Exciting news for New Hampshire library lovers—the University System of New Hampshire libraries are now offering free borrowing services to all NH residents! The libraries included in this program are UNH Durham and Manchester campuses, Plymouth State and Keene State.

“We welcome visitors to our campus libraries, and now we are extending free loans of books and other physical objects to Granite State residents. We hope more people will take advantage of the wealth of information available at our public college and university libraries across the state,” says Tara Lynn Fulton, Dean of the UNH Library.

Whether you want to visit, browse the stacks, or request a free borrower’s card, here are 5 things you should know before you start borrowing.

Is free borrowing really free?

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is... but not in this case! When we say free borrowing, we really mean it. Prior to free borrowing for all NH residents, only residents in surrounding towns of the USNH campuses had access to free borrowing of physical titles and open access content. Now, anyone who lives in NH has borrowing privileges from any of these libraries.

“Aligned with UNH’s strategic priority to serve the citizens of New Hampshire, the UNH Library is pleased to extend borrowing privileges free of charge to all New Hampshire residents," says Kimberly Sweetman, Associate Dean of UNH Library. “As a university library, we offer different resources from local public libraries, and we hope to enrich the lives of our fellow citizens by facilitating access to our print collections.”

What can I borrow? 

Every USNH borrowing policy is different, but at UNH Library, NH residents can borrow anything from our physical stacks of 1,200,000 items. Our physical collections feature titles in everything from literature, science anthologies, government, genealogy and more. In addition to physical titles, open access items are also available for borrowing, including items from the Scholars Repository which explores work in over 900 disciplines.

“I have led book discussions in NH libraries for many years, and I did as much research for them as I had done for my college classes. The UNH library has more academic books than our local library,” says Jennifer Lee, former English faculty member of UNH and a local Durham resident. “These UNH books allowed me to present greater background and critical information on the books and authors being discussed. Many NH residents, college graduates or not, are lifelong learners, and will be grateful for the larger resources a university library offers. And these resources include the helpful reference librarians.”

What else can I access at USNH libraries?

USNH libraries primarily serve the campus students, faculty, and staff; however, as a NH resident, borrowers and patrons can use reading rooms and carrells, access resources such as public computers, microfiche and microfilm machines, scanners, and more. At UNH Library, visitors are also welcome to view Special Collections and Archives onsite by appointment or during walk-in hours. Our special collections and archives maintains rare books, manuscripts, University records, photographs, sound recordings, and more.

“My fascination with libraries has followed me – and served me well – from early childhood, through universities, careers, and now in retirement,” says Eleanor Lonske, a local Durham resident. “I now live at Riverwoods-Durham where I borrow books from its library, the Durham Public Library, and the UNH Library where I have checked out books both for UNH courses I have been auditing and for pure pleasure reading.”

Can I still access USNH library content from my public library?

If you are interested in a title or item that’s not available at your public library, you can request the title or item through an Interlibrary loan. Items requested from Interlibrary loans can come from a USNH library or a connected library system, including books, videos, articles, reports, and more.

How do I get my free borrowing card?

Similar to obtaining free borrowing cards from public libraries, NH residents who are interested in a free borrowing card from any or all the USNH libraries should bring a valid ID and proof of residence to the library of their choosing.


Learn more about the borrowing policies for your campus location: