Access and Borrowing: Who Can Borrow

Access and Use

We welcome members of the community. Rotating exhibits feature treasures from our collections. The library is a depository for U.S. government documents and U.S. patents, and we invite public use of these collections.

Many Vanderbilt University Libraries are open to the public 7 days a week during designated daytime hours.  Hours may vary during summer and academic breaks. A Vanderbilt ID card is required for entrance during the evening hours. Please see library hours for details.

Persons not affiliated with Vanderbilt may be issued a library access card under certain circumstances. If you wish to obtain a library access card, please review the list of categories below and apply as directed.

Cards for University faculty, staff, students, and alumni are issued by Vanderbilt Card Services.  

Current Vanderbilt Students, Faculty, and Staff

The Vanderbilt Libraries serve all Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff (full and part-time). A Vanderbilt ID card is presented for the purpose of borrowing materials. Employees of Vanderbilt Temporary Services do not have borrowing privileges.  An active VUNetID is used to access electronic materials from off-campus locations.   An OwenID and password is used to access Owen restricted databases.

Vanderbilt students on official University leaves of absence (as determined by the University Registrar) continue to have reading and borrowing privileges during the period of their leave.

Emeriti and Retirees

Emeritus Faculty retain full faculty borrowing and library privileges. Retirees (faculty and staff) have courtesy borrowing privileges. Retirees should contact the library administration office, 611 Central Library (615-322-3478), to arrange for library borrowing privileges. Retirees without VUnetIDs are not eligible for remote access to licensed electronic resources.

Spouses and Dependent Children

Spouses of current Vanderbilt faculty, Vanderbilt faculty emeriti, staff and students have courtesy and borrowing privileges. Dependent children of current staff and faculty are welcome to use the library on site but do not have borrowing privileges.

Children under the age of fifteen must be accompanied at all times by a parent or another adult. 


Alumni have borrowing privileges. A Vanderbilt alumni ID card is presented for the purpose of borrowing materials.  An alumni ID card is available at Vanderbilt Card Services. Alumni with VUNetIDs do not have full access to all licensed electronic resources. Some electronic resources are available to alumni, and see the list of databases for alumni for details. 

Fisk University

Students and faculty may show an active Fisk identification card at any library service desk in order to borrow materials from Vanderbilt Libraries. Fisk students and faculty should consult with their home library for details.  

Vanderbilt-Rhodes Academic Partnership

Rhodes faculty are eligible for library borrowing privileges. Faculty should contact Library Administration, 611 Central Library (615-322-7100), for details.

Sewanee: The University of the South

Students and faculty may show an active Sewanee identification card at any library circulation desk in order to borrow materials from Vanderbilt Libraries.

Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Privileges

Members of the Association of Research Libraries have established a program to extend borrowing privileges to faculty members of other research universities that are ARL members. A list of ARL members is available here. Applicants must present a Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program card, which can be obtained at your home institution library.  Contact this address for details.

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

Librarians at Hume-Fogg and Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet schools are issued access-only cards for the Heard Library system, which they can issue to students as needed. These cards permit access, not borrowing privileges, and should be checked out from the librarians at the participating schools. Access for these cards is system-wide.

Students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate programs at Hunter's Lane High School and at Franklin High School may borrow courtesy access cards for the Heard Library system from their schools' IB coordinators.

Alyne Queener Massey Law Library

The Law Library extends reading privileges to members of the legal profession and other persons as authorized by Law Library administration. For more information, please contact Susan Grider, Administrative Coordinator for the Law Library, at (615) 322-2187.

Anne Potter Wilson Music Library

Blair Precollege and Adult Students and Members of the Blair Patron Society and Blair KeyBoard are eligible to borrow Music Library materials. 

Special Collections

Special Collections, the History of Medicine collection of the Biomedical Library, and other archival or rare book collections are accessible to all qualified scholars, with the permission of the directors of those collections.

Divinity Library

The Divinity Library extends borrowing privileges to pastors who are not pursuing a degree at another institution and to employees of denominational boards and agencies. Members of the Nashville Jewish community are granted borrowing privileges to the Zimmerman Judaica Collection. Applications for these special borrowing programs are available at the Divinity Library service desk.

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