Learn about borrowing privileges

For detailed information on fees and fines and revocation of privileges, see our Circulation Policies.

Library privileges by patron type

Borrowing privileges vary depending on your campus affiliation and patron type. 

Summary of library privileges by patron type
Privilege type Current CU Boulder students, staff and faculty Visiting scholars and affiliates CU Boulder Alumni, Public patrons, others [3] Friends of the Libraries
Renewals [1]  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Holds Yes Yes Yes Yes
Prospector Yes Yes [2] No Yes
Interlibrary Loan Yes Yes [2] No No
Off-campus access to electronic databases Yes Yes [2] No No

[1] For renewable items
[2] With Identikey
[3] Others includes, but is not limited to: Affiliates of other CU campuses, ​Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, Greater Western Library Alliance, Faculty reciprocal borrowing programs, Naropa, Spouses/partners of CU Boulder faculty and staff (how to register).

Loan periods and renewals by patron type and format

Books (on-campus and PASCAL)

  • Undergraduates: 28 days

  • Graduate students: 180 days

  • Staff and faculty: 180 days

  • Visiting scholars: 90 days

  • Colorado residents: 28 days

  • Friends of the Libraries: 90 days

  • All others: 28 days

Other formats and materials

For all borrowers, items are loaned as outlined in the table below.

Summary of loan periods, renewals and item limit for journals, audiovisual materials, maps and course reserves
Format Loan Period Renewals Item Limit
Bound journals - offsite (PASCAL) 7 days One renewal only 5
Bound journals - in house 2 days No 5
Unbound journals 2 days No 5
Audiovisual materials (DVDs, CDs, etc) 7 days One renewal only 5
Maps 14 days No  – 
Course reserves Set by instructor: 2, 4, 24, or 72 hours No  – 


Items may be renewed through any of the following venues:

Recalled books may not be renewed.

My Library Account

Through "My Library Account", a feature located on the Library Catalog, you may renew your own books, place or cancel holds, create preferred searches and use other library catalog services.

If you’re unable to access your My Library Account, email us at libraries@colorado.edu.

You may check the due dates of the items you have checked out through "My Library Account" on the Library Catalog main page. If you have renewal privileges, you may renew your items there. Some patron types have a limited number of renewals. Journals can’t be renewed. 

Current CU Boulder affiliates should use their IdentiKey information to log in. If you’re not a student, leave the PIN field blank and submit your request. You’ll then be asked to create your own PIN.

If you should forget your PIN number or have problems creating one, please email libraries@colorado.edu. Even though we can’t see your existing university PIN number, we can delete it for you so you can create a new one. 

Registration and duration of privileges

You must present a photo ID every time you check out library materials. For information on fees and fines, see our Circulation Policies. Email us at libraries@colorado.edu with any questions. 

Current CU Boulder students, staff and faculty

CU Boulder students, staff and faculty are automatically registered with the Libraries. Your Buff OneCard or any photo ID will serve as your library card. Your library privileges are valid as long as you are registered as a student, or for the duration of employment for staff and faculty. Retired faculty and staff have the same privileges as other faculty and staff.

Visiting scholars, CU Boulder Alumni, affiliates of other CU campuses, Friends of the Libraries and Colorado residents

With some exceptions, library materials may be used within the library by anyone. If you wish to take items outside the library, you must apply for borrowing privileges.

You may apply for privileges online via our registration form or at the Norlin East Service Desk during regular hours. To register, you may also be asked to provide one of the following, depending on patron type:

  • your identification card from, UCCS, UCD, UCHSC, or the Colorado Academic Institution where you’re a student, staff or faculty member;

  • a letter from a qualified CU-Boulder academic sponsor and a photo ID;

  • proof of current enrollment (e.g., senior auditors card);

  • proof of registration in an Institute or Workshop and a photo ID;

  • proof of current Alumni Association membership and of Colorado residency, and a photo ID; or

  • a Colorado driver’s license or Colorado state-issued photo identification.

Once registered, your CU ID, driver's license or photo ID will serve as your library card. Length of library privileges will vary based on patron type.

Colorado residents (public patrons)

Colorado residents, ages 18 and over, may present a Colorado driver's license to apply for borrowing privileges at the Norlin Service Desk during regular hours. If you don’t have a driver's license, you may substitute the Colorado state-issued photo ID. There’s a $45.00/year charge ($35.00 for seniors 65 and older) for a public patron card. We accept checks, money orders and credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover).

Friends of the Libraries

To apply for library privileges through the Friends of the Libraries, please contact us via email at libraries@colorado.edu. Once you have completed the application and we have confirmation of your gift, you’ll need to stop by any Libraries' service desk in order to activate your account and receive your library card.

You must present your borrowers card every time you check out library materials. Your library privileges are valid for one year from the date of your donation. Friends in good standing may renew their privileges on an annual basis.

Last updated April 2022