The University Library Circulation Department is located on the first floor as you enter the library. This department provides the following services.


Library hours vary but the Circulation department is open all the hours that the building is open. Users are requested to bring materials to the Circulation Desk for check-out at least 15 minutes before the library closes.


Borrowing privileges are available at no charge for USA students, faculty, and staff.  Other individuals who qualify may be granted borrowing privileges as Courtesy card patrons.

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Loans and Returns

To borrow materials from the University Library you must have and present a valid borrower's card. For students, this is your USA Picture ID (Jag Card). Undergraduates may borrow 20 books and graduate students up to 40 books at a time. Materials are checked out at the Circulation Desk for varying periods depending on material type and category of borrower.  Periodicals are available for loan to faculty and graduate students only.  The loan period is for 3 days, with no renewals.  Bound volumes are should be checked-out at the Circulation Desk.  Unbound periodicals will need to receive an override slip and should be checked out at the Documents/Serials Desk on 2nd floor South.  Check out of unbound periodicals is limited to no more than two issues per title, with the maximum of three issues at a time, and must be returned to the 2nd floor desk.  Reserve materials and media must be returned to the point of check-out.  University Library materials from the general collection may be returned to the Circulation Desk or to one of the library's bookdrops.

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All patron circulation and registration records are confidential. (Code of Alabama, Section 41-8-10


Bookdrops  are located in the North Parking Lot and by the West entrance these may be used at any time.  Items retrieved from bookdrops when the library opens are considered to have been returned as of the most recent date that the library was open.

Instructional Media materials and Reserve items that are loaned by the hour should NOT be returned to the bookdrops. They should be returned to the point of check-out.

Reserve Materials

Reserve items may be either Library Reserve or Course Reserve. Library Reserve items include such materials as the Alabama/Gulf Coast Collections (circulating and non-circulating.) Course Reserves are those items (books, journal articles, tests, etc.) placed at the Circulation Desk by an instructor. Many Course Reserve items can be accessed online through SOUTHcat.

When requesting a Reserve item, to help Circulation staff serve you better and faster, first find the item's call number in SOUTHcat.

Please note that Reserve differs from Reference. Most Reference materials are on self-service (open) shelves in the Reference Department.  Reference materials do not circulate.

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If you need an item that SOUTHcat indicates is currently checked out, you may request that a Hold or Recall be placed on it. The current borrower will not be allowed to renew the book and you will be notified when it is available (if others have already requested the item, your name is added to the list.)

Holds and Recalls may be placed by telephone, but the requestor must give precise information about the requested item(s) and must provide the barcode number from his/her library card. Holds and Recalls may also be placed online through the SOUTHcat Catalog ( by choosing Hold/Recall. Be sure to specify at which library location you wish to pick up the item(s).

The Library may recall an item at any time regardless of its "normal" loan period or when it originally may have been due. Recalls may also be placed (on materials that are already checked out) online through the SOUTHcat Catalog ( by choosing Hold/Recall.

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Books and media may be renewed unless Holds or Recalls have been placed on them. The number of times an item may be renewed depends on the type of material and the borrower's patron group category. Fine rates are doubled for recalled books not returned when due. If there are no overdues, holds, or recalls, most patrons may renew items online through the SOUTHcat Catalog by choosing My Account, entering the borrower's card barcode and last name, checking the boxes next to the items to be renewed and then clicking Renew Items.


Library notices are a courtesy. Failure to receive an overdue notice does not constitute a basis for avoiding an overdue fine. 


Fine rates range from 25¢ per day for books from the Main Circulating Collection (open stacks) to 5¢ per minute for some reserve items.  Fine rates are doubled for recalled items. 

Fine rates for materials from IMC/PETAL range from 25¢ per day to 50¢ per day depending on the material type.

Fine rates for periodicals is $1.00 per day per item.

Outstanding fines or payments due for lost materials can cause a Registrar's Hold to be placed on your University record. This will prevent transcripts from being issued. Disregard for library policies by Courtesy card holders may result in their borrowing privileges being terminated. 

Forms of Payment:  Payments may be made by cash, check, money order, Visa or MasterCard. To obtain immediate clearance of a hold so that a transcript may be issued, payment should be made by cash, money order or credit card. A two-week delay is required when payment is made by personal check. A fee will be assessed for a returned check.

The University prohibits check cashing, and change cannot be given on checks made out for an amount greater than what is to be paid. Cash advances on credit cards are also prohibited by the University.

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Photocopying and Printing

The University Library photocopiers and printers use TRACCARDs and do not accept cash.  Copies and prints are 10¢ per page. 

Three photocopy machines are available for public use – two on the ground floor and one in the Reference area on the second floor. Two printers are available for printing from the Library’s public PCs – located across from the Circulation desk on the ground floor. 

TRACCARDs may be purchased at the Circulation/Reserve Desk.  There is a non-refundable $ .50 charge to cover the cost of the card.  These cards are renewable.  Additional value can to added to the cards at the Circulation/Reserve Desk. These cards are for use only in the University Library's photocopiers and printers; they will not work in the microform machines nor are they compatible with the copiers in the Biomedical Library.

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Persons with Disabilities

The University Library is committed to providing the best access it can to all members of the University community. Magnifying machines are available for the visually impaired. Help is available at the Circulation Desk and the Reference Desk for retrieving items from hard-to-reach locations. Ask if you need assistance.

Group Study Rooms and Laptop Connections

Group study rooms for two or more are available throughout the building on a first-come, first served basis. Most of these rooms and several other tables throughout the library have ethernet jacks and power plugs which will let you connect your laptop to our broadband network. Look for the white labels which indicate which ones are "live." There are also individual tables on the 2nd Floor North with laptop connections -- look for the white label. Wireless laptop service is available on all floors of the library and in all group study rooms.

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Lost and Found

Items found and turned in at the Circulation Desk are kept there approximately until the end of each academic term. USA Picture IDs are ultimately forwarded to USA Student Services, Room 110 in the Student Center. When identification permits, we try to contact owners concerning recovered items.

Rush Processing

If you need an item that the catalog indicates is "In Process," you may request that processing be expedited. Ask the Circulation Staff for a Rush Request Form and have the exact information from the SOUTHcat screen available to transcribe onto the form. Please be aware, however, that items listed as "In Process" are not always available. Materials listed as "On Order" or "In Pre-Order Process" have not yet been received.

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Searches for Missing Books

If you are unable to find materials that SOUTHcat indicates should be available, ask the Circulation Staff to search for them. Searches will be performed as soon as possible, and you will be notified when and if the material is found.


If you find a book that needs repair, please take it to the Circulation Desk. If it is a Reference book, take it to the Reference Desk. If the item is a journal or magazine, take it to the service desk on the Second Floor.


Some desk supplies are available for patron use. Tape, a hole punch, staplers, and scissors are kept on the lower section of the Circulation counter. All of these items should be used where they are and should not be moved to other areas of the floor or building. Reasonable numbers of paper clips and quick "touchup" quantities of correction fluid can also be provided.

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