Today’s Hours

Gelman Library:

Ask Us

Lost Books

What if I lose a book?

Please report it to the Check Out Desk immediately so that no further overdue fines are assessed.

What is a "lost" book?

  • A book that is reported lost by the borrower.
  • A GW or consortium book that is more than 40 days overdue (exception: items on course reserve at GW).
  • An Interlibrary Loan that is more than fourteen days overdue.

What charges do I incur?

  • Overdue fines: $10 fee for each book that is more than 40 days overdue
  • Processing fee: $30 per book
  • Replacement fee: $80 per book

TOTAL:  $120 maximum per book

Will I be billed so I can pay later?

Yes, the Library will email you a bill. These charges will be posted on your record as well and you will be informed by the Check Out Desk staff when you renew or charge out materials.

What do I do if I find the book later?

If you find the book before paying the lost book charges or replacing the item, bring the item to the Check Out Desk. You will be charged only the $10 overdue fine. The library will automatically waive the $80 lost replacement fee and the $30 processing fee.

How does a lost book affect my borrowing privileges?

Once a book has been declared "lost," you become ineligible to borrow or renew materials at the Check Out Desk. To reinstate your privileges, you must pay all fees associated with replacement of the lost book or return the "lost" book and pay the $10 overdue charge.

Lost Book Replacement Policy

Forty days after the due date, any item not returned is declared lost. A hold is then placed on your library and university accounts. For your convenience, the Library offers two possible ways to reinstate your privileges:

  • You may pay the standard replacement cost of the book ($80), the processing fee ($30.00) and overdue fine ($10). The amount of the overdue fine is determined at the time the book is reported lost and will not exceed $10.00.
  • For GW books only: Purchase an exact replacement book and bring it to the Check Out Desk. You will still be responsible for the $30.00 processing fee and the overdue fine, which will be determined at the time the book is reported lost and will not exceed $10. Please contact a manager or coordinator at the Check Out Desk (202-994-6840) for more information about this replacement option.
  • Direct replacement options for items belonging to other consortium partners: Please contact the lending library.

If you find the book within 30 days after having paid the lost charges, bring the book and payment receipt to the Check Out Desk. If the Library has not yet replaced the book, you will receive a refund for the book replacement and processing fees (GW items only).

Contact the Check Out Desk

in-person: Entrance floor of Gelman Library


phone: 202-994-6840

Today’s Hours

Check Out Desk: