Circulation Policy FAQ

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1. NUcat says the book I want should be here, but I can't find it on the shelf. What should I do?

2. How do I know when my books are due?

3. How many times can I renew my books? Can I renew items without bringing them in?

4. I don't have my WildCARD with me; will I still be able to check out books?

5. Can I return books from other library locations at Main?

6. I received a notice saying that my book is "lost" but I have it! Am I required to pay all of the fees if I bring it in?

7. I received a recall notice on a book that I can't bring in because I'm out of the state/country. Can I get a break on the return time or fines?

8. A book that I checked out was lost, stolen, or damaged to the point of not being usable; what should I do?


1. NUcat says the book I want should be here, but I can't find it on the shelf. What should I do?

There are a number of reasons a book might not be where you looked for it. Report the missing book to the Main Circulation Desk to receive assistance. For more information and tips on how to find books on your own, see our Book Location Assistance page.

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2. How do I know when my books are due?

The easiest way to keep track of your due dates is to log into the My Account feature on NUcat, which will show a list of all the items you have checked out and when they are due (as well as a lot of other useful information).

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3. Can I renew items without bringing them in? How many times can I renew my books?

Patrons can renew normal loan Main books online by logging into My Account on NUcat. Faculty receive two renewals on their one year loan. All other patrons are limited to three renewals. We do not renew books over the phone, nor will we renew books at the desk if you do not bring them in with you. For more detailed information, see our Renewal policy page.

NOTE: Short term loan items (such as items from the Mitchell Multimedia Center, Music Listening Center, or Main Reserve) can NOT be renewed remotely. Items from these collections must be brought in and checked out on a new loan. Contact these departments directly for more information on their policies.

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4. I don't have my WildCARD (or library borrower's card) with me; will I still be able to check out books?

A valid WildCARD is the preferred method for checking out library materials. If you don't have your WildCARD with you, please bring any materials to the Circulation Desk to receive assistance.

You must have your WildCARD with you to check out books from Interlibrary Loan, no exceptions.

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5. Can I return books from other library locations at Main?

Materials from most Northwestern Libraries, as well as the United, Law, or Health Sciences Library, may be returned to the Main Circulation Desk for check in before being routed to their home library. Materials from the Music Library returned at the Main Circulation Desk will not be checked in until they arrive at the Music Library.

See Returning Materials page for more detailed information.

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6. I received a notice saying that my book is "lost", but I have it! Am I required to pay all of the fees if I bring it in?

The system automatically assigns a "lost" status to any normal loan book from the Main Library on the 30th day after the due date. A minimum $50 replacement fee and a $10 processing fee are automatically applied to every Main item that goes to "lost" status. The replacement fees will be waived if the books are brought in within a reasonable timeframe, but the processing fees are non-refundable. For more detailed information, see our fines and fees policy page.

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7. I received a recall notice on a book that I can't bring in because I'm out of the state/country. What should I do?

We strongly discourage patrons from taking our books out of the Chicago metropolitan area, as any normal loan book can be recalled at any time. Patrons are held responsible for the timely return of recalled items during all times of the year, including holidays, vacations, and intersessions. If you are unable to return an item that has been recalled from you, please contact the Main Circulation Desk for assistance. For more information, see our Recall policy page.

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8. A book that I checked out was lost, stolen, or damaged to the point of no longer being usable; what should I do?

Contact the Main Circulation desk and ask to speak to our Fines and Fees assistant about options for replacing the book.

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