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Circulation Information


Who Can Visit the Boston College Libraries?

The Boston College Libraries (excluding the Law Library) are open to the public. 

Who Can Borrow?

Current Boston College students, faculty and staff may borrow materials from any of the Boston College Libraries. Loan periods vary based on user status and material type which includes technology and media loans. The loan periods below are typically for books available on the open shelves. Books (except those loaned from the ERC) can be recalled from a borrower regardless of user status. Recall requests shorten the loan period for the original borrower, who is guaranteed a minimum loan period of 14 days.

Click here to view the Borrower Privileges chart PDF.

Saint John's Seminary Faculty and Students

Saint John's Seminary faculty and students have the same privileges as Boston College faculty and students.

Research, Teaching and Graduate Assistants

Faculty and staff may designate a proxy to borrow materials on their behalf. Faculty and staff can access the application form by logging onto their Holmes account,

Alumni Guests - Boston College, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Newton College of the Sacred Heart, Saint John's Seminary

Alumni have borrowing privileges at all the Boston College Libraries except for the Law Library. Alumni users may borrow books for 28 days with two renewals. At the ERC alumni have borrowing privileges for 14 days with one renewal (total of 28 days permitted).

Alumni borrower card applications and policies are available at the O'Neill Library, ERC and Theology and Ministry Library circulation desks. A valid form of photo identification must be presented when requesting privileges. Once graduation status is confirmed, a card will be issued.

Boston Library Consortium (BLC) Guests

The Boston College Libraries are a cooperating member of the Boston Library Consortium. Because of this membership, Boston College faculty and students qualify for borrowing privileges at the member libraries. The faculty and students from the other 17 cooperating academic and research libraries have borrowing privileges at all BC libraries except the Law Library and ERC.

Who Can Use the Boston Library Consortium Libraries?
Boston College faculty, students and staff members can use the BLC Libraries. Before you go to one of the member libraries listed above you must have a consortium card that confirms that you are in good standing with the Boston College Libraries. Applications are available at the Reference Desk in O'Neill Library, the Law, Bapst and Social Work libraries.

How can a person who is a current member of one of the Boston Library Consortium institutions use the Boston College Libraries?
Apply for a library card at the O'Neill Circulation Desk. A valid consortium card from your home library must be presented, along with a second form of identification. Cards are issued for personal use only and are non-transferable. Cardholders are responsible for complying with library regulations and are subject to fines and replacement fees for lost material.

Boston Theological Institute (BTI) Guests at Boston College

The Boston College Libraries are a cooperating member of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) and extend borrowing privileges at all BC libraries, except Law and the Educational Resource Center, to faculty and graduate students from participating BTI Libraries. Users from BTI libraries must bring with them a valid ID card and a valid BTI borrowing card from their member school.

To Borrow from a BTI Library
In general, on-site borrowing at other BTI libraries is limited to faculty and graduate students in the  BC Theology Department and faculty and students of the BC School of Theology and Ministry.

BC Theology Department faculty and theology graduate students
Theology Department faculty members and graduate students must request a BTI card from the Boston College Theology Department to verify affiliation in the department. Present the card along with a Boston College ID at any of the Boston Theological Institute member libraries.

BC School of Theology and Ministry (STM) faculty and students
BC STM faculty and students must request a BTI card from the Assistant Director, Admissions, Financial Aid and Academic Services at STM who verifies affiliation at the STM.  Present the card along with a Boston College ID at any of the Boston Theological Institute member libraries.

Feepay Borrowers

Borrowing privileges may be applied for and account renewals processed by contacting Paul Bridden – or Gail Lefebvre – A valid form of identification is required--driver's license or passport for example, along with proof of your local address—such as a utility bill. Cards are issued for a three month period ($200) or a year ($500) and are non-transferable.

Visiting Faculty

Visiting faculty members are entitled to the same privileges as full-time faculty. Duration of privileges is in accordance with the stay at Boston College. To make registering for borrowing privileges easier, visiting faculty members should apply for a university I.D. at Student Services in Lyons Hall before coming to O’Neill Library.

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Guests

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is a conference of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. The schools are bonded together by a common heritage, vision and purpose, and engage in a number of collaborative projects. One such project is the Jesuit Library Passport Program. Because Boston College is a member of the AJCU, other Jesuit libraries will extend borrowing privileges to visiting Boston College faculty while Boston College will allow onsite borrowing for the faculty of other Jesuit institutions (AJCU Member Institutions).

To Borrow On-site at an AJCU Library (BC faculty visiting another AJCU institution)
Complete an AJCU Direct Reciprocal Library Borrower form available at the main Circulation Desk in O'Neill Library. Take the completed, signed form with you to the participating library, together with your Boston College photo ID. Borrowing privileges are determined by the host lending library and may or may not be similar to your borrowing privileges at Boston College.

To Borrow On-site at Boston College (Faculty of AJCU institutions visiting BC)
Present your signed AJCU Direct Reciprocal Library Borrower form and your institutional photo ID at the main Circulation Desk in O'Neill Library. You will be issued a Guest borrower card that will allow you to borrow a maximum of 10 items at one time, each for a loan period of 28 days.


What Are the Library User’s Responsibilities?

All library users are responsible for the materials borrowed from the University Libraries until the materials are returned. They are also responsible for any charges incurred for late, lost, or damaged library materials. Materials must be returned to the library in the condition in which they were borrowed. Charges will be assessed for materials that are returned damaged. Patrons returning materials that are damaged beyond repair will be subject to full replacement costs.

Examples of common sources of damage to library materials are:

  • Moisture
  • Using inappropriate materials as bookmarks, for example; Post-It notes/sticky page markers, paperclips and rubber bands
  • Writing notes or highlighting text in library books, even in pencil

All overdue and recall notices are sent via email. It is the user's responsibility to monitor email. Boston College community members must monitor Boston College email accounts for such notices or forward BC email to a personal account. Use Agora to set "Forwarding" preferences. Go to:

  • Agora
  • My Services
  • Email-AutoReply & Forwarding (this puts you in Webmail)
  • Click the upper left-hand corner of the screen (auto-reply & forwarding)
  • Set the email address that you wish to have your BC email forwarded to

Renewals are possible when material has not been requested by another borrower. Non-B.C. borrowers are limited to one renewal. Alumni borrowers are limited to two renewals, with the exception of materials borrowed from the ERC which may be renewed once. Faculty, staff and students can renew their own books through Holmes (Your Account) or by asking for a renewal at a circulation desk.

Overdue and Replacement Charges

Charges vary by library but in general these charges apply:

Book Loans

Recalled books: $5 per day, beginning first day after recall due date, $25 maximum
Lost books: $100 replacement fee assessed at 29 days overdue; once a an item is billed there is a 5 month period in which a refund can be given for a returned book or a replacement accepted.
Damaged books: Charges are assessed at the discretion of library staff.
Course Reserve items: $20 fine per day overdue, $100 maximum; $100 replacement fee assessed at 6 days overdue. Replacement fees and overdue fines for Course Reserves items are non-refundable.

Technology Loans

Overdue laptops/iPads: $20 fine per day overdue, $100 maximum
Lost laptops/iPads: $20 fine per day overdue, $100 maximum; $600-900 replacement fee assessed at 6 days overdue. Replacement fees and overdue fines for iPads and laptops are non-refundable. For additional information, please review the O'Neill iPad Loan and Usage Policy, ERC iPad Loan and Usage Policy, and the Laptop Loan and Usage Policy.
Chargers/Adapters/Calculators/Headphones: $20 fine per day overdue, $100 maximum fine, $100 replacement fee assessed at 6 days overdue. Replacement fees and overdue fines for these items are non-refundable.

Media Loans

Overdue and lost DVD, CD: $50 Replacement fee assessed at 5 days overdue

Other Loans

Overdue and lost charges for items other than those listed above: Replacement fees and late return fines vary by library and material type.

Borrowers who have been billed for a lost or damaged book or a technology or media item may be able to provide a replacement copy of the exact same item (same ISBN or model number) in lieu of paying the replacement cost. The book must be clean and clear of markings. The book will be reviewed in a timely manner by the Preservation Officer or relevant subject librarian to determine whether it will be accepted. If it is accepted, the replacement fee will be waived. If it is not, the borrower will be held liable for the replacement fee and will be notified of that decision.

Regardless of user status, unresolved financial accounts at a library, including fines for non-returned recalls, may result in temporary loss of borrowing privileges until items are returned, or replacement charges and/or fines are paid. Guests may have their privileges permanently revoked if accounts are left unresolved.

In the case of Boston College students, library fees left unpaid at a library are sent to University Student Accounts. Students who do not resolve their accounts may be subject to diploma, registration and transcript holds.

Click here to view the Fines Policy PDF.

Think you have returned a book that is on your account?
If you look at your list of loans in Holmes, in Your Account and notice that a book is still there that you think you have returned, please contact us by calling 617-552-8038 or email A member of the library staff will search the library for the book and get back to you shortly.

Requesting Books

The Request option appears in Holmes for those items that can be recalled from a borrower, requested from an off-site collection or for items on-order and in-process. The ability to actually place an online request is limited to current faculty, staff, students and BC Alumni. Users are prompted to enter their user name and password once they click on the Request button.  (Alumni borrowers can place a request through a staff member at the Circulation Desk).

There are several types of online Requests available through Holmes, depending on the status of the book being requested. In all cases an e-mail is sent or phone call made to let the requester know when the material has arrived at the designated pick-up location. Materials will be held for at least 7 days for pick-up and then returned to the shelves if not picked up.

Recall Requests

Recall requests shorten the loan period for the original borrower, who is guaranteed a minimum loan period of 14 days. Borrowers are notified by e-mail when an item checked out to them has been recalled. Please note that all patrons are responsible for honoring recall requests. If the item is not returned by the due date specified in the e-mail, borrowing privileges may be suspended and a fine incurred.

Requests for On-shelf Materials

A request placed for an item listed as available on shelf can only be delivered for pick up to a library on another campus.

Requests for Items in Off-Site Collections

A request placed for an item located in an off-site collection will usually be delivered within 24 hours to the O'Neill Library. If another pickup location is chosen additional time is needed for delivery from O'Neill Library to that location.

On Order/In Process Requests

A request placed in Holmes for an item designated on-order or in-process will automatically assign a rush status to the item and processing is expedited. Delivery time varies depending on whether the item is on site or still on order with a vendor.

In the unlikely event that you do not receive the book/journal article that you requested, or are not updated in a timely manner, send an email message to and a staff member will look into your request.

Cannot find a book? Request a search. Circulation staff will search for books that you cannot find and are not charged out. To use this service go to any circulation desk to report the book missing.  If the book is found anywhere between 24 hours and one week you will be notified, and the book held at the Circulation Desk for seven days for pick up. Most books identified as missing by users are eventually found. Those that are not found are routinely replaced.


Have More Questions? Contact Us

O'Neill Circulation Desk
O'Neill Library Hours
Educational Resource Center
Social Work
Theology and Ministry
Weston Observatory/O'Connor