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SoA Library Survival Guide: Borrowing & Using Library Materials

This is a quick reference resource grounding all new SoA students within the PUL system.


Eligible Borrowers

PU faculty, staff, and students, their spouses, domestic partners and dependents, faculty and students of Princeton Theological Seminary, and members and staff of the Institute for Advanced Study are all eligible to borrow books and other material from the Princeton University Libraries.

Loan Periods

The PUL System is made up of 12 branches including UES, Marquand, Firestone, and PU's offsite storage facility, ReCAP. Faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate seniors may borrow any circulating materials from UES for a period of one academic term, while all other undergraduates may borrow up to 10 titles at a time for a period of one academic term. Loan periods vary in different libraries. Please click here for a summary of the Library circulation policies. 

Fines & Fees

All materials are subject to recalls, fines, and fees. Most fines are $0.25 per day; reserve fines are considerably higher so be sure to consult individual libraries for more information. Unpaid fines of $20 or more will block borrowing privileges. In most cases, the due date is stamped on a slip in the back of each book. Please note however, that a recall notice establishes a NEW due date for books requested for other borrowers.


Princeton University Library records relating to an individual patron's use of the Library and its resources are confidential.  Please read the Library’s Policy on Confidentiality of Library Patron Records

Borrower's Responsibilities 

Borrowers are responsible for recalls at all times. Items charged to an individual must be returned in good condition, without evidence of defacement, mutilation, or water damage.  If there is evidence of damage or an item is lost, borrowers are billed for the cost of the book plus a $50.00 processing fee. 

Finding and Using Materials

Books+ or the Main Catalog are the two main tools for searching across the PUL collections. 

Things to look out for:

  • Location: Where is the book you found located? If in ReCAP or Annex A, you will need to complete a request for delivery to your home library. 
  • Availability: Is the book you need available? Is it checked out? If so, request a copy through Borrow Direct, a rapid delivery loan program in which Princeton participates along with MIT, Harvard, Yale, Penn, Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia. If you cannot find a copy to borrow through Borrow Direct, use the Interlibrary Loan Service which has a comprehensive network of lenders to call on. 
  • Print Journals: If you're after a specific journal issue, be sure to scour that full record (in Books+) or long-view record (in the Main Catalog). Many back issues are split and are housed in the Annex or ReCAP. 

Can't find a book on the shelf? If you cannot locate an item in the stacks and it is not checked out, you may request that a search be performed by completing a trace request form, available online. UES Staff will also help you at the circulation desk or by contacting them. A full trace for a missing book may take as long as two weeks but many of these books are found within one week. You will be notified of the results of the request. If an item is missing, you may request it through Borrow Direct