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Visitor Services

We are pleased to offer a multitude of services for all members of the greater Washington, DC area. Vaccinated visitors may use Bender Library to access to select databases and electronic resources, as well as receive professional assistance from reference librarians and subject specialists. Visitors are welcome to read or use any of the books in our collection.

Please be sure to check our hours and the library homepage for any Holiday or weather-related closures or adjustments to opening/closing times.

Visitor Vaccination Policy

The American University Library is happy to provide access to our neighbors and other community guests. In order to ensure the safety of all library users, it will be required that non-AU students, faculty and staff provide proof of vaccination before entry to the library. Guests will also be required to provide their name, email address, and phone number for the purpose of potential contact tracing. Anyone visiting the library will be required to wear a mask. We appreciate your assistance in keeping our community safe and taking these precautions to enable the library in remaining as open as possible during this time. For more information on the Library’s Health and Safety guidelines please visit our Policies page.

Please follow the steps below before your first Fall 2021 visit to the American University Library

  1. Fill out this contact form: https://american.edu/library/services/visitor-registration.cfm
  2. When you arrive at the Library, stop at the Information Desk and present your government or American University issued ID and check in. You will need to bring proof of vaccination (An original vaccination card, photo of your vaccination card, or digital passport).
  3. Once the Information Desk attendant has checked you in, you are free to access the Library!

On subsequent visits please stop at the Information Desk and present your government or American University issued ID and check in.

Internet Access

In order to access the internet and AU's electronic resources, you will need to show a valid government issued photo ID at the Information Desk for a daily use login when you check in. These logins expire at midnight of the day they are issued.

Visitor Borrowing Privileges

AU offers two different options for individuals/groups to purchase borrowing privileges from our library:

  • Friends of AU Library Borrowing Program: The Friends of American University Library Borrowing Program enables individuals not affiliated with AU to borrow from the library's general collection. Purchasing this membership (form also available at the Circulation and Course Reserves Desk) will allow you to borrow up to 25 books at one time for 4 weeks. You can renew these books 3 times via your My Library Account, over the phone, or in person. Consortium borrowing is not available; however, interlibrary loan is available for a $25.00 fee per item.
    • 1 year membership - $300
    • 3 month membership - $100
    • Payable by credit card only
  • Group Associate Borrowing Program: Commercial, nonprofit, and governmental organizations can purchase group borrowing privileges (form also available at the Circulation and Course Reserves Desk) for their members or employees. Groups may borrow books from AU for 4 weeks and may renew them 3 times. Membership includes one borrowing card, but additional cards may also be purchased. In order for the group to check out books, the borrower listed on the account must be present.
    • Commercial Organizations:
      • 1 year membership: $1000 ($200 each additional card)
      • 3 month membership: $400 ($100 each additional card)
    • Nonprofit and Governmental Organizations (must be registered with the IRS):
      • 1 year membership: $500 ($100 each additional card)
      • 3 month membership: $200 ($50 each additional card)

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at AU

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University have borrowing privileges for up to 25 books at one time from the library's general collections. The loan period for books is 4 weeks, and they can be renewed 3 times via your My Library Account, by phone, or in person.

OLLI instructors may also borrow certain DVD titles for class use. This is restricted to low use and easily replaceable titles and requires the prior approval of Media Services.

Visiting / OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program

American University Library participates in the OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program. Visiting faculty from participating research libraries are eligible to borrow from our general collection. Faculty must pre-register for an identification card at their home institution before coming to AU to set up their account.

Before you Visit

All visitors must register before their first visit to the Library after reopening.

Register