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General FAQ



What hours are the Libraries open?

24 hours a day, 7 days a week for PSFC students, staff, researchers and affiliates. A staff Librarian is available Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Do you have study space?
Yes. In our Main Reading Room there are several tables with chairs and lounge chairs. Within our suite of rooms, NW16-155 has tables, chairs, large wall-mounted white board, and wing-back cozy chair.



Where are photocopiers, how much do they cost?
There is a small photocopier inside the Library Reading Room (NW16-153) to make photocopies of journal articles at no cost. For larger and more complex jobs, use the photocopier located down the hall in room NW16-179. You must have an account number to access this machine.



Do you have Internet Access in the Library?

Yes. There are two computers for Internet use, to surf the web, check email, access online databases and electronic journals.



I want to bring my lap top to the Library to do some writing and research: Do you have Wireless Computer Access?

Yes. Please read the instructions provided by the PSFC Office of Computer Resources. (Note: this information is restricted to the PSFC Community).



Can I eat or drink in the Library?

No. Bugs and moisture are enemies of books. Library materials are costly, and we'd like to keep them in top condition. Please refrain from snacking, eating meals, or drinking beverages in the Library.



Circulation & Ordering Books


Do I need a library card to check out materials?

No. If you are a new student or new-hire, you may be asked your name for verification with our Personnel Adminstrator.



Where can I return a book?
Because the PSFC Library is not part of the MIT Main Library System, books must be returned to our Reading Room, NW16-153.



How can I renew a book?
Visit or call or email the library.



How can I get a book that someone else has checked out (request a hold)?
Visit or call or email the library. We’ll contact the current Library patron and request that it be returned.



Borrowing Books


How do I borrow books?

Once your affiliation with the PSFC has been verified, you may check out books and technical reports from our collection. We use the “old-fashioned” self-check-out method. Indicate your name, and either your email or phone number on the circulation card.


For how long may I keep a book?

Typically, you may borrow most books for 4 weeks and renew them 3 times. However, we do allow flexibility for these terms. All books are subject to recall which may shorten loan periods.



How do I renew my books?

To keep a book for another borrowing period, visit, call or email the Library.



Will I get a reminder by email when my books are due?




How can I get a book that someone else has checked out?

If you need a book immediately, it may be recalled. All four-week loan books are subject to recall after two weeks if requested by another user, or immediately if needed for course reserve.



Can a book I want be delivered from one MIT library to the PSFC Library?

No. We do not provide this service.



Can you return books for me that I checked out from the MIT main Libraries?

No. We are not part of the MIT Main Library system.



Can you cancel fines for me incurred for books checked out from the MIT Main Libraries?

No. The PSFC Library is not part of the MIT Main Library system. You are responsible for adhering to their circulation policies.



Where do I return books?
Just inside the door of the Library (NW16-153), there is a cart with a sign indicating “return books here”.



What happens if I lose a book?
Please to the Librarian if you lose a library book. The staff member will explain about options for replacing the material.



What happens if I damage library materials?
Please report it to the Library. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be responsible for the cost of replacing the book.



I like to use highlighters and pencils for notation. Is this "damage"?
Yes, it is. We understand the temptation to mark books in order to aid your studying or research, but keep in mind what might help you will most certainly make it more difficult for someone else to use the book. Besides, it's simply bad for the books. You will most definitely be fined a replacement charge for any books which have been damaged by underlining or highlighting.



How do I recommend materials for purchase by the Library?
Send us an email: or call and leave a message: 3-8462.



How do obtain a report that is listed as in “storage”?

We store our older technical reports in a locked area of the basement of NW16. Visit, call or email the library with your request and we’ll retrieve the documents you request.



Can I access my account online?

Sorry. Not at this time.



How can I find out if I have any fines?

The PSFC Library does not charge fines, since we are a closed research community. There is a charge incurred, however, for lost books.



Course Reserves (class material)



What are reserves?

Generally, reserves are materials which have been set aside by a professor to be used specifically for a class. However, an item may be listed as "on reserve" in our online catalog, when in fact it is not currently being used for a class. Check with the Librarian to determine whether or not an item listed as "on reserve" is indeed a current reserve item.



Were are they located?

Reserve books are located in with the circulating books. They have bright pink “Reserve” stickers placed their spine. Also, the circulation card is tall and blue (rather than smaller and white).



How do I check them out?
Simply fill out the circulation card: write in your name and email or phone number.


For how long can they be checked out?
Reserve books can go out overnight. Some materials may circulate for longer periods; check with reserve desk for details.


Are fines for reserves different from fines for other book?

We do not impose fines, however, out of courtesy for other students we request that you adhere to the check out time limitations.


CanI renew reserve books?
Yes, you may renew most reserve books up to three times by contacting the library staff.



 Obtaining Books & Articles not at the PSFC Library



How can I obtain material not available at the PSFC Library?

The PSFC Library is not part of the M.I.T. main library system. First check their catalog, Barton. Then use the Interlibrary Borrowing Service.


I need a copy of a journal article from your collection, but I don't have time to come to the library. Can someone make a copy and send it to me?

The PSFC Library does not provide document delivery or book page service. Your journal article may be available online (accessible from your desktop.) Try searching our Electronic Journals. Any journals that we don’t have may be available through the main libraries’ site license via their Virtual Electronic Resource Access (VERA).



Do I have access to other libraries in this area?


• MIT faculty have access and borrowing privileges for some Harvard University libraries. Obtain an application form at any MIT Libraries reference desk.


• Many area libraries are members of the Boston Library Consortium. MIT faculty can obtain borrowing privileges by asking for a Consortium Card at any MIT Libraries reference desk.


• The Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program provides faculty with access and/or borrowing privileges at over 160 research libraries.


Online Databases & Electronic Journals


How do I access electronic journals from on-campus?
Electronic journals and databases can be accessed from any computer within the MIT internet domain. If you are having problems connecting, see here.



Can I use the Libraries' electronic resources from off campus?

The PSFC Library uses the site license of the MIT Main Libraries for electronic databases and journals. Follow the instructions below:

What online databases are available?
You may search Vera for a specific database or browse for one alphabetically or by subject.



Which databases should I use?

The type of information for which you are searching and the subject area of interest determine the database(s) to use.  Databases of particular interest to the PSFC community can be found by clicking here. 


How do I find…?