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Lewis Music Library Student Manual: Circulation

Additional Links

For more information, see:

Circulation FAQ (public page)

Reserves FAQ (public page)

Your Account (public page)

Using Your Account in Barton (tab on Circulation FAQ)


Circulation Basics

MIT Libraries circulation FAQ (public guide)

60-day loan period for books and scores:: Loan periods... (PS Docs wiki; MIT certificates needed)
Most books and scores will be automatically renewed for up to 5 times (May 2014); new service described on the PS Docs FAQ (MIT certificates needed).

Loan (Checkout):

CDs and DVDs:

  • CDs and DVDs, 60-day items
  • They can be renewed or recalled, just like books or scores
  • Overdue fines are $0.50 per day
  • DVDs are shelved in our Browsery (the front of the Reference stacks)
    • Unlock the case by sliding it through the decoupler in the direction of the arrows; make sure the green padlock symbol is showing
    • Check inside to be sure all contents are there
    • Desensitize the security strip (DVD case front down)

Audio and Video Recorders, Microphones, cables, stands, and tripods:

  • 1 day loan for audio/video equipment (due at closing the following day)


  • Reserve CDs and DVDs are uniform with other library units: 2-hour loan period, renewal permitted
  • Rules for each item are on the reserve sticker
  • General rule:
    • MIT Libraries reserves FAQ (public guide) official policy:
      "You can borrow as many reserve items as you want. However, keep in mind that most items will only circulate for 2 hours, and that other students may want to see the materials as well."
    • Staff (but not users) can put a block on a reserve item to prevent a renewal. Policy described in "Reserve Renewal Blocks" on the PSDocs wiki (certificates needed)

Return (Checkin):

  • Check inside the jewel box or DVD case before checking in a CD or DVD to be sure the right number of discs and inserts are there. If it's not complete, we can't check it in.
  • DVDs:
    • Relock the DVD case; make sure the red padlock symbol is showing
    • Resensitize the security strip (on the face of the DVD case)
    • Shelve it by the call number
  • Chamber music parts: make sure all parts are there when the music is returned. If some parts are missing, don't check the item in! Put a note on it saying what the problem is and give it to Cate.

VHS tapes & laserdiscs:

  • Videocassettes are in storage and need to be requested through the user's Barton account.
  • Laserdiscs (VDISC) do not leave the library.
    • When checking a VDisc out, confirm in Aleph that the item is Due At Closing
    • If necessary, use the "Change Date" command  to set due date to closing of the current day
  • Make sure the user knows the item doesn't go out!

Further Qustions:

  • If you have any further questions, ask Forrest or Cate

Last updated 3/27/20 cg

Exceptions & special cases

  • Music teaching staff 
    • Music instructors and faculty may borrow reserve items to the end of the current day
    • In Aleph, check item out to them and then use the Change date button to extend the loan period
  • There is a list called "Faculty with sound recording borrowing privileges" posted on our staff bulletin board outside Forrest's office
    • These people have standing permission from Nina for 7-day VHS/laserdisc loans
    • Refer any other special requests to Nina, Forrest or Cate


Last updated 3/27/20 cg

On order, Received/Ask for Assistance, At Preservation Services

If an item is on order, Received/Ask for Assistance, or At Preservation Services, there will be no "Request this item" button in Barton and the user won't be able to place a hold; they'll have to ask us to do it.

  1. For books or scores, place the hold in Aleph (you'll get an "override" option). Be sure to select the pickup location they want.
  2. Important: Contact Cate and give the user's contact information and which item is wanted.
  3. We will have the item searched and handled rush.
  4. How soon will it be ready?
    That depends on if it has been received, been cataloged, if it will be treated in-house or has already been sent out to the commercial bindery, etc. We'll do our best. Often I can give the user a general idea.

Further Quesitons:

  • If you have further questions, ask Forrest or Cate

Updated 5/16/18 FL

Annex items from storage

  • Audio CDs and vinyl records from LSA (the Library Storage Annex) usually arrive in special boxes and should be sent back that way.
    • The double-sided card says MUSIC for incoming items.
    • Flip the card to ANNEX when sending them back.
  • Most items from LSA arrive with user holds
  • Activate the hold as usual by scanning the barcode in Return, and put the item and hold slip on the Hold Shelf
    • For vinyl LP records, users will probably want to use our equipment upstairs to make a digital copy. The simpler machine requires a music CD; give them one from the drawer by the paper cutter. The more complex machine requires a Kerberos logon.
    • If they really want to check out the vinyl, okay. Loan period 1 week; Barton does allow a renewal.
  • Non-MIT users must place requests through the Annex request form (description below)

updated 3/6/2017 csm

Borrow Direct & ILB items

These can be confusing. If you have questions about these loans & returns, please check with Forrest before you proceed!

  • ILB (InterLibrary Borrowing): has sticker on the cover with an MIT Libraries barcode
    • Checkout: scan that barcode in Aleph
    • Return: do not scan the barcode! Write R and today's date on the sticker, route to Doc Services
    • Do not route a returned book back to the pickup location library!
  • Borrow Direct: has paper bookband, most likely colorful, that says BorrowDirect across the top
    • Checkout: use barcode printed on that bookband; if you have to type in the number you'll need it all, including the MIT- (that's a dash)
    • Delivered here, pickup location Lewis Music: scan the barcode in Return to activate the hold. Some of the colored slips won't scan; in that case, type in MIT- (etc.)
    • Return: do not scan the barcode! Write R and today's date on the bookband, route to Doc Services
    • Do not route a returned item back to the pickup location library!

ID&LA blog posting about ILB returns (with image)

PSDocs wiki page about ILB and Borrow Direct (certificate needed)

Updated 5/18/2017 csm

Circulation during downtime

Occasionally the MIT net or the library server will go down. Usually it will be just for a few minutes.

Confirm that it is a system-wide problem rather than just our terminals by calling Hayden Circulation at x3-5672.
They will report it to our MIT Libraries Systems Office if necessary.

Circulation during downtime:

  1. Open the "Downtime Circulation Template" Excel document from the desktop folder called "Circulation Downtime"
  2. Save As Downtime-month-day-year
  3. See the instructions (one transaction per line; no reserves; etc.)

PSDocs wiki page for Barton downtime procedures

Limited Access Collections

The Lewis Music Library houses a collection of facsimiles, rare books, manuscripts, and recordings of MIT music performances.  Facsimiles and recent editions may be used in the Lewis reading room, Monday-Friday, 9-4.  If someone requests access to the Limited Access collection, please refer them to a member of the senior staff.

In addition some of our rare items are stored off-site.  These items, along with original manuscripts and other rare materials, may be used in Institute Archives and Special Collections (IASC) reading room (14N-118), open Mon-Thurs 10am-4pm.  If possible we recommend requesting such items at least a day before your visit.  


Need Help?

For Help, contact:

  • Audio Lab, listening equipment, music software on the iMacs: leave a note or e-mail Forrest
  • Binding and repair things or ordering questions: ask Cate
  • Circulation, Reserves, student schedule and payroll: Cate
  • Bigger problems: contact Nina
  • Really an Emergency: still let Nina know

If there is a question of Lewis Music Library policies, it may be documented in this guide. You may also call Cate, Forrest or Nina at the numbers below. Never feel that you need to argue with patrons about our policies. Use e-mail if you just want to tell us about something.

  • Nina:
    c 617-791-0961
    MIT  x3-5636
  • Forrest:
    h 401-728-0838
    MIT x3-0982
  • Cate:
    c 617-767-4142
    MIT x3-7389