Policy on Snell Library Public Access

Policy Number: 204

Academic and Faculty Affairs

The permanent link for this policy is: https://policies.northeastern.edu/policy204/

I. Purpose and Scope


The Northeastern University Library supports the teaching, research, and administrative needs of the faculty, students, and staff of Northeastern University. Library staff are committed to maintaining a high-quality environment for study and research, and to protecting the rights of users. As such, access to Snell Library is available to members of the public who demonstrate a specific need to use its resources. This access is arranged in advance of the visit, and this Policy clarifies the requirements for use of the facility and collections by public users. 

II. Definitions


A.   Northeastern community means faculty, currently enrolled students, staff, affiliated programs, and alumni with a current valid Husky Card.

B.   Public Users refers to any person who is not a part of the Northeastern community.

C.   Valid photo ID includes a driver’s license or state ID, institutional ID, or passport.

III. Policy


All users must behave respectfully and observe all policies of Northeastern University and Snell Library, such as but not limited to the Code of Student Conduct, the Policy on Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources, and Snell Library Security and Conduct protocols. Access privileges can be revoked at any time.

Minors – Minors under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Public Users in the following categories may be granted access to Snell Library during regular service hours:

Consortial Members – Members of the public who are affiliated with any reciprocal partner of Northeastern University, such as the Boston Library Consortium, have library access. To access the library, they must present a valid ID from their home institution and register at the Library’s access point.

Researchers – If a public user is doing scholarly research, they may apply for a Researcher Pass. Researcher passes will be granted for temporary access only, and are specifically created for use of unique resources owned by Northeastern Library. Applications must be submitted a week in advance of the planned visit, and will be reviewed by the Head of Information Delivery and Access Services or appointed designee. Library staff review applications within 3 business days to determine whether the research need fits the above criteria, and will notify applicants once their applications are accepted or rejected. This notification will detail the privileges and dates covered. Researcher passes will also be granted to users with letters of introduction from their home institution or public library. These letters should indicate the research need that Northeastern University Library can fill. Researcher passes may be extended by the Head of Information Delivery and Access Services as needed. Like all library patrons, researchers must show a valid photo ID, along with the Researcher pass, to sign in and enter the library.

Archives Researchers – Researchers wishing to use the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections are welcome during the Archives’ open hours. Researchers should contact Archives in advance if possible, both to ensure materials can be made available and to provide access to the building. Like all library patrons, researchers must show a valid photo ID to sign in and enter the library. Access is granted for Archives and Special Collections only, and materials are subject to all restrictions placed by the University or the donor.

Guests of Northeastern Community Members –Members of the NU community are allowed to bring up to two guests per day. This limit will not apply to prospective students during tours and campus orientation, or to family members with a Husky Card holder. Guests are required to sign in with a valid photo ID and will be issued a guest pass valid for that day only, during library service hours.

Guest passes are also issued for library programs and events, such as the Meet the Author talks.

Students from the Community – If a teacher from a local secondary school wants to bring their class to the library for a research assignment, they must schedule it ahead of time with the Associate Dean, Experiential Learning & Academic Engagement.

Use of Public Workstations – Limited computer workstations are available to alumni, guests, and public users.

The Northeastern University Policy on Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources prohibits the use of public workstations for illegal, unethical or inappropriate means, including the viewing of pornographic or violent content. Users are responsible for making sure the viewing of Internet sites does not harm the workstations or the Northeastern network. The university reserves the right to block harmful or inappropriate sites and to monitor university computer use.

Available Library Services

• Public users in the library have access to the basic services of the Help and Information desk and the Research Help office. However, in-depth research may not be available.

• Unless stated otherwise, public users do not have borrowing privileges. If needed, users can request materials through the Interlibrary Loan department at the individual’s public library.

• Public access to licensed electronic resources is governed by licensing agreements. See terms of use information.

IV. Additional Information


Any appeals or exceptions to this policy must be referred first to the Head of Information Delivery and Access Services. If necessary, requests will be forwarded to an Associate Dean or the Dean of Libraries.

V. Contact Information


For more information, visit the Snell Library Information Delivery and Access Services Department website, or contact:

University Library Information Delivery and Access Services Department circulation@northeastern.edu;
(617) 373-8778


Responsible Office/Department(s)

University Libraries

Related Policies

Related Procedures





Libraries; Library; Library Access; Public Library Use

Version History

Last Revision Date: 2022-11-07

Issued: 2011-12-16