Frequently Asked Questions

Borrowing & Returning Books

Can I mail my books back from out of town?

If you have left campus and need to return library materials, please use the address below. We recommend you insure your package for $100 per item. Please be sure your name and contact information are included with the returned materials.

Library Public Services Office
116 Olin Library
161 Ho Plaza
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

What is a Hold or Recall request?

A Hold places a request for an item that is currently checked out; you will be notified when the book is returned by the borrower.  A Recall request also places a request for you, but generates a notice to the borrower to return the book within 9 - 14 days.

What is a Library-to-Library delivery request?

This is a request to page a book from the stacks of one library and have it delivered it to another campus library of your choice. Turnaround time is usually 2 days.

What is the Borrow Direct service and how can I use it?

Borrow Direct is a service that allows you to borrow books for up to 12 weeks from the combined collections of eleven partner universities (over 50 million volumes).  Turnaround time is usually 4 days, and is often quicker than placing a recall.

How can I appeal a fine?

If you believe you were fined in error or that your fines should be waived due to special circumstances, please fill out an appeal form. The library will reply within a week of receiving your appeal.

How can I pay a fine?

Cash, check or credit card payments are accepted at the Library Public Services Office (libpublicservices@cornell.edu; (607) 255-5069) and at Mann Library (mann_circ@cornell.edu; (607) 255-3296).  Cash or check payments are accepted at most other library circulation desks, but please contact them directly for details.

To Mail in payments by check: 

  • please make checks payable to "Cornell University" 
  • include your ID number on the check and note what bills you are paying
  • include your contact information (name, phone number or email address)
  • mail to:

Library Public Services Office
116 Olin Library
161 Ho Plaza
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853


Building Info

Where am I allowed to eat in the library?

In Olin, all food consumption is restricted to the Amit Bhatia Libe Café or the second floor lounge. In Uris, food is allowed only in the Tower Lounge on the third level of the Stacks. This is necessary to protect the Library's collections, furnishings, and equipment from damage. Beverages are allowed in Olin, Kroch Asia and Uris Library, but they must be in a container with a lid that closes securely. 

Can I film or take photographs in the library?

Personal photos are generally permitted, so long as they are not disruptive and respect the space and privacy of those using the library for research. For all photo and film shoots (e.g. student projects, wedding or engagement photos), specific permission from Library Administration is required in advance. If library staff have not been notified, you will be asked to provide evidence of permission to photograph or film. For more information, see Use of Olin & Uris Library Public Spaces.

What are the numbers over the Olin circulation desk?

These are paging numbers. When Olin was a closed stack library, books had to be requested through a paging system.  Each request would receive a number; the number corresponding to the requested item would light up when the request was filled.  The system is no longer in use, but the numbers remain.

Do I need to show my ID to go into the stacks?

No. However, all users of university buildings and facilites are required to show identification if requested by a university official.

Where is Kroch Library?

Kroch Library is physically part of Olin Library; there is no separate entrance from the outside.  Upon entering Olin, walk straight along "tiger alley" (the long passageway with striped flooring) to reach Kroch, which houses our Asian materials.

Where are group study rooms located?

In Olin Library, room 302 is a reservable group study room, and conference rooms 403 and 404 are also available for group study. In Uris, group study is encouraged in the Austen Room and Tower Lounge, and there are also three reservable group study rooms located in the Cocktail Lounge. For more information about Olin & Uris study areas, see Spaces in Olin & Uris Libraries.


Carrels & Lockers

How do I get an assigned carrel or locker at Olin or Uris Library?

Olin Carrels are available to registered graduate students; Uris carrels are available to undergraduate students writing their Honors thesis; lockers are generally available to all registered students. See Carrels & Lockers for additional information and policies or to make a request.


Computing & Equipment

Do you have Mac computers?

Mac workstations are located in the Uris Library Tower Lab. Olin, Uris, and Mann libraries also have Mac laptops for loan.

Can I borrow a phone charger or a laptop charger?

iPhone and Android chargers, as well as Dell and Mac laptop chargers and many other computer peripherals are available for loan at the Olin and Uris circulation desks.

Do you have scanners and/or photocopiers?

There are several scanners and photocopiers in Olin and Uris Libraries. See the Scanners & Photocopiers page for more information.

Where can I print a poster, make a transparency, etc?

Visit the Specialized Printing page for more information about Olin Library's full-service copy center and large-format printer.

Besides laptops, what equipment do you have for loan?

We have DSLR and other digital cameras, camcorders, tripods, digital projectors and screens, audio recording equipment, and slide projectors available for loan. This equipment circulates from Uris Library and some may be reserved in advance, while other equipment is first-come first-served. Olin and Uris also have a number of peripherals and calculators available for short-term loan, including phone chargers, laptop chargers. and headphones.

How do I report a problem with a wireless connection?

Please contact CIT for assistance with Eduroam, Cornell University's wi-fi network service. Wi-fi connections throughout the Library can fluctuate momentarily for a wide variety of reasons.  If you experience a persistent inability to connect to the wireless network in a single location in Olin or Uris Library, please visit our Wi-Fi troubleshooting form to provide the details needed to diagnose potential problems.


Visitor Privileges

I live in the area, and/or I am an alumnus/alumna of Cornell. Can I check out books?

Yes, if you obtain a guest borrower library card. Any person may visit the libraries and use materials, databases and resources on-site with or without a library account. For additional information, see Visitor Privileges.

Can Ithaca College students check out books?

Students of local area colleges are not eligible to check out books as guest borrowers, but may borrow from Cornell by placing an interlibrary loan request through their college library.


Your Account

How do I change my mailing address?

Go to WhoIAm and follow the instructions under "edit information."

How do I renew my books?

Go to My Account, log in with your NetID and password, and select the items you wish to renew.  If you are unable to renew, please contact libpublicservices@cornell.edu for assistance.  If the office is closed (after 4:30pm Monday-Thursday, 3:30pm on Friday, and on weekends) please contact the Olin or Uris circulation desk and ask to speak with the supervisor.