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Borrowing Details

NOTE: Please see Biddle Law Library for information about borrowing and library policies. The catalog for law materials is LOLA. Biddle Law Library materials are not listed in Franklin.

Borrowing: Your PennCard is your library card and entitles you to borrow books from all the Penn libraries. Most PennCard holders are automatically registered for borrowing and database searching. If you are unable to access library resources using your current PennCard, please come to any Penn Library circulation desk (except Biddle or Annenberg) to register. You will need your PennCard to enter libraries, check out books, print or photocopy, and to log on to many library resources. If your PennCard is lost, stolen or damaged, immediately inform the PennCard Center (2nd floor of the Penn Book Store, 3601 Walnut St. 215-417-CARD) and replace it as soon as possible.

Loan Periods: Loan periods vary depending on the library and your University status, as listed below, for regular circulating materials. Note: Other types of materials, including reserves, videos, and laptop computers, circulate for short periods: 2 - 6 hours for reserve materials and laptops, and 7 days for circulating videos.  Materials published prior to 1850 or held in specially designated locations, such as reference areas and seminar rooms, are available for in-library use only.

  • Library at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Chemistry, Fine Arts, Math-Physics-Astronomy, Museum, Van Pelt, and LIBRA: books due annually in mid-May
  • Biomedical, Dental, Pennsylvania Hospital, Veterinary: books due three times per year, at the end of April, August and December
Graduate Students:
  • Everywhere: books due three times per year, at the end of April, August and December
Undergraduate Students:
  • Everywhere: 28 days
Penn Staff:
  • Everywhere: books due three times per year, at the end of April, August and December
Associates (incl. Visiting scholars, Visiting students, UPHS and Wistar staff ):
  • Everywhere: 28 days
Courtesy Borrowers and Biomedical Library Barcode Holders:
  • Everywhere: 28 days

Borrowing Limits: Penn faculty, staff, students and associates may check out as many books as they need. We ask that you return books when you are finished, and that you return recalled books by the new due date. Courtesy borrowers are limited to 20 books at a time.

Your Library Account:

Access your library account with PennKey | No PennKey? Click here
From your PennKey Libraries account you will see:
  • Your profile
  • Books you have checked out, with due dates
  • Information about local requests and links to information about Penn Library Delivers requests
  • Fines and other library fees owed

You can also renew your library books and cancel holds or recalls on items you've previously requested.

Recalls: Books you check out may be recalled for another user at any time. The library will notify you to return the book by the new recall due date - usually 10 days. Once a book is recalled, the original due date is no longer in effect, and recall fines can accrue. We use email notification whenever possible, so please be sure that we have your current email address. You may also recall books that are checked out, but we recommend that Penn faculty, staff and students try BorrowDirect+ first.

Renewals: You may renew your library books online through your library account unless the book has been recalled or has become long overdue (lost). You may also bring books in person to the library to renew them. There are no renewal limits for Penn faculty, staff and students. Courtesy borrowers may renew books for up to one year (12 renewals).

Requests: Penn faculty, staff, students, associates and courtesy borrowers may request library materials and services.

For Penn faculty, staff, students and associates:

Once you locate a record for the title you need, choose "Request Options" and enter your PennKey and PennKey password at the prompt. Choose the request type that matches your need, and follow the instructions on the screen.

Options include:
  • Request delivery of an available book from one Penn library to another (including LIBRA and the Library at the Katz Center for Judaic Studies)
  • Request a copy of an article from journals in LIBRA
  • Request an item be placed on course reserve (Faculty only)
  • Request rush processing for items marked "in process" or "in marking process"
  • Request notification for an On Order item when it arrives
  • Request an item that is listed as Lost, Missing or Checked Out through BorrowDirect, E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan
  • Recall an item that is checked out

Please be advised, Proxy Borrowing Patrons are permitted to pick up requested InterLibrary Loan, BorrowDirect and E-Z Borrow items for their Faculty counterparts. All required forms and agreements must be signed and processed prior to pick up

Courtesy Borrowers have many of the same request and renewal options, but must follow a different path to place requests and renew materials. Click here for instructions.

Please be advised, due to limited hold shelf storage, the total number of requested books available for pick up must all be checked out at the same time. Any books left behind will be sent back to the home library immediately.

Suspension of privileges: Patrons may be blocked from borrowing, renewing or requesting for any of the following reasons:

  • Fines of $25 or higher; Faculty threshold is $100 or higher
  • One or more overdue recalled books
  • Expired library record
  • Courtesy patrons are blocked if they check out more than 20 books.
  • Students with outstanding unpaid charges of $50 or higher will be referred to the Student Financial Office after one month.

Fines and fees: Avoid fines and fees by returning or renewing books on or before the due date, and checking your mail regularly for recall notices.

  • Reserve fines are $1/hour
  • Recall, video, and sound recording fines are $1/day
  • Laptop fines are $.25/minute
  • BorrowDirect and E-ZBorrow fines are $1/day
  • Lost item processing is $10/item
  • Lost item replacement (varies: see chart below)

Lost item replacement charges: Each library charges a minimum standard replacement fee, shown below, for books once they are 28 days late and marked "Lost".  In addition there is a non-refundable $10 billing fee for each "Lost" book.
"Lost" books cannot be renewed and must be returned to the library for your account to be credited. If you return a book after billing but before the library has begun the process to replace it, your account will be adjusted for the full lost item replacement charge, but the $10 billing fee will remain. If the library has already "withdrawn" the item, $25 of the replacement cost will be retained. 
The level of reimbursement or credit for items returned more than 6 months after they have been marked "Lost" is at the discretion of the Penn Libraries. For items that are not the property of the Penn Libraries (e.g: Interlibrary loans, BorrowDirects or E-ZBorrows): once the Penn Libraries have been billed for lost materials by the original lending institution, no credits or reimbursements will be issued.

  • Van Pelt, Lippincott, Music: $85
  • CAJS and Engineering: $100
  • Biomedical, Chemistry, Dental, PA Hospital, Veterinary, Math-Physics-Astronomy: $110
  • Museum: $120
  • Fine Arts: $150
  • BorrowDirect and E-ZBorrow : $125

Note: The actual replacement charge will be higher in cases of more valuable items; the fees above are minimums only.
At the discretion of the Libraries, replacement copies of lost books, along with a $25 processing fee, may be accepted in lieu of replacement fees. To be accepted, replacement copies must be the same edition as the one that was lost. They must be new or in excellent condition. Books that have been withdrawn from other libraries will not be accepted. Do not purchase a replacement copy before ensuring that it will be accepted by the Libraries. Please note: many of our BorrowDirect, E-ZBorrow and Interlibrary loan lending partners will not accept replacement copies. For these materials we are obligated to follow the rules of the owning institution.

Books returned damaged will be carefully evaluated by library staff. Repair or replacement costs may be charged where appropriate. Books returned with adhesive tabs may be subject to fine/fee.

Fine payments: You may pay fines in person at any library circulation desk, by cash or check, or by mailing a check made to "The University of Pennsylvania" to Van Pelt Circulation, 3420 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206. Please note your PennCard ID number and the words "Library fines" on the memo line of the check so that we can be sure to credit the correct account.

The Van Pelt Library Circulation Desk also accepts Visa and MasterCard in person or over the phone at (215) 898-7566, Monday through Friday, 9am-8pm, or up to 30 minutes before closing.

Please contact the Van Pelt Circulation Desk ( or 215-898-7566), if you have any questions about borrowing policies or procedures, or contact the specific library.