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Visitor Services

The library is an open access facility. We are pleased to offer a multitude of services for all members of the greater Washington, DC area. Visitors may use Bender Library until closing or until 11pm when the library is operating 24 hours. While on-site, you have access to select databases and electronic resources, as well as professional assistance from reference librarians and subject specialists. Visitors are welcome to read or use any of the books in our collection.

In order to access the internet and AU's electronic resources, you will need to show a valid government issued photo ID at the Circulation & Course Reserves Desk for a daily use login. These logins expire at midnight of the day they are issued. If it is your first time using the library, a guest account will be created for you at that time.

Visitor Borrowing Privileges

AU offers two different options for individuals/groups to purchase borrowing privileges from our library:

  • Friends of AU Library Borrowing Program: The Friends of American University Library Borrowing Program enables individuals not affiliated with AU to borrow from the library's general collection. Purchasing this membership (form also available at the Circulation and Course Reserves Desk) will allow you to borrow up to 25 books at one time for 4 weeks. You can renew these books 3 times via your My Library Account, over the phone, or in person. Consortium borrowing is not available; however, interlibrary loan is available for a $25.00 fee per item.
    • 1 year membership - $300
    • 3 month membership - $100
    • Payable by credit card only
  • Group Associate Borrowing Program: Commercial, nonprofit, and governmental organizations can purchase group borrowing privileges (form also available at the Circulation and Course Reserves Desk) for their members or employees. Groups may borrow books from AU for 4 weeks and may renew them 3 times. Membership includes one borrowing card, but additional cards may also be purchased. In order for the group to check out books, the borrower listed on the account must be present.
    • Commercial Organizations:
      • 1 year membership: $1000 ($200 each additional card)
      • 3 month membership: $400 ($100 each additional card)
    • Nonprofit and Governmental Organizations (must be registered with the IRS):
      • 1 year membership: $500 ($100 each additional card)
      • 3 month membership: $200 ($50 each additional card)

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at AU

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University have borrowing privileges for up to 25 books at one time from the library's general collections. The loan period for books is 4 weeks, and they can be renewed 3 times via your My Library Account, by phone, or in person.

OLLI instructors may also borrow certain DVD titles for class use. This is restricted to low use and easily replaceable titles and requires the prior approval of a Media Services supervisor.

Visiting / OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program

American University Library participates in the OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program. Visiting faculty from participating research libraries are eligible to borrow from our general collection. Faculty must pre-register for an identification card at their home institution before coming to AU to set up their account.

Visitor Accounts

Friends of the Library, OLLI members, and alumni should use this button to access your account:

Visitor Login