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Requirement for Checking Out Books

Your GWorld Card is your library card and is required to check out books. After you get your GWorld card, stop by the Check Out Desk to make sure your library record is active.

Types of Material That Can Be Borrowed

  • General GW circulating collection items and Course Reserves
  • Periodicals
  • Materials at the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) Off-Site Storage Facility

Book Limit

No Limit (except 25 book limit from George Mason University).

Loan Period

Faculty members may borrow regular circulating materials for up to 4 months. There are 3 fixed due dates per year: January 31, May 31, and September 30.


If a book you have checked out is needed for Reserves, it may be recalled. All books are subject to recall at any time. You will be notified by e-mail and will have a new due date assigned to the item. The book needs to be returned on or before the new due date to prevent recall fines of $5 per day from being assessed. 

Renewing Books

Faculty members may renew all GW and WRLC books 3 times, and these renewals can begin 3 weeks before the end-of-semester due dates listed above. All books may be renewed a variety of ways, including online, by email, and by phone. Review renewal policies, options, and limits for details.

If you reach the renewal limit of 3, you must bring the books in person to the Check Out Desk to return or renew. If you still need the books, we will start the process again for you, allowing up to 3 more automatic renewals.

Overdue Fines and Other Fees

We do not charge daily fines for general collection books that are overdue less 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.

NOTE: Use My Library Account to manage and review your due dates, overdue notices, and available requests. Failure to receive notices does not excuse you from paying fines.

Other Library Privileges

GW faculty are eligible for the following library services:

Proxy Borrowers

The library permits GW faculty members to authorize one individual to check out materials in the faculty member’s name. This permission is extended as a courtesy to the faculty member and should be used only when obtaining materials for the faculty member to use directly. When an individual is obtaining materials for personal use, those materials should be checked out in the individual’s own name according to their own library privileges. The faculty member is responsible for all materials checked to an authorized proxy borrower. 

To authorize a proxy borrower, please complete the Proxy Authorization Form and return it in person or by mail to the Check Out Desk, Gelman Library, 2130 H Street, NW, Washington DC, 20052 or by email to For further information, please contact any manager at the Check Out Desk at 202.994.6840.

OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program

GW Faculty are eligible for library borrowing privileges in the Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program (RFBP). This is a program of the Research Libraries Advisory Committee to OCLC that allows faculty members of participating institutions borrowing privileges and on-site access to the collections of some of the most important research libraries in North America. Prior to visiting an OCLC member institution, faculty members need to apply for an RFBP card at the Gelman Library Check Out Desk. Upon presentation of their valid GW photo ID, the faculty member will then be issued the requisite borrower's card.

Borrowing Privileges for Faculty Spouses

The library permits an active faculty member to sponsor their spouse for a library account to borrow materials. This permission is extended as a courtesy and is valid for the current semester only. Library accounts must be renewed on a semester basis. To have an account activated for borrowing, the sponsoring faculty member must complete this faculty spouse library privileges application and submit it to a staff member at the Check Out Desk in Gelman Library. The faculty member requesting privileges for their spouse assumes financial responsibility for any unpaid fines or fees incurred for loans on the spouse's library account. Please contact the Check Out Desk for more details.

Borrowing Privileges for Faculty Emeriti

Faculty emeriti are entitled to borrowing privileges at the GW Libraries. A validated GW ID issued from the Personnel Office is generally sufficient basis for borrowing items from the GW general circulating collection, though we reserve the right to verify that status through other university sources. Borrowing privileges are the same as those of current faculty members.