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Library use policy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an independent, private university. Institute facilities, including the Libraries, have the primary purpose of supporting MIT’s educational and research programs. The MIT Libraries may also serve the local community, the nation, and the world through the use of Libraries facilities, particularly when there is a compelling need or interest that can be met without detriment to the Institute’s primary purpose.

Access to and use of the MIT Libraries is a privilege extended to the members of the MIT community of faculty, students, and staff; including members of their immediate families and sponsored affiliates. Access to MIT Libraries’ facilities, services, and resources by visitors is limited to meeting a specific need for the scholarly, research, or educational materials and services available in the MIT Libraries.

The MIT Libraries use policies are consistent with current MIT campus policies.

Principles guiding service provision to all users of the MIT Libraries


Library users and staff will interact with mutual respect and consideration. Library users will:

  • Respect private and Institute property
  • Abide by all Institute and Libraries’ policies, licensing and contractual agreements
  • Comply with all requests made by library staff
  • Show valid identification upon request
  • Use MIT Libraries resources (content, equipment, or facilities) safely and appropriately

Limits of use

The following are prohibited:

  • Behaviors that threaten personal safety or the security of personal or Institute property.
  • Behaviors that violate MIT’s Policy on Harassment, 9.4: “Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a work or academic environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive and that adversely affects an individual’s educational, work, or living environment.” Viewing inappropriate images or content is not tolerated within library facilities.
  • Behaviors that interfere with the activities of other library users or staff, including but not limited to excessive noise, cell phones, music, hostility, rudeness, and consumption of food and drink that does not comply with the Libraries’ food and beverage guidelines.
  • Excessive or inappropriate use of library resources; including computers, books, journals, databases, seating space, study rooms, networks, etc. Use of visitor computers for more than two hours per day across the Libraries’ locations for two or more consecutive days, or in a clear recurrent pattern of multi-day use, is generally considered excessive use.
  • Alcohol, drug use, smoking, and vaping – as detailed in MIT’s Policy on Substance Use, 9.11.
  • Behaviors that violate MIT Policies and Procedures or MITnet Rules of Use
  • Tampering with computers, equipment, facilities, or any other Library resources.

The MIT Libraries may limit or refuse access to individuals or groups who fail to comply with these guidelines. Interpretation of policies or guidelines is at the discretion of the MIT Libraries’ staff.

Federal document access: As a selective US Federal Depository Library, the MIT Libraries will provide access to government information in accordance with the requirements of the Depository Program. Depository users must adhere to the same standards of behavior expected of other library users.

June 2018