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 in person. 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, and alumni with a current Northeastern University identification. 

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

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

III. Policy


A.  Expectations While Frequenting Snell Library


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 Code of Conduct. Access privileges can be revoked at any time.

B.  Access Restrictions and Requirements

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

 2.  Public Users in the following categories may be granted access to Snell Library during Library Service Hours.

3.  Consortia Members–Members of the public who are affiliated with any reciprocal partner of Northeastern University, such as the Boston Library Consortium, have library access. Members affiliated with a partner of Northeastern, must register in advance using the library privileges form and check in at the Access Point with a valid photo ID.

4.  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 University 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 an 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 reviewed. 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 needs 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.

5. Archives Researchers and visitors–Researchers and community members 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.

6.  Guests of Northeastern University Employees–Employees of Northeastern University are allowed to register guests for access to Snell Library. Northeastern employees can use this form https://northeastern.libwizard.com/f/Snell_Guests to register the names of their guests to facilitate access to Snell Library. Guests are required to sign in at the Access Point. Employees who register guests are responsible for the guest(s)’s adherence to University and Library policies.

Guest passes are also issued for library programs and events.

7. 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.

C.     Library Services Available to Public Users


1.  Public users in the library have access to the basic services of the Help and Information desk and on-site Research Help

2.  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.

3.  Public access to licensed electronic resources is governed by licensing agreements.

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 the Library.

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 Library

Related Policies


Related Procedures





Libraries; Library; Library Access; Public Library Use

Version History

Last Revision Date: September 7, 2023

Issued: December 16, 2011