Please note the following policies regarding usage of Fleet Library resources.


Borrowing Privileges

Library materials circulate to members of the RISD/Providence Athenaeum community upon presentation of proper identification. Paid annual memberships are available to CE students (with proof of registration) in need of the Library’s unique collections. The standard loan period is four weeks, with exceptions for some types of materials; many items in the collections do not circulate and are designated for on-site use only.

Overdue Items and Billed Books

Borrowers are encouraged to return or renew materials promptly in order to avoid billing charges. The Library does not charge daily overdue fees, but we do bill for extremely late material and recalled items; items that have been recalled will be billed 3 days after the due date. Failure to return library materials or to pay bills in a timely fashion will result in the suspension of borrowing privileges. Courtesy notices are sent 5 days before an item is overdue. A reminder regarding unreturned items will be sent when they are one week overdue and again at three weeks. Four weeks after the due date, unreturned materials will be considered "lost" and you will be billed for replacement costs. All courtesy, overdue, and recall notices are sent via email.

Bills for unreturned materials will include the replacement cost of the item plus a processing fee of $25. Please keep in mind that the books in the Library’s collection can be expensive and difficult to replace. If a lost/billed item is found or returned within a year, a refund of the billing fee will be issued.

Visual & Material Resource Center: Unreturned picture collection clippings are billed at a rate of $2 each and mounted reproductions at $5 each. Materials are billed at $5 per item, with some exceptions for higher cost items.

Visit this page to pay library bills.


A fee equal to the replacement cost is charged for materials damaged while on loan. Disciplinary action will be taken against any student who intentionally damages library materials.


The consequence of library debts, including bills, is the suspension of borrowing privileges. At the end of each academic year, unpaid bills of graduating students will result in holds being placed on grades/transcripts. To address removal of these holds, please contact us.

Interlibrary Loan Policy

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for RISD Students, Faculty & Staff

ILL is a service which will attempt to obtain materials not held by Fleet Library for limited-time loan from partner institutions: physical books & media or PDF scans of single book chapters & periodical articles. All current RISD Faculty, Students, and Staff with Library registrations in good standing are eligible to initiate ILL requests by logging into the dedicated ILL portal

The Library will make every attempt to fulfill user requests, but we are unable to place requests for the following materials:    

  • Complete single issues or bound volumes of periodicals
  • eBooks
  • Books designated as “non-circulating” by potential lenders
  • Material from international lenders

The Library tries to fulfill requests as quickly as possible by working with frequent, fee-free lending partners, but users should note that some materials are difficult to obtain, and though the percentage of requests the Library is unable to fulfill is small, no guarantee of a successful request can be made.

While the Library prioritizes fee-free lenders, Fleet will subsidize users up to $25 per request if a fee-charging lender is the only available option; charges exceeding $25 may be passed on to the user, who will be contacted for approval and given the opportunity to cancel before the request is confirmed. 

ILL loans to our users are subject to the same policies as items in the Library’s collection. Overdue charges, replacement bills and/or fees for damaged items are the responsibility of the user and if unpaid, may result in the suspension of library privileges.    

Due dates and other conditions (Library Use Only, for example) for physical ILL loans are dictated by the lender and will vary. Renewal requests at the discretion of the lender can be made via email (interlibraryloan@risd.edu), the Questions link on the ILL portal, or in person.


Fleet Library will consider honoring OCLC lending & copy requests for items in its circulating collection, fee-free to reciprocal lenders. A $25 fee will be assessed via IFM for requests from fee-charging, out-of-network institutions (LORI, LVIS, LYRA). 

The loan period for most circulating material is 4 weeks, and non-recalled books are eligible for a 4-week renewal. Due to the shortened loan period of media items in our collections, DVDs are not renewable.

Lending requests for Masters’ theses, Special Collections/Archives items and other materials from non-circulating collections will be declined, though copy requests for this material may in some cases be possible.


Visitor Access Policy

The Library is normally open to holders of the following cards during our open hours:

  • RISD Student, Faculty, Staff IDs
  • RISD Alumni card
  • Athenaeum Membership card
  • Brown University current ID
  • CRIARL card (for CRIARL faculty & staff)
  • Current RISD Continuing Education students with proof of registration.

Please note that as we transition out of a locked down campus, access is more restricted. Call or email to confirm current policies. If you have one of the above cards and cannot enter through the outer building door, call the Public Safety booth at (401) 427-6916.

Others needing access to RISD's specialized resources must make an appointment in advance with a Research Librarian.

Visitors under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent, teacher or guardian.


In coordination with RISD Disability Support Services, Fleet Library aims to make our resources accessible by providing information and reasonable accommodations for library users. More information can be found on our Accessibility in the Library guide.

Subscription Services

Licensed Electronic Resources Policy

The Library's subscription resources are available to members of the RISD community in accordance with the respective publishers' license terms and conditions. Users have an obligation to read, be aware of, and observe the terms and conditions of use for each licensed electronic resource that they use. While the specific terms applicable to a particular resource always govern license terms, they often stipulate the following:

PERMITTED USES: Authorized users generally may display, download, print, and copy a reasonable portion of licensed electronic resources.

RESTRICTIONS: Among other things, authorized users typically are not permitted to modify or create a derivative work from licensed resources; remove, obscure, or modify any copyright or other notices; or use licensed resources for commercial purposes. Systematic downloading, distributing, or retaining substantial portions of information or using software such as scripts, agents, or robots, to retrieve information, generally is prohibited.

OFF-CAMPUS ACCESS: Off-campus access is permitted to most licensed resources but RISD users must login and authenticate to access them. Learn more about off-campus access. If you would like instruction or assistance in using electronic resources, please ask a librarian.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: The Library's electronic resources contain copyrighted material. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of reproductions and other uses of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research."


Statement on Descriptive Language

Fleet Library at RISD is dedicated to describing print and visual materials in an inclusive and respectful way that will not cause harm. Many of the records in the library catalog were created years or decades ago and might include outdated, racist, colonialist, homophobic, and otherwise offensive terms. Library staff are engaged in an ongoing effort to revise and update the descriptive language in our library records. If you encounter language in the online catalog, research guides, digitized collections, exhibitions, archival finding aids, or elsewhere that you find inappropriate or harmful, or if you have questions about the work we are doing to make the descriptive language we use more inclusive, we welcome your feedback. Please fill out this language feedback form, and a library team member will respond.

This statement relies on and borrows language from similar statements by other museums, libraries, and archives that have been actively building more equitable and inclusivecollection descriptions, including the Morgan Library & Museum, University of Maryland Libraries & Indiana University Libraries.