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SoA Library General 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 loan periods for other undergraduates vary by library. Please click here for a summary of the Library circulation policies for undergraduates who are not seniors. 

Fines & Fees

All loaned materials are subject to fines and fees if not renewed or returned on time. 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 that Princeton University Library no longer utilizes book recalls on borrowed items.


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 

Items charged to a borrower 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. Thank you in advance for taking good care of our library items!

Finding and Using Materials

The Library Catalog is the best tool for searching across the PUL collections. 

Things to look out for:

  • Location: Where is the book you found located? Princeton University Library has 9 library locations, including Firestone, the main library on campus. If your item is located in ReCAP or belongs to Marquand (which is under renovation as of 2022-2025+), you will need to complete a request for delivery - this request mechanism is integrated into the library catalog. Be sure to verify whether the item is in-library use only or circulating (i.e. can be checked out). 
  • Availability: Is the book you need checked out? If so, use the "Request" button in the catalog record to 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 seeking a specific journal issue, most current issues (within 5 years of publication) will be located onsite, either in the Current Journals area or on the regular library shelves. Most earlier back issues are housed offsite at ReCAP and can be requested for in-library use. 

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