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Library Policies

Circulation Policy

Last Updated June 2020

Services / Book Drops / Borrowing/Renewing/MSSU material / Loan Periods / Library Accounts / Overdue / Lost or Damaged Book Charges / Appeals / Reserve Policy / Lending to MSSU Distance Students / Locker Policy / MOBIUS Delivery Policy / Proctoring Study Hours / Sabbatical Room / Study Rooms /Reserve Spaces /Miscellaneous



The Library provides two Circulation Desks. The Main Circulation Desk is located on the third floor; a Secondary Circulation Desk is available on the second floor. Any questions about circulation services can be directed to the Main Circulation Desk at (417) 625-9362 or to the Library Operations Specialist at (417) 625-9310.


Both desks allow patrons to check Library material in and out; provide assistance with online journals, catalogues, databases, and ordering MOBIUS/SWAN material; accept payment for Library fines; and provide the use of basic office supplies such as staplers and hole-punches.


The Main Circulation Desk also creates new Library accounts, maintains a lost and found, ILL requests, and donated material, provides assistance in locating Library material, prepares and stores course reserve material and MOBIUS/SWAN orders, provides access to standardized test guides and writing guides, provides study room keys, and provides free incoming and outgoing domestic and international faxes only for MSSU students and employees. The Library will not provide fax services to community patrons.

Book Drops

Items may be returned to any of the following locations:

  1. Main Circulation Desk, 3rd floor
  2. Just inside the 3rd floor entrance, next to the free phone
  3. Secondary Circulation Desk, 2nd floor.
  4. Outside the 3rd floor entrance, on the wall of the Library
  5. Outside the 1st floor entrance, near the handicap parking. This drop-off is drive-up accessible.

Borrowing / Renewing MSSU Material

Faculty, staff, and students must provide their valid MSSU identification card to borrow material. A valid driver’s license is a reasonable substitution.


Graduate students, cooperative undergraduates, and other area students must show valid ID from their institution.


Community borrowers must provide valid photo ID and the community card issued to them.


Items can be renewed by coming to the Circulation Desk in person, by phoning the Circulation Desk (417-625-9362), or through your online Library account.


Items with holds placed on them cannot be renewed.

Loan Periods

MSSU Faculty Semester Four Weeks Twenty Eight Days Check-out differs
No renewals
MSSU Staff Four Weeks Four Weeks Twenty Eight Days Check-out differs
No renewals
MSSU Student Four Weeks Four Weeks Twenty Eight Days Check-out differs
No renewals
MSSU Community Four Weeks One Week Non-Circulating/
Cannot Check Out
Cannot Check Out
Students of Area
Three Weeks Non-Circulating/
Cannot Check Out
Twenty Eight Days Non-Circulating/
Cannot Check Out
Cooperative Graduate Students Four Weeks One Week Twenty Eight Days Check-out differs
No renewals
MSSU Emeritus, Long-term Retiree, and VIP Semester One Week Twenty Eight Days Check-out differs
No renewals

Library Accounts

Community members can purchase Library cards. All purchased Library cards are good for one year from the last day of the month that the account was purchased. Library accounts for local college faculty, staff, and students are good until the end of the current MSSU semester.

Alumnus with valid alumni card No charge
Faculty/staff’s spouse and children No charge
Carthage resident
Must provide valid ID with Carthage address
No charge
Community Borrower $15.00
High School Students
Students 15 years of age and younger must have a parent’s signature
MSSU Emeritus, 
Long-term Retiree, and VIP
(with verification)
No charge

Overdue Fines and Lost Material Costs

Spiva Library patrons are responsible for returning materials when they are due and in good condition. The library will send one courtesy notice for borrowed items to a patron’s email account three days before they are due. The courtesy notices and overdue notices are sent as an accommodation via email and to physical addresses, and failure to receive them does not absolve the user from the responsibility of returning materials or from financing overdue charges and/or replacement costs. MSSU students and employees will receive notices to their MSSU email account. Additionally, and at its sole discretion, when it has not received payment for unpaid fines and/or the return and payment of lost materials, the Library may visit employees at their departments and offices, and may contact an employee’s supervisor/department chair. Records will be encumbered for these reasons:

  1. Item or items 14 days or more overdue
  2. Reserve material four hours or more overdue
  3. Aggregate fine of $2.00 or more
  4. Material that is lost or damaged


      A Library encumbrance will prevent a student from borrowing Library material. Library charges will be transferred to the student’s Bursar’s Office account. Holds preventing registration, transcripts, grades, etc. will be placed on the balance of the aggregate student account balance in accordance with University hold policies.


      Faculty and Staff Employees

      Overdue fines, unreturned fines and/or damaged materials are the responsibility of the individual who borrowed them and not the responsibility of the department to whom the individual is a member. A Library encumbrance will prevent staff and faculty members from borrowing Library material. Library encumbrances that are not resolved pursuant to these procedures will be deducted from the staff’s or faculty member’s wages or salary. Prior to wage or salary deduction, the Library will contact a staff or faculty member with a final standardized notice, sent to his or her MSSU email account, to request the return of lost materials and/or the payment of fines/material replacement charges, and to stipulate the next step to reach a resolution is wage or salary deduction. If non-compliant, the Human Resources Department and Library will collaborate to ensure the deduction of wages or salary. At the request of the Library, Human Resources will deduct ten percent per month until the fines and/or lost material charges are fully paid. The deduction of wages or salary is a last resort. The timeline for this process is as follows:

  1. An overdue notice is sent to a staff or faculty member’s MSSU email account – up to four overdue notices – or one per week – are sent over the course of 35 days.
  2. A “billed” notice is sent to the staff or faculty member’s campus office or residence.
  3. If the staff or faculty member has not returned the material and paid the fine/material replacement charges 28 days after the billed notice was sent, the Circulation & Resource Sharing Specialist will visit the staff or faculty member at his or her campus office or work space.
  4. The Circulation & Resource Sharing Specialist will contact the staff or faculty member’s department chair or supervisor.
  5. The Library will send a final notice to the staff or faculty member’s MSSU email account.
  6. Human Resources and the Library will collaborate to implement wage or salary deduction.  
  7. When full payment is not made, the Library will notify the Bursar’s Office to request enforcement through the Library’s tax intercept program, which the Bursar’s Office administers.

The Library and Bursar’s Office will collaborate to ensure fines and lost materials are paid by students and employees who owe them. The Bursar’s Office will administer the Library’s tax intercept program.

Lost or Damaged Book Charges

Replacement cost for lost or damaged material will be determined by the Library. After 90 days, any billed item if it is returned to the Library, will not be accepted back by the Library. During the 90 day window, any billed item that is returned in an unsatisfactory condition, will not be accepted back by the Library. Patrons will face full replacement cost for the item. Patrons who have paid the replacement cost for a billed or claimed returned and later locate and return the missing item during the 90 day window may receive a refund up to 30 days after the bill was paid. This decision is up to Library staff. Patrons who have paid the replacement cost for a billed or claimed returned and later locate and return the missing item after the 90 day window will not receive a refund. SWAN/MOBIUS fines are non-refundable and non-negotiable.


The Library will determine if returned Library materials are considered damaged. The Library considers items – books, curriculum kits, et cetera – that are checked-out and returned with missing pieces to be damaged. The cost of the damaged Library materials will be assessed by the Library. Patrons will pay the replacement costs of each damaged material and a processing fee, as outlined below:


Main Collection Book $.10 per day per item
$5.00 maximum
or cost of item + $10.00 processing cost
Curriculum, Government Documents, CDs, Videos, Software $.10 per day per item $5.00 maximum $95.00
or cost of item + $10.00 processing cost
Periodicals $.10 per day per item $5.00 maximum $55.00
or cost of item + $10.00 processing cost
bound journals will be the cost of every issue in that volume + $10.00 for binding + $20.00 service cost
Reserve Material $.50 per hour per item $12.00 maximum Replacement cost varies with material type.
MOBIUS/SWAN Book $20.00 per item Non-negotiable $120.00 per book

MOBIUS/SWAN fines are non-refundable and non-negotiable. A hold will be placed on

MSSU patrons’ accounts, as well as prevent them from receiving anymore material until the matter is resolved.

Patrons who return MOBIUS/SWAN materials without the MOBIUS/SWAN bookband on each book will receive up to three email notifications that will remind them that the removal of the bookband is not permitted. After the third email notification, patrons will be fined fifty cents for each removed MOBIUS/SWAN bookband.


Patrons will be billed for SWAN books when the item is 28 days overdue.

Patrons will be billed for MOBIUS books when the item is 45 days overdue.


Holds and fines will not be removed until the lending school receives payment.


All borrowers have the right to appeal Library charges and encumbrances by following this process:

  1. Compose an email in which you provide your name, S number (if an MSSU student or employee), a phone number, and a summary of what materials are overdue, lost, or were fined because they were returned late, and why you believe the Library charges should be waived and/or the encumbrances should be lifted or removed.

Send the email to the Library Operations Specialist or

  1. The Library Operations Specialist will have seven business days from the date the email was received to reply to it with a decision and explanation to accept or deny the appeal.
  2. If you do not agree with the decision of the Library Operations Specialist, you may appeal the decision to the Library Director. To do so, forward the email conversation to The Library Director will have seven business days from the date the email was received to reply to it with a final decision.

Reserve Policy

Reserve material is restricted by copyright and fair use guidelines ( It is the instructor’s responsibility to obtain copyright permission through the Copyright Clearance Center (1-978-750-8400 or A form letter is also available at the Main Circulation Desk.


The Circulation Desk will accept:

  1. Book chapters and journal articles that meet fair use guidelines
  2. Instructor-prepared exams, problem solutions, sample papers, and syllabi
  3. Books, videos, and audio recordings - both personal copies and Library material


The Circulation Desk will not accept:

  1. Book chapters and journal articles that were on reserve for one semester and do not have copyright permission to remain on reserve for another semester
  2. Reading packets (anthologies)


Although the Circulation Department will add material as quickly as possible, it is asked that instructors allow 48 hours for the material to be added to their course reserves. Material will not be added on the weekends.

MOBIUS Delivery Policy

The Library will deliver books ordered by faculty and staff from the MOBIUS/Prospector service to their office or campus location identified in the MSSU directory.  Faculty and staff must be current employees with an assigned office or campus location.  The library will not deliver off-campus.  When ordering MOBIUS books, faculty and staff must select the delivery option for materials to be delivered.


Faculty and staff are responsible for returning materials to the Library.

Deliveries will occur once a week on days selected by the Access Services Librarian as help is available.


Faculty and staff who order traditional interlibrary loan (ILL) books can ask the Library to ship them to their office or campus location.  ILL books are covered by the MOBIUS Delivery Policy. 


Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Circulation Department at or

Lending to MSSU Distance Learning Students

Spiva Library is a member of the MOBIUS consortium and is assigned to its SWAN cluster. MSSU students and employees can electronically order materials from MOBIUS libraries and have them shipped to Spiva Library or though the MOBIUS Pick-Up Anywhere option. Students can request materials be delivered to the MOBIUS library closest to them. For example, an MSSU distance learning student (DLS) who lives in West Plains, Missouri, and enrolled in online only courses, can order a MOBIUS book through Spiva Library’s website, and have it shipped for pick up at the Missouri State University’s library in West Plains.


However, when a DLS does not live close to a MOBIUS library and wishes to check out library materials, the following steps are required:

  1. The student will contact the Circulation Specialist to determine if books are available.
  2. The Circulation Specialist will find materials that fit the needs of the student and will ask him or her if the entire materials are needed, or if a chapter or section from them would be sufficient.
  3. If the entire material is needed, the Circulation Specialist will contact the public library that is the physically closest to the student’s residence on file with the University to arrange pickup through the library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) service.
  4. The library will send the materials to the public library, covering the shipping costs with the student agreeing to pay the return costs.
  5. If there is not a public library, or if a public library declines to participate in the ILL service, the materials may be shipped to the student’s home.


In order for Distance Learning students to participate in this service, they must meet the following requirements:

  1. They must live beyond a 100 mile radius from the MSSU Joplin campus.
  2. They must not have access to a MOBIUS library within a 25 mile radius, and state in an email to the Circulation Specialist that they are willing to pay the shipping charges for returning materials.
  3. Materials cannot be requested from a non-MOBIUS library and sent to the student. All materials must be MSSU Spiva Library materials.
  4. Multi-media materials (CDs, DVDS and audiobooks) cannot be shipped.
  5. Materials can be renewed twice. If materials are not returned, it will be billed to the student’s account.

Locker Policy

The George A. Spiva Library (library) offers 12 lockers adjacent to the Main Circulation Desk on the third floor. Locker keys may be checked out at the Main Circulation Desk for general MSSU student use. Locker keys checkout for four or twenty-four hours.


No one is permitted to use a locker without a library provided-lock. Any materials found in lockers without locks will be turned over to the University Policy Department.


Rules for lockers:

  • Lockers are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Locks that are not from the Main Circulation Desk will be removed and the items within will be turned over to the University Policy Department.
  • The library is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • The library reserves the right to inspect your locker contents.
  • The library may revoke library privileges for security violations and/or student misconduct.
  • No foods, liquids, perishable, or hazardous items are not allowed in the lockers; if found, the item will be discarded.
  • Any materials kept in the locker are the responsibility of the patron who checked out the key.
  • Library materials may only be kept in a checked-out locker.  Non-circulating library materials that have not been checked out are not permitted in lockers and will be removed if found in a locker.
  • Lost keys will result in a $10 charge.


  1. hour locks:
  • May renew once.
  • Renew in person at a Main Circulation Desk or by calling 417-625-9362
  • If the locker is not renewed, items will be removed two hours after expiration and placed in the library lost and found. If not picked up within a week, items will be turned over to the University Policy Department. 


24 hour locks:

  • May not renew
  • Items are to be removed from locker at or before time of expiration. If not, items will be removed two hours after expiration and placed in the library lost and found. If not picked up within a week items will be turned over to the University Policy Department.  

Proctoring Study Hours

The library is not responsible for proctoring study hours for any group on campus. Groups may keep a sign in folder near the catalog browsing computers on the third floor but library staff is not responsible for signing off on study hours. For study hours proctoring, please contact the Student Success Center (Hearnes Hall Room 301, 417-659-3725, Additionally, test proctoring is available via the Advising, Counseling and Testing Services (ACTS) Department (Hearnes Hall Room 314, 417-625-9559). Please report any issues to the Main Circulation Desk.

Sabbatical Room

  1. A faculty member granted a sabbatical by The Sabbatical Committee is afforded use of L-435 during the term of his or her sabbatical.
  2. A faculty member may come, go, pick up, and return the key to L-435 at the Main Circulation Desk.
  3. A faculty member must check out library books he or she plans to keep in L-435.
  4. L-435 requires the faculty member to enter through L-413 (“The Floyd E. Belk Quiet Room”) and through L-413A, which is a conference room that is reserved by campus committees and groups. Accordingly, when 413A is reserved, the Library Administrative Coordinator and Acquisitions Specialist will contact the faculty member to inform him or her, in which he or she can plan a work schedule in L-435.

Study Room Policy

Study room keys may be checked out at the Main Circulation Desk for general MSSU student/faculty use. Students may check out study room keys for two hours and may not reserve more than a week in advance. Reservations can be made in person at the Main Circulation desk or online via the libguides (

Patron Type:    Allowed to check out study rooms:
MSSU Undergrad    Yes
MSSU Grad    Yes
MSSU Faculty    Yes
MSSU Staff    Yes
MSSU Friend    Yes
MSSU Community    No
MSSU Friend    No
MSSU Area Student    No
MSSU Area Faculty    No
MSSU Coop Faculty    No
MSSU Coop undergrad    No

Alumni with an active library card may checkout a study room for one hour per day, with no renewals. Current MSSU students, faculty and staff have priority access to study rooms.


MSSU students may renew a study room twice unless there is a reservation or request for the room. The key may not leave the building. Student MSSU IDs will be held at the desk until the key is returned.


Reservations cannot be made for a student. The student who makes the reservation must be physically present at the Main Circulation Desk to check out the room. Individuals who do not show up within 15 minutes of their reserved time forfeit the reservation.  


Faculty and Staff are asked to reserve study rooms in advance at to ensure space is available for the times and dates needed. The library will do its best to accommodate extended time periods requested by Faculty and Staff.


Outside-MSSU usage of study rooms is a rare exception that can be granted to out-of-state students for academic purposes only.  Permission to use study room space must be granted by Library Director and requested two weeks in advance with valid intent of use stated.  Permission to use space is up to library discretion, and permission to use the space is not guaranteed upon request.  Priority for study room usage is for MSSU students, staff, and faculty. 


The individual who has the study room checked out is responsible for all use made of the room, including any damage, and should be present at all times. Individuals/groups are responsible for returning the room to the same condition as when they entered. If a study room is found to be in unsatisfactory condition, the Circulation Desk should be notified immediately to avoid being held responsible for any damages.


If a maintenance staff member has to do extensive cleaning of the room (clear cups or bottles off the table, sweep or clean food residue off the floor or furniture, etc.) the person who checked out the room will be billed for the custodian’s time. If the bill is unpaid, an encumbrance will be placed on that patron’s record.


The room should be locked before returning the key to the Circulation Desk.

If the key is returned and the room is found unlocked, a fee of $2 may be added to the patrons account per instance of the study room being left unlocked.


At that time, all items and persons must be vacated from the room. The library assumes no responsibility for personal possessions in the study rooms.


Failure to abide by the study room policy may result in being denied room access.

If a student or group violates this study room policy, he/she or they will be referred to the MSSU Dean of Students.


The following rooms are available for check out and can be reserved at the Main Circulation Desk (625-9362):


Color coding for room noise levels:

Active Learning: Moderate level talking is expected, indoor voices are still expected. These areas are intended for collaborative learning experiences.

Conversational: Mid-low level conversations. Noise is permitted, but needs to be moderated.

Reading/Studying: Intended as a quiet sanctuary for readers and students who want to concentrate.  These zones are considered to be as quiet as possible.

Reading/Studying Room 427- 1 desk, 1 chair, 1 computer, 1 webcam (Test Room, priority to students testing)

Reading/Studying: Room 426-1 table, 2 chairs, 1 computer, 1 webcam (Test Room, priority to students testing)

Reading/Studying: Room 439-1 table, 2 chairs, 1 computer, 1 webcam (Test Room, priority to students testing)

Conversational: Room 203-1 table, 4 chairs, 1 white board

Conversational: Room 210A-2 tables, 8 chairs, 1 white board

Conversational: Room 210B- 2 tables, 10 chairs, 1 white board

Conversational: Room 230-2 tables, 8 chairs, 1 white board

Conversational: Room 408- 3 tables, 10 chairs, 1 white board

Conversational: Room 210C- 3 tables, 10 chairs, 1 white board, 1 projector, 1 computer

Reading/Studying: Room 424- 4 tables, 12 chairs, 1 tv/dvd/vhs player

Conversational: Room 410 – 5 tables, 12 chairs, 1 computer, 1 whiteboard

Conversational: Room 204-5 tables, 13 chairs, 1 tv, 1 computer, 1 webcam, 1 whiteboard

Active Learning: Room 420- -7 tables, 29 chairs, 1 map, 1 white board, 1 dvd/vhs-player

 The following are available for special use:

  1. Room 413 is for quiet studying only. This means no conversations or discussions, no   music, video or any other form of noise. This room is designated as a quiet space for studying and is enforced by library staff.                                                       
  2. Room 321 is an open study space that allows for moderate noise level. It cannot be reserved and is first come, first serve.
  3. Room 418/419 is used for library instruction and HR training only. It is not available for other scheduling.


Spiva Library has a private lactation available for MSSU employees and students.  This space is located in room 205 and is found on the second floor of the library. The lactation room key is located at the Main Circulation desk on the third floor, and must be checked-out for use.  This space is reserved for lactating individuals only, and users must provide their own pump kit, storage container, and other supplies such as baby wipes or hand sanitizer.

Library Space Available for Reservation

The reservable spaces in the George A. Spiva Library are intended for academic services and programs. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours for reservation approval. Groups/individuals who violate study room policy, leave excessive cleanup, or otherwise fail to abide by library standards will be ineligible to request a reservation. Food and beverages are allowed in all reservable spaces, but must abide by the campus catering/food policy. The persons reserving a space are responsible for communicating their Physical Plant, IT, and food service needs to the appropriate contact. The Library reserves the right to relocate a reservation to a comparable space within the Library.


All reservations are up to the Library Director’s discretion. Please contact the Administrative Coordinator (625-9386) to make reservations.


  1. 3rd Floor Fireplace: One couch; four upholstered chairs

This seating area may be reserved by staff and faculty for campus or work related

events including filming, class meetings, receptions, and other approved functions. Because the 3rd floor is a quieter floor of the library, groups that need to converse are encouraged to meet elsewhere.


  1. L-413A Faculty Reading Room: Twenty chairs; conference tables

This meeting room may be reserved by staff and faculty for campus or work related events including conferences, workshops, presentations, committee meetings, and

other approved functions. When events are scheduled in L-413, this room will be unavailable.



  1. L-413 Belk Quiet Room: Twenty-four chairs; six tables; two couches; four upholstered chairs

The Belk Quiet Room is only reservable for library-related or Academic Affairs

events, and only when it does not pose a significant inconvenience to students.


The Circulation Department is responsible for the three card catalog computers – two adjacent to the Main Circulation Desk on the 3rd floor and one on the 2nd floor, near the southeast stairwell – the community typewriter, and the one 3rd floor color copier in the alcove next to the Main Circulation Desk. Any maintenance issues should be reported to the Library Administrative Coordinator.


The Circulation Department is also responsible for maintaining the following collections:

  • 2nd floor Main Collection
  • 3rd floor CDs and DVDs
  • 3rd floor Contemporary Collections
  • Grant Resource Collection
  • Graphic Novels
  • IEP Collection
  • International Semester
  • New Bookshelf

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