Home / Using the Libraries / Borrowing Information / Borrowing Services & Policies

Borrowing Services & Policies


The University of Washington Libraries is a shared resource funded for the UW community. The Libraries' borrowing policy is designed to maximize access to the collections by motivating users to return materials on time so that they are available for other borrowers.

Library Cards

For faculty, staff, and students your Husky Card serves as your library card. To prevent fraudulent use, lost or stolen cards should be reported immediately to a library circulation desk or Library Account Services.

Contact one of the offices below to report lost or stolen Husky cards and to get a replacement:

  • UW Seattle - ID Center located on the ground floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library, 206-543-7222.
  • UW Tacoma - Registrar's Office, MAT 253, phone: 253-692-4400
  • UW Bothell - Campus Security Office, LB2-005, phone: 425-352-5359

More on library cards and online account access

Individuals who do not have borrowing privileges can apply at Library Account Services on the first floor of Suzzallo Library, or call 206-543-1174. Non-UW borrowers can replace their library cards at Library Account Services.

Your Library Account

  • You can check your library record, renew books and modify your personal information by logging into Your Library Account online.
  • You can receive library notices sent by e-mail telling you when your books are ready for pickup, have been recalled or are overdue. You will be sent a due date reminder notices two days prior to the due date. Make sure that an email address shows in Your Library Account.

Tips for Success

  • Your Husky card or Libraries-issued purple card is needed to check out library material.
  • A UW NetID is needed to request material from the catalog, renew books that you have checked out or to access your library account.
  • Make sure you have an e-mail address listed in your library account.
  • Feel free to contact library staff if you have any questions. We are here for you.
  • Plan ahead - it may take awhile to get material that is checked out or not owned by the UW Libraries.
  • Ask library staff if you can't find what you want.
  • Make sure that you know the due dates when you check out material. If no one else wants the book you can easily renew on the web.
  • Sign up for e-mail notices - you will receive information more quickly and you will receive date due reminders.
  • Don't loan your ID or checked-out library books to others - our files are full of many sad stories.
  • Report lost IDs or library materials to the Libraries as soon as possible.

Access to Materials

Most libraries and units have materials which are available for browsing. All visitors are free to use these materials in the library.

Select materials are not accessible for public browsing, but may be requested for retrieval. Persons with UW borrower cards may request this material online through the UW Libraries' catalog. Those without UW borrower cards may request retrieval through library staff at a service desk. Some examples of this are media, reserve, auxiliary and/or storage materials.

Some materials are restricted to Library Use Only. Typical items include most reference materials, Special Collections and archival theses.

Retrieval, Holds and Searches for Current UW Faculty, Students or Staff

  • Most UW Libraries material with the status of "Available" can be pulled from the shelf and sent to another library for pickup. This may take three to five days. If you are in a hurry you should go directly to the owning library.
  • Current UW faculty and staff can have materials checked out and mailed to their campus department mailbox. More information.
  • If the UW Libraries material that you want is checked out and you are a current UW faculty member, student or staff you can request a copy from a Summit library using UW Libraries Search. A copy will be sent from another academic library in Washington or Oregon and will arrive in three to five business days.
  • You can also place holds on UW Libraries material. Longer due dates will be reduced and material will be available in 14 days or less, depending on when the material is due. More information.
  • If you can't find material on the shelf that shows in the catalog as "available" request the item from the catalog and a search will be initiated. You will be notified when the item is found.

Loan Periods

Loan periods vary among libraries and may be determined by the status of the borrower, type of material and individual collection policy.

Renewal of Materials

Most UW Libraries materials are allowed an unlimited number of renewals.

The following exceptions apply:

  • Items which have had holds placed on them cannot be renewed.
  • Reserve items cannot be renewed.
  • Items checked out through Summit cannot be renewed.
    (Summit borrowing available only to current UW students, faculty, staff, and Summit Visiting Patrons.)
  • Items billed for replacement cannot be renewed.

You may view your library account at any time to see a list of your checked out items. Note: This does not include items such as unbound periodicals that were checked out with a handwritten check-out slip. If your list shows an item that you believe you have returned, do not request renewal, but rather notify the circulation staff of the owning unit.

Items with barcodes can be renewed remotely via the Web or by phone.

Items without barcodes, such as unbound periodicals, cannot be renewed using online forms. Renewals can be made by phone or by sending an e-mail message to the owning library unit. Library contact information

Returning Materials

Non-reserve library materials (except for fragile items) may be returned to any UW library or book return. A drive-up book return is available south of the dental wing of the Health Sciences Center.

Non-reserve library materials may also be returned by mail to:

Central Circulation Services
University of Washington
Box 352900
Seattle, Washington 98195-2900

Material sent via the mail will be checked in when it is received by the Libraries and is the responsibility of the borrower until that time. Please allow time for mailing and delivery.

Reserve items must be returned to the service desk where they were checked out.

Circulation Notices

As a courtesy, due date reminders are sent to the e-mail address in your library account.  There are no reminders for hourly checkouts.

Failure to receive a notice does not exempt you from fines.

Bills for replacement of materials are sent to the email address in your account, or if no email address is present, through campus or U.S. Mail to the address in your library account.

Please notify the appropriate office if you move, and update your e-mail address if it changes.

  • UW Students: MyUW
  • UW Staff: MyUW
  • Off-campus: Library Account Services, 206-543-1174
  • Cascadia patrons: UWB/CCC Library, 425-352-5340

Payment of Fines

Online or by phone

Use our secure server to pay your fines with Visa or Mastercard. Your account will be credited by 5 pm the next business day. For phone payment, call 206-543-1174.

In Person

Library Account Services, first floor, Suzzallo Library, Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm (Closed Sat., Sun., & Holidays)

By Mail

Make check or money order payable to "University of Washington" and mail to:

Library Account Services
Suzzallo Library
UW Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA 98195-2900

Library Account Services accepts cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Husky Card. For questions about billing or to appeal a charge, contact the billing library unit.

The complete text of the UW Libraries Loan Code and Circulation Policies.

Assessment of Charges

Fines are assessed to encourage prompt renewal and return of materials. Fines apply all days and all hours, even if the library is closed, and are assessed after an item is overdue.  Fees are levied to defray the costs incurred by the Libraries in billing, processing sanctions and other activities related to the recovery of material.


Standard Loans

Standard loans are items with loan periods of 6 days or more and are assessed daily overdue fines.

1-20 days overdue $.50/day
At 21 days overdue the item may be billed as lost

Lost item charges may include the following:

  • $15 lost item process fee
  • $150 or more item replacement fee (see Replacement Charges for more information, including Summit replacement costs)
  • $10 maximum overdue fine retroactive to the due date

NoteAssessment of charges for Gallagher Law Library items may be different


Reserve Loans and loans of less than 3 days

Loans with due times or days between 2 hours and 3 days are assessed hourly fines.

1 - 10 hours overdue $2.50/hour
At 11 hours overdue the item may be billed as lost

Lost items charges include the following:

  • $25 lost item process fee
  • $150 or more item replacement fee
  • $25 maximum overdue fine

Note: Reserve materials must be returned to the Reserve Desk where checked out.

Damage Charges

Damage charges are levied to repair material or to compensate for the decreased value of materials due to irreparable damage. Damage fees consist of $15.00 for books that can be circulated after repair. A standard replacement charge is assessed when the damaged item cannot be circulated any longer or is replaced.

Replacement Charges

Items belonging to the University of Washington Libraries or borrowed through Interlibrary Loan have a standard replacement fee of $150.00, but can be adjusted higher or lower by the owning library to fit the actual cost.  Items borrowed from Summit Libraries have a standard replacement fee of $90.00.

Patrons are encouraged to pursue replacing items themselves if an item has not yet been withdrawn from the library system and they can find it cheaper than the standard replacement cost. The patron should contact the Libraries before purchasing a copy to verify that it will be accepted.  Summit and Interlibrary Loan items cannot be replaced.

If a book is paid by the patron, and the original book is found later, the original book remains the property of the state and must be returned.


Unpaid fines and charges may result in one or more of these actions:

  • Blocking of registration, graduation, transcripts
  • Revocation of borrowing privileges
  • Referral to a collection agency
  • Suspension of borrowing privileges:
    • May occur if charges total $5.00 or more
    • Will occur with referral to collection agency

Appeal of Library Charges

If you think the library has made an error or if you have a special situation that made it difficult for you to return or renew materials on time, you may file an appeal. Charges may be upheld, reduced or cancelled. Appeals must be filed within six months of billing.

Appeals based on not knowing the library rules or the amount of charges, claiming your need was greater than another's, being too busy, being out of town, uncertainty about the due date, failing to receive a notice, or failing to read your e-mail are generally not regarded as valid reasons for canceling or reducing library charges.

To begin the appeals process complete the appeal form linked below. Please take time to read through all instructions carefully and be sure to refer to the FAQ if you have any immediate questions. You will receive an Appeals Confirmation Receipt via e-mail if you enter an e-mail address on your appeal form. If you do not enter an e-mail address, but wish to confirm the receipt of your appeal, contact Library Account Services at (206) 543-1174. The final decision from the committee will be sent via US mail to the address you provide in your Appeal. Please notify Library Account Services of any changes to your address. The Library Fines Appeals Committee consists of a faculty member and students and it makes its decision independently of the Libraries.