Circulation Policies (Rules for Borrowing Books)

COVID-19 Update: Please check out the NGL Response to COVID-19 webpage for latest update in circulation policies and procedures during the pandemic.

Who May Borrow Library Materials?

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) I.D. Cards (Bearkat OneCard):

  • University students, faculty, and staff must have a valid SHSU I. D. card to borrow library books or Reserve Materials and must present it at the time of checkout.
  • Please remember that if you check out material for someone else, you are responsible for any overdue or lost book charges incurred.
  • For information about the Bearkat OneCard, visit the SHSU OneCard Office website, call 936-294-CARD (2273), or e-mail

Faculty and staff have borrowing and recall privileges from the first day of employment with the University.

All University students have borrowing and recall (request from another patron) privileges that begin the first day of class and end the day before the first class day of the next semester. For example:

  • Fall privileges: First class day August 29th – January 18th.
  • Spring privileges: First class day January 19th – May 31st.
  • Summer privileges: First class day June 1st – August 28th
  • If not enrolled in summer classes, student may purchase a Summer Card from the Library Service Desk. The charge is $15.00. Apply for a summer card at (Academic Policy Statement 030603)
  • The exception to all students having borrowing/recall privilege is students who have been blocked for fines, lost material, or damaged material.
  • Please remember that if you check out books for someone else, you are responsible for any overdue or lost book charges for that material.
  • For information about your library books or fines, call 936-294-1618.

Courtesy Card holders have borrowing but not recall privileges.

TexShare Card holders from other institutions have borrowing but not recall privileges. TexShare Card holders may also borrow an in-house laptop computer if one is available.

Loan Periods

  • Undergraduate students: 2 weeks
  • Graduate students: 4 weeks
  • Faculty/Staff: Please consult this Academic Policy Statement
  • Distance Learning Services Users: 4 weeks (includes mailing to and from NGL)
  • Courtesy Card holders: 2 weeks

There is a two day grace period after which fines will start accruing at a rate of 25¢ per book per day to a maximum fine of $25.00 per book.

Graduate student privileges include a loan period of 2 weeks with an automatic extension of two additional weeks. Books may be renewed for a 2 week period after the initial loan period.

All material is subject to recall after a patron has had the book 14 days. Library patrons who do not return recalled materials promptly will be assessed a fine of $1.00 per day per book to a maximum fine of $25.00.


All users may renew materials online. Renewals are for 2 weeks, or until the last date of the semester (whichever is earlier). A specific item may not be eligible for renewal if it has been recalled by another patron. A patron will receive an email confirmation of the renewal request within 48 hours, indicating a new due date, any items which could not be renewed and must be returned, and any accrued fines. Please note that eligible items will be renewed from the date the renewal request was submitted, rather than the date that the email confirmation was sent.

Checkout Limits

Journals may not be checked out.

All materials are subject to recall after 14 days. Library patrons who do not return recalled materials promptly will be assessed a fine of $1.00 per day per book to a maximum fine of $25.00.

If you are unable to locate a book that the on-line catalog indicates should be on the shelf, we are able to assist you in searching for it. Please come to the Library Service Desk. If material you need has been checked out to someone else, please discuss the matter with personnel at the Library Service Desk. We'll be happy to show you how to place a recall on the material.

Circulating Materials

Most material in the Main collection circulates so they can be checked out. Books in the Library's Reference Collection, periodicals (newspapers, magazines, journals), either current or bound cannot be checked out. You are welcome to take notes or photocopy the pages you need.

Courtesy Cards

Individuals who are not affiliated with the University may use the Library's resources in-house, but may not check out materials unless they have purchased a Courtesy Card for an annual fee of $20.00. Applications for a Courtesy Card may be picked up at the Library Service Desk. At the time of application and payment one book may be checked out. After processing, up to ten (10) books may be on an individual's account at a time. The loan period is 2 weeks. Overdue fines accrue at a rate of 25¢ per book per day. Although book checkout may be renewed, materials are subject to recall after 14 days; failure to return recalled materials promptly results in a $1.00 per day per book fine.

Courtesy Card holders are not eligible to use Interlibrary Services, library e-books, or library databases. Courtesy Card holders also do not have privileges to recall items checked out by other users.

TexShare Cards

Sam Houston State University students, faculty, and staff who intend to use libraries at other institutions may apply for a TexShare Card. The TexShare Card allows you to borrow material at another participating library.

  • You may apply online, or fill out a paper application at the Library Service Desk.
  • Applications will be approved if:
    • you are currently enrolled or employed at SHSU
    • there are no overdue books on your account
    • there are no fines on your account
  • Card holders are responsible for abiding by the rules and policies of the library from which books are borrowed.
  • Card holder is responsible for any fines or charges accrued at the lending library.

Distance Learning Circulation Policies

Upon registration as a qualified user of NGL's Distance Learning Services, books owned by Sam Houston State University may be requested. Books will be mailed and must be returned by the due date via UPS or insured mail.


Material that has been placed on reserve by a faculty member is housed in Reserves behind the Library Service Desk. Reserve materials may include books, book chapters, journal articles, class notes, tests, etc. There are two general types of reserves: print and electronic.

Print reserves includes books, CDs, and files containing book chapters, class notes, articles, tests, etc. These materials have checkout times that are specified by the faculty member who has placed them on reserve. Most reserve items are in-building use only for 2 hours, though some items may have a longer loan period. Only 3 reserve items may be checked out at one time. Reserve materials cannot be renewed. An SHSU I.D. is required in order to check out reserve materials.

Electronic reserves includes book chapters, articles, class notes, tests, etc. Although some are also located in print reserves, most are not. Electronic reserves are accessed online. You must be an enrolled student, faculty or staff to access this material.

For more information about placing items on reserve, faculty may refer to the library's Reserve policies. The Reserves Request Form is also available online for faculty convenience.

Fines on Overdue Materials

Overdue notices will be sent to your Sam Houston State University email account.

  • Overdue fines accrue at a rate of $ .25 per day per item on regularly circulating material.
  • There is a 2 day grace period on regularly circulating material after which the fine is charged.
  • If a recalled book is not returned by the specified date, a recall fine of $1.00 per day per item is charged.
  • Reserve material with hourly checkout accrues overdue fines at a rate of $.25 per hour per item.
  • Reserve material with daily checkout accrues overdue fines of $3.00 per day per item.
  • There is a $25.00 maximum fine per item.

Notification of Lost Material

If you receive a notice that you have not returned a book and our records don't match your memory:

The Library will search for the book at least three times.

  • If we find the book on the shelf the first time we search we'll take it off your record and waive the fines for that book.
  • If we find the book on the shelf after the first search, the fine will be calculated from the date due to the date found.
  • If we don't find the book, you will be charged the cost of the book plus a $15.00 processing fee.

Lost a Library book?

  • You may be able to find a replacement copy that's less expensive than the price you've been charged, because you can buy from places we can't.
  • If you can find a copy with the SAME ISBN, title, edition, and publication date, which is clean, in good condition, and doesn't have stains, tears, writing, or library labels/stamps on it, just bring it to the Library Service Desk and let them know it is a replacement for a lost book. If the replacement you've brought meets these standards, we'll delete the cost of the book from your SHSU account. You'll pay only the administration fee and the overdue fines.
  • Some of the places you can look online are,,,, or

If you find the book...

  • Before you have paid for it, you will owe the fine that accrued from the date due to the date your returned it. In addition, you will also owe the $15.00 processing charge for each book.
  • After you've paid for it, you will be reimbursed for the difference between the fine and the lost charge, if any.
  • After you've paid for it and the book has already been replaced, you will be reimbursed for the difference between the fine and lost charge less the $15.00 processing fee.

When notified of an overdue book and before you are charged for the book, look:

  • Under the car seats
  • At your friends' houses
  • At work
  • Under the bed
  • In a friend's car
  • At another library

Book Drops

The Library has three book drops. Only books should be returned in the drops. Please do not use the book drops to return material that is damaged or appears fragile, as the drop and weight of other books may increase the damage. Overnight reserve material must be returned to the Library Service Desk. The book drops are located at:

  • Outside on veranda at the Northeast corner of the Library.
  • On the wall at the front of the Library next to the right entrance door
  • Inside the Library on the right side of the Library Service Desk.
  • Book drops are emptied regularly throughout the day.
  • Books that are returned after the Library has closed will be checked in early the next working day.