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About the Library: Use of Library Spaces

Building Access

Yale Community

A valid Yale University ID Card permits access to Yale University Library buildings. 

Non-Yale Users

  • Users registered for stacks access or borrowing privileges: Access to Library facilities for all open hours with valid Yale university Library card.
  • Users registered for desk passes: Access to Library facilities until 6 p.m. or closing, whichever is earlier. 

For explanations and fees of the types of access available to non-Yale users, check the Borrowing and Circulation Guide.

Please check with the specific Yale Library building for special rules and hours of operation. 

Security of Collections and Appropriate Conduct

The preservation, safeguarding, and stewardship for the collections are the responsibilities of all members of the Yale University Community and its visitors.  To achieve these goals, the Library has developed a security policy that is respectful of the individual's right to access to materials and - at the same time - protects the Library's unique and irreplaceable assets.

The following incidences are considered violations of the Library's security policy for its collections and are applicable at all of the Library's school & department libraries and special collections:

  • Intended or attempted theft of library materials, including the concealment of library materials in personal effects (e.g., briefcase, outer garments) or on one's person
  • Removal of security devices from library materials or other mutilation of materials for the purpose of avoiding detection at Security Checkpoints
  • Defacing, mutilating, or damaging library materials, equipment, or property
  • Theft and/or possession of materials stolen from the Library
  • Encouragement of another to steal, mutilate, or damage Library materials
  • Sale of stolen Library materials is an egregious act that may subject its perpetrator to actions by the Library, the University, and local law enforcement
  • Refusal to show University or other identification upon request of Library Staff, Library Security, University Police or Security, and/or local law enforcement
  • Refusal to allow a check of personal possessions and books prior to departing the Library
  • Sequestering library materials within the Library to restrict its use by others
  • Remaining in the Library after closing hours
  • Entering nonpublic or Library Staff areas without proper authorization
  • Refusal to follow the direction of Library Staff during an emergency or a similar situation involving a breach of security
  • Bringing alcoholic beverages into Library areas is not allowed; for details, see the Library's food and beverage policy.
  • Leaving bags, parcels, and packages on the premises
  • Covering or in some way disengaging security cameras and other security devices
  • Falsely reporting an emergency
  • Departing the Library using emergency exits outside of times of emergency
  • Conduct that is disturbing to other readers or detracts from the research, scholarship, and study environment of the Library

Please consult the websites of individual school and department libraries for specific security and access policies pertaining to their collections.

Disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension of Library privileges, etc., will be taken when any of the Library's security policies are violated.  The monetary value of the material taken and/or damaged is not a consideration in pursuing action by the Library, University, and/or local law enforcement.

Appropriate Use of Library Computers

Yale University Library maintains public computers in support of research and learning at Yale University. Specific implementation of this policy may vary from one library to another within the Yale University Library system.

Eligible Users

Yale University faculty, student and staff members may use any available public library computer located in areas where they have authorized access. Library staff may require individuals who are not affiliated with Yale University to substantiate an appropriate research purpose in order to use library computers.

Priority Access

Yale faculty, students, and staff can expect to have ready access to a computer, though sometimes with minimal delays at peak times. While the Library intends to provide ready access to computers, at times demand will exceed supply. When others are waiting researchers are asked to use reasonable restraint in the use of these shared resources.

Researchers with special needs. The Library will provide at least one wheelchair accessible computer in each major computer cluster within the library system. Persons requiring other assistance to access information from a Library's workstation are urged to ask for help from Library staff.

Appropriate Use

The use of Library computers is subject to the same policies governing the use of other Yale University facilities, including all applicable state and federal laws, copyright restrictions, and license agreements. See Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy.

Tampering with the hardware or software on the computers is strictly prohibited. Violations may result in university disciplinary action or referral to appropriate external authorities.

Cell Phones in the Library

Cell phones and pagers are permitted in the library. It is expected, however, that people using cell phones will be respectful of others. To provide an optimal environment for research and study and for library staff to do their work, people are asked that cell phones be turned to low, that ringers be silenced (set to vibrate) and that calls be short. Lengthy calls should be made in areas where the conversation does not disturb others. These appropriate areas differ by library because of varying architecture, locations of study spaces, service desks, and staff offices. Please honor requests for quiet and move to another location if an unintended distraction occurs. Thank you for your cooperation.

Library Managment Council approved May 12, 2004

Final wording revised May 17, 2004

Children and Young Adults in the Library

Members of the Yale University community will occasionally need to bring their children with them to the library. The library's paging and Eli Express services may serve as a convenience for parents or caregivers, particularly those with young children, as they provide for placing requests through Orbis in advance so that materials will be waiting for pickup at a selected circulation desk. Please be aware of the following when bringing young people to the library:

In areas where Yale University-issued identification is not required:

  • An adult must accompany children under the age of 14 at all times.
  • Teenagers aged 14-17 who are not Yale students may meet adult members of the Yale community for educational purposes (e.g. tutoring) unaccompanied by another adult. The teen should be prepared to show a high school ID or an explanatory letter from a sponsoring organization (e.g. Dwight Hall).

In areas where Yale University-issued identification is required for entry to public spaces (e.g. the SML stacks):

  • Children and young adults may enter when accompanying an adult with valid ID.
  • Parents and caregivers are asked to be with the young people at all times.


  • As with adults, any bags, backpacks, books, etc. carried by young people must be presented for inspection when leaving the library.
  • High school students and younger are not eligible to obtain library services unless affiliated with a program recognized by Yale University according to the Library Privileges guidelines.
  • School and Department libraries or special collections (e.g. Manuscripts and Archives) may have their own policies concerning access by young people. Please inquire at individual libraries and departments for details.

Photographing or Filming in Library Buildings

Permission to film or photograph in any Yale Library space must be approved in advance and in writing by Yale Library, with the exception of personal photography as defined at the end of this section.

For non-commercial requests such as documentary films and news media interviews, please email Library Communications with a brief explanation of your request. Include your name, company or news media affiliation, proposed date, time, and location of filming, how many people will be present onsite, names of interviewees and interview topics, and the project's connection to Yale, if any. Please place your request as far in advance as possible; same-day or last-minute requests are unlikely to be approved.

For commercial filming requests, please review all guidelines provided by the Office of Marketing and Trademark Licensing.

If your initial request seems feasible (based on library schedules, staff and space availability, impact on library users, and other factors), Library Communications staff will ask you to  fill out the online film and photography application and return it to If your request is accepted, you will be asked to provide proof of insurance with Yale named as an additional insured for the time you are on campus.   In some cases, a certificate of indemnity may be accepted as an alternative. Requested insurance and indemnity forms should be emailed  to Library Communications with a copy to Marjorie Lemmon at the Office of Risk Management.

Once your application is approvedlibrary staff will work with you to finalize time, location, and logistics, with an emphasis on avoiding disruption to the work of library users. In most cases, a member of library staff or other designated Yale representative must accompany any photographers or film crews.

Use of Electrical Power
If you need supplemental electrical power for cameras and/or floodlights, a University electrician must be in attendance to supervise the use of outlets and panel boards. For planning purposes, it takes one week to schedule the electrician.

Personal Photography
Picture-taking by sightseers using hand-held, self-contained cameras is allowed in public spaces of the library (unless otherwise posted) and as long as it does not interfere with the work of library users or staff. Photographers/filmmakers may not photograph or film library users or staff without written permission from Yale Library. Professional photographers  taking pictures in library spaces for commercial use must request and receive approval following the procedures above. 

Food and Drink

Yale University Library's Food & Drink Policy is intended to preserve our library materials, computer equipment, and furnishings, and to maintain a pleasant and comfortable environment for our readers and staff. Your help in this effort is greatly appreciated.


Unless otherwise posted, non-alcoholic beverages in approved containers may be consumed in the library.

Approved containers include:

  • Spill-proof mugs with secure lids and a drinking hole that can be closed
  • Sports bottles with a drinking spout that can be closed
  • Water in capped plastic water bottles

Containers that are not considered acceptable include:

  • Open cups or mugs
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles
  • Paper or Styrofoam cups with or without lids

Approved beverage containers must have a secure lide


  • Readers not complying with these policies will be asked to take the food or drink to a designated food area.
  • Unattended food in a "no food allowed" area will be discarded as will unattended drink in unapproved containers.

Please dispose of all trash properly.

Designated Food Areas


Library Policy Designated food area
Arts Library No food No area in building
Bass Library Food and beverages allowed All Bass Library space
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript No Food or beverages No area in building
Marx Library Food and beverages allowed All Marx Library space
Classics No food No area in building
Divinity No food Cafeteria, Common Room & Commuter Lounge
Geology No food No area in building
Law No food No area in building
Mathematics No food Lounge in Dunham Lab, 4th floor
Medical No food Beverages in any container allowed in lobby seating area only. Beverages in approved containers anywhere in library.
Sterling Memorial No food; certain collections/areas may restrict beverages also Selin Courtyard
Walpole No Food or beverages Timothy Root House, next to the Library

Get Help

Help is available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Emal Email:

Call Call: (203) 432-1775

SMS text Text: (203) 826-2053