About Us


Visit: Circulation Desk, Library Main Floor
Call: 413-662-5321
Text: 413-224-6600
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 and 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 other academic libraries in the HELM consortium can place holds on items through the HELM catalog for delivery to their home libraries. HELM patrons may also borrow in person at MCLA.
  • If you are a patron at another HELM institution, please contact your library for assistance in locating and borrowing materials.

Loan periods, renewals, maximum number of checkouts

  MCLA/HELM Students MCLA/HELM Faculty & Staff Community Borrowers
Circulating Books 28 day loan; one 14 day renewal 1 semester (fall/spring/summer) loan; 1 semester renewal 28 day loan; one 14 day renewal
Reserves In-library use only In-library use only Non-circulating
Faculty Collection DVDs In-library use only 7 days In-library use only
Popular DVDs 7 days; one 7-day renewal 7 days; one 7-day renewal 7 days; one 7-day renewal
Laptops/Chargers 3 days Non-circulating Non-circulating
DVD  Players 3 days 3 days In-library use only
Other equipment (chargers, headphones,, etc.) In-library use only In-library use only In-library use only
Maximum number of simultaneous checkouts 50 50 5

How can I renew an item?

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

What are the policies for borrowing reserve books?

  • Limited to students, faculty, and staff
  • Reserve items must be used in the library; they cannot be taken out of the building.
  • Limit: 5 reserve items per card
  • Students must leave ID at desk during lending period 

What about fines and fees?

  • Fines: None
  • For all hardcover and trade paperbacks; standard paperbacks; compact discs; and DVDs: cost of material/cost to replace, plus $10.00 processing fee
  • ILL and HELM items: cost of replacement is at the discretion of the owning library
  • Cards will be blocked if patron owes more than $50 in replacement costs until materials are returned or charges are paid.

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.

Community Borrowers Policy

How to Apply for a Freel Library Community Card

  • Please visit the MCLA library in person to fill out an application.
  • You must be 18 or older and 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.

Note for CW MARS (Public Library) Card Holders  

You can no longer use your public library card to borrow materials in person at MCLA. 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 the CW MARS catalog
  • Use the interlibrary loan service at your public library
  • Borrow MCLA books in person with a Freel Library Community Card (if eligible).  

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 (413-662-5321), in person, or via email (library@mcla.edu).
  • We do not charge overdue fines, but books not returned within 14 days after 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.” Please ask at the Circulation Desk.
  • 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


  • Laptops (with their 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 the Laptop Lending 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 a laptop still has not been returned 24 hours after its due date, your account may be charged the replacement cost (fully refundable upon return of laptop).


  • Laptops are set up to work on the MCLA network (on campus). If you plan to use the laptop off campus, you will need to use a special login and password, which will be provided when you borrow the laptop.
  • Do not save files to the laptop! All files are deleted when the laptop is shut down or rebooted. These files are unrecoverable. Always save your work to OneDrive or other cloud storage, or to removable media (such as a USB drive).
  • Borrowers are responsible for replacement costs for unreturned or damaged equipment. Current replacement costs are listed on the Laptop Lending Agreement. These amounts may be charged to your student account once the laptop is 24 hours overdue. Charges are fully refundable upon the return of the undamaged laptop and charger.
  • 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 the 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:

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. (*In exceptional cases, individuals may be permitted to reserve rooms; please contact the Associate Dean of Library Services to discuss your needs.)
  • Anyone (groups or individuals) is welcome to use a vacant room, but people who are using a room without a reservation will be asked to move to accommodate students who have a reservation.
  • 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

Gift 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 do not accept journal or magazine issues, older editions of textbooks, items in poor condition (e.g., highlighted, underlined, torn or yellowed pages, etc.), media in formats not currently supported by the library (e.g., LP, cassette, VHS), 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 contact Emily Alling, Associate Dean of Library Services, at 413-662-5322 or Emily.Alling@mcla.edu.
  • For donations of over 10 items, the library requests a list of titles beforehand that includes the author, date, and edition.   
  • 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 books.
  • 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.