Policy on Reclaiming Spaces Occupied by Unattended Items

A primary goal of the Colgate University Libraries is to provide an environment that encourages intellectual exploration and learning. To that end, the Libraries provide spaces needed by students for both solitary academic work and collaborative learning. These spaces are held in common by the Colgate community of learners. 

Responsible use of common resources and consideration for the rights of others to use those resources is a tenet of good citizenship in any community. Library space is by its nature a limited resource and its availability to all members of the community who need it is a practical issue. Personal belongings left on tables, carrels, and seating in the Libraries by those who have left the buildings for extended periods are an impediment to the use of learning spaces by others. Clearing spaces of personal belongings and other materials prior to leaving the building is a mark of respect for the needs of one’s fellow students that is expected of all library users. 

Therefore, personal belongings and other items left unattended in the Libraries for more than one hour are subject to removal by library staff. Before removal, library staff will leave a card at the occupied space as a courtesy reminder. If after one hour the space remains occupied by unattended materials, library staff will remove the materials for storage behind the Borrowing Services Desk. A card will be left at the reclaimed space indicating the number of the bin in which removed items have been stored. The owner may claim the items at the Borrowing Services Desk by providing the bin number indicated on the card. 

Library users should be aware that leaving personal belongings unattended in any public space, including the Libraries, subjects them to a risk of theft. Each semester a small number of students is victimized by theft of computers, textbooks, and backpacks containing notebooks and other valuable items from various areas in the Libraries. Thieves are most active when examination periods approach, just as the Libraries are the busiest. While many students believe the risk to be small, it is real, and such a loss can be devastating. Vigilance in not leaving materials unattended has the double benefit of both fostering a community of respect for one’s peers and protecting one’s own investment in academic work and personal belongings.

The Libraries are not responsible for loss of personal belongings.