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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fine structure for the GW Libraries?

  • We do not charge daily fines for general collection books that are overdue fewer than 40 days. After 40 days, overdue items are considered lost and you will be charged $120 for each book. See details about lost books.
  • Recalled items: $5.00 per day, maximum fine $25.00
  • Reserve and Incidental items (2 hour/2 hour overnight/3 hour): $1.20 per hour, maximum fine $30.00
  • Reserve items (3 day): $2.00 per day, maximum fine $30.00

What if I disagree with the library's records?

A fine inquiry may be placed when items you believe you have returned still appear on your library record. A fine inquiry may be made in person at the Check Out Desk by asking to speak with a manager or coordinator on duty.

When is a book overdue?

A book is overdue if you do not return or renew it on or before the due date.

Is there a grace period?

Our eligible borrowers receive a 39 day grace period for any book that has not been recalled. The library will waive the fine if the book is returned within the grace period. If the item is returned after the grace period, fines will be assessed from the original due date.

If your book becomes long overdue (over 39 days) and is declared lost you will be charged $120, which includes the maximum overdue fine of $10, in addition to fees and a replacement cost totaling $110.

Note: This information is the same for all libraries in the Washington Research Libraries Consortium (WRLC).

Will the Library remind me that I have overdue books?

Please keep in mind that you are solely responsible for keeping track of library due dates. As a courtesy, the Library will email you a reminder notice 4 days before the due date and an overdue notice the 1st day after the due date. Please remember these messages are courtesy reminders. Our users are responsible for paying library fines whether or not they receive a notice.

Other sources for due dates:

What charges do I incur?

As of April 15, 2019, books that have been checked out from the circulating general collection will not accrue daily fines. If the book is long overdue and declared lost a $10 overdue fine will be assessed for each item in lost status.

What happens if I don't pay my fine right away?

If you owe $25 or more to the GW Libraries and/or a Consortium partner library (within WRLC), you will be blocked from borrowing or renewing materials, including incidentals, journals, and media items. Outstanding fines and fees of $50 or more will block you from obtaining university transcripts.

What happens if I don't return a book?

Forty (40) days after the due date, the book is declared "lost" and you will be blocked from borrowing or renewing materials at the Check Out Desk, including all books, media items and course reserves. In addition, your account will be assessed the standard lost item replacement fee ($80) and lost processing fee ($30) in addition to the $10 maximum overdue charge. To reinstate your privileges, you must bring the "lost" book in person to the Check Out Desk. You will be responsible for the $10 overdue charge when you return the book. If you do not have the book, you will be accountable for the full $120 in lost book charges. Visit our Lost Books webpage for further details.

Where and how do I pay library fines?

Fines for overdue or lost items that GW owns may be paid by GWorld card payments, credit cards*, checks, or money orders at Gelman or Eckles Libraries. You may also make payment by phone by calling the payment line of the Check Out Desk at 202-530-3947.

Please note: as of January 1, 2023, we no longer accept cash at Gelman, Eckles, or VSTC libraries.

*We accept all major credit cards, except American Express.

Checks and money orders are accepted by mail and should be made payable to the George Washington University. Please include your GWID number on the check or money order. 

Fines owed to any WRLC consortium school may be paid at your home institution library or directly to that school. The grid below provides detailed contact and payment information for our consortium partners.

Institution Payment Method Accepted Pay by phone Pay in person Questions?
American University Credit card 202-885-3221 American University Library Circulation Desk
Catholic University of America Cash (exact change only), credit card, check 202-319-5060 Mullen Library
620 Michigan Ave, NE
University of the District of Columbia

Gallaudet University Cash or personal check Unavailable

Gallaudet University Library, Front Desk Service
George Mason University Mason Money/ID card Unavailable Any George Mason library location, 703-993-2240
Law:, 703-993-8120

Georgetown University Credit card ($5 min.) 202-687-7607 Lauinger Library
Howard University Cash, credit card, or check Unavailable

Founders Library
500 Howard Pl, NW

Marymount University Cash, credit card, or check 703-284-1533

Reinsch Library 2807 N Glebe Rd

Ballston Coakely Family Library 1000 North Glebe Rd 703-284-1533


Contact the Check Out Desk

in-person: Entrance floor of Gelman Library


phone: 202-994-6840

Today’s Hours

Check Out Desk: