Visiting Scholars/Visiting Faculty

The Libraries defines "visiting scholars" or "visiting faculty" as faculty users who are not employed by Penn State, but are visiting from other academic institutions for the purpose of short-term instruction, research, and scholarship.

Library Registration

Visiting scholars/faculty may register at any PSU library lending desk by presenting proper documentation, including at least one of the following:

  • Current photo identification from another academic institution along with current state-issued identification, such as a driver's license.
  • Letter of introduction from sponsoring PSU faculty or department and current state-issued identification.
  • PSU Affiliate ID* (issued by PSU ID office).

*Penn State Affiliate IDs are also issued to non-student wage staff and others. Additional form of identification confirming visiting scholar/faculty status may be required before registering with the library. University departments sponsoring visiting scholars/faculty may request Affiliate IDs from the Penn State ID office. See Policy AD24 for requirements. The Library does not issue PSU IDs.

Borrowing Privileges

  • A Penn State Affiliate ID may be used to borrow library materials. Visiting scholars without a Penn State Affiliate ID may be issued a Library borrower card. This card is used for borrowing PSU library materials only and does not provide access to other library services or access to full-text resources (see below).
  • Visiting scholars/faculty may borrow up to 100 Penn State library books for semester loan. Loans of other Penn State materials, such as videos, journals and reference materials will vary by material type and borrowing location.

Interlibrary Loan and E-ZBorrow

Access to interlibrary loans through ILLiad and E-ZBorrow (currently suspended) requires a current Penn State Access account ("full" access account - see below) issued by ITS Account Services. Visiting scholars/faculty without a current Access Account ID cannot login or place requests through ILLiad or E-ZBorrow (currently suspended).

Online Full-text Resources

On-site access to most library licensed online full-text resources is available at designated (visitor) Penn State library workstations. Email and general internet access, (and often printing) are not available on visitor workstations. Visitors with their own laptops or tablets can use the ATT Wifi for their own email and general internet access but cannot gain access to library licensed online full-text resources without either a Penn State Access Account issued by ITS Account Services or a STAAR account issued by the library (see below). Non-Visitor workstations, including those with scanners or specialized software like ZoomText, also require a Penn State Access Account or a STAAR account. Off-site access to library licensed resources requires a current Penn State Access Account ID issued by ITS Account Services.

Penn State Access Accounts

Penn State Access Accounts are issued by IT Account Services to qualified applicants only.

  • "Full" access accounts provide authentication to Penn State services, including internet access, Penn State email, PASS webspace and an LDAP entry. Full accounts are required for visiting scholar/faculty access to interlibrary loan (ILLiad) and E-ZBorrow (currently suspended).
  • "Slim" access accounts (STAAs) provide authentication to Penn State services only and do not provide Penn State email, ability to print to library printers, PASS webspace, or access to interlibrary loan or E-ZBorrow (currently suspended).

Both types of accounts permit access to library licensed online resources and the internet.

Visiting scholars/faculty must request Access Accounts from their sponsoring departments. The library cannot issue or request Access Accounts for visiting scholars.


Please note that STAAR Accounts will not be issued during the fall 2020 semester.

STAARs (Short Term Access Accounts for Research) are a type of STAA issued by the Library to provide on-site access to the internet for the purpose of scholarship. Like "slim" Access Accounts, STAARs do not provide PSU email, PASS, ability to print to library printers, personal webspace, LDAP entries or access to interlibrary loan (ILLiad) or E-ZBorrow (currently suspended). STAARs may be issued for 24 hour, on-site access only by authorized library staff to visiting scholars/faculty presenting current photo identification. Visiting scholars who require longer-term access to the internet should ask their sponsoring department for a Penn State Access Account.


Online Databases

Online databases have been licensed for the non-profit educational use of Penn State faculty, staff, and students, and for on-site use by other authorized individuals. Copyright law and individual license agreements govern their use. Systematic copying or the use of external search engines or robots to copy unreasonably large quantities of data from these products is prohibited.