the library depends on accurate and consistent self-checkout. Call numbers must be written exactly as they appear on the spine of the item. Please print legibly and record author, title and name of borrower for books. For serials, please record title of serials as well as volume, number and year of item. At their discretion, Reference Staff may limit the use and/or circulation of especially fragile materials. Please do not reshelve any materials. ALL LIBRARY MATERIALS MUST BE USED IN THE MUSEUM ONLY. NO MATERIAL MAY BE REMOVED FROM MUSEUM PREMISES.

Loan periods are indefinite unless needed by another user. We encourage library users to return library materials that they are not ACTIVELY using.

Charged library materials must be stored in a safe, “dedicated” work area where the items can be accessed and recalled by Library staff (at any time) for use by another patron. Please do not interfile library materials with personal references. Lost library materials should be promptly reported to the Library staff. Loss of Library materials, or failure to return recalled Library materials, will result in an invoice to the borrower (or the borrower’s sponsor or supervisor) in the amount of the full replacement cost of the item. Unpaid invoices will result in Library privileges being revoked. Departing Museum staff and associates must return all Library materials before their final day at the Museum. Wages will be garnished for the replacement costs of all missing library items.

Circulation Inventory

In order to maintain proper control of the library’s collections, it is necessary for library staff to occasionally conduct an inventory of materials located in staff offices. Library staff will make every effort to make this process as non-intrusive as possible to the borrowers. Library circulation staff will give ample notice when scheduling inventories.