Michigan State University

Lending Policies & Borrower Responsibilities

Borrowers are responsible for understanding these polices. Disregard for these policies may result in permanent suspension of MSU Library borrowing privileges.


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. A fine may be issued for material returned with this type of damage. Borrowers who notice damage before checking out material should inform Patron Services, who will note the damage and flag the material for repair upon return. Borrowers are financially responsible for material that is lost, damaged or stolen while it is checked out to them.

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Returning Material

Return DVDs, videos, CDs, records, ILLiad/MeLCat items and items from Reserve, Reference, Art, Maps, Music, and Software to the desk where they were checked out.  Place other material in any book return at the Main Library or a branch -- or mail it to the Book Returns, Patron Services (23), MSU Libraries, 366 W. Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824; please arrange for tracking and insurance of at least $100 per volume.

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Patron Services 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 mailing address and email address. Mailing addresses for MSU students are updated via the MSU Registrar. Faculty/staff members must update mailing addresses via departmental secretaries. Notices about library materials are sent to MSU email addresses of students, faculty, and staff. MSU borrowers must assure that email from msu.edu is not diverted to spam quarantine files. Community borrowers must bring proof of address changes to the Patron Services Desk.

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Renewals, Overdue Fines, and Bills for Replacement

Library material must be renewed in order to extend the due date; renewals are not automatic.  Borrowers may renew eligible material up to five times online at My Account — phone renewals are not possible.  After five online renewals, borrowers must bring the material back to the library to renew. All material may be renewed except recalled items, reserves, software, CDs, DVDs, videos, records, videodiscs and special permission checkouts. Faculty and staff have two years to renew overdue MSU material (excluding recalled items and reserves, software, CDs, DVDs, videos, records, videodiscs, special permission checkouts, 3-day and 14-day material) before they will be billed for replacement of the material, and their library privileges will be suspended.

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. 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 (Michigan State University Libraries, ATTN: Patron Services, 366 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824), at the Patron Services Desk, or by calling 517.355.2333.

No fines are charged for most material in the MSU Libraries, but overdue fines are charged for the following high-demand items when returned after the due date.

  • Reserves, Collaborative Technology Lab material & Equipment: $1.00/Hour
  • Recalled material, software, CDs, records, videos & DVDs:  $1/day
  • Material borrowed from other libraries (ILLiad, or MeLCat):  $2/day

When an item is significantly overdue, the borrower is billed for its replacement and borrowing privileges are suspended without notice until borrower pays the bill or material is returned or replaced. Until the bill is resolved, holds are placed on MSU student enrollment, registration, diplomas, and transcripts.

Minimum replacement charges are $100. Current market value is charged whenever it is higher than the minimum replacement charge. Please note, billed material cannot be renewed online; it must be brought to Patron Services for renewal. When a billed item is returned, the replacement charge is cancelled but overdue fines may still 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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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 Patron Services at 517.355.2333.

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 loaded automatically into library records. If an MSU ID lacks a picture, another photo ID is required to check out material. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of one credit in order to utilize electronic resources outside of the library and to check out material with student status. If a student is not enrolled in at least one credit (PhD student/Life-long Education student), they may apply for a community borrower card. 

Michigan residents at least eighteen years old may apply for community privileges by showing a valid Michigan driver’s license or State of Michigan picture ID card containing the 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. Two books can be checked out on the day the card is created. Additional books cannot be checked out until the library card is received in the mail.  Community borrowers may have no more than 25 items checked out at one time and are not eligible to use one-day lockers. Community borrower cards expire after two years, at which time a community borrower must reapply for a library card.

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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@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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Recalled Material

Checked-out material will be recalled if requested by another. Recalled material must be returned by the new recall due date to avoid fines.  To prevent recall fines while away from MSU (breaks between semesters, vacation, sabbatical, university business, etc.), material should be returned before leaving or arrangements made for someone to check your mail for notices, have access to your checked out material, and return recalled items.

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Main Library Loan Periods

Some materials cannot be checked out at all. Reserve materials circulate to borrowers for 2 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, or 7 days (as specified by the MSU instructor). 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 180 days 180 days 21 days 21 days 14 days
MSU Spouses & Community Borrowers 21 days 21 days 21 days 21 days 14 days

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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.