Who Can Borrow

Current BU students, faculty, staff have generous circulation privileges for the physical collection and, whether accessing from on or off campus, have full access to the digital collections. You may begin a BU Libraries Search session with the ‘Sign In’ tab (upper right, via the Advanced Search link) in order to view loan, request or recall options, manage renewals, and make use of the e-shelf feature.

Alumni, welcome back. You may borrow most regularly-circulating items and, on-site, gain access to most digital subscriptions.

Visiting scholars, performers, and members of the community-at-large are welcome to use us on site. No advance arrangements are required but are advisable, especially in cases where desired items reside in closed stacks or where other staff assistance is anticipated.

Card holders of the Boston Library Consortium are entitled to walk in and borrow regularly-circulating items. Your BLC card must be current and issued and through your home institution in order to borrow in person.

Books, Journals, Scores

Exceptions to standard loan of our collections–without authorization–include: open reserves, course reserves, M3 collected works, some M2 scores, special facsimiles, journals, Fiedler and Landon collections, Reference, most microfilm, and extremely fragile items.

To consult items residing in the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center (HGARC), contact archives staff directly to determine any necessary arrangements.

Audio and Visual collections

The physical a/v collection, housed in closed stacks, is retrievable during music staff hours.
Unless in use as Course Reserve, a two-week loan of audio compact discs, phonograph recordings and videos is standard; you may also use on-site playback facilities.

The Libraries subscribe to several a/v streaming sites, and, we also call your attention to the several significant other music and/or media collections on campus that maintain their own catalogs and facilities.

Holds and Recalls

If you see in the “Find in Library” tab that the book you need is checked out to another borrower, you may click on the “Request” link in Request Options to have it recalled. If you do not see the Request link, click the “You must sign in to get Request options” link. We will contact the borrower and ask that it be returned within 7 days (i.e. recall it) and notify you by email as soon as it is available. You may also send a recall request to with your full name, BU ID number, the title and the call number of the book you wish to recall. When the item is returned, you will be notified by e-mail. You might also check the library’s Interlibrary Borrowing options since sometimes those options are quicker than waiting for a recall.