Access and Borrowing

Phone: (617) 358-4902

Click to jump to a specific topic:

Departmental Overview

The Alumni Medical Library provides library and information services to faculty, staff and students of the Boston University schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Public Health. The Library is open to Boston University students, faculty, staff and alumni, employees of the Boston Medical Center with valid ID, members of the Boston Library Consortium with valid BLC ID, and members of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Click for the Library Catalog or a description of Library Collections. Use the Purchase Request form to recommend that the Library purchase a book or journal title.

  • All faculty, staff and students of Boston University can use their identification cards to check out materials from the Alumni Medical Library.
  • Journals, reference books, reserve books and audiovisual materials do not circulate outside the Library.
  • Books in the regular circulating collection are circulated for 28 days to undergraduate students and BMC affiliates, 133 days to graduate students and staff members, and 365 days to faculty members. Renew online by signing into your account on the BU Libraries Search screen (look in the upper right corner), then clicking My Account. Contact the Circulation Desk at (617) 358-4902 or if you have questions.
  • Each book may be renewed as many times as desired unless another patron has placed a “hold” on the item. Book renewals must be requested within one week of the book’s due date: Boston University’s online library catalog system does not allow for a book to be renewed prior to one week before its due date.
  • If another patron places a “hold” on an item the borrower will receive an email notification with a new due date: 7 days from the time of recall.
  • Checked out materials owned by the Medical Library can be returned to any of the other libraries in the Boston University Library system: likewise, Medical Library books can be returned to other BU libraries. Items requested from non-BU libraries using the Medical Library Interlibrary Loan Service must be returned to the Medical Library.
  • Patrons are responsible for theft, loss, or damage to items checked out to them.

Library Access Policy

The Boston University Alumni Medical Library is a private research facility that supports the educational, clinical and research needs of current Boston University students, faculty and staff.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) staff with current IDs may use library resources on site, check out books, and request Interlibrary Loan of materials not held by the BU Libraries.

For additional questions about Alumni Medical Library access, please contact the Reference Desk at (617) 358-4810, or, Monday-Friday, 9:00AM-5:00PM.

Alumni Medical Library serves the following groups:

Boston University Students/Faculty/Staff and Researchers
with a current BU ID.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) Staff
with a current BMC ID. BMC staff may use online resources in-house, check out books, schedule consultations with research and reference librarians, and request Interlibrary Loan of materials not held by BU. Please note that access to the School of Medicine Building is only by card-swipe with BU ID from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. weekdays and during weekends and holidays: BMC visitors should plan accordingly.

Boston University Alumni
with a valid BU alumni card and photo ID. A patron without a BU alumni card should obtain the card online, or contact the BU Alumni Office. These guests must register in the Circulation Desk Visitor's Logbook, and are eligible to use the Library's resources in-house and to check out books.

Library Use by BMC Hospital Faculty/Staff and Other BU Affiliates

BMC clinical employees, including residents, can use their BMC identification cards to check out materials at the Alumni Medical Library. BMC ID cards can also be used to check out items at the Charles River campus libraries, but only after an initial visit to the Medical Library. If you have already checked out a book at the Medical Library, you will not need to do anything further. If you have not checked out an item and wish to use your ID card at the Charles River campus libraries, please present your card to the staff member at the Alumni Medical Library desk and ask to be added to the library system.

BMC employees are welcome to access online books, journals and databases while onsite in the library: please ask a member of the library staff to sign you onto a computer to access these resources.

BU Affiliates at BMC (those with an appointment at BU), and BMC residents with BU appointments, may register for a BU (Kerberos) ID and password to sign in for remote access to Boston University’s online books, journals and databases. Please see BUMC IT’s Accessing Library Resources page to set up or renew an account. Our licensing contracts with the providers of our electronic resource do not allow us to provide remote access beyond these limitations.

If you have questions regarding the form or your individual account, please contact BUMC IT via the Computing Help Desk:

(617) 358-1111
E-mail BUMC IT

See the information on accessing electronic resources for more details about accessing materials once you have a BU ID and password.

Library Study Spaces

Quiet Study: L-13

Individual Study:
  • L-12: Open seating at study tables
  • L-13: Open seating at study tables and carrels, or reserve a study room
  • When exams are not scheduled: L-1101 Testing Center
  • When classes are not scheduled: L-1110 Computer Classroom
Group Study:
  • L-1309, L-1310,  L-1311, and L-1313 (reserve a room)
  • When exams are not scheduled: L-1102 Coffee/Vending Lounge and L-1109B (accessible via the L-1109 Computing Help Desk)
  • Look for available classrooms with the Medical Campus Study Space Finder.

Library Photography and Filming Policy

Prior approval by the Communications Office is required in advance of any photography or filming in the Alumni Medical Library. No unauthorized photography or filming is allowed in the Alumni Medical Library.

Please contact the Communications Office as early as possible since scheduling and coordinating appointments and locations requires advance planning. Please contact Gina DiGravio, Media Relations Manager, at (617) 638-8480, or

The Medical Campus Communications Office will evaluate all requests and determine whether or not a request is approved. The Communications Office will review with the requestor the BU Medical Campus Policies and Procedures. The Communications Office will also determine whether or not the Alumni Medical Library is the most appropriate location on campus for a photography or filming need.

If a request is approved, the Communications Office will coordinate a date, time, and location with the Alumni Medical Library.

Accessing Library Holdings

Course Materials on Reserve

The Print Reserves Collection is located on the 12th floor of the Library behind the Circulation Desk. Reserve materials are loaned for a period of two hours and are for library use only.

The purpose of the Print Reserve Collection is to make required course readings easily accessible to Boston University students. By limiting the amount of time such material may be checked out and requiring that the material remain in the library during use, the Library ensures that all students in a class have the opportunity to make use of it. Additionally, the Reserve service provides a secure location for heavily-used items.

If you are a course instructor on the Boston University Medical Campus (Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine or Public Health), please view the Course Reserves page for instructions on how to place materials on reserve for your course.

The Circulation Services staff will relocate reserve materials that are no longer being used by a course instructor to the general collection. The course instructor must fill out or update a Reserve Request Form at least 14 days before these materials are needed on Reserve to be sure they are available when assigned.

Medical Library Offsite Storage Materials Request

All historical print journals, and some older print books, are held in an offsite storage location (indicated in the catalog description as “Alumni Medical Library Off-site Storage”). Please use the form Order Articles and Books to request that print books or copies of journal articles held in off-site storage be retrieved for you. This normally takes 1-2 business days. Copies of scanned articles or book chapters will be emailed to you: print books will be brought to the library and you will be notified when you may come and check them out.

Charles River Campus Item Request

Students, faculty and staff of the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Public Health and the Boston Medical Center may use the Order Articles and Books form to request loanable materials available from other libraries within the BU Library System. Books checked out from other BU libraries may be returned at the Medical Library.

WorldCat Discovery

WorldCat Discovery allows BU students, faculty, and staff to search for books in other libraries, including libraries in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC).

Please use the Order Articles and Books form to request a book held by a BLC member library.

If you need help placing a request, please call the Circulation Desk: (617) 358-4902.

Fines and Billing Information

  • If a patron fails to return a checked-out item 7 days past its due date, they will receive a late notice requesting that the item be returned immediately.
  • If the book is not returned 14 days after the first notice is sent, a second late notice is mailed.
  • If the item is still not returned within an additional 20 days, a final late notice is sent. At this point:
    • If a patron does not return the item 10 days after the final notice has been sent, they will be billed a $70 replacement charge per item (or cost of the item — whichever is greater) along with a $30 non-refundable billing fee. (Students’ university accounts are automatically billed for unreturned items. Faculty and staff must pay replacement charges or fines directly to the Library). BUMC and BMC faculty and staff will be blocked from checking out materials from all Boston University libraries. Blocked records cannot be reinstated until the overdue item is returned or the payment is received.
    • Patrons who return items after receiving a billing notice are not required to pay the full $100 or replacement value of the item. As long as the item is returned in good condition and within a reasonable time, the patron is required to pay only a $30 non-refundable billing fee.
    • When a patron returns the item, library records are immediately unblocked (if applicable) as long as all fines have been paid in full.

    Missing Item Search

    If you are unable to locate an item on the shelves, first ask at the Circulation Desk so that staff can check to see if it is on a cart waiting to be re-shelved. If Library staff are also unable to find the item, please fill out the Missing Item form. Library staff will conduct multiple searches over a period of several weeks for each item reported missing. If an item is found, you will be contacted by email.

    Lost and Found Items, Public Safety Services

    For items lost at the Alumni Medical Library call the Circulation Desk at (617) 358-4902. Lost and found items will be placed in a box by the service desk, or (if unique/valuable) returned to the Public Safety Department on the same day that the items have been found.

    The Public Safety Department will provide vehicular or pedestrian escorts to garages, lots and surrounding medical center buildings during night and weekend hours upon request. Click BUMC Public Safety Services for more information about services provided by the BUMC Public Safety Department.