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Graduating Seniors: Access to Library Resources

Q & A

When will I officially lose access? 

You'll lose access to the library databases-alongside access to your Columbia Email, Zoom, Canvas etc. 90 days after Spring Graduation. If you graduate during Fall Term you lose access 90 days after the next Spring Graduation. 

Can I still check out books even after I lose access to library databases? 

Yes! Columbia College Chicago Library encourages Alumni to use the Library to continue their pursuit of lifelong learning. 

Alumni must abide by the College's Access Policy of presenting a government issued photo ID and proof of attendance. Once you do so, Alumni may borrow up to 20 books for 40 weeks, after updating contact information.

Can I still ask the Library for help? 

Of course! You can always ask for help with any information needs at  

Will I lose access to Zotero?

No. Zotero is free, open source software. You'll be able to continue to use your Zotero account as long as you'd like to. However, if you used your e-mail to set up your account, you should update your account so you can continue to see updates in your inbox. 

I want to continue my thesis research but I'm going to lose access. What are my options? 

Your best option is to look for open access scholarship. Check out the Free & Open Information tab on this guide! You can find a lot of open access material by searching the Directory of Open Access Journals. You can also search for articles using an open search tool like Google Scholar and then either pay for each article or see if your local public library can Interlibrary Loan the article. Each public library interlibrary loan service is different and it may cost a fee to use the service. 

If you're looking for primary sources, freely available sites include the Library of Congress Digital Collections, the Digital Public Library of America, and Independent Voices.

Can I access any other college libraries' collections? 

It depends. Many public universities will allow guests and community members to use their public computers to access databases that they own because they're publicly funded. Look at your local university's website or call them before arriving to confirm that their policy allows guests to access their information. 

How can I get a public library card?

Find your local public library system. Look at their website to learn more about getting a library card. Many libraries allow you to sign up for a card online and then activate your card in person.