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Who can check out materials?

  • Active MSU Faculty, Staff, and Students
    • Faculty and staff are considered "active" as long as they are employed at Mississippi State University.
    • Students are considered "active" if they are enrolled in the current or next semester. Students enrolled in the previous semester but not registered by the drop date of the current semester will no longer have borrowing privileges or access to online resources.
    • Must present valid MSU identification card. If you do not have it with you, you may use a valid driver's license. Lost ID cards should be reported immediately to Access and Information and to the Registrar's Office.
  • MSU Alumni and Community Members
    • Must present a valid Courtesy or public library card from a participating Mississippi Library Partnership library.
      • Courtesy Cards may be purchased at Access and Information for a $20 annual fee. Alumni can obtain a free Courtesy Card with proof of membership in the Alumni Association.
      • Courtesy Cards are non-transferable. You are responsible for all library materials borrowed on your Courtesy Card.
  • Continuing Education, Distance Education, and Visiting Students
    • Students taking MSU classes but not receiving a MSU ID card may receive a temporary library card from Access and Information.
      • Instructors must provide Access and Information with a list of students enrolled in a class, along with their own contact information and their students' identification numbers and permanent addresses. Cards will be ready within 24 hours of receiving this list.
  • Special Library Patrons
    • Special Library Patron cards are issued at the discretion of the Dean of Libraries. These cards are renewed indefinitely without cost to the patron.
    • The Dean determines the loan period.
    • The cardholder is not responsible for fines, but if a book becomes lost the cardholder is responsible for the book's replacement cost plus a processing fee.

For how long can I check out materials?

See Borrowing Periods for circulating books, journals, and audiovisual materials.

  • Reserve materials, reference books, periodicals, and other materials may have different loan periods.
  • Students, faculty, and staff of the College of Architecture, Art and Design Library and the College of Veterinary Medicine Library may have different loan periods for some materials.
  • Students taking classes through Continuing Education receive borrowing status as assigned by Continuing Education.

Books are due on the date stamped on the date due slip in the front of the book even if the library is closed. You can return books at the book drop on Hardy Road or in the front of Mitchell Memorial Library at the Drill Field entrance; they will be checked in the following day.

There is a grace period after a book is due, during which no fines are charged and the book may be renewed. If the book is not returned or renewed within the grace period, we assess a $10-per-item fine.

What kinds of materials can I check out, other than circulating books?

Depending on your Borrowing Periods, you may be able to check out periodicals, reference materials, and government documents.

  • Periodicals:
    MSU faculty, staff and graduate students can borrow up to 5 periodicals at a time from the 1st Floor reading room for up to 1 day.
    • You must return the first 5 items to borrow more.
    • Late penalties:
      • Graduate students will be charged a $1-per-day fine with no maximum
      • Faculty and staff will be blocked from borrowing, interlibrary loan, and reserve
  • Reference materials:
    These circulate to faculty only at the discretion of the Research Services librarian on duty, who will accompany you to the Access and Information desk.
  • Government documents:
    All MSU faculty, staff and students may borrow circulating government documentts. Items with barcodes are checked out as circulating books. Items without barcodes and topographical maps may also be checked out and receive due dates like circulating books.

    Only paper documents can be checked out; all other forms must be used inside the Government Documents area. The following are non-circulating:

    • Microfiche documents
    • Congressional records
    • Serial set volumes
    • Census materials
    • Reference material located in the Government Documents area

How much are late fees?

It is your responsibility to return books on time. Each book is stamped with a due date, and overdue notices are sent only as a courtesy to you. For each book not returned by the end of your Borrowing Periods, a $10 fine is assessed. This fine is not waived for MSU Libraries student assistants.

We accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and MoneyMate for payment. Overdue fines not paid within two weeks will be transferred to your consolidated billing account and may be paid at the Office of the Controller and Treasurer or through myState.

If you are borrowing from MSU Libraries as a patron of MUW, MSMS, EMCC, or SHS libraries, your account will be blocked for fines of at least $10, and your library will be notified if you should be placed on hold for extreme overdue material or non-payment of fines. All patrons of Mississippi Library Partnership libraries are subject to all other policies governing the charging of circulating materials.

Can I renew my materials?

You can renew circulating books two times, unless they have been requested by another patron.

Periodicals and reference materials cannot be renewed. Government documents can be renewed normally except for special permission items.

How can I make sure the book I need will not be checked out before I can come get it?

Place a hold on a book and we'll retrieve or request it for you, then hold it at the library of your choice.

I'm not on campus. Can I use MSU Libraries materials?

If you are a distance learner, you can request photocopies of MSU Libraries materials or have books mailed to you, all free of charge.

You can also return books by mail:

Mitchell Memorial Library
Attn: Access and Information Department
PO Box 5408
Mississippi State, MS 39762

You are responsible for return postage and any overdue fines. Fines are based on the date books arrive at Mitchell Memorial Library; avoid fines by renewing books prior to returning them. You are responsible for any damage or loss, including those occurring during shipment.

More services for online/distance learners

What if I lose a book?

You will be charged the book's current market price, plus a $10-per-book processing fee and any assessed fines. If you notify us that the book is lost before it is 28 days overdue, no fine will be charged, but the price of the book plus the $10 processing fee will still be due.

If the book is found after you have paid for it, you may be reimbursed for the price of the book, but not for the fees and fines. The money will be refunded on your consolidated billing account and a refund check will be printed at the Office of the Controller and Treasurer.

If we charge you for material that you believe has been returned, contact us as soon as you notice the error. We will print your record and begin a series of searches for the material. If we find it in the library and it has been sensitized (indicating that our staff received it and checked it in improperly), we will drop all fines and contact you with an apology. If we find it and it has not been sensitized, the fines will not be waived. If after 60 days or 10 searches we have not found the book, you will be responsible for the price of the book and the reordering fee of $10.

What if I can't find a book on the library shelves?

An Access and Information staff member or student assistant will come with you to help you find the material. If the two of you can't find it, you'll be offered a Book Request card to fill out. We will search for the missing item for 90 days. If after 10 days you have not heard from us, you can try other means of getting the material, including Interlibrary Loan.

If the book is found within the 90-day period, we'll let you know we found it and hold it for you for seven days. If it is still missing after the 90-day period, we'll withdraw it from our collection.

How can I check out books at participating libraries?

As charter members of the Mississippi Library Partnership, we are able to offer an easy way to check out materials from participating libraries. Simply find the book you want in the Online Catalog, place a hold on it, and pick it up at the library of your choice.

What happens if I don't comply with these policies?

Borrowing privileges will be suspended for anyone who fails to comply with policies for return, renewal, or recall of materials, or payment of fees due.