About Us


Visit: Circulation Desk, Library Main Floor
Call: 413.662.5321
Text: 413.241.6662
Frequently Asked Questions

Circulation Policies

Who can borrow materials?

MCLA full- and part-time students, faculty, and staff

  • Can borrow materials from Freel Library with their MCLA ID card.

Community members (see our community borrowers policy for more information)

  • Must apply in person at the MCLA library to fill out an application.
  • Must be 18 years or older, live in North Adams, or be a former student, faculty member, or staff member of MCLA. We require two forms of ID with proof of addresses.
  • We require community borrowers who are not affilicated with MCLA to have a valid North Adams Public Library card in good standing.

HELM Library patrons

  • Patrons of Holyoke Community College, MassBay Community College, Middlesex Community College, North Shore Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, and Roxbury Community College can place holds on items through the HELM catalog
  • If you are a patron of one of those colleges, contact your library for assistance in locating and borrowing materials.

How long is the loan period?


  • Books, CDs - 1 semester
  • DVDs - 7 days


  • Books, CDs - 28 days
  • Popular Viewing DVDs - 1 day

Community Borrowers:

  • Books, CDs- 28 days
  • Popular Viewing DVDs - 1 day

Faculty Collection DVDs: Library Viewing only for Students, Alumni, and Community Members

Can materials be renewed?


  • Books, CDs -  Once for a semester, if there is no HOLD pending
  • DVDs - no renewals


  • Books, CDs - Once for 14 days, if there is no HOLD pending
  • Popular Viewing DVDs - no renewals

Community Borrowers:

  • Books, CDs - Once for 14 days, if there is no HOLD pending
  • Popular Viewing DVDs - no renewals

How can I renew an item?

Items cannot be renewed if you have any fees on your account.

How many items can I borrow?

  • Faculty/Staff: Checkout 50 items (combination of Books and CDs, with only 1 Popular Viewing DVD and 10 Faculty Collection DVDs)
  • Students: Checkout 50 items (combination of Books and CDs, with only 1 Popular Viewing DVD)
  • Community Borrowers: Checkout 5 items (combination of Books and CDs, with only 1 Popular Viewing DVD)

What are the policies for borrowing reserve books?

  • Limited to Students, Faculty, and Staff
  • Lending Period: 1 day, Library Use Only
  • Limit: 5 reserve items per card
  • Students must leave ID at desk during Lending Period

What are the policies for borrowing laptops and other equipment?

  • Limited to Students, Faculty, and Staff
  • Lending Period: 1 day, Library Use Only
  • Limit: 1 Laptop and Charger per card
  • Students must read and sign the “Laptop Borrowing Agreement” and registered as approved
  • Students must leave ID at desk during Lending Period
  • See our Library Laptop Borrowing Policy for more information

What about Fines and Fees?

  • Fines: None
  • For all Hard Cover and Trade Paperbacks; Standard Paperbacks; Compact Discs; and Videotapes and  DVDs: cost of material/cost to replace and $10.00 processing fee
  • ILL and HELM items: cost of replacement are at the discretion of the owning library
  • Cards will be blocked if replacement fee exceeds $50 on any item until fines are paid and materials returned.

How do I borrow material from another library?

Check our Interlibrary Loan page for information on how to borrow materials that MCLA does not own.

Group Study Room Policies

Three study rooms are available for student use in Freel Library. These rooms are intended to support collaborative projects and assignments. While other uses are permitted, those who are working together on a group project may receive priority. 


  • Only MCLA students may reserve group study rooms.
  • Individuals may reserve rooms for a maximum of 2 hours per day.
  • Rooms may be reserved using the online Group Study Room Reservation Form or in person at the library service desk.
  • Reservations must be for groups of 2 or more people.
  • Anyone (groups or individuals) is welcome to use a vacant room.  
  • Groups with a reservation have top priority.
  • Groups without a reservation have second priority.
  • Individuals will be asked to move if a group (with or without a reservation) wants to use the space.
  • If you need to cancel your reservation, please contact the library as soon as possible. Missing more than one reservation without notifying the library ahead of time may affect your ability to reserve rooms in the future.
  • If at least two members of a group have not shown up within 15 minutes of the reservation time, the reservation will be canceled.
  • Rooms are not soundproof! Please be mindful of your group’s volume.
  • Rooms should be left clean. Please remove any trash, erase whiteboards, and put furniture back in its original configuration.

About the rooms: 

All rooms have whiteboards and markers. 

  • Room 1 has lounge-style soft chairs and a table. 
  • Room 2 has a work table and chairs 
  • Room 3 has a collaborative D-shaped table, chairs, and large monitor with an HDMI hookup

Community Borrowers Policy

News for Community Members

  • On June 4, 2018, MCLA’s Freel Library moved from the CW MARS network to the HELM network – Higher Education Libraries of Massachusetts – to strengthen our academic offerings.
  • MCLA has a new catalog and is now sharing resources directly online with a group of college libraries in public education.
  • We are still committed to making our resources available to public library users, but access will be different – please see below.

Changes for CW MARS Card Holders

  • Because we belong to a new network, you will no longer be able to use your CW MARS card to check out books at MCLA and you will no longer be able to find and request MCLA books in the CW MARS catalog. 
  • To borrow MCLA materials, please use one of the following options:
    • Request specific MCLA books online by using the Commonwealth Catalog link located at the bottom of your CW MARS catalog
    • Use the interlibrary loan service at your public library
    • Borrow MCLA books in person with a Freel Library Community Card.

How to Apply for a Freel Library Community Card

  • Please apply in person at the MCLA library to fill out an application.
  • You must be 18 or older, live in North Adams, or be a former student, faculty member, or staff member of MCLA.
  • We require two forms of ID with proof of address.  We also require community borrowers who are not affiliated with MCLA to have a valid North Adams Public Library card in good standing.

Freel Library Privileges & Responsibilities

  • A Freel Community Card allows you to check out a total of 5 items for 28 days with one renewal for 14 days.  You can renew on the phone or in person.
  • We do not charge overdue fines, but books overdue 14 days beyond the due date are considered “lost” and have a charge of $45; fees of $50 or more will result in a loss of privileges.
  • Community cards allow in-person borrowing only and do not have the same privileges as MCLA or HELM cards. This is a pilot program and may be discontinued or changed in the future.
  • Because of vendor restrictions, MCLA e-books and remote database access are not available to community members.
  • College policy requires visitors who request library computer use or Internet access to get a “guest log-in” at Computer Services at Murdock Hall.
  • Visitors are welcome to use the library space.  If you need research articles, please see our reference librarian and bring a USB drive to save materials.

Library Laptop Borrowing Policy

  • All laptops and laptop chargers have a three-day loan period and may be taken out of the library building.
  • A valid MCLA ID card is required to borrow a laptop.
  • You must read and sign an agreement the first time you borrow a laptop (and anytime this policy changes).
  • At the end of the three-day loan period, you must bring the laptop back to the library in person.
  • If the laptop is returned on time and laptops are not in high demand, you may borrow the laptop for another three days.
  • If laptops are in high demand, you may not re-check out the laptop until after a 24-hour wait period.
  • If you return a laptop after its due date, you may not re-check out the laptop until after a 24-hour wait period.
  • If a laptop still has not been returned 24 hours after its due date, your account will be charged the replacement cost (fully refundable upon return of laptop).


  • Laptops will only work on the MCLA network (on campus). If you plan to use the laptop off campus, please bring it to the Help Desk (Murdock Hall, first floor) to be configured.
  • Do not save files to the laptop! All files are deleted when the laptop is shut down or rebooted. These files are unrecoverable. Please, please save files to OneDrive or other cloud storage, or to removable media (such as a USB drive).
  • The replacement cost for a laptop is $1000.00. This amount will be charged to your student account once the laptop is 24 hours overdue. It is fully refundable upon the return of the laptop.
  • Library laptops are intended for short-term use and are not a substitute for owning a laptop. If you do not own a laptop, or if yours is broken and you cannot afford to replace it, please check with Student Financial Services to see whether funding might be available.
  • See laptop lending agreement for additional terms and conditions.

Patron Behavior Expectations

Freel Library strives to create an environment where all patrons are welcomed, respected, and treated equitably. We ask that library patrons join us in this effort.  

Library patrons are expected to observe MCLA policies as well as state and federal laws and to behave in a way that maintains an environment conducive to work and study.  

  • Upper level: The upper level of the library is a designated quiet area. Please refrain from talking, keep noise to a minimum, and use headphones to listen to any audio. 
  • Main level/Learning Commons: Conversation and group work are permitted on the main level. Please keep volume and activity at a level that enables others to work and study productively in the library.  
  • Lower level: The Children's Room provides space for group work as well as a TV and DVD player. The Language and Literature room is conducive to quiet, individual study.  

Patrons who prefer a quieter study environment are encouraged to study upstairs or in a quiet area on the lower level. 

Library staff will speak with patrons whose behavior in a given study area is disrupting others’ ability to work. Library staff reserve the right to determine what constitutes disruptive behavior. Patrons unwilling or unable to observe these policies may be asked to leave the building.  

Food and drink are permitted in the library. Please respect custodial and library staff, as well as other library patrons, by cleaning up after yourself and promptly alerting library staff of any spills. 

Please approach any member of the library staff if violations of these policies are affecting your ability to use and enjoy library spaces, collections, or services. 

Questions and comments about these policies may be directed to the Associate Dean for Library Services. 

See also the following MCLA Policies: 

Gift Policy

Donations Policy: 

  • Freel Library welcomes donations of academic books and other materials that will add to the scope, depth, and relevance of our collection.  Gifts have enabled us to enrich teaching, learning, and the student experience at MCLA. 
  • We evaluate donations similarly to new purchases:  items must be relevant to the MCLA curriculum, in good condition, appropriate for academic research, up-to-date in content and format, fit within available library shelf space, and not duplicate existing titles.  Librarians responsible for collection development will make the final determination of whether items are appropriate for the collection.
  • Generally we cannot accept journal or magazine issues, textbooks, items in poor condition (e.g., highlighted, underlined, torn or yellowed pages, etc.), cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, LPs, media dependent on outdated technology, and copies of videos or television programs that do not comply with copyright law.

Procedures for Donors:

  • If you are interested in donating materials, please call 413-662-5321.
  • For donations of over 10 items, the library requests a list of titles beforehand that includes the author, date, and edition.  This helps us evaluate your materials.
  • If the donor cannot supply a list of titles beforehand and makes an arrangement to drop books off at the library, the library will determine whether it will use specific titles in the collection or dispose of the book.
  • We cannot guarantee that books that are dropped off and not formally accepted will be added to the catalog or guarantee that added books will remain in the collection.
  • If Freel Library keeps a book we cannot add to our collection, we will dispose of the book in the manner we think most appropriate.  Options include
    • Placing the book in our book sale
    • Donating the book to another library
    • Discarding the book if not appropriate, not sold, or in poor condition
  • Donors are requested to sign a Gift Form at the Circulation Desk when they drop off books or other items.

Appraisals & Acknowledgements:

  • Due to federal tax regulations, Freel Library does not appraise donations.
  • If you require a formal valuation of your materials, please have your materials appraised before you make your donation.
  • Donors will receive acknowledgement of their gifts by mail from the MCLA Foundation.  This statement will include the number and type of items added to the collection or accepted by the library, and not any books that were discarded.  Donors can then provide a value to the gift if needed.

Thank you for considering donating your materials to Freel Library.