Any N.H. adult can now check out books at state college campus libraries


Monitor staff

Published: 07-16-2023 2:00 PM

At a time when parts of the country are limiting access to public libraries, the University System of New Hampshire is opening theirs up.

People have long been able to use campus library space such as reading rooms and resources like microfiche readers, but now all state residents 18 years or older can get a free library card to check out books and digital material from all libraries in the university system except for the UNH law library in Concord.

Why the change? The digital revolution.

“The reason for the timing now is about trends in information use,” explained Tara Lynn Fulton, dean of the university library at UNH, in response to questions from the Monitor.

“Academic librari es must first support the faculty and students so that they feel assured that the materials we purchase will be available to them when they need them. Until recently, they were dependent on print books and other physical materials. Now our students and faculty rely so heavily on e-books and streaming media that our physical collections are no longer in such high demand on campus, so we can engage more intentionally in making them available to the public,” Lynn wrote.

Material must be checked out in person, not online. The library cards require valid identification and proof of residency.

In addition to free borrowing services, USNH libraries give access to special collections and archives that are unique to the institutions, such as the Betty and Barney Hill papers at Dimond Library at the UNH Durham campus, or the Charles and Judith Hildebrandt Collection at Keene State, which supports the Holocaust and Genocide Studies academic program, the only undergraduate program of its kind in the United States.

The service is available at the UNH campus in Durham, at the main library as well as the three science branch libraries for physics, chemistry and EMCS (Engineering, Math & Computer Science). It is also available at UNH Manchester, Plymouth State and Keene State.

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