Gordon Library’s policies support equitable use and access to library resources for research and learning. Library-specific policies provide guidance and transparency about using the library and its resources, and about how library resources are selected or allocated.

In addition to library-specific policies, the Gordon Library supports and affirms WPI policies, including those on privacy, acceptable use of computing resources, copyright compliance, and web accessibility.

These policies have been revised and adopted as interim policies by the library’s leadership team in October 2017 and may be revised from time to time.

For more information about the library’s policies, please contact the library’s administrative team, library-admin@wpi.edu or Anna Gold, University Librarian, akgold@wpi.edu.

Library Use

Library Use

The Gordon Library seeks to provide all library patrons with a welcoming, comfortable, and safe environment to support their research, learning, and study needs.

General Use & Conduct

All library users are expected to respect library facilities, other users, and staff; and all users are required to comply with directions from library staff and other WPI officials in the performance of their duties.  Disruptive or hostile behavior of any sort is not permitted and will not be tolerated. 

To ensure that students who need quiet study are not disturbed, all users are asked to respect designated quiet study areas, which include the first floor of the library. Other quiet study areas are noted on posted library floor plans.

Food and drink are allowed in most parts of Library except where otherwise posted.  To help keep the library clean, please protect library materials and equipment, and use designated trash and recycle bins.

Users who do not comply with the Gordon Library Use & Conduct Policy may be asked to leave the building or refused future access.  Problems, concerns or policy violations may be reported to any library staff member or to library@wpi.edu.

Electronic Resources

Use of library electronic resources implies acceptance of the WPI Acceptable Use Policy.

Personal research use: Gordon Library licenses electronic resources from publishers and information providers to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of the WPI community. In most cases, the terms of our license agreements limit access to current WPI students, faculty and other employees, for personal research use.  Licensed library resources cannot be used for commercial purposes; and users should not allow non-WPI users to access licensed electronic resources.

Systematic downloading prohibited: Publishers and information providers prohibit systematic downloading or republishing of articles, books, search results, and other information from licensed databases and other research products. Prohibited use includes downloading thousands of records from databases, or entire works, whether journals or books.  Systematic downloading, even for personal research purposes, can result in temporary and partial or complete loss of access to this content for other WPI users. In this case WPI will investigate usage reports to identify users who are violating the publisher’s license, so that steps can be taken to resolve the situation and restore access to other users.

Data mining: Some library resource licenses permit data mining of resources, with prior notice to the library and to the publisher.  For more information please consult a research librarian who can refer you to the appropriate staff member to pursue this option.

Library Computers

Use of library computers implies acceptance of the WPI Acceptable Use Policy. Current WPI students, faculty and, staff may use any of the computers located throughout the library after logging in with their WPI username and password.

WPI alumni and Academic and Research Collaborative (ARC) visitors may use the computers on the main floor upon presentation of a photo ID and either a WPI alumni library card or an ARC card.  Computer access is not available for public use. Although WPI alumni and ARC members are welcome to use these specific computers, WPI students, faculty, and staff have priority over other users.

Please note that many of WPI’s licensing agreements limit access to currently enrolled WPI students and current WPI staff and faculty.

For information on printing, scanning, borrowing technology, or using your own laptop in the building, please consult the library’s Borrow Technology page or inquire at the IT Service Desk located on the library’s main entrance level.

Tech Suites

The library offers 11 meeting rooms for students, equipped with computers, monitors, and whiteboards, and seating 6 or more students. More information is available about Tech Suite reservation policies and online reservations here.

Labs and Conference Rooms

Several library spaces and labs, including Anderson Lab A, Lab B, and Gordon Conference Room 303 are primarily available for WPI faculty and staff, and can be reserved online for use M-F between 8am and 5 pm. For support operating any equipment in these rooms, please contact the Academic Technology Center at x5220.  During the academic year, after regular business hours and on weekends, the Anderson Labs are open labs for all WPI community members, and cannot be reserved.  For more information and to reserve these spaces, see our room reservation page.  



Your privacy while using the Gordon Library and its services is an important part of your intellectual and academic freedom. The library’s privacy policy prohibits the release of personal information about any user of library services, in person or online, including user activity (books checked out, fines, reference questions, interlibrary loan requests, etc.), to other individuals or organizations, unless required by officials of WPI or authorized by the user. Information is never revealed to any third party except by a warrant, court order, or subpoena authorized by national, state or local law. All access to and use of personal information is restricted to library-related business. 

For more information about the library’s privacy policy please contact Anna Gold, University Librarian, akgold@wpi.edu.



The Gordon Library’s collections of books, journals, databases, manuscripts, audiovisual and other materials, are principally chosen to support the WPI curriculum, and student and faculty research.

WPI faculty, staff and students are invited to make recommendations for purchases of collection materials that will support these needs. When our budget or policies prevent us from acquiring recommended materials, we can often provide quick and convenient access to requested resources through our interlibrary loan service.

For more information about any of the library’s collection policies, please contact Teresa Negrucci, Collection Assessment and Development Librarian, tnegrucci@wpi.edu; or Anna Gold, University Librarian, akgold@wpi.edu.


The library currently acquires most resources in digital formats, assuring WPI community members with access anytime and from anywhere in the world, on a variety of computing devices. Print formats may be preferred when there is no digital equivalent, when digital costs are prohibitive, or where print formats better support use whether for the curriculum or for research.


Decisions about new subscriptions or cancellations of existing subscriptions for journals or databases are made in consultation with WPI faculty, and taking into account the library’s budget, use of the resources at WPI, and availability of contents through alternative services including document delivery and interlibrary loan. The final decision on subscriptions is the responsibility of the University Librarian, based on the factors outlined above.


Decisions about books and audiovisual titles for the library collection are based on requests from faculty, students, and staff, with priority given to titles that support WPI programs. The library will purchase individual print or ebook titles on request when available. Most ebooks licensed by the library for WPI will work on multiple devices and some permit downloading for individual research use.

Course Materials

The library will also purchase print book titles to be placed on course reserve, but does not normally acquire textbooks.  The library will place instructor or donated copies of print textbooks on reserve upon request. Digital books from the library’s extensive ebook collections provide depth and currency and can provide convenient access to books used for required or supplementary course reading.

Faculty Authors

The library acquires copies of most books by WPI faculty authors and editors.  One copy is retained in the library’s Archives & Special Collections, with a second copy available to borrowers on the third floor in the Faculty Authors section.  Works by WPI faculty authors can be found in the library’s catalog. Significant works by WPI alumni are also available in Archives & Special Collections.

Popular Reading

A committee of library staff selects titles for the library’s popular reading collection based on previous circulation statistics for an author, reviews and lists of award winners, and suggestions from the community. Appropriate popular films and audiobooks are purchased on request. For more information, contact the committee chair, Teresa Negrucci (Collection Assessment and Development Librarian), tnegrucci@wpi.edu.

Archives & Special Collections

The library’s Archives & Special Collections has extensive collections of documents and manuscripts related to WPI history, WPI alumni, and WPI faculty.  In addition, its strengths include Worcester industrial history as related to WPI faculty and alumni; the history of science and technology generally; fire protection engineering; video games and video game history; and the works of Charles Dickens.

When assessing material for acquisition, the Archives & Special Collections considers factors such as the relationship of the material to WPI history or to Worcester history; to the careers of WPI alumni and faculty; the potential of the material to support the WPI curriculum, or the research interests of WPI faculty and students.

More detailed collection policies for Archives & Special Collections may be found on their web pages.

Art Collection

The Gordon Library curates art at WPI, including art objects stored and exhibited by the library, as well as art displayed or stored elsewhere on campus. The purpose of art collections at WPI are to document and preserve the history of the Institute; support the curriculum; and create attractive indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. Works have come to WPI from alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff. Most have been donated, but the university has also invested in art.

Areas of collecting focus include works of art related to WPI’s history, and works related to the curriculum (e.g. Dickens collection, Bernard Brenner sculpture collection, Native American pottery, 19th century tinware).

More detailed art collection policies may be found on the Archives & Special Collections web pages.



The Gordon Library supports a variety of exhibit spaces and sponsors and produces exhibits each year.

Exhibits that support the library’s goals and curricular goals of academic programs are given priority. Library exhibit galleries may be used to share WPI student, faculty, and staff scholarly and creative work.  

Library galleries are not a public forum, and all exhibits must be suitable for view by the broad community of people who visit the library. The library retains the right to determine the suitability of any proposed exhibit. Due to the open nature of the library’s public spaces, neither the university nor the library can assume responsibility for the security of exhibit items.

In-Kind Gifts

In-Kind Gifts

We are grateful that you are considering a gift to the George C. Gordon Library.

The Gordon Library has been greatly enriched and made more accessible through generous gifts of materials, and funds that help preserve and make those collections available to researchers. The Library welcomes materials that meet our collection policies, as described above:  materials that support, broaden, and advance WPI’s curriculum, research, and unique strengths; as well as materials that help document WPI’s history, and the contributions of WPI faculty, alumni, and leadership.

Before bringing or sending your donation to the library, please contact us with an itemized list of items you wish to donate, to be sure that they are likely to meet these criteria.  Staff time for reviewing and processing gifts is limited, as is collection space. In-kind gifts of materials will be evaluated based on their age, condition, quality, and relevance to the curriculum and research interests at WPI.  

Monetary gifts to support review, cataloging, and long-term retention of donated materials are also encouraged, whether in the form of modest annual gifts, bequests, endowments, and larger contributions.  Your gift ensures that WPI’s library materials will be accessible, secure, and actively used by students and scholars for years to come.

For more information about how you can support WPI’s library, please see Gifts to the Library.  

General Collections

For information on donations of general research and curricular materials, please contact Teresa Negrucci, Collection Assessment and Development Librarian, tnegrucci@wpi.edu.

At this time, the library would welcome these donations:

  • Books authored by WPI faculty and alumni
  • Recently published books that support the current curriculum and research of WPI
  • Books about the history of Worcester and industrial history
  • Books related to fire protection and engineering

Items not generally accepted for the library’s general collections include:

  • Technical books more than ten years old
  • Textbooks and study guides
  • Workbooks
  • Case studies
  • Photocopies
  • Print journals
  • Titles already owned by the library
  • Superseded or earlier editions of titles already held
  • Popular fiction
  • Items marked with a highlighter or otherwise damaged
  • Any moldy or mildewed books. If left anonymously, these will be immediately discarded because of the damage they may cause to other library materials.

Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections is particularly interested in receiving gifts of WPI and Worcester historical materials. Further information about gifts to Archives & Special Collections can also be found on their web pages. For donations of rare books, personal papers, manuscripts, and organizational records, please contact Kathleen Markees, Interim Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections, at kmarkees@wpi.edu.

Alternative Destinations for Your Gifts

Donations that are out of scope for the collection may be returned to the donor on request, or will be offered as "free books" to members of the WPI community, to other libraries and booksellers, or will be recycled.  If we are unable to accept your gifts, here are some suggestions for selling or donating your materials:

Tax Information

On request, the library will supply a donation letter for tax purposes which lists the number of items donated, but does not assign a dollar value to the gift. For information about tax treatment of your donation, please consult a qualified tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service.

To find an appraiser, you may consult: