Visiting Scholars

Getting Visiting Scholar Status

To obtain borrowing privileges as a "Visiting Scholar" individuals must be designated as such by a University of Washington academic department. See the UW's procedures for visiting scholars for information on obtaining a Husky Card, used as a library card within the University of Washington Libraries system.

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.

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.

Loan Periods

Loan periods vary among libraries and may be determined by the status of the borrower, type of material and individual collection policy. The loan period is generally 12 weeks.

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

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.

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.

Change of Address for Alumni and Visitors

Report address changes to Library Account Services, (206) 543-1174.

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.

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.