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Circulation


books

Frequently Asked Questions





How many items may I check out?

Patrons may have the following total numbers of items (books, videos, DVDs, etc.) checked out at one time on their records:

Faculty- 600 Staff- 50 Courtesy borrowers- 25
Graduate Students- 300 Undergraduate Students- 150 Info-pass borrowers- 5

Faculty and graduate students may have a maximum of 30 MOBIUS books checked out or requested at any time. Undergraduate students and staff may have a maximum of 20 MOBIUS books checked out or requested at any time.
Patrons may have a maximum of 5 DVDs or videos checked out at any time.

What are the loan periods for patrons and items?

The following loan periods for patrons are for books and government documents:

Faculty- 90 days Staff- 4 weeks
Graduate Students- 60 days Courtesy- 3 weeks
Undergraduate Students- 4 weeks Info-pass borrowers- 3 weeks

The following loan periods apply:

MOBIUS- 3 weeks Bound journals- 3 days
Poplit- 2 weeks Unbound journals- 1 day (faculty and grad students only)
Videos/DVDs- 7 days Microfilm-1 day

Day locker keys, Headphones, Ethernet cables, and Laptop cable locks- 12 hours or end of day (whichever comes sooner)

Reserve Loan Periods:

Materials may include books, vertical files, videos, or private copies.

Instructors may specify one of the following loan periods:

  • 2 - 3 hour: Materials are due two - three hours after check-out. Within two hours of unit closing, materials may be checked out overnight. This material is due one hour after opening the next day.
  • 24 hour: Materials will be due 24 hours after check-out.
  • 2 Day Materials: Materials may be checked out for two days.
  • 5 Day Materials: Materials may be checked out for five days.

How many renewals may I have?

Patrons may have 20 renewals on books, bound and unbound journals, and government documents, unless a hold or recall is placed on an item. If they still need the book after 20 renewals, they may bring it to the Help Desk; Help Desk staff will check in the book and check it back out to the patron.

Movies and DVDs can be renewed once. After that, they can be brought to the Help Desk, checked in, and checked out again.

Reserve items must be brought back to the Help Desk to be renewed.

MOBIUS books can be renewed twice, unless there is a recall.

Info-Pass patrons must bring in a new Info-Pass when renewing their books.

Day Locker keys are NOT renewable.

How may I renew items on my library record?

Patrons may come to the Help Desk to renew items. Patrons may renew items online via the My Library Accounts option on the library web page.

Patrons may log into their ILLiad accounts online to renew interlibrary loans. (For questions about renewing interlibrary loans, patrons may email the ILL staff at ill@wumail.wustl.edu.)

Due to the large volume of renewals, Circulation does not renew items over the phone.

How much are my fines for overdue and lost materials?

Overdue fines are 20 cents per day for books and 40 cents per day for recalled books.

Overdue fines are a $1.00 per day for videos, DVDs, and journals.

Hourly Reserve overdue fines are 60 cents per hour, or a fraction thereof.

Day Locker overdue fines are $1.00 per hour.

Replacement costs for lost books are $60 ($45 for book/$15 processing fee).

Replacement costs for lost MOBIUS books are $120. There are no overdue fines for MOBIUS books.

Faculty members are not fined for overdue books.

Do I get a grace period when returning items late?

Yes. There are grace periods for patrons as follows:

Faculty: not applicable, since they are not fined for overdue items

Graduate students: 10 days

Undergraduate students, Staff, and Courtesy borrowers: 4 days

Where can I pay my fines?

Patrons may pay fines with cash or check at the front desk, unless the fines have been sent to student billing. Fines are sent to student billing on a monthly basis, at the end of the month. If fines have been sent to student billing, students may pay at Student Financial Services, which is located in Room 75 of N. Brookings Hall.

Why is my library record blocked?

There are multiple reasons why a patron's record may be blocked.

If a patron has a recalled book that is overdue, the record is automatically blocked. Once the book is checked in, the record will be unblocked.

If the patron owes too much money, the record will be blocked. Maximum amounts a patron can owe before being blocked are:

Graduate Student: $999.99 Staff: $15
Undergraduate Student: $999.99 Courtesy: $15

Patrons will also be blocked from checking out material if their patron record has expired.

A library staff member may put a manual block on a record for various reasons. If your record is blocked and you need help resolving the problem, contact the Circulation staff by phone at (314) 935-5420, or by e-mail at circ@wumail.wustl.edu.

Why is my library account expired?

Student accounts expire for the following reasons:

  • They may not be currently enrolled for the upcoming semester.
  • They may have registered, but we have not yet received the update from Student Records, in which case a staff member can verify that they are registered and update their record.
Faculty accounts expire for the following reasons:
  • They may not have a new appointment.
  • They may have a new appointment, but we have not received the update from Human Resources, in which case a staff member can call HR to verify the appointment.

Courtesy patron accounts expire for the following reasons:

  • They may not have renewed their membership for the upcoming year.
  • They may not have shown their current Eliot Society card.
  • Info-Pass borrowers may not have presented a new Info-Pass.

How long does it take to get a requested item?

Two searches are done daily during the week in Olin, so requests should be available for pickup in no more than one business day, depending on what time of day the request is made.

Items coming to Olin from the departmental libraries can take up to 2-3 business days to arrive on the Olin hold shelf.

MOBIUS items take 3-5 business days to arrive on the hold shelf. On weekends, we do not receive MOBIUS shipments.

How long are items held on the hold shelf?

Washington University books are held on the hold shelf for 7 days, with the exception of Poplit books, which are held for 4 days. DVDs are held for 4 days.

MOBIUS items are held for 7 days before being sent back to their owning library.

ILL items are held until the due date indicated on their slip. The hold period for ILL items varies by owning library.

How do patrons know if there is something on the hold shelf for them?

E-mail notifications for Washington University and MOBIUS items are sent every morning. If a patron has no e-mail address, physical mail is sent.

Patrons can also view their library record online via the My Library Accounts option on the library web page. If a requested item shows as "Ready for Pickup" or "MOBIUS received," then the item is on the hold shelf.

ILL sends out email notifications before placing items on the hold shelf.

An item I have checked out has been recalled. What is a "recall?"

A recall is used when someone needs an item that another person has checked out. A book may be recalled from another borrower after it has been on loan for a minimum of two weeks. Unlike a "hold," which lets the first borrower keep the item until the due date, a recall will sometimes shorten the due date. Every person is guaranteed to have an item for 14 days, unless needed for course reserves. A recall will shorten the due date to a week from when the recall is placed, unless the new due date would fall within the first 14 days of the loan, in which case Day 14 is the new due date. Items recalled for course reserves are due in 3 days. Once the item becomes overdue, the patron's record is blocked until the book is checked in, and fines are doubled.

What does "in-transit" mean?

This status, visible in the online catalog, indicates that the item is in transit from one location to another, i.e. West Campus Library to Olin Library. If an item is in transit for more than a couple of days, a staff member can check the item record to see where the book is coming from and where the book is going, to get an idea of where the book may be.

What does "searching" mean?

This status, also visible in the online catalog, indicates that Circulation is actively searching for the item, because it is not on the shelf in its proper location. After Circulation has searched thoroughly for the item three times, librarians decide whether or not to replace the item.

What does "missing" mean?

This status in the catalog indicates an item that Circulation has searched for three times and not found. Circulation is no longer actively searching for the item, and librarians are deciding whether or not to replace the item.

What does "claims returned" mean?

When a patron has an item on his/her record and contacts Circulation stating he/she has already returned the item, Circulation staff may mark the item "claims returned." An initial search is done when the patron contacts Circulation. If the book is found, the book is checked in and fines waived. If the item is not found, the patron is notified and asked to continue looking for the book while a "claims returned" status is placed on the book. A list is run once a week and a search is done of claims returned items. If an item is found, it is checked in and fines waived. After three searches, if an item is not found, the Circulation Librarian makes a decision on what to do about the item and the patron's responsibility.

Who is in charge of the microfilm machines?

The staff in the Arc is in charge of the microfilm machines and handles problems with the machines.