Howard University

The Howard University Libraries is a forward-looking organization, dedicated to providing the highest standards in service and resources that support the University mission for excellence in learning, scholarship and service. In a society increasingly dependent on information technology and life-long learning, we are committed to fostering information empowerment for academic and professional success, with a distinct commitment to preparing people of color and the economically disadvantaged for leadership and service to our nation and the global community.

Borrowing Eligibility

Materials are loaned to Howard University's validated students, faculty and staff, reciprocal borrowers from other institutions, cross-registered students, and authorized special borrowers.

Patron Registration

Eligible borrowers may register at the circulation desk in any unit of the University Library System. Special procedures apply to Alumni and Reciprocal Borrowers

Loan Periods: Regular Items

  • Faculty/staff, 4 weeks
  • Undergraduate students, 4 weeks
  • Graduate students, 6 weeks
  • Honor students, 4 weeks
  • Exchange students, 4 weeks


Materials may be returned to the circulation desk at any library, or in the book drops of any library. Do not leave books on the circulation desk. Do not return overdue or reserve materials in the outside drop when the library is open. Receipts are available upon request.


Materials may be renewed at any circulation desk if no other user has requested them. There is no limit on the number of regular items a borrower may renew, if not flagged or blocked for other violations. Materials may be renewed at any Howard University Main and East Campus library. See also Suspension of Privileges and Item Holds & Recalls.

Fines and Charges--Regular Items

In order to encourage the fair and efficient use of library materials fines and fees are charged for late returns.
  • Regular, non-reserve items: 25 cents per day/item
  • Recall items: 35 cents per day/item
  • Lost items: Price of item plus $15 processing fee, plus fine
  • The maximum fine is $25.00.

Item Holds and Recalls

You may request that a hold be placed on any book charged out to another patron. To place a hold request use Sterling to locate the book you want and select the "Request an item" option. All borrowed items are subject to recalls and holds.
You will receive a notice if a book you borrowed is recalled for another patron. Return the book by the new due date on the notice. If you do not return a recalled item by the new date a block will be placed on your circulation record and you will not be able to borrow additional items or renew checked out items. In addition, overdue recall fines are 35 cents a day per item.
You will receive a notice when an item you requested is ready for pickup. You can check the status of your holds by selecting "Display Held Items" option while viewing your circulation record in Sterling.

Suspension of Library Privileges

Borrower's privileges are suspended when total fines reach a maximum of $25.00.


The borrower will be billed for the item cost plus $15 processing fee for any item mutilated, torn, or altered in any manner.


  • A book is billed after being overdue 30 days. 
  • The billing charge includes the fine, a $15.00 processing fee, and the cost of the book. 
  • The book may be returned at any time. 
  • Billed books should be returned directly to a circulation staff member. 
  • If the book returned is in an acceptable condition, the cost of the book will be deducted from the total bill.
  • Fines and the $15.00 processing/billing fee will still be charged. 
  • All bills are sent to a collection agency.

Course Reserves

The term “Reserve” refers to materials which on the request of Faculty, are placed in an area for limited access to library patrons. Reserve materials may be in paper, multimedia, or electronic format. Some reserve materials are personal copies of Faculty.
Materials placed on reserve by instructors are kept in closed stacks. Please ask for these materials at the circulation desk. Reserves materials also available online via STERLING for specific courses. You must have a current Howard University I.D. to view reserve materials. See Course Reserves for more information.
Faculty desiring to place materials on reserve may go to Course Reserves Policy.

Finding Reserves

To access library reserve materials, students must first look up the call number for the material in the Reserve Material Listings located at each circulation desk, or go to Course Reserves page. Materials may be looked up by instructor's last name or course title. Students must present a current CAPSTONE card with a validation sticker for the current semester to view any reserve material. Most Reserve materials are for in-library use only. Some may be designated for overnight use.


Many course reserve items are also accessible online via Internet, on- or off-campus. HU Computer Access Code (user name and password) are required for viewing -e-reserves.

Reserves Loan Periods

Most items are loaned for 2 hours for in-house use and may be renewed if not requested by another patron. Some items may be charged for use overnight. Overnight items may be taken out 1 hour before library closing or as otherwise approved and must be returned the next business day within one hour after the library opens. Other loan periods vary from l day to 7 days. All reserves are limited to use by Howard's students , faculty, and staff.

Reserves Fines and Charges

  • Hourly Loans : .05 cents per minute
  • 1-2 day Loans: $3.00 per day
  • 3 –7 day Loans: $5.00 per day
  • The fine for a lost reserve photocopy is $35.00

Address Changes

Please notify the Library of all address changes. Verify that the Library has your correct e-mail and postal addresses at any circulation desk.

Lost or Stolen Capstone ID

Patrons are accountable for materials checked out before their ID is reported lost or stolen. Report lost or stolen IDs to the Library.

View Your Circulation Record Online!

Patrons may view their borrowing record which lists books checked out to them in STERLING and to find out due dates. Patrons are notified of recalls and pick up of requested materials via HU e-mail. Please ensure that your Howard e-mail address is accurate.

Alumni and Special Borrowers

The privilege of borrowing books from Howard University Libraries is one of the many privileges alumni of Howard University enjoy.
After joining the Howard University Alumni Association for an annual fee of $25, alumni may borrow books (four books at one time) after submitting an annual tax-deductible donation of $100 to Howard University Libraries.
The Office of Alumni Relations, which part of University Advancement, will forward all library donations to the Library’s Office of Development and Public Affairs in Founders where arrangements will be made for alumni to receive a library barcode. Because alumni Library donors automatically become a Friend of the Library, membership material will also be distributed to them by the Office of Development and Public Affairs at this time. The Access Services Department will track the borrowing activity related to alumni and generate periodic reports.
Alumni donations help the Library fund projects in the Founders Renaissance Initiatives. For more information about the Renaissance Initiatives, please visit the following web address:

Faculty Emeriti

Faculty Emeriti are entitled to full library borrowing privileges.  
In accordance with the Howard University Faculty Handbook, "those faculty who have attained emeritus status are entitled to use any available university facility, to retain membership in university organizations, and to have their names included in published membership listings."
"Tenured faculty members and all administrators who hold tenure as faculty members and who have at least 10 years’ full-time service at the university, upon retirement, shall automatically attain emeritus status in their faculty rank.  Other faculty members retiring from the university may be granted emeritus status only by specific action by the Board of trustees.

Consortium Patrons

CIRLA Libraries (Howard U, Georgetown U, George Washington U, U Maryland, U Delaware, Johns Hopkins U) agree to extend direct, reciprocal, in-person borrowing privileges to graduate students from member universities and researchers and fellows from member federal agencies. Each home library will establish eligibility for direct borrowing privileges. The lending library determines specific privileges, including the maximum number of checkouts and the specific ending date for borrowing privileges. Borrowers under this program are subject to the regulations and loan periods established by the lending library.
Washington Theological Consortium--Students and faculty who hold a currently valid ID from a WTC school are eligible for borrowing privileges at WTC libraries during the academic year.
OCLC Reciprocal Borrowing Program--Faculty from any institution that participates in the OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program may have access to the HU library system. Faculty must obtain a OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program card from their home institution and present it along with a current photo ID at the Founders circulation desk. The requester will then be issued a separate Howard ID card. This ID Card must be validated at circulation desk every semester.

Page Updated: 11/09/2018 - 13:00