Frequently Asked Questions - Alumni Library Services

If you are having trouble accessing an e-resource, please check the following:

1. have you set up an Alumni Access account?

2. does the e-resource appear on the list of e-resources available to alumni users?

3. if not, you may be able to access this e-resource on campus only.

4. Still having difficulty? Please contact us via email ( or by phone:

  • Mills: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22077
  • Innis (Business): (905) 525-9140 ext. 22081
  • Thode (Science & Engineering): (905) 525-9140 ext. 22000
  • Health Sciences: (905) 525-9130 ext. 22323

Note: we do not provide telephone service after 9 pm or on weekends

All books can be renewed (unless they have been recalled) on the My Account/Book Renewal page OR in person. You are allowed a maximum of 2 renewals. 

Penalties for Not Returning Materials

  • If another user has recalled a book you have checked out, you will receive an email notification requesting you to return the book. You have until 14 days from the original loan date or 5 days from the date of recall, whichever is longer, in which to return the book, after which a fine of up to $5 a day or partial day is levied.
  • If you don't return an overdue item we suspend your borrowing privileges, charge the cost of replacing the book, and a $25 non-refundable administrative fee per item.
  • It is your responsibility as an alumni user to keep the Library informed of your current address and email address. Non-receipt of notices does not relieve you from suspension of borrowing privileges and book replacement charges.

Paying Fines

  • Fines can be paid at the Library Services Desk of the appropriate library. We accept debit/credit cards and cheques (no cash payments, sorry).

Email Notification

You will be sent a notice by e-mail for:

  • Holds
  • Recalls
  • Overdues
  • Replacement billing
  • Fines

Please note: all non-McMaster users are responsible for keeping us updated on their current e-mail addresses.

Please check the Hours page on the Librarywebsite for current hours.

Note: any exceptions to the regular opening hours will be outlined at the bottom of each library's hours page.


As McMaster alumni, graduates of McMaster University are entitled to borrowing privileges at Mills Memorial Library, Thode Science & Engineering Library, Innis Library and the Health Sciences Library.

Graduates of McMaster University are issued an Alumni Library Card at no charge, with proof of graduation.

  • Alumni Library Card Application Forms are available online or at any Library Services Desk
  • Identification showing a current address is required.
  • Cards can be issued during the following hours:
Monday to Thursday 8:00 am - 9:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Saturday 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday Noon - 7:30 pm

NOTE: This service is not available on Sundays during Summer hours.

  • Alumni are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Library Regulations
  • Misuse of the library card or failure to respond to notices will result in the withdrawal of borrowing privileges.
  • Cards may be used only by the holder and are not transferrable.

Loan Period / Borrowing Limitations

  • Alumni may check out circulating materials for a two week period.
  • Up to 20 books may be on loan at one time.
  • Reserve materials may not be borrowed.
  • Any book may be renewed unless it has been requested by another user (limit of 2 renewals per book ).
  • Limit of 10 recalls can be placed.

Alumni users are entitled to access most, but not all, of the e-resources currently licensed by the library, but access is only on-site, on a temporary one-day basis. Ongoing access to these resources will not be granted.

While most databases and e-journals are not available to alumni from off campus due to licensing restrictions, the Library is able to offer remote access to a small suite of e-resources.

You will need to create a Alumni Access account, using the BarCode number from your Alumni Library Card.

Please note: You must always access these resources from the Alumni Library Services webpage as your Alumni Access account will not be recognized if you try to access these resources from the library catalogue or website.

How do I get an Alumni Library card?

Application forms are available online or at all library services desks.

For more information call 905-525-9140 x22077.