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


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) and outside researchers 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.
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.


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.

Subscription Services

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."

Interlibrary Loan

Who may use Interlibrary Loan?
All current RISD Faculty, Students, and Staff with Library registration in good standing are eligible to request materials via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). If you are not currently affiliated with RISD, contact your home institution or local public library's interlibrary loan services department.

What may be borrowed?
In general, most books and scanned or electronic journal articles can be obtained through interlibrary loan. The following kinds of materials are ordinarily unobtainable from other libraries:

  • Complete single issues of periodicals
  • Complete volumes of bound periodicals
  • eBooks
  • Reference books or rare books
  • Material from international lenders

How to Request Materials
Fleet Library patrons are encouraged to create an Interlibrary Loan account here, where new requests can be placed and pending transactions can be monitored. Additionally, requests can be placed directly through Fleet Search.

How long does it take?
The average time for delivery of an interlibrary loan item is about ten days. When possible, RISD requests material from up to 5 libraries, prioritizing geographical closeness, in an effort cut shipping time. If there is a deadline beyond which the material will not be useful to a patron, that date may be specified in an ILL request.

Loan Periods
Loan periods are established by the lending library. In general, loan periods range from two to four weeks. Renewals, if permitted, should be requested at least three days in advance of the due date. Renewal requests may be submitted via email at interlibraryloan@risd.edu, the Contact Us link in the Interlibrary Loan site or in person. Interlibrary loan items are also subject to recall by the lending library. Some lending libraries may stipulate ‘library use only’ or ‘no copying/scanning’ of their materials.

Though the Fleet Library will typically request material from fee-free lenders, there may be some specialized material available only from institutions that charge for their service. RISD will subsidize our patrons up to $20 per request in the event of loan charges; the balance if any, may be passed on to the requesting patron. RISD patrons will be notified of pending charges before the request is completed.

Fleet Library’s ability to borrow from the community of lending institutions relies on its patrons’ respect for the material and its prompt return. The Library staff will alert patrons of nearly due or overdue items, but reserves the right to suspend a patron’s loan privileges should failure to promptly return material become a chronic issue.

Damage to or Loss of Materials
RISD patrons are financially responsible for the loss or damage of interlibrary loan materials, from the time you pick them up until you return them to the Library staff. Should any damage occur, report it immediately to a Library staff member.

Renewing Materials
Unless otherwise specified, most ILL items can be renewed at the discretion of the lending institution. Renewal requests may be submitted via email at interlibraryloan@risd.edu, the Contact Us link in the Interlibrary Loan site or in person.