Borrowing Policies

Important Notice: If you have library materials checked out, keep them at home until the shelter-in-place order is lifted. Use your online library account to renew materials until August 14. If you can’t renew your items, don’t worry—we have suspended all fines and fees for late returns for all items until further notice.

Once the order is lifted, books can be returned to our drop boxes or by mail. Living outside of the Kalamazoo area? You can keep your books until you return to campus—fine-free. 

If you have questions about your account, call us at (269) 387-5059 or contact us online.

Loan periods | Recalls | Returning items | Notices | Lost items | Guest borrowers

You can use your Bronco Card or guest borrower’s card to check out items from Western Michigan University Libraries locations and borrow items from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan or MeLCat.

Log in to My Library Account to confirm due dates, renew items and see items you have currently checked out. If you are a student at one of the regional locations of WMU, you may request items be sent to you through Interlibrary Loan.

Loan periods

Item typeUniversity borrowerGuest borrower
government documents,
music scores,
music CDs and LPs
1 semester
(2 online renewals, 
up to 365 days)
Faculty/Staff: Renewals
up to 1,095 days
14 days
(2 online renewals,
up to 42 days)
Children's books (Waldo),
popular reading
28 days
(2 online renewals)
14 days
(2 online renewals)
Reserve items 2hrs, 4hrs, 48hrs, 7 days
(renewal dependent on
2hrs, 4hrs, 48hrs, 7 days
(permanent reserves only)
Videos 14 days
(1 online renewal)
Not available for use
Lockers 1 semester Not available for use

WMU students, faculty and staff may borrow up to 100 items. Guest borrows may borrow up to 10 items.


You are guaranteed use of materials for at least 14 days. After that, University Libraries users may recall items you have checked out. You will get an email notification to return the item.

A lost fee will be applied five days after the recalled due date if the item has not been returned. Borrowing privileges will be suspended if you have one or more recalled item overdue.

Returning items

Return items to one of the following locations:

Waldo Library

  • Book return drop slot near outside doors of Waldo Library’s front entrance.
  • Outside book return drop slot at curb on Arcadia Street side of the building.
  • Inside building at first floor atrium.

College of Health and Human Services Campus

Drop box on first floor of Health and Human Services Building, near the Learning Resource Center. Pick up Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Engineering Campus (Parkview)

Drop box on first floor of Floyd Hall, near front entrance, around the corner from the Parkview Café. Pick up Monday through Friday at 9:15 a.m.

Haworth College of Business

Drop box on first floor of Schneider Hall, by entrance closest to the Fetzer Center. Pick up Monday through Friday at 10 a.m.

Maybee Music and Dance Library

Inside the Music and Dance Library in the Dalton Center on the third floor.

Swain Education Library

Book return drop slot inside the Education Library in Sangren Hall on the second floor to the left of the service desk.

Library materials must be returned complete with all parts, discs, booklets and other accompanying material. You will be charged full replacement costs for items returned without all accompanying material.

Notice schedule

  • Courtesy - 5 days before due date.
  • Due Today - Early morning on day due.
  • Overdue #1 - 7 days after due date.
  • Overdue #2 - 38 days after due date. Alerts patron to return or renew (if allowed) items within 7 days to avoid stated "Lost Billing" fee of $75.
  • Overdue (Videos/Recalls/Reserves) - 1 day after due date; only for reserves, recalls, and videos. Alerts patron to return item within 4 days or it will be declared lost.
  • Lost Billing - 45 days after due date. Notice to patron of "Lost Billing" fee applied to University account.
    • A final search is conducted for items prior to "Lost Billing."
    • "Lost Billing" fees are transferred nightly and are immediately assessed to your WMU account.
    • Please see payment options.

Lost Item and processing fees

Lost item and processing fees apply to all borrowers, who are liable for charges incurred.

Accounts with billed lost items will have fees applied to their university account. 

Item typeConsidered lost
after due date
Minimum lost
item fee
processing fee
Books and scores 45 days $75 Only item cost
Videos/recalls/reserves 5 days $75 Only item cost
CDs, LPs and videos at
Maybee Music and Dance Library
45 days $75 Only item cost
Interlibrary loan Varies by
lending institution
Item cost $15
Locker keys 5 days $25 N/A
Library equipment 5 days Item cost Only item cost

Replacement costs are assessed at the library’s discretion and may be increased based on the items value.  A minimum value of $75 applies in most cases, which is the average cost of replacement of library materials based on the 2017 U.S. College Book Price Index. Library equipment and interlibrary loan items are billed based on actual replacement cost.

Replacement charges may also apply to damaged items at the discretion of library staff.

If a lost item is returned within six months of the billing date, the lost item fee will be refunded.

Replacement copies

Library staff may accept either a new (preferred) or 'like new' (if no new copy is currently available) replacement of a lost item at their discretion in lieu of the replacement fee. The item must have the same ISBN number as the item lost. Any exceptions to the replacement policy must be approved by the User Services Librarian or their designate. Patrons are required to contact User Services staff before purchase to ensure items qualify as acceptable replacements. 

Library fee appeals

Library staff have the discretion to wave lost item fees in exceptional and documented situations, such as events outside of human control, natural disasters, etc. Patrons may request an appeal from the User Services Librarian or their designate within 45 days of the billing date.

Interlibrary loan

Because Interlibrary Loan (ILL) items come from other institutions, they are treated differently from materials borrowed from WMU Libraries:

  • ILL Items, unlike other items, will incur overdue fines of $1 a day.
  • ILL items will be considered lost after an amount of time determined by the lending institution.
  • Lost fees for ILL items are also determined by the lending institution and are most typically equal to the item’s replacement value. A $15 non-refundable processing fee will also be charged for lost ILL items.

Make all payments to WMU Accounts Receivable.

Guest borrowers

A guest borrower may borrow up to 10 items excluding class reserve and audio/video items. See loan periods above. You may obtain a guest borrower's card if you:

  • Live within a 50-mile radius of Western Michigan University, and
  • Are at least 18 years of age, and
  • Present a photo identification with an address and proof of Social Security number

A guest borrower's card is valid for one year. To renew a card, stop by any of our locations.

WMU alumni in good standing may also obtain a guest borrower's card. Verification of alumni status may be required.

For more information on obtaining a guest borrower's card, call User Services at (269) 387-5059 during open library hours or stop by one of our Service Desks.