Circulation Policies

Our libraries are open to members of the University community and the general public for onsite use. The following details the policies for borrowing.

Only items from the circulating collections are loaned. Periodicals, reference books, microforms, and some media materials normally do not circulate.

Eligibility

Students, faculty and staff of the University may check out materials from the libraries.

  • Members of the general public may obtain borrowing privileges as an Affiliate by joining the fee-based Library Passport Program

A valid Mason ID or library card is required to borrow materials

  • The University photo ID serves as a valid library card for Mason students, faculty and staff.
  • Authorized non-Mason patrons (affiliates) receive a library card with barcode, which should be presented at the circulation desk along with a picture ID.

Your Mason ID card or library-issued borrower's card is non-transferable.

  • Only the individual named on the card may borrow materials; 
  • Spouses and/or other family members may not borrow materials on your card.
  • Exception: George Mason University faculty may authorize a proxy to borrow library materials in the faculty member's name.

Borrowing

Loan Periods

Standard loan periods for items from the Fenwick, Gateway, Mercer, and Arlington Campus Libraries circulating collections are:

  • Undergraduates:  4 weeks
  • Graduates:  1 term* 
  • Faculty/Staff:  1 term* 
  • Affiliates:  3 weeks

* Due Dates: January 31, May 31, September 30 (Items may be recalled after 4 weeks)

Special loan periods apply to Course Reserves and Media.

In order to provide access to library materials for as many patrons as possible, the Libraries reserve the right to recall an item from any patron after the minimum loan, or immediately if the item is needed for Course Reserve.

Renewals 

Patrons may renew items 3 times (except affiliate members who may renew once). Media items are not eligible for renewal. Books requested by other patrons will not be renewed. Ways to Renew:

  • Online: Identify where the item came from (e.g., Mason collections, WRLC, ILL) and go to the appropriate account
  • In Person: Go to any library circulation desk
  • Telephone: Call 703-993-2243 and leave a voice mail message
    • Please provide your library barcode number from your Mason ID or library card and the barcode number from the book(s) you wish to renew.
    • Requires one working day to process; please renew early to avoid fines. 

Returns 

Materials borrowed from any Mason library or from any WRLC library may be returned to any George Mason University Libraries' circulation desk, regardless of where they were checked out.

The University Libraries do not have any drop boxes where materials may be returned when the libraries are not open.  View locations and hours for all University Libraries.

Recalls 

Mason students, faculty, and staff may recall an item that is checked out to another patron. Items may be recalled by going to the online catalog, searching for the item that is needed, and clicking the Request button at the top of the page. The patron who has the item will be notified to return it after they have had it in their possession for a minimum of four weeks or the remainder of their loan period (whichever is shorter), regardless of the patron's standard loan period.

Recalled items cannot be renewed by the person from whom they are recalled. Patrons who receive a recall notice must return the item to any George Mason University Libraries circulation desk by the adjusted due date to avoid a substantial fine. Items needed for reserve will be recalled by library staff.

Fines 

Patrons are financially responsible for items checked out on their library account.

Overdue Items

In order to ensure prompt return of library materials, fines are charged on overdue items:

  • Normal Circulation:   $.25 per day per item
  • DVD/VHS Items: $10 per day per item 
  • Recalled Items:   $5.00 per day per item
  • Reserves:   $2.40 per hour per item (prorated by the minute)

Lost or Damaged Library Materials

Patrons are responsible for replacement of lost or severely damaged library materials. The current replacement charge for lost books is set at $67.00 per book, plus an additional $30.00 processing fee. These charges are in addition to any overdue fines already owed on the materials.

Items that are damaged but not destroyed while in a patron's possession will result in fines consistent with the degree of damage.

In some cases, a patron may be permitted to offer a new copy of a book to replace one that was lost or destroyed while in their possession. Patrons should check with the circulation department to find out if this may be an option for their circumstances.

Suspension of Library Privileges and University Suspension 

Students with unpaid library fines in excess of $25.00 and/or with more than 5 overdue items are not permitted to borrow any more library materials and are also placed on University Suspension. Suspension prevents the student from graduating, registering for classes, or obtaining official University transcripts.

Once the student has returned all overdue items and paid all outstanding library fines and fees, the library will process a release from suspension. Patrons should allow one business day for release of a suspension after all fines and fees have been paid.

Reserves 

Faculty can place class reading assignments and materials on reserve for student use.

Print and Media Reserve Collections

Print and media reserve items are kept behind the circulation desk at the Gateway, Mercer, and Arlington Campus Libraries. Items must be returned to the Reserve Desk where they were borrowed. 

  • A valid library card must be presented at the desk to use these materials. 
  • Loan periods are determined by the professor (in collaboration with the Libraries) and are generally 2 hours, 1 day, 3 days or 7 days. 
  • Overdue fines accrue at a rate of $2.40 per hour per item and are prorated by the minute.

E-Reserves

Faculty may request that digitized items be placed on reserve in their Blackboard courses.  Students may access their E-reserves through their course pages on Blackboard.

Questions

If you have questions about circulation or other library policies, please stop by or call any of our libraries:

  • Arlington Campus Library — 703-993-8188
  • Fenwick Library — 703-993-2240
  • Gateway Library at the JC — 703-993-9060
  • Mercer Library (Prince William) — 703-993-8340