Undergraduate Student Circulation Survival Guide

This brief guide is a shortcut to general collection policies regarding borrowing, renewals, returns, recalls, holds, OhioLINK borrowing, Course Reserve, fines, semester breaks and keeping track of your own library account. Each special collection has its own policies and hours. Ask a special collection staff member for instructions about materials housed in that collection.

 Table of contents

Important Telephone Numbers

Borrowing, Renewals and Returns

General Policies
What do I need to borrow materials?
How do I get an account in the library patron database?
How many items can I borrow?
What if I don't have my BGSU ID with me?
How can I renew books?
Where can I return general collection materials?
Is there any information specifically for graduate students or faculty?

Tracking your library account

How do I keep track of what I have borrowed?
What do I do if I think I returned a book and it's still on my record?
What if I don't need a book I requested?
Can a book I have borrowed be recalled for another patron?

Fines and Related Topics

How much are late fines?
Will I get overdue notices?
How much do I have to pay if I lose a book?
What do I do if I find the book after I get a bill?

Course Reserve and Special Collections

What are "reserve" materials?
What do I need to borrow something from reserve?
How do I get a call number from reserve?
What about access to the special collections?

OhioLINK consortium

What is OhioLINK?
How do I request an OhioLINK book?

Article Requesting

Can I get full text articles through the BGSU Libraries Catalog or OhioLINK?

Traditional Interlibrary Loan

Other Useful Information

When is the library open?
Where can I get a card for photocopying?
What services for the disabled are there?
Is there any place to store my things in the library?
What about food and drink?
What other study aids are available in the library?

Important Telephone Numbers

Alphabetical staff directory || Staff by Department

Need information or help?

Toll free 866-LIB-BGSU [866-542-2478]

Hours and Information (recording) 419-372-2885

Book renewal 419-372-2133

General information, borrowing, account, and access information and help:

Jerome/Main 419-372-2051

Research & Information Desk (Reference) 419-372-2361

Reserve (Main Jerome)  419-372-7908 

Borrowing, renewals and returns

 General Policies

The holdings of the BGSU Libraries are a shared resource for the entire university community. The mission of academic libraries includes access to and circulation of materials. Another significant portion of the mission of academic libraries is the preservation of materials for future generations of researchers and scholars. The mission to preserve the collections and ensure equitable access to the entire scholarly community affects many of the BGSU Libraries' policies, including borrowing, renewal and return policies, assessment of overdue fines, and billing policies and procedures.

In general, all borrowers are expected to inform themselves of the BGSU-specific conditions under which they borrow materials and adhere to those conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to:

Recognizing that these materials are a shared resource that individual patrons have borrowed, and other people have the right to use them.

  • All items may be recalled after a minimum two week loan period if another BGSU patron requests them. Items going on Reserve will be recalled right away.
  • The OhioLINK loan period is a state-wide agreed upon loan period based on a shared commitment to equitable access for all patrons within the consortium.
  • Returning books promptly on or before their due date if they are no longer needed ensures that other patrons can browse and borrow those materials.

Keeping borrowed materials in good condition

  • Do not write in or highlight books or fold or tear pages. Remove sticky notes or other bookmarks from the books before returning them. Keep books away from dogs.
  • Items that have significant damage may be billed to the borrowing patron for the cost of repairs or replacement. Contact the library if an item is damaged.

Understanding that items borrowed on your account are your responsibility.

Any time that you lend books on your account to another person, you are assuming the risk of incurring overdue fines or lost book charges. Regrettably, charges incurred under the above circumstances cannot be waived, and we can only bill the account of the person who initially borrowed the material.

Tracking the dates and times items are due.

When you check out Main Stack and OhioLINK items, you will receive a receipt with the item due dates printed on it .  ILL items have a cream colored band on them that has the due date printed on it.  Mark the new due dates of items renewed online or by phone on the due date slips of your items. In addition, BGSU and OhioLINK due dates can be viewed online by checking your library account. The status of interlibrary loan items can be viewed via your ILLiad account.

Different items may be borrowed under different conditions.

  • OhioLINK books can only be checked out for three weeks and renewed four times unless "on hold" for another person.
  • Some specialized material may not leave the building. Most materials checked out from the Music Library or the Curriculum Resource Library or signed out from the Reference Desk must be returned to those desks. Check the due date printed on the receipt, check your Library Account, or ask at the service desk where you borrowed the material.
  • Fines are assessed for overdue materials.  Long overdue, lost or damaged materials will be billed.

 What do I need to borrow materials?

  • You need an account in the library's patron database and a BGSU photo ID.
  • Have your BGSU ID with you every time you wish to conduct business in the library. If you need to update your address or other personal information, log into your "MyBGSU" account and click on "Update Personal Information".

Important Warning!!

Do not remove anything from the Library without checking it out. Alarms will sound. If you are in doubt about anything, ask a staff member. Libraries and Archives are protected from theft by the same laws that govern shoplifting from stores. Vandalism or mutilation of library materials including magazines, journals and newspapers is also unlawful.

 How do I get an account in the library patron database?

At the beginning of the semester, all registered students are automatically entered into the library database during a data transfer from the office of Registration and Records. You will still need to have your record updated every semester, however. Ask us "why" if   your account is not updated for the current semester.  

If you need to change your address or other personal information, log into your "MyBGSU" account and click on "Update Personal Information".

How many items can I borrow?

The limit on the number of items you can borrow depends on what the materials are and where they are housed. For all intents and purposes, there is not a limit on the number of items that students, faculty, and staff can borrow from the general collections.  For any questions about borrowing limits, see a staff member at the Circulation Desk or email <circdesk@bgsu.edu>..

What if I don't have my BGSU photo ID with me?

Ask the circulation staff to hold the materials for you. Materials can be held for 24 hours.

Can I borrow books over semester breaks?

Yes, if you are going to be a student or employed for the next semester. Beginning the Monday of Finals Week, you can borrow books by presenting your BGSU ID and tell us you'll be registered for the next semester. If you want to renew already borrowed books, bring the books to the library and renew them in person.

How can I renew books?

There are three ways to renew books - except at the end of the semester:  

At the end of the semester, you must renew your materials in person by bringing them to the library -- there are no online, email, or phone renewals allowed past the end of the semester.

If the books are not overdue, you can renew on-line by choosing My Library Account from the BGSU Libraries home page.

Click in the check boxes next to each item that you wish to renew and click "Renew Selected Items.”

Important: Note the new due date that the system assigns for EACH item -- due dates may vary depending on the material. You are responsible for making sure that the system accepted the self-renewal for every item and for reporting any problems to circulation staff. You may want to print out a copy of your account showing the renewal dates for future reference.

Special Collection numbers are in the back of this guide.  BGSU and OhioLINK books can be renewed by calling Jerome Library (419-372-2133). Follow the instructions of the staff with respect to documenting the new due dates.

Bring items in person to the circulation desk where the material was borrowed and present your BGSU photo ID. This is the only method available past the end of the semester.

Items which have been recalled or are on hold for another patron, or needed for course reserve, cannot be renewed.   Where can I return general collection materials?

You can return books to either the Jerome Library or the Firelands Library. There are book-return slots both inside and outside each library.  For special collections material like CDs, LPs, curriculum teaching aids, etc., return it to the desk or collection from which you checked it out.

Is there any information specifically for graduate students or faculty?

There are survival guides specifically designed for faculty and graduate students. Ask at the Jerome Library circulation desk to have us print a guide, or go directly to the Graduate Student Circulation Survival Guide or the Faculty Circulation Survival Guide. They cover subjects such as loan periods, putting items on course reserve, and faculty permission for graduate teaching and research assistants to check out books as a proxy borrower.

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 Tracking your library account

 How can I keep track of what I have borrowed?

You can track your borrowed materials, find out when your “hold” books are ready for pickup, track your OhioLINK requests, cancel holds, and renew your own materials. Connect to the Library Home Page.

Here's how to view your library account:

From the home page of the BGSU Libraries, click on My Library Account.

Enter your BGSU username and password (same as for email and MyBGSU). 

Always check your personal information for accuracy. If something needs to be changed, or there is something wrong with your account, contact the Jerome  circulation desk. Calling directly gives the fastest service, or you can email circdesk@bgsu.edu.

Clicking on Items currently checked out will display a list of items you have currently borrowed. You can renew items from this display, or cancel holds.

OhioLINK Requests will display the status of your OhioLINK and “hold” items. “Requested” means that the OhioLINK central catalog has received the request; “in transit” means the item has been shipped; “OhioLINK Rcv'd” means the item is ready for pickup.

BGSU Requests will display as "available" or "on search" until they are “Ready for Pick Up.”

Warning! If you are at a public work station, quit from your account to protect your privacy.

What do I do if I think I returned a book and it's still on my account?

Immediately contact the circulation desk where you borrowed the material. Even if you are home over break, call 419-372-2051 or email circdesk@bgsu.edu.  Fines stop accumulating as soon as you tell us there is a problem. You are responsible for checking your account frequently, responding immediately to any overdue or other notices, and updating your address or other personal information by logging into your "MyBGSU" account and clicking on "Update Personal Information".

What if I don't need a book I requested?

Cancel the item yourself in "Your Library Account" or contact the appropriate circulation desk. Note: OhioLINK items can only be cancelled while the item is in “requested” status.

Can a book I have borrowed be recalled for another patron?

Yes. Any BGSU item borrowed can be recalled for another patron. Unless the item is going on course reserve, you will be able to retain the item for two weeks from the original borrowing date. A recall notice will be emailed to you and may indicate a new due date. You must abide by this new due date. You are responsible for responding to any notice you receive from the library. Items going on course reserve will be recalled immediately. The borrowed items displayed on your account will also tell you if an item has been recalled. Recalled items which are overdue are charged a late fine of $1.00 per day per item.

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 Fines and related topics

 How much are late fines?

Fines accumulate at $0.25 per day per item (unchanged since 1964) for BGSU open stack material.

OhioLINK fines are $0.50 per day per item.

Fines are $1.00 per hour for Reserve items.

Fines on recalled items are $1.00 per day or hour if the item is a reserve item.

Fines for laptop computers are $30.00 per hour.

Will I get overdue notices?

Yes, the libraries send overdue notices; however, notices are a courtesy only. You are responsible for the due date even if you don't get an overdue notice. The initial due date for a BGSU or OhioLINK material is printed on a receipt and the due date for ILL material is printed on the cream band. Check your library account as often as necessary to keep track of your materials.  If you renew by telephone, follow the staff's directions regarding documentation of the new due date.

How much do I have to pay if I lose a book?

First, tell the supervisor at the appropriate Circulation desk that you lost it but you are looking for it. (Do this before you get a bill for a lost book from the library!) The fines will stop accumulating when you tell us there is a problem with the book.  If we bill your account for a lost book, the billing will consist of the accumulated late fines, the replacement cost of the book and $36.00 processing charge. OhioLINK billings consist of the accumulated fines, $75.00 replacement charge, and a $35.00 processing charge.

What do I do if I find the book after I get a bill?

If you find the book within one year of the billing date, return it to the Circulation desk. A substantial credit will be sent to your bursar's account.

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 Course Reserves and Special Collections

 What are "reserve" materials?

These course items are placed on Course Reserve, held behind the Circulation Desk, and are made available to borrow throughout the semester.  Items can only be borrowed for short time periods: 2 hours, 1 day, or 3 days.

What do I need to borrow something from reserve?

If you are borrowing material items in person, you need your BGSU ID and an account in our database. You also need a call number for the item. To get the call number, you need to know either your instructor/professor's name and/or your course name and number, e.g. ENG 112, PSYCH 201.

How do I get a call number for reserve?

From the BGSU Libraries Home page, choose the grey tab marked “Reserves” at the top of the white search box. Search by course number, title or author of the item, or instructor’s name. Once you have found the article or book, locate the call number in the item box. Present this call number to the circulation desk staff along with your valid BGSU ID. Staff will alert you to the appropriate due date/time of the loan.

What about access to the special collections?

Each special collection or library (Curriculum Resource CenterMusic Library/Sound Recordings ArchivesPopular Culture LibraryCenter for Archival CollectionsGovernment Documents) sets its own hours and circulation loan periods. You can access the web pages of the special collections from the BGSU Libraries home page. Be sure to contact a library staff member in the special collection or a guide to the collection if you have any questions about the policies.

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 OhioLINK consortium

 What is OhioLINK?

OhioLINK is a consortium of colleges and universities in Ohio that share their resources. You can request any circulating materials online and have them delivered to Jerome or Firelands library for pickup. This effectively increases BGSU's collection by millions of volumes. In addition, you may borrow directly at any OhioLINK university by presenting your valid BGSU ID.

How do I request a book through OhioLINK?

Search the OhioLINK central catalog <www.ohiolink.edu> by choosing the OhioLINK catalog link or option from the library home page. Once you have found an item you want, click the “Request this item” option near the top of the results screen.

  • Choose “Bowling Green State University” as the institution with which you are affiliated.
  • Enter your BGSU username and password (same as for email and MyBGSU)

If you encounter difficulties, contact the staff at the Jerome or Firelands Circulation desk. To finish the request, follow the directions on the screen.

Under normal circumstances, your requested materials will arrive after 3-4 business days. Watch your library account for the most current information. Ask at a circulation desk for help if you have questions about your OhioLINK requests.

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 Article requesting

 Can I get full text articles through the BGSU Libraries Home Page?

You can print full text articles from several of the Research Databases or Electronic Journals available from the BGSU Libraries web site and the OhioLINK home page. For more information, consult the staff at one of the reference desks.

Full text articles print directly or download directly to the desktop. You can access and download from most databases remotely via the web.

You will be asked for your BGSU username and password (same as for email and MyBGSU).  Follow the instructions on the login screen.

If you are trying to connect to these databases from off-campus and are having difficulties, call Jerome Main Circulation at 419-372-2051 or Jerome Reference at 419-372-6943.

You will need large capacity removable storage media in order to download articles in the library. For more information on how to use desktop article printing, contact the reference desk of Jerome (419-372-6943) or Ask-a-Librarian.

 Traditional Interlibrary Loan (ILL/ILLiad)

If the needed material is not in the BGSU or OhioLINK catalog, or it doesn't circulate through OhioLINK, request it through Interlibrary Loan. For articles, check the electronic journals or full text databases available through the BGSU and OhioLINK menus -- you may be able to print a full text version of the article directly to your desktop. If the article is not available in full text, request the item via ILL. 

For help, Ask-a Librarian or ask for help at any of the reference desks in the Libraries. Although similar in some ways to OhioLINK, Interlibrary Loan has separate policies and loan periods and is a much larger international library consortium.

Some of the key differences for traditional ILL borrowing are:

  • You may not request materials that BGSU owns (even if someone else has them checked out or they are non-circulating);
  • The items may be restricted to use within the library only; 
  • The loan periods are different depending on the lending institution;
  • You may not be able to renew items.

ILLiad is BGSU Libraries' online interlibrary loan request system. You can create a personal account, submit requests online, track the status of your requests, and receive email notification of arrival. Please read the ILLiad FAQ for more information.

ILL materials can take from 2-4 weeks to arrive and sometimes take longer, depending on the lending institution. You can track the progress of your requests via ILLiad. There is a description of the meaning of ILLiad statuses in the ILLiad FAQ.

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 Other Useful Information

 When is the library open?

The Jerome Library building hours are posted at the front of each building and are available on the libraries' home page. Hours shorten and change during inter-sessions and holidays. Each special collection has its own hours. Call the appropriate special collection directly or check their hours on the web before you visit.

Can I check out a Laptop?

Laptops are available for borrowing (for short periods of time and for in-library use only) at the Jerome Circulation Desk.

Where can I get a card for photocopying?

The photocopiers on the main campus use the BG1 Card. There is a machine to add value to your BG1 Card in the Jerome Library.

What services for the disabled are there?

A variety of services are available to disabled patrons including but not limited to photocopying and material retrieval services. Please consult the Services for Patrons with Disabilities page for details. 

Is there any place to store my things in the library?

There are public lockers in Jerome Library available during the hours that the library is open. Ask at the Circulation desk for a key and a lock.

What about food and drink?

To help preserve library materials, food and beverages  are allowed on the 7th Floor. Beverages in spill-resistant containers are allowed in most other open areas.  Special Collections may have no-beverage or food polices. 

What other study aids are available in the library?

The Electronic Reading Room (ERR) and the lobby computers in Jerome Library are for general use with a variety of software. These workstations are for research and curricular needs only. The ERR is open to the public when it is not in use for Library instruction sessions.

The Media Room in Jerome has electric typewriters, televisions with video and DVD players, streaming video capabilities, and closed circuit television access for general use.

Although each floor has study areas, the 7th floor is available for group and individual study. The eighth floor is available for quiet study only.

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