Cards and Passes
Types of Cards and Passes
Borrower's Cards entitle patrons to borrow books from the library. All books may be recalled after 10 days, although standard loan periods are longer. Borrower's Cards cannot be renewed until all fines are paid. Only the person who owns a Borrower's Card may use the card. Call the Main Library Circulation Desk to determine borrowing privileges for other NU Libraries.
Please note: Only patrons living in the Chicago Area may apply for a Borrower's Card.
Access to Online Databases
Borrower's cards do not grant patrons access to NU Library's online databases, which require the use of a NetID. NUIT assigns NetIDs only to current NU students, faculty, and staff members. Any library guest can request a free temporary NetID (or "day pass") for use on the premises (see the Guest NetIDs page for where to request one), but we are unable to provide permanent or remote access to online resources.
Obtaining a Card
Which of these are you?
- Non-Enrolled Students
- Faculty and Staff
- University Contractor Employees
- Family Affiliates
- Northwestern University Alumni
Currently enrolled students at Northwestern are granted borrowing privileges with their WildCARDs. Library Privileges does not issue borrowing cards to currently enrolled students.
NU Students who are not currently enrolled but are still working on course work as non-registered grad students, students with an incomplete, or during a leave of absence may obtain a Borrower's Card, valid for three months, if they present:
- a letter from their department stating their appropriate status as a student;
- proof of local residency; and
- a $50 fee (exceptions: There is no fee during Summer quarter for non-registered graduate students nor during the first quarter after an incomplete is issued).
Graduate Students Arriving Before Classes
Graduate students who are on campus during the quarter immediately preceding class registration may obtain a Borrower's Card, valid for three months, if they present:
- a letter of acceptance to NU Graduate School from the Dean's office;
- proof of local residency; and
- a $50 fee.
Faculty and staff members of the University are granted borrowing privileges with their WildCARDs. The Circulation Desk does not issue borrowing cards to regular faculty and staff who have current records with the Human Resources office.
However, the following groups may obtain a Borrower's Card if they present a letter from their department accepting financial responsibility for any materials checked out and stating length of employment:
- Faculty and Staff who are contracted by an individual department and thus do not receive University benefits or a WildCARD; or
- Short-Term Faculty, Lecturers, Visiting Scholars, NU Consultants or Post-Docs, or Appointees to NU who are here for too short of a time to receive a WildCARD.
Employees of University contractors on the Evanston campus are eligible to apply for free library borrowing privileges which include the ability to enter the library during all open hours, borrowing up to 100 books for 4 weeks at a time, and borrowing up to 5 DVDs for 3 days at a time. To obtain library borrowing privileges, contractor employees must:
- Present a contractor ID card issued by the NU WildCARD Office;
- Present a letter* from their NU administrator accepting financial responsibility for any materials not returned and stating length of privileges (up to one year); and
- Fill out a form at the Main Library Circulation Desk with contact information (Chicago metro area address required).
A barcode sticker is attached to the NU-issued contractor ID card, allowing it to act as a library borrowing card, as well as for scanning at the turnstile for entrance during restricted hours. Contractor employees may also enter during restricted hours even without the library barcode by showing their WildCARD to the entrance attendant.
*Employees of Sodexho and LBR on the Evanston campus do not need to present a letter.
Family Affiliates Domestic Partners / Spouses
The domestic partner/spouse of a current Northwestern Graduate Student may obtain library privileges via a "Proxy" card. The card is linked to the Graduate Student's borrowing privileges. The application form is available for download as a PDF file, by clicking here. The form is also available at the Circulation Desk in the Main Library. The completed form, signed by the Graduate Student, should be submitted to that office for same-day processing.
University employees are eligible for WildCARDs and are granted borrowing privileges through those cards. Domestic partners or spouses of university employees who do not qualify for WildCARDs may obtain a Borrower's Card, valid for up to one year, if they present:
- A letter from the sponsoring department accepting financial responsibility for any materials checked out and stating the expiration date for the card; and
- Proof of residency (exception: proof of residency is not necessary for domestic partners of short-term employees).
High school and college age children of NU faculty or staff may obtain a Borrower's Card, valid for up to one year, if they present:
- Child of Employee form completed by the sponsoring parent (available from the Main Circulation Desk);
- proof of residency; and
- personal picture ID.