Michigan State University

Lending Policies & Borrower Responsibilities

Borrowers are responsible for understanding the policies related to any library material they check out. Disregard for library policies may result in permanent suspension of MSU Library borrowing privileges.

Items on open shelves are available for anyone to use in the library. However, to check out material (or use material behind a service desk), an MSU ID or a library card and picture ID must be presented. Material may not be taken from the library without being checked out.

Borrowers are responsible for knowing the date material is due and returning (or renewing) it promptly.


Care of Library Material

Material must be returned in the same condition as when it was checked out. Borrowers may not write in books, turn down page corners, or use "post-it"-type notes/flags. Borrowers are financially responsible for damage that occurs while material is checked out to them. Borrowers who notice damage before checking out material should bring it to the attention of the Circulation Supervisor, who will note the damage and flag it for repair upon return. Borrowers are also financially responsible for material that is lost or stolen while checked out to them, so checked out items should never be left unattended.

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Returning Material

Please return DVDs, videos, CDs, records, ILLiad/MeLCat items, items from Reserve, Reference, Art, Maps, Music, and Software to the desk where checked out.

Place other material in any book return at the Main Library (24 hour drops at both entrances), drive-up book return on Red Cedar Road north of the MSU stadium or the Business Library (in the Law College Building, on your right as you enter). You may also mail material through campus mail (to Circulation, Main Library) or to this exact address: Book Returns, Circulation (23), MSU Libraries, 366 W. Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824; please arrange for tracking and insurance of at least $100 per volume.

If you need confirmation of the return of library material, please take it to the Main Library Circulation Desk and request a receipt from the Supervisor.

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Circulation Notices

Borrowers are responsible for fines resulting from un-received or un-read mail or email. You must keep the University/library updated with your current address. Library addresses for MSU students are loaded automatically from MSU Registrar records. MSU students are required to keep local and permanent addresses updated via the Address Changes link on the Office of the Registrar's page or 150 Administration Building. If a student does not move, the Registrar requires reconfirmation of local address at the beginning of each summer and fall semester. If a student does not reconfirm, the local address expires and mail is sent to the permanent address. Faculty/staff members must update home addresses in the Personal Information section of the ESS Faculty tab in EBS. Consult your departmental secretary to update your campus address. Community borrowers must report changes in e-mail and postal address at the Main Library Circulation Desk or via email to CircAdm@mail.lib.msu.edu. (We cannot take address changes over the phone.)

Borrowers must assure that email from msu.edu email addresses is not diverted to spam quarantine files. Notices about library material are sent to the MSU email addresses of students, faculty, and staff, so you must read MSU e-mail often or set your MSU e-mail to forward to an e-mail account that you read regularly.

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Renewals, Overdue Fines, and Bills for Replacement

Library material must be renewed to extend the due date; renewals are not automatic. Borrowers may renew eligible material online via Your Library Account - phone renewals are not possible. All material may be renewed except recalled items and reserves, software, CDs, DVDs, videos, records, videodiscs, special permission checkouts, and 14-day material.

Fines and bills are the responsibility of the borrower regardless of being away from campus for breaks between semesters, vacations, exams, illness, car trouble, sabbatical leaves, unread MSU e-mail, late or never-received reminder notices, etc. If a borrower will be away, that person must assure that checked out material will be available to others during the absence. Material should either be returned before leaving or arrangements made for someone to watch the borrower's mail for recalls, have access to checked out material, and return recalled items.

Fine amounts are not calculated until after material is returned. Material returned after closing is not considered returned until the next day the library is open.

If a borrower owes money, privileges are suspended without notice. Payment may be made by mail (check made out to MSU and sent to Accounts, Circulation, Main Library, MSU Libraries (23), 366 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824), at the Main Circulation Desk, or by calling (517) 355-2333 with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

Most material in the MSU Libraries do not carry fines but overdue fines are charged for the following high-demand material items when returned after the due date.

  • Reserves: $1.00 per hour. NOTE: Our system considers an item that is one minute overdue to be a full hour overdue. Therefore, the full hourly amount is assessed for any portion of an hour overdue, even one minute.
  • Collaborative Technology Lab material: $1.00/hour.
  • Recalled material, software, CDs, records, videos, DVDs, 14-day items: $1 per day.
  • Material borrowed from other libraries (interlibrary loan, ILLiad, or MeLCat): $2 per day.

When an item is significantly overdue, the borrower is billed for its replacement and borrowing privileges are suspended without notice until the account is paid in full or material is returned or replaced by the borrower. Holds are placed on MSU student enrollment, registration, diplomas, and transcripts at the same time.

Minimum replacement charges are $100. Current market value is charged whenever it is higher than the minimum replacement charge.

  • Billed material cannot be renewed online. It must be brought to Circulation or a branch library for renewal.
  • When a billed item is returned, the replacement charge is canceled but overdue fines may be charged.
  • Unresolved bills may be turned over to a collection agency any time after 30 days from date of issue.

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Recall of Checked Out Material

The library usually has only one copy of each title to support the information needs of the entire MSU community. Therefore, we will recall any checked-out material if it is requested by someone else. Recalled material cannot be renewed and you may be given a new due date for the recalled material.

If a recalled item is not returned by the specified date, the borrower's library privileges will be suspended until it is returned and recall fines of $1 per day will be charged.

If you need an item that is checked out, please request a "recall" at the Main Library Circulation Desk, a branch library, or by using the recall request form. Circulation staff will send the borrower a recall notice, indicating that the material must be returned within fourteen days or be subject to fines of $1 per day. When returned, the material will be held at its owning location for seven days and you will be notified.

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Library Cards/MSU ID Cards

Material may not be checked out for others. A borrower is financially responsible for all material checked out using his/her card. Therefore, theft/loss of an MSU ID must be reported immediately by calling Circulation at (517) 355-2333. Library privileges expire when an individual leaves MSU.

MSU IDs (available for students, faculty and staff at the MSU ID Office, 170 International Center) are issued with a library barcode. A few days after an MSU ID card is printed, the barcode number is entered automatically into library records. If a borrower's library card or MSU ID lacks a picture, another photo ID is required to check out material.

Michigan residents at least eighteen years old may be eligible for community library privileges if they show a valid Michigan driver's license or State of Michigan picture ID card containing the current mailing address for the individual’s residence; cards will not be issued if the license/ID address is a Post Office Box. If the individual has no outstanding charges from a previous MSU library account, a library card will be processed within a few business days and mailed to the address on the license/ID. No more than two items may be checked out until the library card is received. After receiving the library card, community borrowers may check out no more than 25 items at a time and are not eligible to use one-day lockers. Community library cards expire two years after creation, at which time the Community borrower must again bring in their present photo ID and proof of Michigan residence in order to continue checking out material. When renewing a community library card, the borrower will be allowed to check out no more than two items until the new library card is received. Community borrowers may check out material from other libraries using the MeLCat system; however, other interlibrary loan services are not available. Community borrower may use electronic resources in the library but they do not have access to the eResources outside of the library.

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Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities

Accommodation related to checking out library material may be requested calling (517) 884-6458 or email: atc@mail.lib.msu.edu

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Checking Out Material

Each time a borrower wishes to check out material, he/ she must present his/her own current MSU ID or library card and a photo ID card. One's library card and a photo ID are also required to use Reserve material, items in the Gerald M Kline Digital and Multimedia Center, or any other material requested from library staff.

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Main Library Loan Periods

Some materials cannot be checked out at all, including high-use periodicals published within the last ten years, Art journals, Reference material, Special Collections material, microforms, etc. Limiting use of these high demand materials to the library provides availability to all users. Reserve materials circulate to all borrowers for 2 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, or 7 days (as specified by the MSU instructor). NOTE: Reserve material with a "two hour no overnight" loan period is library-use only.

Loan periods for most other types of library material are shown below:

Borrowers Most Books Dissertations, Theses Bound Periodicals Browsing, Careers, Travel, Children's, Business Popular, Business Audio CDs, Records, Videos, DVDs
MSU Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff 180 days 180 days 21 days 21 days 14 days
MSU Undergraduate Students, MSU Spouses, & Community Borrowers 21 days 21 days 21 days 21 days 14 days

For detailed policies, call Circulation at (517) 355-2333.

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Michigan Law and University Policies

  • Michigan Compiled Law (MCL750.391) defines damaging library material (or keeping it overdue) as larceny.
  • The confidentiality of library records in the state of Michigan is protected by "The Library Privacy Act," Michigan Compiled Law (MCL 397.601-606, Act 455 of 1982). Federal law may supersede Michigan Law.
  • Removing material from the MSU Libraries without checking it out may result in criminal charges.
  • MSU ID cards are property of MSU; if used by anyone other than the owner, an MSU ID will be confiscated.