Library Policies




Media Inquiries

In an effort to provide clear information about library policies, we have listed those relevant to our patrons below.

Circulation Policies for Students

Loan Periods

The loan period for books and audiotapes held in the circulating collection is one semester, however, items can be recalled at any time after a two-week period and MUST be returned by the new due date indicated. DVDs and videotapes usually have a loan period of seven days and may also be recalled. There are also some DVDs and videos with a loan period of 5 hours. Renewals must be requested in person with the books in hand.

Reserve items usually circulate for three hours at a time; however items borrowed within three hours of closing are due back the next day at 10 a.m., Monday-Friday, and 12:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. In the case of these special overnight loans, you should keep in mind that closed hours WILL count for fines if the loans are returned late.

Fine Policies

  • $0.20/day for overdue books and tapes 
  • $1.00/day for overdue 1 week-DVDs and videos 
  • $1.00/day for overdue interlibrary loans 
  • $0.50/hour for overdue 5 hour-DVDs and videos
When a fine reaches $12, the item will be declared “lost” and an average replacement cost of $55 will be billed to your account; but if the item is significantly more expensive to replace, the cost may be higher. When an overdue is returned within a reasonable period of time, a credit for the replacement cost will be posted to your account, but the fine will remain and must be paid.
  • $0.50/hour for overdue reserve items
  • $3.00/day for overdue recalls

Reserve fines are $.50 per hour ($12.00/day) and fines for recalled books are $3.00 per day. There is no fine cap and library privileges may be suspended until the item is returned. Failure to return overdue reserves or recalls is a serious offense and a violation of the College’s Policy on Academic Integrity; as such, it may be reported to the Dean of Studies Office.

Notification about overdues, recalls and items for pickup will be sent via Sarah Lawrence College e-mail only. No notices will be sent to on-campus mail boxes.

Collection Policy

Collection Development Policy

The primary mission of Sarah Lawrence College's Esther Raushenbush Library is to collect, maintain, and preserve materials needed to meet the research needs of students and faculty, as well as to support the undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Learn more about our Collection Development Policy

General Policies

Personal Librarian for First-Year & Transfer Students

The Personal Librarian program at Sarah Lawrence College aims to help new students (first-years and transfers) become familiar and comfortable with the Library system.

Library staff members contact new students via e-mail once per month during the school year with information about new databases or tools, events, changes in library hours, policies, and procedures, and more. The participating librarians will also answer general library questions from new students and direct them to the proper parties when they are unable to answer the questions.

Librarians will:
  • Send monthly e-mail messages
  • Answer basic library questions
  • Direct students to the right people when there is a more in-depth question
  • Inform students about changes in policies, hours, etc.
Librarians will not:
  • Set up/assist with computer problems
  • Conduct research for students
  • Make photocopies/prints for students
  • Write papers for students

Food & Drink Policy

The library’s food and drink policy is intended to preserve library materials, equipment and furnishings, thereby providing a pleasant and comfortable workspace for our patrons. 

  • Drinks in spill-proof containers or sports bottles are allowed throughout the library—open mugs, aluminum cans, paper cups, styrofoam cups, or any container that might spill are not allowed outside the café or vending machine area.
  • Food is allowed in the café and vending machine area only.
  • No food deliveries of any kind are permitted. 
  • Occasionally, events are scheduled in the library at which refreshments are served.  In these cases, eating and drinking is restricted to the event area.

Patrons who fail to comply may be asked to leave the building.

Noise Policy

The library is committed to providing an environment that is comfortable, inviting and conducive to study.  To accommodate the preferences of a variety of users while providing a wide range of services, the library adheres to the following noise policy:
  • The library is a quiet study area, and conversations must be kept to a minimum throughout the building.
  • Patrons must set their cell phones to a  non-audible signal, and no phone conversations are allowed.
  • In the Circulation Desk area, normal conversational noise levels are permitted for library service purposes.
  • Groups of two or three can use the study rooms on the top floor or the glass office near the snack bar for meetings. In addition, downstairs at the end of the periodicals, there is one conference room that can accommodate a larger group.
  • Socializing is limited to the snack bar.
  • Occasionally, College events are scheduled in the library and the noise levels may increase in the immediate area.
  • Patrons should report noise situations to the Information Desk, and all library staff and student supervisors have the authority to intervene in these situations.  Patrons who fail to comply may be asked to leave the building.

Privacy Policy

The library is committed to protecting the privacy of its users. Our policies conform to the code of ethics of The American Library Association that states in part, that “we must protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.“

  • Circulation information is confidential; however, records are available to staff over a period of time for normal circulation workflow purposes.
  • A patron’s record with a history of borrowing can only be produced as a special report by the Systems Librarian. There is no way for student or staff to look up a patron record and access this information.
  • A book’s record with a history of circulation can be searched. Presently, access is limited to student supervisors and library access staff.
  • Groups of student records are removed each year. A purge date equal to one year after the annual expiration date is assigned to each student record when it is entered. Expiration dates, and therefore, purge dates, move ahead year by year as students progress through school, and when a student leaves the College or graduates, the record is slated for removal the following year on the purge date.
  • Faculty and staff records are removed manually when notice is received that they are no longer associated with the College.