Library Policies

The Library Access and Borrowing Policy explains the privileges and responsibilities of all who borrow and access materials from the USC Libraries. One of the USC Libraries’ highest priorities is to enable easy access to our integrated collection of electronic, print, audiovisual, and microform materials in order to support the University's teaching, learning, and research needs. The policy aims to ensure that access to the materials is equally distributed for the entire USC community. For information about using the libraries' facilities, please check our facilities page. Please note: Only USC students, faculty, staff, alumni, and sponsored guests with proper identification may be present in libraries open after 9:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m. All patrons will be asked to present their USCard, an Alumni Association card + government issued picture ID, or library-issued USC identification for sponsored guests during these times. For further information about access to campus, please check the university's policy at


Library Accounts

Library accounts are automatically created for all currently enrolled students and employed faculty and staff. Accounts will also be created for guest users identified as being eligible for library privileges, including sponsored visiting scholars, Language Academy students, and Friends of the USC Libraries. Accounts for new student will usually be activated within one business day of registration.

Your USC ID serves as the Libraries access and borrowing card.

Some fee-based or proxy accounts may receive a library-issued barcode in lieu of a USC ID. Privileges for students are valid for one semester, but will be extended automatically with continued enrollment. For faculty and staff, privileges are valid for one-academic year and continue as long as the faculty or staff member is employed in good standing.

USC students, faculty, and staff can use their USC NetID and password to access their library account and check the due dates of borrowed materials, renew items, review fines and fees, or recall items checked out by another user.

Please note that library privileges are not transferable to other individuals, and the Library reserves the right to request secondary picture identification before allowing access to facilities or providing services.


USC‘s Norris Medical Library, Wilson Dental Library, and Asa V. Call Law Library provide discrete services for their respective users. Please see details on their library services pages:

·        Norris Medical Library

·        Jennifer Ann Wilson Dental Library

·        Asa V. Call Law Library


User Responsibility

It is the User's responsibility to:

·        Ensure all materials charged to their account until they have been physically returned and checked in by library staff.

·        Contact the library directly to update residential and e-mail address changes

·        Know when materials are due by checking the Library Catalog's My Account

·        Renew materials on or before the due date;

·        Return recalled materials promptly; and

·        Exercise care in handling all library materials.

Additionally, the USC Code of Ethics states a philosophy based on fairness, honesty and respecting the rights and dignity of others in all transactions. These 'pillars' of ethical behavior are expected to be upheld by the USC community regardless of whether or not the specifics of a situation are regulated by policy or law. The USC Libraries ask users to embrace this philosophy in all library matters.

Users who abuse provisions in the Library Access and Lending Policy, disrupt library service, purposefully mutilate or wrongfully remove library materials or equipment, or treat others disrespectfully while within a library facility may be referred to Student Judicial Affairs, the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Department of Public Safety, or other authorities as appropriate.


Library Notices

Library notices include renewal reminders, overdue notices, and recall requests. All library notices to users will be sent to their official USC email account. The USC Libraries are not responsible for delivery to incorrect, over-quota, or misdirected alternate accounts.

Since library accounts can also be checked online using the Library Catalog's My Account feature, lack of email notice delivery does not excuse the user from responsibility for overdue materials and recalls.

Borrowing Materials

Users must present a current valid USC ID to check out materials. The loan periods for library materials may vary based on the material type and the privilege level of the user. Some libraries or collections may have shorter loan periods, and some materials may be library use only. Most standard circulating materials may be borrowed for a semester by current USC undergraduate and graduate students, current staff, and current faculty and emeriti faculty.

Returning Materials

If not renewed, library materials must be returned on or before the due date.

Standard circulating materials can be returned at any USC Libraries service desk during operating hours, and many libraries also have book return slots near their entrance for after-hours returns.

For your convenience, standard circulating materials may also be returned at one of four external locations:

·        Doheny Library Book Return Bin: DML & McCarthy Quad

·        Leavey Library Book Return Bin: LVL & West 34th Street

·        VKC Library Book Return Slot: VKC building

·        Science Library Book Return Bin: Science and 37th Place

Note that book return bins quickly become full during final exams and holidays. Please do not place items partially in, next to, or on top of overfull book return bins. Library materials are never due on university holidays to ensure that patrons have the opportunity to return materials to a circulation desk on time.

In order to prevent damage, fragile items should not be placed in return bins or slots. In addition, equipment, reserves, interlibrary loan materials, Leavey Library DVDs, and all short-term loans (3-hr, 1-day, 3-day) must be returned directly to the circulation desk from which they were checked out.

Library policy is not to remove an item from a user's account unless it is physically in hand. Therefore, we cannot discharge an item simply upon request. If you believe you have returned an item that still appears on your account, contact the library where the book was borrowed and request a search. Library staff will thoroughly search the entire library system for the item.


Renewing Materials

Standard circulating materials may be renewed up to ten times before they must be returned, except for semester loan materials borrowed by USC faculty, staff, and students, which may be renewed indefinitely. Reserve and recalled materials cannot be renewed.

Renewals may be accomplished in one of three ways:

·        In person, at any library circulation desk

·        Through My Account feature on USC Libraries’ website

·        Over the phone, by contacting any library circulation desk

All 3 methods require the user‘s USC ID

Reserve and recalled materials cannot be renewed



The recall system was developed in order to ensure equal access to library materials for all users. Materials requested by another user or needed for course reserves may be recalled at any time. The due date for the recalled item will be changed to a new due date. Items returned after the grace period, will be subject to a $50 fee.

For each item recalled, an email notice is sent informing of the new due date. Negligence on the part of the user to read their email does not remove the responsibility to return the item by its new due date. Once an item has been recalled, it cannot be reversed. All recalls are assumed to represent a legitimate need by another user, and the library does not arbitrate between users as to who has the greater need. Because a recall can be placed at any time, it is advisable to return all materials before traveling for extended periods of time.

When a recalled item is returned, it can be placed on hold at a library requested by the user. If no library is specified it will be held by default at the library where the item was returned. The user will be notified by email to pick up the item at the designated library within 10 days. Multiple requests for the same item will be honored in the order in which they were made.


Lost Library Card

If a USC ID is lost or stolen, the user must notify the USC Libraries immediately. The user to whom the card is issued will be held responsible for any materials checked out before the loss of the ID is reported to the USC Libraries.


Overdue Materials

Failure to return library materials will result in the assessment of replacement fees. For standard circulating materials (2-week, 4-week, and Semester loans) there is a 30-day grace period. During these 30 days, materials can be returned or renewed without incurring a fee. If not returned or renewed, on the 31st day after the due date, fees of $150 per item will be assessed.

Course reserves and other short-term loans cannot be renewed and do not have a grace period. They must be returned on or before the time of day due to avoid fees.


Fee Schedules

The user is responsible for full payment of fees assessed on their account. There are three basic categories of fees: those for standard circulating materials, those for short-term loans, and those for equipment. All fees are charged per item. Materials and equipment receive a short-term loan status when in high demand and are subject to higher fees.

General Circulating Material:

·        2-week, 4-week, Semester and Recalled items: 30-day grace period after the due date. On the 31st day after the due date overdue fees of $150 per item are assessed.

Short Loan:

·        3-hour loan ($1 per hour) $50 max

·        1-day, 3-day ($5 per day) $50 max


·        2-hour (lib-use) ($1 per hour) $50 max

·        No-Loan ($1 per hour) $50 max

End of Day (Special Collections)

·        End-of-day ($5 per hour) $50 max

Media and Equipment:

·        7-day loans ($5 per day) $50 max (Leavey Library DVD Policies)

·        8-hour loan ($5 per hour) $50 max

·        3-hour loan ($5 per hour) $50 max


Damaged or Lost Materials

Users are responsible for materials damaged or lost while on loan. All cases of loss or damage should be reported immediately to the USC Libraries. The minimum replacement fee for each lost or damaged item is $150 per item. The USC Libraries reserve the right to increase the replacement fee upward to cover the replacement price of the item.

A user may replace a lost or damaged item with a copy acceptable to its holding library. In many cases this option will be less expensive than paying the minimum replacement fee. If the copy is replaced, no other fees will be assessed.


Paying Fees

Fees may be paid at any library service desk by check or money order. USCard, Visa, or MasterCard, payments are accepted only at Leavey, Doheny, Science and Norris Medical Libraries. If fees for lost or damaged materials are not paid at the home library for those items, the home library must first authorize the bill amount before payment can be accepted.

There are no refunds or credits.


Academic Restrictions

Outstanding bills for overdue library or Interlibrary Loan materials may result in the revocation of library privileges until the issue is resolved. Furthermore, failure to settle unpaid fines within 45 days from the date issued will result in academic restrictions. Academic restrictions affect the user‘s ability to register and to obtain transcripts, reports, or diplomas.



The USC Libraries will not release personal information about any library user to any other individual or organization unless required to do so by law or University policy.

The Patriot Act, promulgated on October 26, 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, requires that the University offer federal agents, if requested and pursuant to a valid order, access to library patron account information. Additionally, the Patriot Act may also prohibit the University from disclosing to users that they are currently the subject of an investigation by federal agents.


Access to Electronic Resources

Information about how to get connected to the USC network can be found on the Remote Access to Electronic Resources page.

Access to electronic databases, electronic journals, electronic books, and other research websites are for the exclusive use of all current USC students, faculty (including sponsored visiting and part-time) and staff. Electronic resources are governed by licensing agreements, and the terms of use are set by the publishers and content vendors. Misuse of any resources may result in the withdrawal of a license for the entire campus, as well as possible penalties for the individual violator according to university regulations.

Downloads should be limited to a number commensurate with the user‘s specific research needs. USC Libraries’ licensing agreements with content vendors who supply USC with electronic books, journals, images, and other resources, do not allow the use of robots, spiders, crawlers or other automated downloading programs, algorithms, or devices to continuously and automatically search, scrape, extract, deep link, or index data or metadata. Those engaging in such activities will be deemed in violation of the University’s legal agreements and their access to the resources disabled.  

If you are a current USC student, faculty, researcher, or staff working on a scholarly research project which necessitates large-scale data or content mining from library electronic resources and databases, please contact Caroline Muglia ( at the USC libraries ahead of your project. For additional information please also check our Content Mining library guide.


Interlibrary Loan Services  

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services work within a global network of institutions to borrow and lend materials that support the role and mission of the university. The USC Libraries Integrated Document Delivery (IDD) department borrows books, dissertations, government documents, microforms and other materials for current USC students, staff, and faculty that are not owned by USC, or are otherwise unavailable from USC's collections. There is no charge or fee to current University Park Campus students, staff or faculty for this service. Materials from the Health Sciences campus can also be requested through ILL by University Park Campus users.

Once received, ILL articles are made available online, and other materials are held for pick-up at Leavey Library‘s services desk.

To request an item, go to the Integrated Document Delivery page.

Approximate turn-around times for ILL requests are as follows:

·        ILL Article Requests: 48-72 hours

·        ILL Book Requests: 3-5 days

Alumni, sponsored visiting scholars, and fee and courtesy card holders are not eligible for ILL services.

USC‘s Norris Medical Library, Wilson Dental Library, and Asa V. Call Law Library provide discrete interlibrary loan and document delivery services for their respective users. Please see details on their ILL/Doc. Delivery services pages:

·        Norris Medical Library Services

·        Jennifer Ann Wilson Dental Library Services

·        Asa V. Call Law Library

Patrons with overdue items in the USC Libraries system and/or the ILL system will be blocked from using the system and will be subject to late fees and replacement charges.

Overdue Interlibrary Loan requests are subject to a $15 overdue fine per item, and the patron‘s ILLiad account is blocked until the overdue fine is paid. In addition, IDD will not process active requests until all fines are paid. Eligibility may also be affected by delinquent statuses with other USC service providers.

ILL items lost or not returned 30 days past the due date will be charged a flat replacement fee of $90$. This replacement fee may be reduced to $15 if the item is returned promptly. Overdue fines can be paid at any USC Libraries location. Excessive or consistently overdue items and demonstrated abuse of the service will result in permanent suspension of ILL privileges.


Scan and Deliver Services

Scan and Deliver services provide electronic copies of articles and book chapters from USC-owned journals, books, and other materials. These documents are scanned and posted on a USC Libraries server for easy patron access. Currently, all USC faculty are eligible for electronic delivery of articles from USC-owned materials. Additionally, all students enrolled in distance education courses are eligible for Document Delivery services. There is no charge or fee to the USC community for using this service at this time.

To request an item, go to the Integrated Document Delivery page. Please note that distance learners should register their status as "distance users" when creating an account.


Library Equipment and Facilities Usage

All libraries are equipped with public information kiosk computers for searching library databases. These computers are networked to B&W/color photocopiers for printing. Many libraries also have additional computers equipped with productivity software. Leavey Library has the largest number of Windows laptops at the circulation desk. Other libraries have specialized equipment, such as audio-visual players, document scanners, microform readers, digital cameras, audio recorders, video-conferencing equipment, etc.

Please note that computer access requires a USC computer account. USC students, staff, and faculty should use the same login information they use for their USC email accounts. Visitors not affiliated with USC can request access to information kiosk computers (stand-up terminals only) at the circulation desk in the Doheny Library. Please note that the login expires automatically after 30 minutes.

Group study spaces, seminar rooms and auditoria can be reserved for academic purposes. Libraries with spaces that can be reserved include Leavey, Doheny, Architecture & Fine Arts, Science & Engineering, and VKC.

Please see the general guidelines for facility and equipment usage on the Facilities Usage Policies page. Information about filming in library spaces can also be found there. For more information and online requests, please see the Spaces Overview page.


Faculty Proxy Privileges

Proxy borrower cards may be provided for those members of the faculty who have a need or find it convenient to have an assistant retrieve library materials for them. While library borrowing privileges are not transferable, faculty may request that a joint proxy borrower's account be issued to permit a designated second party to check out library materials for the faculty member's use. A separate proxy borrower account must be requested for each individual authorized to borrow materials in the faculty member's name. The faculty member assumes full responsibility for all loans made on each proxy borrower account. Lack of response to recall and overdue notices for materials checked out by a proxy borrower may result in the suspension of both the delegated proxy borrowing privileges and the faculty member's personal privileges.

For security purposes, faculty must obtain proxy borrower cards in person. Faculty may present a USC ID at any library circulation desk and ask to complete the Request for Proxy Borrowing Privileges form. This form must be submitted to a full-time library staff member, as student library assistants do not have appropriate access to create a new borrower account. The USC Libraries will not issue a proxy borrower card if there are any stops on the faculty member's personal borrowing account, on any of the faculty member‘s existing proxy borrower accounts, or on the intended proxy borrower's personal borrowing record.

Proxy borrower accounts are valid for one semester. The desired proxy must be a current USC student or staff member. For security purposes, faculty should request extensions for their proxy account privileges in person (or via email through your USC email account to It is the faculty member's responsibility to notify the USC Libraries if proxy borrowing privileges should be terminated to prevent unauthorized use of the card.


USC Alumni

Alumni may apply for borrowing privileges in person at the circulation desk in the Doheny Memorial Library by presenting their USC Alumni Card (physical or electronic) + current photo ID, and by completing a Library Card Request Form to update their account information.

To give recent graduates time to join the Alumni Association, the USC Libraries will extend their borrowing privileges for a semester past graduation.

 For more information, please contact the Alumni Association.

Please note: Only USC students, faculty, staff, and alumni and sponsored guests with proper identification may be present in libraries open after 9:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m. All patrons will be asked to present their USC ID, an Alumni Association card + government issued picture ID, or library-issued USC identification for sponsored guests during these times. For further information about access to campus, please check the University's policy at


Retired USC Faculty and Staff

Retirees may apply for borrowing privileges in person at the Emeriti Center. For more information please contact the Emeriti Center. Please note that only those retired faculty holding the designation Professor Emeritus are able to access subscription electronic resources from off-campus.


Sponsored Visiting Scholar, VIP Guests, and Summer Program Participant Privileges

Sponsored visiting scholars, VIP guests, and summer program participants must be sponsored by an academic or administrative department to obtain library privileges. Upon a recommendation of a sponsoring school‘s Dean (or their designate), a visiting scholar‘s, sponsored guest’s, or program participant’s information is entered into the iVIP system by the sponsoring department. For the list of the iVIP program administrators for schools and departments, please click here. The sponsoring department will assume ultimate responsibility for materials borrowed, as well as for the proper use of library facilities and equipment. Remote access to electronic resources is governed by license agreements and does not cover all guests. Library privileges are granted on a semester basis, and a request to extend privileges must be made by the sponsor each semester.


Fee-based Borrowing Privileges

Individual fee-based borrowing privileges are available for Los Angeles-area residents at the rate of $100 for one year. The USC Libraries reserve the right to determine whether applicants qualify for individual or corporate privileges.

Fees must be paid by check, money order, or credit card, and privileges are not granted until after the payment has cleared. Individuals must apply for borrowing privileges in person at the circulation desk in the Doheny Memorial Library. They may do so by presenting a photo ID, completing a Library Card Request Form, and paying the appropriate fee. Additional identification may be required.

Extension of privileges is never permitted if there are outstanding fines, bills for replacement, or stops on the borrower‘s account.

Fee-based borrowers do not qualify for remote access to electronic resources.


Institutional Partnerships

The USC Libraries participate in reciprocal access programs with the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC). These agreements allow USC faculty to access library collections at the institutions listed below.

·        OCLC Institutions

·        SCELC Institutions

Please note that borrowing privileges are determined by local institutional policies. Faculty visiting the USC Libraries from non-USC institutions will receive "Visiting Scholar" privileges (see above) for 1 month.

Requests for access to other institutions by USC faculty (or to USC Libraries by non-USC faculty) should be directed to Access Services.


Local Affiliations

The USC Libraries provide library access and borrowing privileges to faculty, students, and researchers from the following institutions:

·        Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion

·        Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

·        American Film Institute

The USC Libraries also work with USC‘s Neighborhood Academic Initiative to provide library access and borrowing privileges to local high school and college students through selected programs, as well as to teachers from USC's Family of Schools and Partner Schools. For more information please contact the Neighborhood Academic Initiative.

Requests for Local Affiliation privileges should be directed to the Doheny Library Access Services.