The Dominican House of Studies

Library Policies

General Rules

  • No food or drink in the library. This includes water bottles.
  • Cell Phones MUST be silenced.
  • When you exit the library, please take all your things with you.
  • Please do not reshelve books; leave them on the return carts instead.
  • Keep noise to a minimum and maintain a quiet atmosphere. There is a group study room is available if a space for quiet discussion is needed.
  • Respect for patrons, staff, and the collections should be maintained at all times.
  • No flash photography is allowed in the library. Cell phones may be used to photograph books (without flash) within the limits of Fair Use. If photography becomes disruptive a staff member may request that you stop.
  • Follow the PFIC dress code: “Faculty, staff, and students are expected to dress in a manner appropriate to the religious and professional character of the Dominican House of Studies environment. Shorts, t-shirts, tank-tops, faded or torn jeans, and other such casual wear is not permitted.”
  • Please adhere to the Library’s copying and copyright policies when making photocopies or scans. Do not copy or scan fragile books.

Visiting Privileges

The Dominican Theological Library is a private library reserved primarily for the use of PFIC faculty, staff, and students, Dominican residents of the DHS, and short-term guests of the priory. Therefore, only those with explicit visiting privileges may use our facility. (Please note that having visiting privileges does not automatically confer borrowing privileges).

During posted library hours, the library is also open for reasonable use by the following groups:

  • PFIC alumni
  • Dominican sisters
  • Dominican tertiaries and members of lay fraternities of St. Dominic
  • Visiting Catholic clergy, religious, and seminarians
  • Students and faculty from the Institute for Psychological Studies at Divine Mercy University
  • Students and faculty from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College
  • Students and faculty from member institutions of the Washington Theological Consortium

Alumni, members of WTC institutions, and all other visitors must show ID to staff at both the front lobby desk and the library desk upon entry.

Those not included in any of the aforementioned groups may apply in writing for guest access to the library’s collections on one of the following bases:

  • Visiting Scholars may be admitted as a courtesy for specific, short-term research.
  • Patron Membership may be granted to clergy, religious, and academics, for a fee of $50 per semester.
  • Guest Membership may be granted to others who wish to use the Library, for a fee of $25 per semester. Guests may not use the Library during PFIC exam and reading periods.

Due to our size and space limitations, the number of Visiting Scholars, Patron, and Guest memberships is limited. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and admittance is not guaranteed. Please address correspondence to the Librarian, Dominican Theological Library, 487 Michigan Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20017, or email Include why you would like to use our collections (such as research interest, specific item, etc), when you would like to visit, and for how long.

Borrowing Privileges

Only items in the library’s main collection may circulate. Items in the Reference, Dominicana, Thesis, Periodical, and Special Collections are meant for library-use only and may not be checked out.

  • All PFIC faculty, students, and staff, as well as residents of the Dominican House of Studies who are not students, have full visiting and borrowing privileges. The standard checkout period is 90 days, and each item is eligible for renewal up to three times. Students and residents may borrow up to 20 books at a time, and faculty and staff may borrow up to 30 items.
  • Students enrolled in the summer M.A. program in Thomistic Studies are entitled to borrowing privileges throughout the years in which they are enrolled. Regular student borrowing policies still apply, and out-of-state students are responsible for returning all library materials by their due dates.
  • Non-degree-seeking students are entitled to borrowing privileges only during semesters in which they are enrolled.
  • Those who have completed a degree program at the PFIC are eligible for borrowing privileges after paying a one-time fee of $50 to create an alumni account (visiting students or those who did not complete a degree program are not eligible for alumni borrowing privileges). The account does not expire, but alumni must update their contact information at least once per year to keep their account active. Alumni may check out up to 5 items for 21 days with 3 renewals.
  • Students and faculty at institutions in the Washington Theological Consortium (WTC) are eligible for borrowing privileges on a semester-by-semester basis. WTC patrons must bring a current institutional ID and signed WTC form from their home library in order to have their privileges activated for the current semester. WTC borrowing privileges expire at the end of each semester, so all WTC patrons must bring a new form every semester they wish to have borrowing privileges. They must also return all items to the library prior to the last day of the semester, and are not allowed to keep items out during breaks. WTC patrons may borrow up to 5 items for 21 days with 3 renewals.
  • Students and faculty from the Institute for Psychological Studies, and from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College, are eligible for borrowing privileges as guest patrons due to special agreements between their institutions and the DTL. They may borrow up to 5 items for 21 days with 3 renewals for each semester that they present valid and current institutional IDs.
  • Visiting Scholars and those with Guest Memberships (outlined above) are not entitled to borrowing privileges.
  • Those with Patron Memberships (outlined above) may borrow up to 5 items for 21 days with 3 renewals.

Renewal Policy

Patrons who want to keep an item out beyond its original due date may renew the item for an additional checkout period according to their patron type.

  • PFIC faculty, students, staff, and DHS residents may renew their books for an additional 90 days, and WTC patrons, alumni, and guests may renew their books for an additional 21 days.
  • New due dates for renewed items are calculated from the day the renewal is made, not from the item’s original due date.
  • Patrons may renew items twice remotely, either through the My Library Account link on the Discovery catalog page or by calling, emailing, or stopping by the circulation desk. The third renewal for any item will only be granted if the patron brings the item to the library in person for a condition check.
  • Renewals will be refused if another patron has placed a hold on the item.

Recall Policy

Patrons may request to recall an item by calling, emailing, or stopping by the circulation desk and speaking with a librarian. Recalled items must be returned to the library within 5 business days, and will be held at the circulation desk for up to 5 business days for pick up by the requester.

  • The recall policy applies to all users. It is strictly enforced and is in effect all year long including breaks, sabbaticals, vacations, etc.
  • All checked-out items may be subject to recall at any time.
  • If a recalled item is not returned by the date specified on the recall notice, an overdue fine of $1 per day is assessed. Recall late fees are strictly enforced.

Fines and Fees

  • There is a fee of 25¢ per day for overdue books, which is capped at $5. Books overdue for more than 20 days will be declared lost.
  • Patrons are responsible for the cost of replacing lost books, as determined by the library, plus a processing fee of $20.00 per item.
  • Books that the library determines to be damaged may be charged to the patron’s account upon their return. If you discover a damaged book, please bring it to the attention of a staff member immediately.
  • If a patron returns an item that has been declared lost, and it is still in good condition, the library may waive the lost item fee. However, any overdue fees that were accrued for the item still apply and must be paid.
  • Fees may be paid at the circulation desk or by credit card via the “Library Payments” page. If using the online form, please be sure to select “Fine” on the drop-down menu, and include an email address so that you can receive your receipt. In order to finish the payment process and have any fine payments reflected in your library account, you MUST submit your emailed receipt to the library – either in person at the library desk or via email to along with an explanation of the fees that have been paid.
  • Non-payment of fees may result in the loss of library privileges.

Copying, Scanning, and Printing

The library offers printing and copying services to its patrons for a fee:

  • Black and White: $0.10/page
  • Color: $0.15/page

Patrons may use our general copy account with the help of library staff, or may request to set up a personal copy account to which they may add money and use as long as they have visiting privileges.

The library also has a Scannx Scanner, which may be used to make digital copies at no cost. Sessions are limited to 45 minutes at a time.

Copying small sections of a journal or book can often be accomplished with no harm to the item if proper care is taken. Some things to keep in mind while copying or scanning:

  • Some books are tightly bound and it may be impossible to get the entire page to scan. NEVER force a book flat; this will damage the spine, possibly breaking it.
  • The lid on the copier has the ability to pop up to allow for the copying of thicker volumes.

Fragile or damaged items should NOT be scanned or copied, doing so may cause irreparable harm.  If you wish to scan or copy a fragile item, please speak with a librarian to determine the best course of action.

Books that fall under the category of fragile include:

  • Older editions, pre-1940s.
  • Books with brittle pages or where the edges of the paper are flaking away.
  • Books with broken spines or broken threads.
  • Books with loose pages.
  • Books with red rot (this may get into the copier or stain other items inlcuding clothing).
  • Books with faded or discolored pages; especially those with colored illustrations.
  • Books where the cover has started to separate or the hinges are damaged.

Note: this policy addresses ONLY the physical integrity of the item to be copied, and not whether such copying is permissible under copyright. For more information on copyright, see the copyright statement in our reproduction policy below, and read the PFIC’s full Copyright Compliance Policy available online.

Reproduction Policy

Under certain exceptional circumstances, the library will provide limited digitization services to its patrons upon request. Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and reproduction will only be considered in cases where the patron is unable to feasibly make use of the library’s existing print copy, and the item is unavailable through other means. Other factors that will be taken into account when evaluating a reproduction request include the restrictions of any applicable donor arrangements, the physical condition of the item to be reproduced, the reproduction capabilities of the library equipment and staff, and the requestor’s agreement to the specified terms of use.


For reproductions of materials from all collections except the Rare Books and Special Collections, the library adheres to the following pricing schedule:

  • 100 scans or fewer $10
  • 101-150 scans $15
  • 151-200 scans $20
  • 201-250 scans $25
  • 251-300 scans $30
  • 301 or more scans $35

For reproductions of materials in the Rare Books and Special Collections, the library charges $1 per image, delivered electronically in JPEG format (no CD or DVD delivery options are available).

The library may charge an additional fee to those intending to redistribute its reproductions for profit.

Scans are made at 300 dpi to allow the file to be enlarged moderately with minimal risk of compromised image quality. However, because image quality is ultimately a matter of both an image’s resolution settings and its output size, the library suggests that researchers intending to reproduce scanned images provide the dimensions of their intended output when submitting a reproduction request. Requests for higher-resolution images may incur additional fees.

Large or fragile materials may be reproduced via photograph rather than digital scan.

Requests for large quantities of material may incur additional fees and may require special arrangements. The number of scans per request may also be limited at the discretion of the library.

In some circumstances, there might be no charge to members of the DHS community engaged in PFIC business (including teaching and research). Individual requests may be denied and fees may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

We attempt to fill requests five to ten business days following receipt of payment, although certain requests may require significantly longer. Requests are answered in the order they are received. If you have any questions regarding your request, contact the library directly at

Copyright Statement

Materials held by the Dominican Theological Library (both published and unpublished) may be protected by United States Copyright Law as well as by the copyright laws of other countries.

Under certain conditions specified in the copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code), libraries and archives are authorized to furnish photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials in their collections. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction not be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” Patrons requesting copies of library material, or who use the library’s equipment to make reproductions, are responsible for adhering to copyright law. If a patron requests and/or uses a reproduction of the library’s materials for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Researchers who wish to use digital cameras or other equipment to photograph items in the Rare Books or Special Collections must gain written approval from the library and will be required to sign a Researchers Copyright Agreement form.

Before including materials from the library’s collections in a publication, patrons must determine whether the work is covered by copyright and, if it is, must obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. Publication includes, but is not limited to, print, film, slide presentations, video, television, and electronic transmissions, including transmission via posting on a web site. The user is responsible for securing permission from copyright owners and paying any additional fees they may require. The library will neither facilitate nor execute these requests, nor will it provide publication permission for materials whose term of copyright has expired. The user assumes all responsibility for infringement of copyright or other rights and agrees that Dominican Theological Library is free from liability for any infringement of use by the requester.

The Dominican Theological Library reserves the right to refuse a copying order if the requester does not agree to these conditions, or if, for any reason, it judges that fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Submitting a Request

You may submit your reproduction request:

  • by email to
  • by phone to (202) 655-4654
  • by mail to Dominican Theological Library, 487 Michigan Ave., Washington, D.C. 20017

When using any of these methods, please include all of the following information:

  • The call number for the item you are requesting if it is one you have seen in our Discovery catalog, or any bibliographic information that might help us locate the item if in fact it is in our collection.
  • Your complete mailing address.
  • Your complete telephone number, including area code.
  • A complete email address, if available.
  • An explanation of the intended use of the item, including whether you intend to make additional copies of the images and/or redistribute the images as part of for-profit reproductions (including books, articles, on a website, or other media)

Credit Line

When using reproductions obtained from the library in a publication or other form of public distribution, patrons should cite the library as follows:

“Courtesy of the Dominican Theological Library, Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC.”


In general, the DTL accepts gifts of materials with the understanding that the Library may make whatever use of the material it feels appropriate. Gifts become the DTL’s property upon receipt; they may not be reclaimed. Materials not needed in the collection will be given away. Donated materials added to the collection are subject to the same withdrawal and replacement criteria as materials purchased by the Library.

If you wish to donate materials to the library please email with a general overview of what titles you have (you do not have to list every title) and your contact information. Unfortunately, due to space restrictions and other reasons we cannot accept all donations.

Please see our Donations page for information about financial donations.

The Dominican Theological Library

At the Dominican House of Studies

All our collections, services, and facilities are meant to foster serious and recollected study in the service of the Gospel.


It all starts at the DHS!

Investing in future leaders of the Dominican Order starts with an investment in their studies and formation.