On this page:

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, Friends of the Libraries, public patrons, others [3]
Renewals [1]  Yes Yes Yes
Holds/recalls Yes Yes Yes
Prospector Yes Yes [2] No
Interlibrary Loan Yes Yes [2] No
Off-campus access to electronic databases Yes Yes [2] 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.

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

  • 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 Chinook

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

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

You may check the due dates of the items you have checked out through "My Chinook" on the Chinook main page. If you have renewal privileges, you may renew your items there if they have not been recalled. 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, recalls and traces

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 at the Norlin Circulation Desk during regular hours, using any of the following:

  • 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.

Friends of the Libraries

To apply for library privileges through the Friends of the Libraries, please contact us via email at libraries@colorado.edu. The Friends will work with the Libraries to set up your account. You’ll need to stop by the Circulation Desk at Norlin Library on your first visit in order to activate your account.

Once registered, your driver's license or any photo ID will serve as your library card. You must present your photo ID every time you check out library materials. Your library privileges are valid for one year. Friends in good standing may renew their privileges on a year-by-year basis.

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 Circulation Desk during regular hours. If you don’t have a driver's license, you may substitute the Colorado state-issued photo ID. Effective July 1, 2005, there’s a $75.00/year charge ($65.00 for seniors 65 and older) for a public patron card. We accept checks, money orders and credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover).


If a book is checked out to another patron, you may request that the item be recalled. When recalled, we advance the due date of an item and notify you when it’s returned. When the item is returned, we’ll send you a notice indicating that it’s available for pickup. You may also initiate a recall through Chinook by using the Recall/Hold button. 

If a book checked out to you is requested by another borrower, you’ll be notified by mail or email of the adjusted due date. If the book is due in more than two weeks, the due date is changed to 10 days from the time the recall was placed. This new due date is the latest that you can return materials without incurring fines. Fines may be doubled for an overdue recalled book.


If you’re unable to locate a book in the stacks and there’s no record of it having been checked out, you may request that the Circulation staff search for the item. This usually takes several days. After the trace is completed, you’ll be updated on the outcome.

Last updated March 2021