Borrowing Policies

School of Theology entrance

The School of Theology circulation desk, located by the library entrance, is where most library transactions take place. At the circulation desk, you can:

• Borrow or renew items from our Open Stacks or Oversize collections. Perhaps you need a cell phone charger? We have those available for check out at the circulation desk.
• Return items from any BU Library (including Mugar Library).
Borrow items on the current semester’s course reserve, located behind the desk.
As a visitor, inquire about borrowing privileges.
Ask for the call number and location of a needed resource.
• Request delivery of a book in storage or file a missing item report if you can’t find what you’re looking for on shelf.
Pick up items from the Hold Shelf you have recalled or storage books you have requested.
Pick up or return your interlibrary loan materials.
• Return books from any Boston Theological Institute (BTI) Library.
Inquire about and pay your overdue fines.

To discover more about our borrowing policies, click on the heading to expand the box.

Books in the School of Theology Library’s Open Stacks and Oversize collections circulate for 1 year to faculty, 133 days to staff and graduate students, and 28 days to undergraduate students and affiliated borrowers (from members of the Boston Library Consortium via their BLC Card, members of the Boston Theological Institute via their BTI Card, visiting scholars like through the ATLA Reciprocal Borrowing Program, and alumni). Books may be renewed twice before they must be returned.

In our course reserve section, all borrowing patrons (faculty, staff, and students) are limited to the time stated on the book and in the catalog (2 hours, 3 days, or 7 days). These items cannot be renewed. The circulation on these items is limited so that as many students as possible have access to material needed for class.

Other collections, like Reference, Periodicals, Microforms, and Research Collections, are non-circulating. Inquire with the archivist or another staff member about access in-library to our research and archival collections.
For borrowing information at other Boston University Libraries, visit the respective library’s website.

  • The BU School of Theology Library only renews items checked out from the School of Theology Library.
  • Only items from the Open Stacks and Oversize can be renewed. Note: Course Reserve items cannot be renewed so that other students have the ability to access them.
  • You are able to renew your books two times before you need to return them to the library.
  • Renew books here or call the library at (617) 353-3034 or email us at Please do not respond to the automatically generated email reminders from
  • Books that are overdue or recalled may not be renewed.
  • Items received by interlibrary loan may be renewed, but it is up to the lending institution. Submit the request on ILLiad but please return the item immediately if the lending institution declines to renew it.

During open hours, you may return items checked out from the School of Theology Library to an attendant at the circulation desk or in the book drop on your left just inside the door at the circulation desk. During hours that we are not open, there is a book drop outside of the library, in the entryway (not the stairwell) of the second floor. If you have not checked out the library books, but were only using them within the library, please return them to one of our re-shelving carts. BLC/WorldCat Local items can be returned in the book drop.

Please note that you should not return ILL items or BTI Return items at the desk. If you are trying to return an ILL, see an attendant at the desk during open hours; you will sign a log certifying your return.

If you are returning an item belonging to another BTI Library, see an attendant at the desk during open hours; you will sign a log certifying your return.

Books that are checked out may be recalled. The current borrower will received a notice of the recall and new due date. Recalls allow the current patron one week to return the book. When the book is returned, it will be placed on the Hold Shelf for the requester.To recall a book in our BU Libraries Search catalog, sign in with your BU ID and password and click on the “Get It” tab to view individual items. The “Request” button is found across from the item’s volume location, on the right hand side. If a  title can be found in more than one location, you may need to click on the desired location first, in order to see a “Request” button on the right across from each item or volume. If you are unable to recall an item using the “Request” button, please visit the Circulation Desk to fill out a paper form.

Notices for overdues or recalls are emailed to the address on file; for students, staff, and faculty this is your BU email address. (If you do not regularly check your BU email address, you may want to set up email forwarding so these notices reach an email address that you check regularly.) Notices are to remind you to renew books, or to notify you of a recall with a new due date because someone else has requested the book. Overdue notices are a courtesy and failure to receive one is not grounds for waiving fines. Please make sure the library has the correct contact information for you.

Charges to a student library account that remain unpaid for over one month are billed to your Student Account. At the end of each semester, any other outstanding fines are sent to Student Accounts. If you allow your fines to accrue to $100.00 or more, your privileges may be suspended until you have paid part or all of your fine. Please be aware that any book lost or billed (due to being overdue for 28 days or more) will accrue a fine of $100.00.You can pay fines at the Circulation Desk. While we will accept cash for any fines, we prefer to receive fine payments by check as we cannot always be certain to have the change required when you pay with cash.

If you think you have lost a book, let the Circulation staff know immediately. In some cases, we will renew the book to give you time to look for it without incurring fines. If it really is lost, we provide you with two options:

  1. Find a copy of the same edition of the book and purchase it. Bring the replacement copy and a check or cash in the amount of $30.00 to the Circulation Desk and we will clear your record of the lost item. Please be sure to purchase the same edition as some books have a change of content from one edition to another.
  2. Pay a replacement charge of $100.00 and we will handle purchasing the replacement and processing it for the collection.  If the item to be replaced costs more than $100, you will need to pay the high amount.

The same policy applies to damaged books if the damage makes the materials unreadable or unusable. If you want to borrow an item and notice that it is already damaged (torn pages, written comments, etc.), please tell the staff at the Circulation Desk so you are not charged. If an item is returned damaged, you will be responsible for any charges if we are not notified in advance.

School of Theology Library Circulation Desk
745 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston MA 02215
Tel: (617) 353-3034
Fax: (617) 358-6099