Library Cards

No one may borrow books or other library materials except with his or her own library card.

Rationale: This is to protect library users and other students and faculty members from unauthorized use of their identification and consequent liability for fines, tagged records, etc.

Revised 4/2001

Michigan Library Privacy Act

The Library Privacy Act (M.C.L.A. Sec. 397.603 Sec. 3) helps assure the privacy of all library users. It states:

(2) Unless ordered by a court after giving the affected library notice of the request and an opportunity to be heard on the request, a library or an employee or agent of a library shall not release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to a person without the written consent of the person liable for payment for or return of the materials identified in that library record.

(3) The procedure and form of giving written consent described in subsection (2) may be determined by the library.

What does this mean in the Thompson Library? 
To comply with this law, Thompson Library faculty and staff cannot, without the written consent of the individual whose privacy is at issue, tell one patron what library materials another patron has borrowed, nor can they reveal who has requested specific books or other materials, including materials requested through interlibrary loan.

Revised 4/2001

Borrowing Privileges: Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff may borrow circulating books and circulating government documents according to the schedule below, and may renew them twice.

Check-out date

Due date

August 1 - November 30

December 15

December 1 - March 31

April 15

April 1 - July 31

August 15

 Materials that generally do not circulate may sometimes be borrowed for a limited period. Unbound periodicals may be borrowed for 24 hours; bound periodicals may be borrowed by faculty and staff only long enough to make photocopies. Faculty and staff may borrow circulating audiovisual materials for seven days and may renew them once. Reference materials may be borrowed at the discretion of the reference librarian on duty; see the section “Reference Books - Lending.”

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005

Borrowing Privileges: Retired Faculty & Staff

Like most other university benefits and privileges, library privileges cease – except for retirees – when the faculty or staff member is no longer employed by the University. Those who retire from UM-Flint retain full library privileges.

For those who resign or otherwise leave their positions with the University, materials they have borrowed from the Thompson Library are considered due back the same day their employment ceases.

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005

Non-University Affiliated Patrons

The Thompson Library is open to the general public; all resources may be used in-house. Patrons not affiliated with UM-Flint can borrow circulating materials with guest borrowers’ cards, which fall into the following categories:

Community borrower's card. This card is valid for one year from the date of purchase, and can be purchased for $125 for UM-Flint alumni, and $250 for the general public. The alumni rate is subject to verification of the borrower's status. A community borrower's card entitles its owner to borrow circulating materials for three weeks, and is valid on all three UM campuses.

Academic Resource Sharing (ARS) cards. This card is available to students at Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Kettering University. See the section"Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges" for more information.

Regular library cards issued to people not affiliated with UM-Flint. Officials of the Mott Foundation have free borrowing privileges. Limited borrowing privileges are available for patrons affiliated with Michigan State University and Wayne State University. See the section "Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges" for more information.

Government documents card. See "Government Documents: Circulation of Documents."

The above cards may not be used for interlibrary loan services, access to off-campus library resources such as remote databases, or for any products or services restricted by license to patrons affiliated with the University of Michigan or the Flint campus.

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005

Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges

UM-Flint students, faculty, and staff have borrowing privileges at most of the libraries on the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses with their UM-Flint library card. The Law Library does not extend borrowing privileges to Flint patrons.

Graduate students at all three UM campuses, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University may obtain borrowing privileges at all of these institutions. They must be currently enrolled and in good standing with their own libraries. To receive a library card from one of the other institutions, a graduate student must fill out a form available at his or her home library. UM-Flint graduate students may obtain the forms at the Thompson Library’s circulation desk. Other information about this arrangement is found under the document "Michigan Research Libraries Triangle."

UM-Flint, Kettering University, Mott Community College, and Baker College of Flint have limited mutual borrowing privileges for their students and faculty through the Academic Resource Sharing (ARS) program. With an ARS card, students and faculty can borrow two books at a time, up to ten per semester, from these institutions. UM-Flint students may obtain an ARS card at the Thompson Library circulation desk. The card is valid until the end of the semester.

Interpretation: The ARS and MRLT cards are intended as supplements to, and not substitutes for, the resources of the Thompson Library. Students at all participating institutions are expected to exhaust the resources of their home libraries before receiving an ARS or MRLT card.

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005 
Revised 1/2007

Community Borrower Cards

The Thompson Library extends regular borrowing privileges for a one-year period to any Michigan resident age 18 or older who pays a non-refundable fee (currently $125 for UM alumni and $250 for others). The fee is linked to UM-Flint student charges, and is subject to fluctuation with those charges. Payment of the fee enables the individual to borrow circulating materials on the same basis as a UM-Flint student. The fee involves only one’s ability to borrow; anyone is free to use library services and materials on the premises.

The community borrower's card is not valid for audiovisual materials, CD-ROMs or software, access to restricted databases, or interlibrary loan services. Institutional cards are not issued; cards are issued only to individuals, and are non-transferable. Unauthorized transfer of cards is cause for termination of privileges.

Payment for each one-year loan period must be made in full before any materials may be borrowed. Failure to return borrowed materials or to pay fines for overdue or lost books will result in denial of further loan periods, regardless of the individual’s willingness to pay the borrower fee.

Except as noted below or as outlined in the “Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges” section, this policy applies to all members of the general public age 18 or older, including employees of local businesses and of the Flint Board of Education, Flint-area schoolteachers, and to graduate students from other colleges and universities.


1) People from institutions that have entered reciprocal borrowing agreements with the Thompson Library will not be required to pay the fee unless the agreement specifically excludes them. This includes the Academic Resource Sharing and the Michigan Research Library Triangle arrangements.

2) Professional staff of the Mott Foundation shall be issued borrowers’ cards free of charge.

3) Government Documents. Anyone is free to borrow from the Government Documents collection. See "Government Documents: Circulation of Documents.”

4) Other exceptions: Situations not covered by this policy should be rare. Those occurring are to be left to the discretion of the librarian on duty. It should be clearly understood that a patron’s desire to borrow “only for a few days” or “only to borrow this one book” are inadequate arguments on which to base an exemption to the fee rule.


The University Libraries at the Ann Arbor campus charge fees for borrowers unaffiliated with the University.

Other departments of the University of Michigan–Flint also charge fees to community members for use of services and facilities. The University Center, for example, rents meeting rooms to the public that are available free of charge to UM-Flint faculty and staff; the UCEN also charges the public at large for use of its pool. UM-Flint also sells memberships permitting public use of the Recreation Center.

Rationale: The primary purpose of the Thompson Library, as is implicit in the State Legislature’s establishment of this campus, is to serve the library needs of the students, faculty and staff of the University of Michigan–Flint and the University of Michigan system. Any other function is subordinate to this one.

Although the Thompson Library was once willing to attempt to accommodate the needs of other Flint and Michigan residents free of charge, both internal and external pressures have combined to make this willingness self-defeating, leading to poorer service for all Thompson Library users, including members of the general public. The chief internal pressure stems from the program growth at UM-Flint that has taken place without a corresponding growth in library resources. Where once the Thompson Library struggled to serve the academic needs of the institution’s liberal arts undergraduate enrollment, it now finds its resources extremely strained by the legitimate demands of students and faculty.

The Thompson Library cannot offer service free of charge to the general public at the expense, in the form of depleted collections, of the students whose tuition and fees help support the Thompson Library and the University itself, or at the expense of UM-Flint faculty members who use the Thompson Library to support their research. These two groups are entitled, then, to primary access to the Thompson Library and its collections.

The chief external factor in this policy lies in the development of several other area colleges whose students may seek to satisfy their library needs through the Thompson Library rather than through the libraries of their own colleges. Considering the challenge the Thompson Library has in meeting the requirements of UM-Flint students and faculty, it is clear that the Thompson Library cannot function as an unfunded substitute in behalf of other, nearby institutions. Any student paying college tuition has a right to expect reasonable library service from his or her own school; there is no reason to expect to obtain it freely elsewhere.

The Thompson Library recognizes that members of the general public may have research or information needs that this library may be able to serve and does not wish to close the door on these individuals. It has therefore established the fee system as stated in this policy.

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005 
Revised 1/2007



Michigan Research Libraries Triangle (MRLT)

This reciprocal borrowing program is available to graduate students from all three University of Michigan campuses, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Students must be currently enrolled in classes and obtain a "good standing" letter from their library. UM-Flint students may obtain their letter from the circulation desk. This letter may also be faxed to the library  from where the student would like to borrow items (810.424.5253). MRLT cards expire one year from the date of issue. 

Loan period is 3 weeks. Overdue fines will begin to accrue after this period. There is a fine of $2.00/day for recalled items. Replacement cost will be $50 plus processing fee. 


Academic Resource Sharing (ARS)

This reciprocal sharing program is available at Baker College-Flint, Mott Community College and Kettering University. UM-Flint students  may obtain an ARS card at the Thompson Library Circulation Desk. Students from other institutions can get an ARS card from their libraries. 

Students and Faculty may borrow two books at at time, and up to 10 per semester. The card expires one year from the date it was issued. 



All reserve items: 25 cents per hour, max. $10 per item.

All media items: $5 per day, max. of $50 per item.

The fines above apply to all borrowers except UM-Flint faculty and staff. They are not charged fines for overdue materials, but their borrowing privileges may be blocked for books that are long overdue. They are responsible for replacement costs as outlined in “Lost and Damaged Materials.”

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 6/2006

Lost and Damaged Materials

Charges for lost materials and for those too damaged to return to the collection include any applicable overdue fines. Overdue fines cease to accumulate when an item is reported lost or damaged.

If an item is still available for ordering as a new copy, the charge is the item’s price plus a $25 service fee*, plus any accrued fines. If an item is unavailable as a new copy, the charge is based on prices listed on used and rare book or other relevant websites, plus the $25 service fee and applicable fines. Determining a charge may take two or more business days. In general, hardbound copies of books are ordered unless the lost copy was paperback.

Patrons may replace lost or damaged materials themselves, but are strongly encouraged to talk to a library staff member or librarian first. This is to ensure that the item that the library obtains is the most recent edition, a new or like-new copy, suitably bound, and otherwise acceptable. The library will not accept replacement copies that are inadequate for any reason (wrong edition, defaced, scratched CD, and so on). In either case, however, the $25 processing fee* and fines still apply.

All borrowers except UM-Flint faculty and staff will be charged fines for overdue materials. Other sanctions for overdue materials may include suspension or termination of borrowing privileges and a block on financial aid, registration, transcripts, and graduation. Unpaid fines and/or replacement costs of unreturned materials may be submitted to a collection agency for further action.

If the borrower finds and returns the item within 90 days, the Thompson Library can refund the replacement and processing charges by issuing a slip redeemable at the UM-Flint Cashiers Office. The maximum overdue fine ($10 per book, $50 per media item) is non-refundable, even if the actual fine is lower because the item was reported missing.

After charging a borrower for a lost item, the Thompson Library waits 90 days before ordering a replacement. After 90 days, borrowers will not receive refunds when returning lost and paid books that have been reordered.

Rationale: This policy gives the borrower ample time to locate and return a lost item for a refund. It also gives the Thompson Library a better chance to obtain replacements. Beyond 90 days, there is a greater possibility that the item will be out of print. The Thompson Library generally does not order multiple copies of books, and granting a refund for a book already replaced would amount to multiple-copy acquisition.

The purpose of the processing fee is to recoup the cost of locating and ordering a new copy of an item, processing and paying the invoice, cataloging a replacement and physically preparing it for use, and revising or removing the Mirlyn record for the lost or damaged item. The cost of staff time involved can easily reach or exceed $25.

* Patrons receive an automatic billing for a processing fee of $50. The library will actually charge only half of this fee.

Revised 4/2001 
Revised 1/2005 
Revised 5/2005

Reference Book Lending

Reference books are ordinarily for use in the library only. There are sometimes situations that make such use awkward or otherwise unsatisfactory. In these cases, a patron may sign out a reference book for a limited time.

Any student, staff, or faculty member of the University of Michigan is eligible to borrow reference materials. Representatives of local foundations may borrow a reference book without charge if the item is needed in conjunction with the foundation work. Librarians from other area libraries may be extended the courtesy of free borrowing of reference books. At the discretion of the reference librarian on duty, government officials may borrow reference books without charge, provided the items are to be used in conjunction with their official duties.

The librarian or staff member who makes out the reference book loan form is responsible for contacting the overdue borrower. When warranted, the borrower’s record may be turned over to the Circulation Department for follow-through with credit-hold, loan-blocking, or collection procedures.

Interpretation: Depending on the circumstances, almost any book in the reference collection could go out. Except in truly extraordinary circumstances (e.g. the chancellor has a pressing need for it), a few items should never leave. These include heavily used books, periodical indexes not available electronically, indexes to reference sets, and other items that are obviously current, without parallels in our collection, that act as essential “doorways” to other parts of the collection, and that are likely to be in demand on a regular basis. Reference books that are in demand for a specific class assignment, such as the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, must not go out. Other material should be considered for circulation when, in the librarian's judgment, circumstances suggest that would be the prudent course.

Reference materials can be signed out for an hour to a week – or even longer, depending on the situation. Items to be let out for a very short time include those requiring little time to use in the way the patron wants, and that are fairly likely to be in some demand. Rarely consulted books, and those requiring extensive consultation to accomplish the job at hand, may go out for longer periods – again, if in the reference librarian's judgment that would be the prudent course to assure good service.

The decision on lending a reference book is the responsibility of the librarian who handles the transaction. In cases of doubt, the librarian should discuss the request with the Head of Public Services, or, in that person’s absence, with other library faculty who happen to be present. In any case, there should be no second-guessing a reference librarian's decision when it is made in accord with the above guidelines. These guidelines are flexible; they have to be, if we are to treat the reference collection in a way that helps assure the best service possible.

Revised 4/2001



Newspapers in the Thompson Library may not be borrowed. These contain current information that should be available to library users at all times.

Exception: A reference librarian may make an exception for a faculty member wanting to borrow long enough to make photocopies in his or her office.

The procedure will be the same as for signing out reference books, using the same form. The patron should return the newspaper to the Reference Desk.

Revised 4/2001