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Circulation FAQ: Renew & return

Gateway to MIT Libraries policies on requesting and borrowing books and other materials.

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Your Account in Barton

Use Your Account in Barton to:

  • Request and renew library materials
  • See what you have checked out
  • See your library fines

Use mobile Your Account at:


More information on using Your Account

Renew your library loans

Yes, but books from different sources are renewed differently.

  • MIT Libraries materials: For MIT faculty, students and staff, most books & accompanying materials (e.g. cd-roms) will be automatically renewed by circulation up to five times. Other library users, except privilege card holders, may renew the same material manually through Your Account up to three times. Privilege cards do not allow for renewals. For any items that do not automatically renew, you may renew them online through Your Account. You can also visit or call any library service desk.
  • Interlibrary Borrowing materials: See the ILB FAQ.
  • Borrow Direct materials: Borrow Direct materials are loaned for 60 days with 1 renewal See the MIT's WorldCat Help guide for more information.

If a request has been placed on an item already checked out to you, your due date will be shortened and you cannot renew the loan.

  • If a request is placed within the first week of your loan, your due date will be shortened to two weeks from the date when you originally borrowed the item. 
  • If the request is placed 8+ days after you borrowed the item, you will be given one week to return it.
  • We guarantee a minimum, two week loan, except in circumstances when an item is required for course reserves.

You will be notified of the new due date by email. You must return the item by the shortened due date in order to avoid fines.

You can see how many renewals you have used by logging into Your Account. Click on the "View / Renew Items on Loan" link. After the "Items on Loan" page loads, click on the number beside the title you want to check. A loan detail page will load, which includes information on how many renewals you have used.

Yes, you will receive an email three days before the original due date letting you know which items the system was able to renew for you, and what their new due dates are.

Yes, for any materials checked out to Your Account. If we have your email address, a courtesy notice will be emailed to you three days before and the day of the due date. You will also receive overdue notices via email. You will not receive courtesy or overdue notices for manually circulated items (e.g. unbound journals), which do not appear in the online catalog.

If you do not receive library notices, first check your email spam box. You may need to add as an exception to prevent notices from being marked as spam. If you still do not receive your library notices, Please contact Circulation for assistance.

When you check out library materials you assume responsibility for returning or renewing them on time and for paying any fines incurred, even if you do not receive a courtesy notice.

Return library materials

Yes, except for course reserve materials and special equipment (e.g. Equipment to Go, Standing Desks, etc.). These materials should be returned to the service desk at the lending library. Please contact the lending library if you have questions.

Items obtained through MIT's WorldCat or Interlibrary Borrowing can be returned to any MIT Libraries location. All other non-MIT materials should be returned directly to the lending institution.

Yes. All locations have overnight book drops, except the Lewis Music Library and the Library Storage Annex. There is an additional dropbox in the Stata Center at the Libraries' Information Intersection. The Stata bookdrop is emptied once per day in the morning. Bookdrop returns from the previous evening are back dated at check-in to reflect the actual return date.

Course reserves, equipment, fragile items and loose-leaf notebooks must be returned directly to a service desk during business hours.

Yes, anyone can return your materials for you.

For standard 60-day loans, there is a short grace period after the due date - if a book is returned within a couple days of the due date, no fine will be incurred. Once the grace period has expired, the fine is calculated based on the original due date (e.g. 5 days late, 5 days worth of fines). The overdue fine will be charged to your account when the book is returned or renewed.

Fines for reserve items accrue after a 15-minute grace period at the rate of $2.00 per hour. Fines for recalled items accrue after a 1 day grace period at the rate of $2.00 per day.

All other materials with a loan period shorter than 60 days do not have a grace period. Fines begin accruing as soon as the due time has passed.

A fee of $135 or more ($120 for replacement of material + a $15 processing fee) is automatically charged for loans that are more than 30 days overdue. Overdue fines cap when the replacement charge is assessed. Capped fines range between $15-30 depending on the loan period and fine rate for the overdue material. The $135 fee will be waived when overdue materials are returned. The overdue fine(s) will be charge to your account after the item is returned. You are responsible for all overdue fines.

If you do not return a RECALLED book by the date requested, or your total fines amount to $270 or more, your borrowing privileges will be automatically suspended until the overdue materials are returned or the fines are paid.


Non-book items may have different borrowing and fine rates.

Questions about material borrowed through Interlibrary Borrowing should be directed to the ILB office.

If you lost a library book contact Circulation. Staff will advise you on your options.

Please note, if a lost item was borrowed through Interlibrary borrowing, MIT's WorldCat or through another reciprocal borrowing agreement, supplying a replacement copy of the item is not an option; the replacement fee of $135 must be paid. Please contact Circulation for more information.

Contact us

Have questions?  Contact us at:

Course Reserves FAQ