Archives and Rare Book Room Access


Access to the materials in the Archives and the Rare Book Room is limited to normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm) and reduced hours during the summer. The Archives and the Rare Book Room are closed stacks. Browsing is not permitted. A prior appointment is required. Access is channeled through the office of the Director of Libraries, David Schoen, at 716-286-8002 or schoen@niagara.edu.

The Rare Book room is also available to use as a study room / meeting room during our regular staffed hours, without access to the materials, which are kept locked. See our Calendar for our staffed hours, and see our Study Room Reservation page to reserve it as a study room, or any other available room.

Borrowing Rules


Borrower Identification

If you are a student or employee of Niagara University, your student or University ID card serves as your Library card. If you lose your ID card or change your address, please inform the Library right away. The telephone number of the Circulation Desk is 716-286-8020.

Loan Periods for General Collection Books (Basement Level & 2nd Floor)

Patron CategoryLoan Period for BooksTotal # of Items Allowed Out
Student 56 days 25 Books, 10 DVDs, 3 Reserve Items
Faculty 180 days 50 Books, 10 DVDs, 3 Reserve Items
Staff 56 days 25 Books, 10 DVDs, 3 Reserve Items

Courtesy Card

30 days 10 Books, 5 DVDs, 3 Reserve Items

Other Loan Periods

ItemLoan Period
Reserve Items 2 hours (must remain in the library)
Movie DVDs (Recreational Collection, 2nd floor) 7 days
TV Show DVDs (Recreational Collection, 2nd floor) 30 days
Educational DVDs (General Collection, 2nd floor) 30 days
Recreational Reading Books (main floor) 30 days
Library of Things 7 days


The return of materials borrowed from the Library is the responsibility of the borrower.

The Library mails overdue notices to the address you supplied us with when you first registered. Please let us know if you change your address. The non-receipt of notices is not an excuse for not returning books or returning them late.


  • $1.00 per day per overdue DVD (weekends and holidays included).

Lost or Damaged Books

A minimum $50.00 fee is charged for any lost or damaged book (expensive books may have higher fees). A book is considered lost if it has not been returned 30 days after the due date. If you find a book that you paid for, you can return it to the Library, and your lost book fee will be refunded.

Overdue Notices

  • 1st Notice issued 7 days after due date.
  • 2nd Notice issued 15 days after due date.
  • Billing Notice issued 30 days after due date.

Unpaid fines for overdue, damaged, or lost materials are forwarded to the Students Accounts Office at the middle of each month.

Borrowing Privileges Blocked

If you have more than 10 overdue books or owe more than $15 in fines, you will not be allowed to check out books until you clear your account.

Placing Requests on Books

  • If a book you need is checked out or on the shelf, you can place a request for it. When the book is returned, you will be notified by mail or email to come to the Library and pick it up.
  • Books will be held at the Circulation Desk for 10 days.

Reviewing Your Library Account

You can review your Library account by logging into "My Library" in the Library Catalog. You will need to enter the barcode from your NU Library ID card and a pin number (to request a pin number, please call the Circulation Desk at 716-286-8020). You can see:

  • What books you checked out
  • What fines you owe
  • What items you placed on hold
  • If the Library has your correct address on file

Cell Phone Policy


• Please set cell phones to silent or vibrate.
• Please limit cell phone conversations to study rooms or the front entrance area.

Collection Development Policies


Niagara University Library's primary role is to collect and provide access to materials that support educational programs. An attempt is also made to support the research needs of faculty and administrators and to provide materials that support the personal and intellectual enrichment of the University Community.

Intellectual Freedom

In supporting educational programs, the Library attempts to purchase materials representing a wide variety of viewpoints. No censorship is exercised on materials of a controversial nature or because of the unpopularity of an author's point of view or mode of expression.

Selection Guidelines

The primary goal is to acquire materials that support the curriculum.

 The Library purchases books based upon the following considerations: 

  • Existing strength of subject
  • Likelihood that the item will circulate
  • Lasting value of content
  • Suitability of the subject
  • Authoritativeness of author
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Cost

The most important factor in a purchase decisions is circulation. Will the book be used? But an attempt is also made to maintain a core collection that represents the current scholarship of the disciplines being taught at NU.

The Library normally purchases current materials and does not attempt to build or maintain extensive discipline-specific historical collections (that is, we don’t attempt to maintain materials that document the history of a discipline).

For most disciplines we don't acquire the most specialized materials until our users request them, and then we buy those materials (books, DVDs, or individual articles).

In pre-selecting books and media, we focus on developing high circulation areas, which tends to cluster in General Education disciplines.

The Library does not usually purchase textbooks, except in disciplines that are textbook oriented. Duplicates are only purchased in subject areas of high circulation.

The Library acquires primarily English language materials. Exceptions to this are foreign language dictionaries and materials that are used in the teaching of foreign languages.

Journals and Databases

The following guidelines are followed:

  • Journal and database subscriptions should directly support the curriculum or be necessary for accreditation. 
  • Journal prices have risen dramatically through the years, so cost and usage considerations are an important aspect of collection development.


We usually withdraw books from the collection that have not circulated in 10 years provided that they are not core to the discipline or classics. We are careful not to employ this guideline when evaluating oversize and other books likely to be used in-house rather than checked out.

Collection Development Policies for Individual Collections


The Library encourages its users to suggest books and audiovisuals for the collection and will consider acquiring them on a case by case basis. In general, these are the collection development policies for the individual collections:

Educational Video Collection

The Library attempts to maintain a balanced collection of documentary and educational films on DVD, with an emphasis on inexpensive DVDs costing less than $50 each. 

The Library provides access to streaming educational media as well.

Graphic Novel Collection

This collection consists of a selection of bestselling and award winning graphic novels. Typically, the Library will acquire the first volume in a series to get readers started but not acquire entire runs.

Recreational DVD Collection

The Library maintains a selective DVD collection of past and present popular films. The Library will occasionally purchase multiple copies of heavily requested films. Emphasis is placed on English language films, but award winning international films in a variety of languages are also acquired. The Library does acquire TV shows on DVD but typically only series that originally aired on premium cable channels. Exceptions have been and will be made on a case by case basis.   

Recreational Reading Collection

The purpose of the Recreational Reading Collection is to provide access to newly published books that enlighten, entertain, or amuse.

The Recreational Reading Collection consists of a selection of current and recent bestsellers (mostly fiction but some nonfiction as well) and some recent book award winners. The Library tends to acquire standalone fiction rather than series fiction. 

Copyright Guidelines


Films and Videos

You may view films and videos in your home or dorm room for personal recreation or research. Possession of a film or video does not confer the right to show the work in public. Educational use is permitted, however. The Copyright Act of 1976 and portions of the House of Representatives Report (94-1476) provide some conditions under which films or videos can be shown:

  • They must be shown only to students and educators as part of an instructional program.
  • They must be shown either in a classroom or other school location devoted to instruction.
  • They must be shown either in a face-to-face setting or where students and instructors are in the same building or general area.
  • They must be shown using a legitimate (that is, not illegally reproduced) copy, with the copyright notice included.

The relationship between the film or video and the course must be explicit. Films or videos, even in a "face-to-face" classroom setting, may not be used for entertainment or recreation.

This text is derived from a previous version of the Wellesley College Library website.

Interlibrary Loan

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that a photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept an interlibrary loan request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Reserve Materials

The concept of "fair use" governs whether the Library can accept photocopied items for reserve. In particular the Library considers the following two factors as described in the U.S. Copyright Law:

  • "The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole."
  • "The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

(17 U.S.C. Section 107)

A great deal of debate has occurred as to the practical implications of this wording but a number of guidelines have become commonly accepted by libraries:

  • No more than 10% of the content of a single journal issue or book may be copied for reserve.
  • Reserve readings should meet standards of "brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect" and should function as "supplemental readings."
  • Articles placed on reserve cannot serve as de facto anthologies or course packs. Nor can reserve be used to substitute for the purchase of article reprints.
  • Consumable works such as workbooks or test booklets cannot be placed on reserve.

Extended Hours Policy


Parts of the Library are open 24 hours to NU students and employees. NU affiliated patrons must present ID cards at closing to remain in the building. In exceptional circumstances, a student or employee may show a Library staff member their myNU Page or Canvas dashboard. While conducting checks of the Library, Campus Safety may verify student status via department records to allow/disallow access to the Library. Absent a safety or security concern, Library staff make the determination regarding permissible use of the Library.

Food and Drink


You may eat and drink in the Library.

There are vending machines located on the main and second floors.


Gift Policy


Thank you for your interest in donating books to Niagara University Library!

Niagara University Library accepts unrestricted donations of Library materials for review. Decisions to add gift materials to the collection or to discard them are made at the discretion of Library staff. Donors will be provided a receipt.

The Library is most interested in the following types of books:

  • Nonfiction published in the last ten years.
  • Fiction published in the last ten years that appeared on bestseller lists or received literary awards.
  • Scholarly books that would be useful in writing term papers.
  • Textbooks published in the last five years.
  • Award winning children's books.
  • Other books that might not be suitable for the collection but are in good shape and would likely be sellable in our ongoing used book sale.

There are, however, some books that we can't use or even sell:

  • Old medical books.
  • Long runs of law books
  • Books that are damaged.
  • Books that have been stored in basements, have a musty smell, or show signs of mold.
  • Science and technology books published more than five years ago.
  • Reader's Digest Condensed books.
  • Textbooks published more than five years ago.

For more information, please contact David Schoen, Director of Libraries, by email or call 716-286-8002.

Grievance Policy


If you feel you have been treated unfairly in the Library, your first step is to talk to the staff member in charge of the function at issue.

  • If you have an issue with Circulation, typically fines and overdues, contact the library service desk either by visiting in person (on the main floor), calling 716-286-2020 or sending an email.
  • If you have an issue with Interlibrary Loan, again typically fines and overdues, please contact Samantha Gust, the Interlibrary Loan Librarian, at 716-286-8031 or gust@niagara.edu.
  • If you have an issue with noise, temperature, cleanliness, lights, noise or something else regarding the building, please talk to the reference librarian on duty.
  • If you have an issue with reference service you have been provided, please contact Melissa Langridge, Coordinator of Public Services, at mlangridge@niagara.edu or 716-286-8025.

If your grievance can not be addressed by the front line supervisor, it will be referred by the supervisor to David Schoen, the Library Director, who will contact you within 24 hours of receiving word of your grievance. Please also feel free to contact the Library Director yourself directly if you wish at schoen@niagara.edu or 716-286-8002.

Guest Users


The primary function of Niagara University Library is to provide materials, access to computers, and study space to students, faculty, and staff of Niagara University. As a private institution, Niagara University Library reserves the right to restrict any and all services to currently enrolled students and employees.

If you are not a currently enrolled student or employee of Niagara University, then you are a guest user. See the categories below for information on each category. Scroll down to the table to see all services available to you.

You are an alumnus if you actually graduated from Niagara University. To borrow books, you can obtain a Courtesy Card at our Service Desk during staffed hours. (If you would like to save a little time, you can print and fill out the Courtesy Card Application before coming in.)

If you took courses at Niagara University, but did not actually graduate, then see the Local Residents category.

High School Students - NUSTEP
If you are a high school student participating in Niagara University's NUSTEP program, you can obtain a Library Card for borrowing books. Just come to the Library Service Desk during staffed hours and present your NUSTEP card for verification.

High School Students - Non-NUSTEP
High School students not participating in the NUSTEP program can still use the Library but can not check out books. 

Local Residents
If you live nearby, you can obtain a Courtesy Card to borrow books. To request a card, just visit the Library Service Desk during staffed hours. (If you would like to save a little time, you can print and fill out the Courtesy Card Application before coming in.)

Students From Other Colleges and Universities
We are a WNYLRC AcademicShare library. Therefore, AcademicSHARE Member libraries agree to allow on-site access and lend materials to any current college student, staff, and/or faculty member from another WNYLRC member academic library. However, at minimum, a verifiable valid college I.D. is required. The library may choose to treat the college I.D. as confirmation the student/faculty member is in good standing. Other proof of identification or status may be required.

Services Available by User Type

Currently Enrolled Student of NU or Employee of NU Alumni NUSTEP Students Local Residents Students from other Colleges / Universities Guest Users (with a Courtesy Card)
Access to the building during staffed hours x x x x x x
Access to the building 24 hours a day x
Borrowing books and other materials x x x x x x
Computer use x x x x x x
Printing x x x x x x
Photocopying x x x x x x
Research Assistance - quick questions x x x x x x
Research Assistance - in-depth x
Access to library databases while on-campus x x x x x x
Access to library databases while off-campus x
Access to study rooms x
Interlibrary Loan x
Technical Support x
Faxing x

Interlibrary Loan FAQ


What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary loan (commonly referred to as ILL) is the process by which library materials (mainly books and journal articles) are made available by one library to another.

What is Tipasa?

Tipasa is the software we use to provide interlibrary loan service. A clean and mobile-friendly user interface allows you to place and monitor your requests anywhere from any device.

Who is eligible to use ILL?

Current faculty, staff, and students of Niagara University are eligible to use ILL for University/course-related work. Alumni, courtesy card holders, and INFOPASS holders are NOT eligible. Librarians from other institutions should see our Interlibrary Loan Lending Policies Page.

What materials can be requested through ILL?

Books (but not textbooks), journal articles (within the restrictions of copyright law*), ERIC documents, and many dissertations and theses may be requested through ILL. We can usually obtain audiovisual materials, but they must be for classroom use or research. Unrequestable materials include items on reserve, textbooks, entire issues of journals, and computer software.

*Please note that because of Copyright Restrictions, the Library may not copy more than one article from a single journal issue, nor may the Library copy an article if it represents a substantial portion of the issue (for example, a fifty page article in a hundred page journal).

How many items can I request through ILL?

Due to the high cost of processing ILLs, you may request up to 25 articles, 25 books and 15 audiovisual materials per semester. If your research requires more materials, please contact Samantha Gust, Head of Collections, at 716-286-8031 or gust@niagara.edu.

Is there a charge to use ILL?

NU makes every attempt to obtain materials free of charge and usually can.

How long does ILL take?

We are committed to processing ILL requests in a timely manner. Because we cannot control how quickly other libraries will respond to our requests, it can take anywhere from 1 to 10 days for journal articles to arrive. Please allow up to 2 weeks for books and audiovisual materials to arrive. Mid-semester requests may take longer due to high volume, so allow ample time. If any unusual problems arise that delay your request, you will be contacted.

How will I know when my material has arrived?

Our ILL software (Tipasa) will notify you via email when your item has arrived. Books and audiovisual materials will be available for pickup at the Service Desk. Articles will be sent to your ILL account. You may check the Service Desk in person or by phone (286-8020) to see if an item is being held for you.

How long can I keep ILL material?

The due date for books and audiovisual materials is determined by the lending library, not NU, and is usually between 2-4 weeks. Books and audiovisual materials must be returned to the Service Desk on or before the due date or you will be charged overdue fines of $1.00 per day. Please plan your research accordingly.

How do I submit a request?

Students, faculty and staff must register for an ILL account (you only need to register once) and then submit the appropriate request form. You may also request items directly from some of our research databases using the special ILL links.

If you have any questions or comments regarding ILL, please contact Samantha Gust, Head of Collections, at 716-286-8031 or gust@niagara.edu.

Patron Code of Conduct Policy


The following conduct is prohibited:

  • Failing to cooperate with the reasonable request of library staff related to this policy or use of the library
  • Committing or attempting to commit acts that violate local, state of federal law
  • Committing or attempting to commit acts that violate policies of Niagara University
  • Carrying weapons in the library
  • Damaging or defacing library materials, furniture, or equipment
  • Use of computers that violates Niagara University’s policy on “Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources (P-26)”
  • Attempting to remove library materials or equipment without proper checkout
  • Concealing library materials within the building
  • Being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the library. (This is in accordance with Niagara University’s Alcohol Policy which prohibits “possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage in any common area...unless it is a University sponsored event.”)
  • Committing offensive touching or engaging in sexual conduct, sexual harassment, or obscene acts
  • Engaging in conduct that disrupts library operations or disturbs library users
  • Being excessively loud (for example, using cell phones or playing music at a disturbing volume, among other things)
  • Soliciting or petitioning
  • Posting or distributing materials without permission
  • Being in the library barefooted, without a shirt, or with offensive body odor or personal hygiene
  • Bringing pets or animals into the Library, except those used as service animals or as allowed at an event approved by the Library administration
  • Failing to adhere to copyright laws and/or University copyright policies
  • Being in unauthorized areas of the library
  • Harassing, abusing, or threatening staff or patrons, or exhibiting other disruptive behavior
  • Using restroom facilities for purposes other than which they are intended
  • Sleeping, other than brief naps seated in a chair, not lying down
  • Using library furniture or equipment for purposes other than which they are intended
  • Leaving children less than 12 years of age unsupervised
  • Smoking in the library or other building on campus, except in designated smoking areas
  • Failing to abide by study room occupancy restrictions

Library users found to be in violation of this code of conduct will be asked to stop non-compliant behavior. Continued failure to comply with the Library’s rules, regulations, and policies may result in removal from the premises or other sanctions.

Patron Confidentiality


The confidentiality and privacy of library users are protected by New York state law, campus-wide information policies, and by the principles of the American Library Association's Code of Ethics. New York State law prohibits the release of patron information to third parties lacking jurisdictional authority.

Library records, which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of public, free association, school, college and university libraries and library systems of this state, including but not limited to records related to the circulation of library materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the use of audio-visual materials, films or records, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute (Article 45 Section 4509 of New York State's Consolidated Laws for Civil Practice Law and Rules).

The American Library Association Code of Ethics states:

We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.

Except as otherwise stated below, library staff shall not release the name of a person to whom a book is charged, past circulation records (including interlibrary loan and course reserves), personal information contained in circulation patron records, or otherwise identify users of any library services, including users of computer terminals on library premises. Library staff will not confirm to a third party a patron's status as a student or employee.

Patron records may, however, be consulted by library staff in the course of conducting library operations and may be disclosed pursuant to the requirements of federal, state and local laws, including law enforcement subpoenas, court orders or search warrants. Library patrons should be aware that privacy issues associated with use of computer terminals is governed by privacy practices and policies of the Information Technology Department of the University.

Other than court orders, exceptions to the patron privacy policy are as follows:

When the immediate danger of death or serious injury justifies disclosure. For example, a student falls and is injured. A Campus Safety officer may ask a Library staff member for the student's home phone number in order to contact the student's parents. Staff may disclose the phone number in such situations.

When the library has written permission from the patron that information can be disclosed.

Information can be shared with a parent who is attempting to resolve an overdue notice or fine. The Circulation Department Coordinator will only discuss the books that appear on the overdue notice, which the parent already knows about, but will not divulge information about other books that the student has checked out.

The library retains the following kinds of records:


The library maintains a database of patron names addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and University ID numbers associated with circulating books. The library keep a historical record of books that patrons have checked out, overdues, and fines. Because borrowing privileges are provided to alumni, the library possesses a print directory of alumni that includes student name, year of graduation, and school attended (for example, Arts and Sciences, Education, etc.). Delinquent accounts are forwarded to the Student Accounts Office for collection.

Prior to lending laptops, the Library photocopies student ID cards and driver's licenses (or other equivalent identification cards). These records are destroyed at the end of each semester.

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

To comply with copyright requirements, the library retains interlibrary loan and photocopy request records for three years. Also, the names of requestors and the materials they request are supplied to the other libraries who we borrow from via interlibrary loan. For patrons who have requested electronic document delivery, the Library maintains a directory of their names, email addresses, and PIN numbers.

Email Reference Transactions and Online Forms

The library retains copies of email reference questions and password requests for one semester only.

Online Services

For purposes of evaluation and system administration purposes, the library or third party database providers may track IP addresses of users. Cookies may also be transferred to patron's hard drives. The library's web site includes links to external web sites. These sites may or may not gather personal information though the use of cookies. The library book catalog and external databases can track the keywords that patrons search for but not the people who are searching or where the searching is being done.

Library Surveys

The library conducts patron surveys of library services. Data is aggregated and dissociated from responses that may identify the respondent.

Study Rooms


Group Study Rooms

Are you looking for a place on campus where you and your classmates can work or study? There are group study rooms in the Library on the basement level and on the second floor. 

  • Basement Level: turn left at the bottom of the stairs
  • Second Floor:  turn left or right at the top of the stairs

Technology varies in each room, but each group study room has:

  • A table and chairs
  • A Windows PC
  • A projector and screen
  • A TV you can use to watch DVDs

Some rooms have a VCR and/or a multi-region DVD player.

Usage Guidelines for Group Study Rooms

  • Only current NU students may use these rooms for the purpose of studying.
  • To reserve these rooms, please use our online reservation system
  • You may reserve up to 2.5 hours of room space per day (five 30-minute time slots). You can stay in a room longer if no one else has booked it.
  • Rooms can be reserved starting in the next time slot. For example, if it is 10:15am, you can reserve for 10:30am. Not a problem, of course, if you are already in the room at 10:15am. This is in place so that someone can't book a room the exact minute you are sitting in it. But when you are planning on staying in an empty room, remember to reserve it, otherwise someone else could.
  • You can book a room up to 3 weeks in advance.
  • Since access to these rooms needs to be maximized, you cannot sign up for the same room, same time period day after day.

Usage Guidelines for Other Rooms

  • The Teachers' Studio on the second floor across from the stairs is another place where groups may work together. The Teachers' Studio may not be reserved.
  • The Silent Study Room is located on the first floor to the left and has tables, comfortable chairs and study carrels. The Silent Study Room may not be reserved.
  • There are three individual study carrels housed within the Silent Study Room on the first floor. Carrels may not be reserved.

Report Harmful or Offensive Language in Library Catalog Records


In cataloging books, Niagara University Library follows the practice of using controlled standard vocabularies, such as Library of Congress Subject Headings. Using controlled vocabulary makes discovery easier and more efficient. However, by its very nature, controlled vocabulary can become outdated. If you encounter pejorative or offensive language in the Library's catalog records, please contact us via this form.

Your report will prompt an exploration of the issue you identified.