Michigan State University
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On March 16, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order temporarily closing many public spaces. All academic libraries are included in this order. The MSU Libraries are closed, but we still offer virtual services and many resources do remain available. Please see our Online and Distance Learning resource page for specific Library resources. Reference services are still available via chat and phone. We do have temporary policies for returning/renewing material.

Borrowing Frequently Asked Questions

While we are presenting the most common questions, not every question is answered here. If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact us by calling 517-355-2333.

How do I find a book or other library materials?

When you search the library's catalog and find an item in the collection, look under Location and select Map It!. This will show what floor the item is on and where call numbers are located on that floor.

You can locate where a book is in the library by using the call number: MSU Libraries Call Number Locations.

There are also interactive digital signs throughout the library to assist with locating material.

How do I get a Library Account?

MSU ID cards (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, a library record is automatically created.

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 may 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.

How do I check out a book?

Please bring Main Library material to the Patron Services Desk (located on the first floor). Bring branch material to the service desk in the branch. Each borrower must present his/her own MSU ID -- or library card and photo identification -- to check out material or use Reserve material, the Gerald M Kline Digital and Multimedia Center, or any library item that must be requested from library staff.

How do I access my Library Account online?

How do I access my Library Account online?

Visit Your Library Account to access your library records. MSU students, faculty and staff log in with their MSU NetID and password. Community borrowers and Faculty Authorization accounts log in with their barcode and password.

What is an MSU NetID? 

For MSU students, faculty and staff, the MSU NetID is that portion of the MSU email that comes before @msu.edu. All MSU students, faculty, and staff have MSU NetID accounts (for e-mail and to access MSU Library eResources and other MSU websites).

I tried to log in to My Library Account and got the message "Sorry, cannot locate patron record."

Try re-typing your MSU NetID and password -- or barcode and password for community borrowers. If the system still cannot locate your record, please call Patron Services (517) 355-2333, and explain that you cannot get to your library account online.

Are there guidelines for my password?

If your MSU NetID password contains symbols, punctuation, or spaces, it will not work for your library account. Please change your password so that it contains only letters and/or numbers.

If you are a community borrower, you must select a password in person at the Main Library Patron Services Desk. Then you can view your record by entering the barcode from your library card and your password.  If you have forgotten your community password or it is not working, please come to the MSU Main Library Patron Services Desk to reset it; it cannot be reset online or by phone.

How do I renew library materials online?

Renewing MSU Material

  • If you renew an item, you confirm that you still have that item. Therefore, before renewing, you are responsible for:
    • Carefully matching material that you plan to renew against library material in your possession.
    • Immediately reporting any discrepancy to the branch library from which material was checked out or (for Main Library items) Patron Services at 517/355-2333.
    • Click the box to the left of each item you wish to renew and click "Renew Selected" at the top or bottom of the webpage.
    • Click "Renew All" at the top or bottom of the page to renew all items.
    • The webpage will ask you to confirm the items you wish to renew. Click YES if correct. Click NO if not correct and try again.
    • After clicking "renew," examine the STATUS column for each book to determine if it renewed and note the new due date.
      • Some MSU Library material cannot be renewed:
        • Items recalled by someone else and marked HOLD on the screen in "My library account."
        • Items long overdue and already billed for replacement; these must be brought to a library for renewal.
        • Items whose loan policies do not allow renewal, such as reserve readings, material checked out by special permission, and 14-day checkouts (software, CDs, videodiscs, equipment, etc.)
      • If material did not renew, return it promptly! NOTE: Even if you don't notice that an item did not renew, you are responsible for any fines.
    • Close your browser to protect your privacy if you are on a public computer!

Renewing Interlibrary Loan Material

  • Some items are eligible for renewal. For these items a renewal option will appear on the request in your ILLiad account (under 'Checked Out Items') 10 days before the due date.
  • Overdue items are not eligible for renewal.
  • Only one renewal per item is permitted.
  • Renewals are not automatically granted. Interlibrary Services staff will review and send your request to the lending library. You will be notified if the renewal is successful or denied.
  • Exceptions: Material borrowed through MeLCat may be eligible for a 3 week renewal, which can be requested separately through your Your Library Account.

What are the fines for late books?

No fines are charged for most material, but overdue fines are charged for the following items when returned after the due date:

  • Reserves: $1.00/hour. Collaborative Technology Lab material: $1.00/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.
  • Equipment (whiteboard markers/erasers, phone chargers, calculators, locks, etc.): $1.00/hr
  • Recalled material, software, CDs, records, videos, DVDs: $1.00/day
  • Material borrowed from other institutions (interlibrary loan): $2.00/day

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

Minimum replacement charges are $100.00. Current market value is charged whenever it is higher than the minimum replacement fee.

  • Billed material cannot be renewed online. It must be brought to Patron Services 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.

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.

We do not discuss fines or bills over the phone.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). Please email any fine or bill question to LIB.circadm@msu.edu. You may also ask to speak to a supervisor at the Main Library Patron Services Desk during any of our open hours.

How do I pay my library fines?

Payment Options:

  1. Call (517) 355-2333 pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover
  2. Pay in person at the Main Library Patron Services Desk with cash, check or Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover
  3. Mail a check payable to MSU and include your PID or barcode number from your MSU Library Card to the address below.

Accounts, Patron Services, Main Library
MSU Libraries (23)
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

If a borrower owes money, privileges are suspended without notice. 

How do I resolve a library bill?

When an item is significantly overdue, the borrower is billed for replacement and MSU Library borrowing privileges are suspended. Holds are also placed on MSU student enrollment, registration, diplomas, and transcripts, which remain until material is returned, replaced, or paid for. Unresolved bills may be turned over to a collection agency any time after thirty days. 

  • IF YOU FIND THE MATERIAL, RETURN IT TO CANCEL THE BILL. Within a few days after billed items are returned, the enrollment/transcript holds for MSU students will be removed.
  • To renew billed material, please bring it to the Patron Services Desk in the Main library or a branch; it cannot be renewed online. NOTE: Billed MeLCat and ILLiad items cannot be renewed.
  • If the material is lost and you wish to replace it, please e-mail lib.circadm@msu.edu (or call 517-884-1946). We will locate the least expensive, acceptable copy at an online bookstore and e-mail you the link so that you may order it quickly. Replacements are often significantly less expensive than the billed amount. Do not buy a replacement without asking us, as it may be refused if it does not meet our guidelines. If you do not wish to replace the material, you may pay the bill.

What happens if I lose a library item?

If you lose a library item, contact Patron Services (e-mail lib.circadm@msu.edu or call (517-884-1946). We will locate the least expensive, acceptable copy at an online bookstore and e-mail you the link so that you may order it quickly. Do not buy a replacement without asking us, as it may be refused if it does not meet our guidelines. If you do not wish to replace the material, you may pay for the book. Minimum replacement charges are $100.00. Current market value is charged whenever it is higher than the minimum replacement fee. 

How do I reset my password?

To reset an MSU NetID password, visit: MSU NetID Password Reset.

To reset a community borrower account password, you must come to the Patron Services desk at the Main Library. 

How do I replace my library card?

MSU students, faculty and staff may request a new MSU ID card (which serves as their library card) at the MSU ID Office, 427 N. Shaw Lane, Room 170, East Lansing, MI 48824. 

Community borrowers may request a new card by coming to the Patron Services desk in the Main Library and presenting a valid Michigan driver’s license or State of Michigan picture ID card containing the mailing address for the individual’s residence. 

Where can I return library materials?

Most material can be placed directly into book returns (Reserve material, fragile material, DVDs and CDs should not be placed in book returns).

Book return locations:

  • 24/7 book returns are located at the entrances of the Main Library
  • Drive-up book returns are located on Red Cedar Road (north of the football stadium). These drops may be closed due to poor weather, the library being closed, or certain campus events.
  • Business Library
  • Law Library

Books may be mailed to the library using this address:

Book Returns, Patron Services  (23)
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824

Does the library offer course reserves?

If a professor places material on reserve you can search for the material here: Find a Reserve Item.

For additional information about course reserves please review our Course Reserves Policies.

Can I receive a refund?

If a paid-for item is returned within ninety days of payment, and the library has not yet bought a new copy, the billed amount minus a $15.00 handling fee will be refunded by check. No refunds will be issued more than ninety days after payment. Refunds cannot be issued if library material is found after a replacement copy has been supplied (or after we have ordered a replacement copy). If you find the lost material after providing a replacement (or after it has been re-ordered), you may keep the library copy. Please bring it to the Main Library Patron Services Desk to have it stamped "withdrawn" so it no longer appears to be MSU Library material.

What equipment is available for check out at Patron Services?

Patron Services has the following equipment available for short-term check out: 

  • phone chargers (iPhone, Android, USB-C)
  • white board markers & erasers
  • bike locks
  • one-day locks (not available for community borrowers)
  • calculators
  • Amigo mobility aid
  • SD card readers

Am I allowed to sleep in the library?

For the safety and security of our users, excessive sleeping and camping in the MSU Libraries are prohibited. This includes:

  • Sleeping for an extended period of time (longer than 30 minutes) on a chair, couch, bench, floor or other surface. If library staff find patrons sleeping in this way, we will verbally wake the patron and ask them not to sleep in the building. This protects the patron from theft of their personal property while they are sleeping in a public space, and it also allows library staff to ensure that the sleeping patron is physically well and not in need of medical assistance. Library staff will NOT disturb students that are taking short naps or studying while lying down, unless those behaviors disrupt other users or interferes with the operations of the library or its staff.
  • Excessive use of seating or space that interferes with priority usage for students, faculty, or staff.  This includes stacking furniture or books to create private study areas.
  • Using the bathrooms for bathing, showering or for more than casual grooming.
  • Use of bedrolls, blankets and other such covering; carrying on cooking activities; and other behavior that amounts to using the seating or space as a temporary shelter or living quarters.