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Our Organization: Lending Code & Borrowing Policy

Lending Code & Borrowing Policy

The Lending Code defines the privileges and responsibilities of all who borrow materials from the Caltech Library. The purpose of the code and the regulations outlined in it is to provide optimum use of the collection for students, faculty, staff, and other scholars. The Caltech Library maintains up-to-date borrowers’ records based upon documentation provided by borrowers and issues Library cards/barcodes as evidence that borrowing privileges have been granted. 


It is the policy of the Caltech Library not to release or otherwise disclose any personal information or contents of any records, including borrowing information, which is prepared or maintained by the Caltech Library to any person other than the individual who is the subject of the record without the consent of that individual.

To determine if you are eligible for borrowing privileges, consult the library What Can I Access? page.


A patron who has been granted borrowing privileges is responsible for all materials borrowed against their record. It is the borrower’s responsibility to:

  • know when materials are due to be returned

  • return or renew materials on or before the due date

  • return recalled materials immediately

  • report address changes promptly to the Library

  • exercise care in handling all Library materials


  • Library privileges may not be transferred to another individual. 

  • Proxy or faculty authorization cards are available for staff using the Library on behalf of a faculty member contact for more information.

  • Immediate family members of current Caltech faculty and staff may be proxy borrowers under their Caltech members library accounts. Must be fifteen or older.

All Caltech members and borrowers are expected to hold the provisions of the Caltech Honor code regarding Library regulations. Those involved in abuse of privileges will be reported to appropriate departments.

Obtaining Borrowing Privileges

Borrowing privileges may be obtained at any circulation desk in the Caltech Library upon presentation of a valid picture ID. For additional information contact

Equipment Loan Policies

  • At check out, you will need to read and sign a "Laptop/eDevice Policy & Authorization" form.

  • Different eDevices have different loan periods so please verify the due date before leaving the library. Overdue items will result in fines and blocked accounts.

  • If you believe you cannot return the item on time, please contact the library.

  • All items should be returned directly to either the TechHub or Sherman Fairchild Library circulation desk.

  • The item must not be left unattended for any reason.

  • You assume full responsibility for the item while it is checked out to you.

  • Kindle Readers: 

    • You are permitted to select titles to be added to the Kindle, while it is checked out to you.  The total cost of these must not be more than $25.00 during the loan period.  If the additions to the Kindle, while checked out to you, total more than $25.00, your bursar account will be charged the exceeding amount.

    • If there is a title you are interested in and it's purchase price is more thank $25.00, please contact the Library.  The Library will review the title and determine if it can be added.

    • Magazines, games, or other applications are not permitted to be added to the Kindles.

    • While you are encouraged to add a title of interest to our collection, the Library reserves the right to remove titles that fall outside of the scope of the Caltech Library's collection development policy.

Equipment Reservation Information

Cameras, Blu-Ray players, projectors, and other equipment may be reserved under the following conditions:

  • The request must be made at least one week prior to the desired reservation period. Reservations less than one week will not be considered.
  • Kindles cannot be reserved ahead of time.
  • We will do our best to accommodate all reservation requests but, due to demand, we cannot guarantee all reservations will be confirmed.  
  • Reserved equipment cannot be renewed and must be returned at the end of the checkout period.  
  • Laptops, iPads, and computer accessories such as keyboards, mice, adapters, and cables are available first come, first serve and cannot be reserved.
  • Complete reservation request form.

Lost Library ID

If a Library ID is lost or stolen, the borrower must notify the Library immediately at The borrower to whom borrowing privilege has been granted will be held responsible for any material checked out with their Library ID before its loss is reported.

Lost, Damaged, or Overdue Materials

Lost or Damaged

Borrowers are responsible for materials damaged or lost while on loan. All items that have been lost or damaged should be reported immediately to the Library’s Circulation Services Department by emailing The minimum replacement processing fine/fee is $200 (includes price of replacement copies, shipping/handling, labeling, staff process time).

If you wish to appeal the replacement fee, you will need to send an email to and explain why your fees should be lowered or waived. Please note that all fines will stand unless there is a proven financial hardship, the material was stolen (with a copy of a police report), or personal tragedy has occurred (e.g., lost in a fire or natural disaster).

Fine/fees for lost and damaged equipment are as follows:

  • Tier 1: $50

    • Examples: tripods, some electronic accessories, and board games.

  • Tier 2: $150

    • Examples: laptop chargers, external blue-ray player, portable projectors, and calculators. 

  • Tier 3: $500 

    • Examples: Kindle, portable blue-ray player, and 50mm cameras. 

  • Tier 4: $2,000

    • Examples: Dell Laptops, MacBook Laptops, and 70-200mm cameras.


Once items are 30 days or more overdue, they will be considered lost by the Library, and you will be charged the replacement processing fee. Before items go into billing, you will receive several notifications to renew your items. 

Your respect for the equipment and the rights of all Caltech Library users is appreciated.

Fines/fees can be paid in person with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover) at the Information Desk on the 1st floor of the Sherman Fairchild Library.  Contact the library if you would like an invoice and instructions for an online payment.

Note: We do not accept replacement copies of damaged or lost materials. 

Need Material We Currently Don’t Have?

Caltech Library provides a service to borrow books or deliver photocopies of materials from other libraries to support the research, teaching, and professional activities of Caltech’s faculty, postdocs, students, and staff. A charge is assessed for this service. Please refer to DocuServe for more information.