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Reference Services

Circulation Policies

Who may borrow items?

Missouri State Library card holders in good standing may borrow items from the Reference Services Division of the Missouri State Library.  Public patrons may borrow items in person or via interlibrary loan at their local public library.  Missouri state government employees, legislators, and public library directors, branch managers, and staff may request materials for pick up in person or for delivery. 

What items may be borrowed:

Items in the General, Missouriana, Training Media, and MoDOT collections may be checked out by registered patrons in good standing.

Items in the Reference, MoDOT Reference, Missouri Libraries Historical Collection, Microforms, and Newspapers and Periodicals Collection may only be used in the library.  A Reference librarian or the MoDOT librarian may be asked to make an exception to this policy.  If an exception is made, the librarian will determine the loan period, usually 1-7 days.

Public patrons may only borrow items in the Reference Services Division of the Missouri State Library.

Is there a limit on how many items may be checked out?

Yes, the limit is 10.

How long may items be checked out?

Most books may be checked out for 28 days.  Media borrowed from MOBIUS partner libraries may be checked out for 10 days.

May items be renewed?

Media borrowed from MOBIUS partner libraries may not be renewed.  All other items may be renewed two times, unless items have been requested by another patron or the items have gone into billing status. Each renewal period is 28 days.

Overdue items:

It is the patron’s responsibility to return borrowed materials on or before the due date or to contact Reference Services at the Missouri State Library if unable to do so.  Unless items are damaged, all overdue fees will be waived when the items are returned.  Please contact Reference Services if there is a problem returning items.

Overdue items will go into billing status if they are not returned promptly.  Patrons with overdue items will have a blocked account and will not be able to request or check out materials until the account is cleared.

Borrower Responsibilities

As members of Missouri’s state government community using our common resources, all library users are responsible for maintaining our library collections.  Library use is a privilege extended to those who recognize that the collections are resources to be shared with current and future users and who observe the regulations and procedures established to make materials accessible to all.

Abusing library materials may result in the revocation of library borrowing privileges. Inappropriate use includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing on, defacing, tearing, cutting, mutilating or destroying books or other library property. Any other damage, such as highlighting, writing notes, water damage, food stains, etc.
  • Retaining library materials beyond their stated loan periods.

MOBIUS & Interlibrary Loans

Borrowing materials from another library is a privilege, not a right. Borrowers must abide by the rules, guidelines and policies of the lending library. Abusing these privileges may result in the library revoking your circulation privileges. Any transaction a borrower makes at another library is that borrower's responsibility. Borrowers requesting books via Interlibrary Loan are bound by the policies of the lending institution.

Lost or Damaged Items

Damaged items:

Books are inspected for damage before they are checked out to the patron.  The patron will be held responsible for any damage beyond normal wear and tear that is not noted on the front endpapers of a Missouri State Library item or on the book band of a partner library item.

Replacement of Lost/Damaged items:

If an item is damaged or lost, a replacement copy, or payment for a replacement copy, will be required to clear the patron’s account.  The replacement copy must be the same or a later edition of the damaged item. The replacement copy must be approved by the Director of Reference Services if it is a replacement for a Missouri State Library item or by the loaning library if it is for a MOBIUS item.  A $20.00 processing fee may be charged by a MOBIUS partner library.  Payment for the lost/damaged item is to be in the form of a check made out to the Secretary of State’s Office for the amount of the replacement copy. 

State Government Employees

For Missouri State Library services, the following are considered state government employees: persons working in executive, legislative and judicial agencies, commissions, boards, etc.

Employees of public school systems, public higher education institutions and local governments may be served by their public and institutional libraries.

Public Computers

Guidelines for Using Public Computers & the Internet

Reference Services has one computer for searching government documents and scanning microforms. Patrons may not use software other than that provided and installed on the workstation. The Library does not monitor or control information accessible through the Internet.

Staff Assistance
Library staff cannot provide training concerning Internet jargon or search strategies. Staff will instruct patrons how to use/search the Library Catalog.

Time Limits
The computer is available on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be reserved ahead of time. If other patrons are waiting, staff may consult with the Reference Librarian on duty and may limit the amount of time a patron may use a workstation.

There is no printing available from the public computer.

Ethical Use
Patrons may not use Reference Services public computer to commit any illegal acts. Such acts may include but are not limited to: forgery or fraud, libel, slander or any form of harassment, an invasion of privacy, unauthorized access to any computer network, or public display of material from sites that may be deemed under federal or state statues. Patrons are responsible for any consequences of copyright infringement. Accessing illegal or offensive material will be cause to lose all Reference Services computer privileges.

Interlibrary Loan Policies


Library materials not owned by the Missouri State Library or which are not available in the MOBIUS catalog may be borrowed for Missouri state government employees from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  The Missouri State Library also participates as an active lending library, shipping items to libraries that request circulating materials from our collections.  

The Missouri State Library follows interlibrary loan procedures which are governed by the National Interlibrary Loan Code, the policies of the lending library, and the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code).


The Missouri State Library provides interlibrary loan privileges as a service to Missouri state government employees.  The library must rely on resource sharing and interlibrary cooperation to increase access to materials needed by its constituents. 

We are committed to offering the most expedient service possible at no cost to the user.
The State Library will keep this interlibrary Loan policy up-to-date and make it available to users and other libraries on request.

Interlibrary Borrowing

  1. Users
  1. All Missouri state government employees in good standing with the Library may request specified material through interlibrary loan.
  2. All requests should be state government work-related.   
  3. State employees may request a copy of an item or a loan of an item.  Copied materials, such as digital files of articles or physical photocopied items, do not need to be returned to the library.  Physical items on loan, such as books or DVDS, do need to be returned to the State Library. 
  4. Failure to return a loaned item will result in the issuance of a material replacement notice. 
  5. A Missouri State Library card is required of state employees who seek a loan of physical material via interlibrary loan.
  1. Materials available for borrowing
  1. Books, articles, audio materials such as audio books and books on CD, videos (VHS or DVD), microforms and photocopies from materials may be requested.
  2. Some requests may not be filled due to high demand, copyright restrictions, cost to borrow, inability to locate or rarity of item.
  1. Submitting and processing requests
  1. State government employees may place interlibrary loan requests through the EBSCO databases’ request system or the State Library’s online interlibrary loan form.
  2. All requests generated via the EBSCO forms or the State Library’s online form will be delivered to the State Library’s interlibrary loan email account. 
  3. State Library staff will check internal holdings, MOBIUS holdings and online sources for the requested material before proceeding to the interlibrary loan request process.  Items found internally or freely available online are sent to patrons directly.  When an item is available at another MOBIUS institution, the requestor is sent a link to request the item from the MOBIUS catalog.
  4. LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing) libraries are the targeted OCLC Worldshare group the State Library uses for borrowing.  The State Library does not request items from institutions that attach a cost to lend.
  5. If no lender can be found for an item State Library staff will notify the state employee and provide links to purchase the item or any institutions close to the patron where he or she can drive to view the item.   This process will also be employed if all lenders reject the request.
  1. Turnaround Time
  1. Interlibrary loan requests will be entered into Worldshare by State Library staff in as timely a manner as possible.  Requests will generally be processed within one business day of receiving the request.  
  2. The State Library reserves the right to extend the processing time to three business days if staff members are not available to process requests or if an extraordinary number of requests are received.
  3. Once the request has been entered into the system, the turnaround time for retrieval will be dependent on the lending library. 
  1. Loan period and renewals
  1. Loan periods for physical items are determined by the lending library.  Items are generally loaned to patrons for three weeks.
  2. A due date will be assigned in Sierra when it is checked out to the patron.  The due date should be set around three days before the due date assigned in Worldshare to allow time for shipment back to the lending library.
  3. The lending library determines whether or not renewals are allowed.  No renewal should be entered in Sierra until the lending library has approved the renewal.
  4. State Library staff will notify state employees of updated due dates if a renewal is approved.
  1. Lost or damaged items
  1. Upon notice that an item cannot be returned, the State Library will contact the lending library as to the replacement process for the item.
  2. Compensation for lost or damaged interlibrary loan materials is subject to the lending library’s rules and regulations.

Interlibrary Lending

  1. Users
  1. The State Library will extend interlibrary loan services of its materials to any public, governmental, academic or other special library.
  2. Interlibrary loan requests from MOBIUS institutions will be rejected in favor of employing the MOBIUS/Inn-Reach courier system.
  1. What can be loaned
  1. The State Library endeavors to make available the broadest range of materials for Interlibrary Loan with the following exceptions: reference materials, newspapers, entire works assembled in loose leaf binders, training media, Missouri State Library Historical Collection items and ebooks.
  2. The State Library is not able to ship items overseas.
  3. The Library reserves the right to refuse to lend materials or to ask the borrowing library to restrict use of materials lent.
  1. Processing requests
  1. OCLC’s Worldshare is the preferred lending platform.  Requests sent through other formats or platforms will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Rush requests are accommodated as time and staffing permit.
  1. Turnaround Time
  1. State Library staff will endeavor to provide quick turnaround on most requests, and will generally reply to requests within three business days.
  1. Loan period and renewals
  1. Items will generally be loaned for three weeks.
  2. Renewals will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but will generally be granted if no hold has been placed on the item.
  1. Lost or damaged items
  1. Replacement of the item is the responsibility of the borrowing library.
  1. The State Library requires a replacement copy of a lost or damaged item as replacement fees cannot be processed.  State Library staff will provide the borrowing library with exact copy replacement and shipping information.