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Institutional Policies

Policy ACAF-LIB-004

logo of The University of Southern Mississippi  
Responsible University Administrator: Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Responsible Officer: Dean of University Libraries
Origination Date: N/A
Current Revision Date: 08/01/17
Next Review Date: 08/01/21
End of Policy Date: NA
Policy Number: ACAF-LIB-004
Status: Effective




Policy Statement


The University Libraries’ Circulation Policy governs the use of library materials in Cook Library, McCain Library and Archives, Gulf Coast Library, and Gunter Library.

Each borrower assumes full responsibility for all materials charged to his or her account and for knowledge of and adherence to library policies concerning loan periods and penalties.

Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy is required for the effective communication of university policies regarding the circulation of library materials.

Who Needs to Know This Policy

All patrons of the University Libraries.


Website Address for this Policy



1.0       Borrower Information

It is the responsibility of the current student, faculty, or staff member to maintain current name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address with the university (Office of the Registrar and Department of Human Resources) and University Libraries. Community borrowers must supply current contact information upon registration as a library borrower. Borrowers may update this information at the circulation desk of any University Libraries location.


2.0       Borrower Identification

Identification is required for circulation privileges according to the following categories:

2.1    University borrowers

University borrowers, including retirees, must have a university-issued identification card.


2.2    Community borrowers

Community borrowers must have a current alumni card, Friends of University Libraries card, special programs and nontraditional studies verification card, temporary university personnel card, or reciprocal agreement borrowers card


3.0       Confidentiality of Library Records

Consistent with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and Mississippi Code 39-3-365, University Libraries does not release personal information to a third party, or by telephone, without prior written consent.


4.0       Item Limits for Circulating Materials

Circulating materials may be checked out according to the following item limits.

       4.1       Undergraduate students: 25 items at any given time

       4.2       Graduate students: 50 items at any given time

       4.3       Faculty and staff: 100 items at any given time

       4.4       Community borrowers: 5 items at any given time


5.0       Non-circulating Materials

Materials from the following collections cannot be checked out:

(Alphabetized list)

  • Archives 
  • de Grummond
  • Law series
  • Microforms
  • Mississippiana
  • Periodicals (unbound)
  • Ready Reference
  • Special Collections

6.0       Circulation Periods

Circulating materials have the following loan periods:

  General Collection Reference Materials, and Atlases Bound Periodicals Media and Media Equipment Curriculum Materials
Faculty and Staff 180 days 1 day 3 days 14 days 30 days
Graduate Students 120 days 1 day 3 days 14 days 14 days
Undergraduate Students 30 days 1 day 3 days 14 days 14 days
Community Borrowers 30 days Non-circulating Non-circulating 14 days 14 days




Dry-erase board markers and erasers are available for checkout from the circulation desk and are intended to be used in the library. They are due by closing of the day they are checked out.


7.0       Notices

       7.1    Notification of original due date

It is the responsibility of the borrower to return materials on or before the due date/time. The due date receipt that is emailed at the time of checkout constitutes formal notification of due date. Usage agreements signed by the borrower when checking out equipment constitutes formal notification of the due date/time. Notice of overdue materials is provided only as a courtesy.

       7.2    Notification of due date for online renewals

For online renewals, the online notification of the new due date constitutes formal notification.

       7.3    Email address for notices

               7.3.1    University borrowers

For faculty, staff, and students, all library notifications are sent via email to the official university email address. The email address, email user name, and initial email password are available from iTech. If borrowers wish to use an email address other than the email address, instructions to forward messages are available from the iTech website.

               7.3.2    Community borrowers

Community borrowers must supply email addresses at the time of registration in order to receive notifications.


8.0       Renewals

There is no limit on the number of times a loan may be renewed on site, provided a hold has not been placed on the item by another borrower. To be renewed, both the item and borrower’s identification card must be presented in person by the borrower.

Loans of items from the general, media, and curriculum materials collections may be renewed two times through the online catalog. Online renewals may occur within 7 days prior to the due date for materials from the general collection and within 3 days prior to the due date for items from the media and curriculum materials collections.

Online renewals are not available for reference materials, atlases, bound periodicals, or equipment.


9.0       Holds

Holds may be placed on any general circulating material by clicking on the “Request” link in the item record as displayed in the library catalog, or in person at the circulation desk of any University Libraries location. Holds are not available for reference materials, atlases, bound periodicals, or equipment.


10.0     Recalls

Due dates for recalled materials will be revised as follows:

  • Materials to be placed on reserve for class assignments are subject to immediate recall.
  • All Cook Library, Gulf Coast Library, and Gunter Library materials for which hold requests have been made are subject to recall after 14 days of circulation, regardless of the original due date and category of the borrower.
  • Recalls cannot be placed on items with a loan period of less than 15 days.

Unreturned recalled materials are subject to fines and/or suspension of borrowing privileges, based upon the revised due date. Failure to comply with request for recalled materials will result in suspension of borrowing privileges.


11.0     Returns

Print materials may be returned to the circulation desk or book drop of any University Libraries location.

Non-print materials (to include but not limited to: VHS, DVD, CD, kits) should be returned to a library circulation desk.


12.0     Charges Assessed

       12.1     Overdue fines for University Libraries materials

All borrowers are subject to fines for items returned after the date due. Fines for general circulating materials are calculated at twenty-five cents ($0.25) per day, per item, for each day the library is open. Items with a circulation period of 30 days or more have a 7-day grace period. Items with a 14-day circulation period have a 2-day grace period. Items with less than a 14-day circulation period do not have a grace period. During the grace period, no fines will be assessed on items returned; however, on subsequent days, fines will be assessed for all days following the due date. Maximum fines assessed will be $50.00 per item.

Fines for overdue recalled materials, reference materials, atlases, and bound periodicals are calculated at $1.00 per day, per item, for each day the library is open. Maximum fines assessed will be $100.00 per item.

Overdue fines for media equipment and dry-erase board markers are calculated at $5.00 a day, with a maximum fine of $50.00.

       12.2     Overdue fines for interlibrary loans

Interlibrary loan services are dependent on cooperation with other institutions. Fines for overdue interlibrary loan items are calculated at $2.00 per day, per item. Maximum fines assessed will be $100.00.

       12.3     Returned checks

A $30.00 fee will be assessed for returned checks.


13.0     Delinquency

When 5 items are kept beyond their date dues, library charges exceed $20.00, or a borrower is over the checkout item limit, the borrower’s record will be flagged as delinquent. Delinquent borrowers will not be allowed to check out additional materials or renew materials online until overdue items are returned and charges are cleared.


14.0     Damaged Items

Charges for damaged items are determined and assessed by University Libraries’ personnel based on the extent of damage and the format. Extensive damage may require full replacement charges for the item.


15.0     Lost Items

Library materials declared lost or kept at least 42 days beyond the due date will be billed replacement charges as follows:


       15.1     Lost items still available:

Items still available:

  • list price,
  • $25 non-refundable billing fee, and
  • $50 processing fee


       15.2     Lost items no longer available:

Items no longer available:

  • original purchase price if known or default replacement price of $50.00,
  • $25 non-refundable billing fee, and
  • $50 processing fee


Borrowing privileges will be suspended until payment is received for lost library materials.


16.0     Appeals

All legitimate objections related to library charges will be considered. Forms are available at the circulation desk of each University Libraries location or online. Problems that do not constitute a legitimate basis for appeal are:

  • Lack of knowledge of library policy
  • Lack of understanding of library policy
  • Disagreement with library policy
  • Inability to pay fines and charges
  • Failure to receive an overdue notice
  • Unwillingness to take responsibility for materials loaned to a third party, for example, loaning materials charged to you to a classmate, family member, faculty member, etc.


17.0     Lost Items Returned

Lost library materials returned within six months of charge are eligible for credit of the replacement price and processing fee.



The Dean of University Libraries is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).



Library charge appeal forms are available at the circulation desk of any University Libraries location or online at





Related Information

Mississippi Code 39-3-365 can be found at the following website:


iTech website located at



Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes

12/01/10: Revised

11/01/11: Formatted for Institutional Policies website

11/01/12: Updated

02/18/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.

12/05/13: Policy Revised  

08/01/2017: Revised loan period for curriculum materials. Formatted to follow a decimal numbering convention and minor editing throughout. 





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