Alumni Library Services

Alumni Access

Graduates of McMaster University are issued an Alumni Library Card at no charge. 

As an Alumni, you have two choices:

  1. apply in person for an Alumni library card (check books out of the library)
  2. apply online to access our Alumni collection of electronic resources 

Click here to fill out the online form.

Alumni Library Card

  • Please visit one of the Library Services Desk, or Circulation Desk in the Health Sciences Library to apply for a library card.
  • Identification showing a current address is required.
  • You will also be asked to provide a secondary contact address, which will only be used if we are repeatedly unable to reach you at your primary contact address, especially in the case of overdue notifications, etc.
  • 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 weekends during Summer hours.
In the Health Sciences Library, cards can be issued when the Information Desk is open.

For more information, please call:

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

Note: Mills, Thode and Innis libraries do not provide telephone service after 9 pm or on weekends.


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.


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.

Services that cannot be extended to alumni because of the teaching and research needs of our faculty and currently registered students, are:

  • borrowing of journals or magazines
  • borrowing of maps and aerial photographs
  • borrowing of items located on reserve
  • interlibrary loan/document delivery services - these services are made available through your local public library.

Renewal of Card

  • All cards expire after two years.
  • Cards can be renewed at the times stated above, provided that no materials are overdue and any outstanding charges are paid.

On-Campus Research

You are always welcome to visit any of our campus libraries and use our facilities. In addition to borrowing books, you can:

Set-up remote Electronic Resource access for Alumni Library Users

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 the following 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 this page as your Alumni Access account will not be recognized if you try to access these resources from the library catalogue or website.

Electronic Resources available for use by Alumni

Electronic Journals:

JSTOR image JSTOR Journal Archives - available November 1, 2013

Over 2700 journals, from their first issue onwards. JSTOR is an archival collection, providing long back runs of titles.  The most recent 3-5 years of content may not be available.  Provided through funding from the Alumni Association.


over 200 French-language journals in the humanities and social sciences, with fulltext content from 2001 onwards.

Cambridge University Press Journals
leading, peer-reviewed journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
freely accessible articles

Eighteenth Century Journals (Adam Matthew Digital)
Rare journals printed between c1680 and 1816, illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life.

Access to 59 Canadian peer-reviewed journals, published mainly in French.  Includes a few bilingual and English titles.

Periodicals Archive Online (PAO)
A major journal archive that provides backfiles, primarily in the social sciences and humanities, from their first volume up to 1995.  Restricted to alumni within Canada.

E-Books and Primary Sources:

 Adam Matthew Digital Collections

Alexander Street Press Collections

ECO - Early Canadiana Online
A growing digital library of Canada's print heritage from the first European settlers to the early 20th Century.

OECD iLibrary: SourceOECD
The online library of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, providing fulltext ebooks, periodicals and statistical databases.

Music and Video:

Classical Scores Library
Note: not licensed for public performance

Smithsonian Global Sound
Folk, popular, classical and world music, speeches, and oral histories, delivered via streaming audio.

Theatre in Video
Over 250 plays and 100 documentaries representing a range of periods and nationalities


Making a Gift

Remember all those long hours you spent in the Library? Help us provide the services and resources for students just like you by making a gift to McMaster University Library. Alumni support has helped us provide teaching and learning spaces, group study rooms and scholarly resources for the entire McMaster community.

You can make a gift online or contact Mariya Yurukova, Manager, Development, via email at or by phone at 905.525.9140 est. 21534

If you wish to donate to the Health Sciences Library see HSL's information on Supporting the Library.