Membership FAQ | Mechanics' Institute

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Membership FAQ

Do you offer a senior, teacher, disabled, or veteran’s discount?

At this time, we offer the same low annual membership cost of $120 for all individual adult memberships.

Are my membership dues tax-deductible?

The Mechanics’ Institute is a non-profit.  Please consult your tax advisor to determine whether you can deduct your membership dues as our members receive goods and services in exchange for their dues. We are grateful for your donations, which are 100% tax-deductible.

May I bring a guest to the library?

Members who wish to bring a guest must obtain a 15 minute pass from the security desk in the lobby. Guests must remain with members at all times. If you wish to bring a guest to work with you in the library for a day, they must first obtain a visitor’s pass from the circulation desk or membership office for $15. The Membership Desk is located in Suite 504, and is open 1-5 PM on weekdays. You can find the library’s operating hours online here.

Where can I take a phone call, have a meeting, or eat lunch?

Members of the Mechanics’ are free to use our 4th floor Meeting Room for brief phone calls and meetings, as well as to eat. Please respect others by keeping discussions short, and by using headphones while watching videos or listening to music. The Meeting Room hours vary by day, and are posted outside of the door.

Where can I join or renew my membership?

If you wish to join online you can do so here on our website, and you can renew online here. We are happy to help you in person at the Membership Desk in Suite 504 from 1-5 PM Mondays through Fridays, or at the 2nd and 3rd floor library circulation desks. The library’s open hours are on our website here.

I’m a new member. Where can I find information about resources?

You can find new membership information on our website here, or come pick up a new member handbook at the library or membership desk during operating hours.

How will I be notified when my membership is due to expire?

A first renewal notice is sent out by e-mail at the beginning of the month before your membership is set to expire. A second notice is sent out by paper mail at the beginning of the month it expires.

A member of my household would like to join, but I already have an individual membership. Can I upgrade to a family membership? How?

Yes! You absolutely can. Membership upgrades must be done in person or over the phone, and cost an additional $60, bringing the $120 individual membership fee to the $180 for a family. All we need is the name, phone number, and e-mail address of our new member.

Can non-members use the library?

Members of the public are welcome to visit the library, and check out our displays or walk through the stacks to get a sense of the space with a 15 minute guest pass, which is available at the security desk in the lobby. Every Wednesday, we have a free tour of the Mechanics’ at noon that is open to the public. For unsupervised visits longer than 15 minutes, visitors must purchase a one-day or one-week visitor’s pass.

How do visitor’s passes work?

Visitors are required to complete a short temporary application, which provides demographic and contact information. The charge for a one-day pass is $15 and the charge for a one-week pass is $45. Day passes entitle the user to use the library space until the end of the day on which the pass was purchased. Please note that this is not a 24-hour pass, but a business-day pass. Weekly passes entitle the user to use the library space for 7 business days, inclusive of the date of payment. Visitor cards must be turned in at the service desk at the end of a visit. Temporary memberships include use of the library space and wi-fi access. Visitors may not check out materials.

Why do I have to provide my address and contact information?

The Mechanics’ Institute uses your contact information to keep you up to date on things such as upcoming events via our weekly newsletter, when your library books are due, and when your membership is up for renewal. We do not share or sell our members’ personal information.

Where does my membership payment go?

For each member, MI spends an average of $600 to ensure that staff are able to provide the best services, library programs, member groups, and collections; that we can produce author talks, panel discussions, and social events in our historic building; and that we can host chess classes and tournaments, as well as reaching into the community via our scholastic chess program to make a difference in students’ lives. Mechanics’ Institute is a non-profit institution and we depend on member support to continue our work, going strong since 1854.

How can I learn more about the Mechanics’ Institute’s history and services?

Each Wednesday at noon, a rotating roster of librarians leads the free weekly building tour, which is open to the public as well as members both brand new and long-time. Quarterly, we host an evening tour, which provides in-depth information on both history and services, and is followed by a wine and cheese reception with plenty of time for mingling with other attendees interested in learning more about the Mechanics’ Institute. Watch our website or sign up for our weekly email to be notified of upcoming tours and events.