For Library account information, renewal, & other circulation questions or for questions regarding the policies on this page, please contact the Circulation Desk at 651-631-5241 or

Basic Loan Privileges

  Students Faculty and Staff Alumni and Visitors
Regularly Circulating Items 2 Months
Renewal: Up to 2 more months
4 Months
Renewal: Up to 2 more months
1 Month
Renewal: Up to 1 more month
Media Items (CD/DVD/VHS) 1 week
Renewal: 1 week
1 week
Renewal: 1 week
In house use only

Regularly circulating items include most of the main collections from partner libraries.

  • Renewals are based on the type of materials and granted at the discretion of the lending library.
  • Renewals are not allowed on items that have a "LOST" status.
  • Periodicals and Reference books cannot leave the building

Returning Items

We have two book drops

  • Inside at the end of the Circulation Desk
  • In the library entryway to the right of the doors

You may return any materials (including items borrowed from partner libraries or Interlibrary Loan) to either bookdrop.

If you have fragile items (some small/thin books or audiovisual materials in jewel cases), if possible, please bring them directly to a staff person at the Circulation Desk so nothing gets damaged or lost

Note: During holiday breaks when the library is closed, we will place an outdoor bookdrop just outside the front doors

Off Campus Students

Off campus students have full access to all of Berntsen Library's materials.

  • If you need help requesting materials using Library Search - contact the library

If you live within 20 miles of campus,  we do ask that you come and pick up materials.    Pick Up Required - Radius Map


Students living outside of that range can have materials shipped to their home. All circulating materials are available for shipping.  Return shipping is at the expense of the student. 


*Shipping takes 4+ business days.

  • If you have questions regarding shipping - contact the Circulation Desk

If you need an item shipped, please choose "Personal Delivery" when requesting items. They will be shipped automatically. Please note that regular circulation loan periods still apply.

Fines and Late, Lost, or Damaged Items

  • Daily fines are not charged.
  • All charges will be submitted to the Student Accounts office and they will apply the library charges to the student's account.
  • Charges on alumni or visitor accounts will be handled in the library
Billed Items
  • Books will be marked as "LOST" when they are more than 4 weeks overdue.
    • For each book, your library record will be charged a minimum replacement cost of $65.
  • DVDs, CDs, and videos will be marked as "LOST" when they are more than 2 weeks overdue.
    • For each item, your library record will be charged a minimum replacement cost of $115.
  • Charges for "LOST" items are sent to Student Accounts office several times per month. Students do not pay library charges at the library. Our billing through the Student Accounts office streamlines the payment process for students.
Lost or Damaged Items

If you have an item that is truly lost (not just late) or damaged (ie. the dog ate it) please notify us so that we can work with you to either buy a replacement or get it properly cleared from your library account. We would prefer to know that an item is never coming back so that we can work on cleaning up our inventory and your account. This also helps us maintain good working relationships with the libraries that share with us.

Having items out on your account that are long gone hinders your access and keeps us wondering. Let us know right away so we can make arrangements with you

Food, Drink, and Cell Phone Use

The library seeks to balance the preservation of the collections and equipment with the comfort of our patrons. In accordance with this goal, we ask the following:

  • Use only covered beverage containers
  • Computers or other electronic equipment is easily damaged by food and drink. Please do not consume food or beverages at any table or carrel that has a computer or other electronic equipment on it - including those in the Listening and Viewing Center.
  • Food consumption in the classrooms is defined by the instructor.


To help maintain an environment that is conducive to quite study and research, cell phones should be used only in areas where conversations do not disturb others (lobby, enclosed stairwells). Please silence cell phone ringers in all study areas.

Patron Privacy

In accordance with Minnesota Statutes 13.02 and 13.40 and federal privacy laws, library patrons' records are private, and information contained in the record cannot be given to anyone other than the library card holder. When library materials are returned, all traces of the transaction are deleted.

Test Proctoring -- COVID Update: Proctoring services have been suspended until further notice.

The Berntsen Library offers test proctoring services on a space-available basis to:

  1. current Northwestern students, for enrolled coursework at other institutions (no fee)
  2. Northwestern alumni, for courses taught at academic college or university level (no fee)
  3. the general public, for courses taught at academic college or university level ($25 per exam. Payment made in cash or check.)


Policies (June 2011; Updated August 2013):

  • Students must make an appointment at least one week prior to testing.
  • The student is responsible for verifying that library facilities meet their institution’s requirements before having the test sent.
  • Students should call prior to the testing date to ensure the library has received the exam.
  • A valid picture I.D. is required at the time of the test, and the student must provide all needed supplies.
  • Postage, photocopy, and any other costs associated with the test are the responsibility of the student.
  • The library will not retain a copy of the test.
  • Library staff proctors cannot monitor a student continuously during the exam but will check on the student periodically.
  • The library cannot guarantee a completely quiet and/or private environment.
  • The library cannot accommodate tests that require special equipment or software and reserves the right to refuse proctoring service if testing requirements exceed staff or facility capabilities.