James A. Gibson Library


Policy Statement

The resources and services of the James A. Gibson Library exist primarily to support the research and study needs of the academic community. Beyond this purpose, the Library recognizes that there is a legitimate need to offer some of its services to members of the general public who have no formal connection with the University.

Free Access

Members of the community are welcome to consult the collections and may also take advantage of the following services: assistance in the use of the collections, Special Collections and Archives, and the microform reading equipment. There is a charge for photocopying and printing. 


The University Library offers individual memberships to the general public and institutional memberships to businesses. However, you are encouraged to check the holdings of the public libraries in the region for your research needs before applying for community borrowing privileges. The borrowing card may be used only by the person to whom it is issued.  View further details on borrowing policies here.

InterLibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan privileges are available to individuals and institutions for an additional $50.00 per year, plus all applicable charges. Due to copyright and license restrictions, community and alumni borrowers are not eligible for document delivery of journal articles or photocopies of chapters from books.

Help Desk Service Policy

General assistance in the use of the collections is available from the Library’s Help Desk. Community users may search the library catalogue and browse the Library’s web site from off-campus prior to visiting campus. By obtaining a temporary user ID and password, on-campus visitors may obtain access to electronic resources according to the individual terms of licensing agreements. Community users are eligible for library cards that allow them to borrow material for a fee.

No distinction is made between Brock University and community users when providing routine reference assistance, but priority will be given to Brock University users if staffing or space is not adequate to meet demand either at any given time or over a prolonged period.

As a general rule, users with time consuming inquiries who are not affiliated with Brock University are referred to public libraries or other organizations, as appropriate. In cases where Brock University has special resources, additional assistance beyond the routine may be given. Community users are advised to call the Help Desk in advance of their visit.

Restrictions on Help Desk Services

• General
As many library resources are now available electronically, community users are expected to have a basic knowledge of computers in order to use our library effectively. Help Desk staff are not able to perform searches for library users, but will provide instruction in the basic use of library research tools.

• Interpretation of Material
Help Desk staff do not interpret information, such as legal, medical, financial, statistical information or school assignments.

• Recommendations Regarding Purchases of Sources
Help Desk staff refer users to standard reviews of a work and advise the user to examine the library copy, if available. Generally, staff members do not make recommendations regarding such purchases.

• Appraisal of Books and Artifacts
Help Desk staff do not appraise the private property of users. Users are advised to consult a professional appraiser.

• Genealogical Searches
Genealogical resources are available for consultation in the Special Collections and Archives. Otherwise, such questions are not undertaken by library staff and generally are referred to the Archives of Ontario, museums, genealogical societies and/or public libraries.

• Bibliographies
Staff will assist users in the use of bibliographical tools, but will not compile or check bibliographies. 

• Answering Quizzes, etc.
No searching is done for answers to puzzles, quizzes, TV contests, etc. Assistance is limited to advising individuals about where they might locate such information.

As with in-house users, many factors enter into decisions concerning the amount of service that can be given to individuals, and judgment must be exercised. If unsure, library staff should consult the Help Desk Coordinator or the Associate University Librarian, Services & Facilities.

High School Use

High school students are welcome to use the James A. Gibson Library, but are encouraged first to make use of the resources available in their school and public libraries. Students must have acquired basic library skills prior to visiting the University Library and have a firm grasp of their research topic. Seminars for senior students are to be arranged by teacher-librarians. 

Please refer to the Library website for more information.

Membership Privileges

The loan period is two weeks, after which time items may be renewed in-person or online, provided no other requests have been submitted for them. No more than 15 items may be borrowed at any one time and community borrowers are not eligible for laptop loans and may not borrow materials in the Reserve Collection.


The annual fee to community users for borrowing privileges is $40.00, and $20.00 for older adults (60+). There is no charge to Brock graduates. Institutional memberships (one borrowing card to be shared by up to 5 people from an institution) are available to businesses for $300.00 and to non-profit organizations for $100.00. There is a $5.00 replacement charge for a lost barcode and/or card.  

The membership fee is available on an annual basis and is effective on the date of application.

Borrowing privileges are suspended pending the return of any overdue material and payment of all overdue fees.

Users are responsible for all material borrowed in his/her name and will be charged for any library material that is overdue, lost or damaged while signed out in his/her name. For more information on fees, please see the Library’s borrowing policy


Forms are available at the Circulation Services Desk located on the main floor of the Gibson Library. Fees must be paid before a borrowing library card will be issued.


Assistance is available at Circulation Services, the Help Desk, via telephone at 905-688-5550, ext. 3228, or through this form.




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