Spiva Library

Frequently Asked Questions

General | Computer | Circulation & Course Reserves | Interlibrary Loan(ILL) | Reference & Research


What are the library hours?

Regular semester hours are:

1:00pm - 11:00pm
7:30am - 11:00pm
7:30am - 5:00pm
9:00am - 5:00pm

Hours differ during intercessions and summer as well as holidays. Current hours with updated closings and early closures can be found online as well as posted at each entrance of the library.

Where are the restrooms?

  • On level 1 the restrooms are located to the left of the Coffee Shop.
  • On level 2 the restrooms are located on the East side (or right side when entering from the tower stairwell).
  • On level 3 the restrooms are located directly opposite the Reference desk.
  • On level 4 the restrooms are located on the East side as on the second level.

Where are the elevators?

  • One elevator is located by the tower stairwell. This elevator opens on all four floors.
  • There is second elevator located at the southwest corner of the building. This elevator opens on the second, third, and fourth floors only.

Can I use the phone?

  • No one but library staff or university staff on official business may use the Reference or Circulation desk phones.
  • There is an on-campus phone located to the left of the Main Circulation desk between the inner and outer doors. This phone will allow local off-campus calls by dialing 8.

I left my disc/flash drive, earbuds in one of the computers? Do you have it? Where is the lost and found?

  • Any item left in or near the Reference computer workstations (3rd floor) and/or turned in to Reference area staff remains at that desk until the end of the working day.
  • Items left in or near Secondary Circulation computer workstations (1st floor) are located at that desk until the end of the working day.
  • Items left in or near Audio Visuals Center computer workstations (4th floor) are located at that desk until the end of the working day.
  • All items EXCEPT flash drives are moved to Lost and Found at the Main Circulation desk (3rd floor) at the end of the working day and remain there until claimed or brought to the office of Public Safety at the end of the semester.
  • Flash drives are taken to the IT Service desk located on the second floor of the library at the end of the working day.

Are there study rooms available?

  • There are a limited number of rooms available for student use. Rooms must be checked out at the Main Circulation Desk with a current Missouri Southern ID.

Are there typewriters available?

  • There is one typewriter available in the library. It is located to the right of the 3rd level entrance across from the fireplace. Patrons should seek assistance at the Main Circulation desk for help using this typewriter.

I have a friend who isn't a student? Can s/he use this library? Who can use the library?

  • ANYONE may use the library for reading and/or research. However, patrons must have a valid ID card to check out materials and non-University affiliated patrons must show a valid ID to be logged onto computer workstations.
  • Currently enrolled students will use their MSSU student ID as their library card.
  • Faculty and Staff will use their MSSU faculty/staff lD's as their library card.
  • Non-University affiliated patrons must purchase a 1-year valid library card for $15 with the following exception:
  • K-12 students - $10.00
  • NOTE: Non-University affiliated library card holders are charged a $4 processing fee when checking out Interlibrary Loan Requests.

Can I buy a floppy disk, zip disk, flash drive, set of headphones or other items in the library?

  • The following items are available for purchase at the Main Circulation Desk on the 3rd floor and the Secondary Circulation Desk on the 1st floor:
3.5" Floppy Disk
Book Bag
1 GB USB Flash Drive
2 GB USB Flash Drive



Where are the computer labs located in the library?

  • There are computer workstations on every floor of the library totaling 96 student workstations. There are a limited number of computer workstations for public use on the 1st and 3rd floors only.

What are the hours for the computer labs?

I’m a MSSU student, how do I sign on to the workstations located in the library?


Username: doe-j001
Password: 123ABC

  • Students who want to use a computer located in the library or in another computer lab on campus need to enter the first half of their University email as their Username and their assigned 6 character PIN as their password.
  • You need to contact Information Technology Services if you have forgotten or never received your PIN.
  • Email: helpdesk@mssu.edu
    : 417-659-4444
    Location: Bottom floor of Plaster Hall.
  • Students must activate their University email (mymail) via LionNet.

I’m not a MSSU student; may I use a workstation?

  • There are select workstations on the 1st & 3rd floors of the library that may be used by community patrons. Public users must present a photo ID at either the Reference Desk (3rd floor) or Circulation 2 Desk (1st floor) and sign in, in order to use a workstation. MSSU students have priority and public users might be asked to log-off if all other workstations are in use. Public users are limited to 1 hour of use per day and a 10 cents for each B&W print or 50 cents for each color print.I’m not a MSSU student; may I use a workstation?

Which workstations have zip drives?

  • None of the computers in the library have zip drives. All of the computers have CD drives as well as USB ports for flash drives.

Does the Library have scanners?

There are:

  • one flatbed (8 1/2 x 11) scanner located at a specified workstation on the 1st floor
  • one scanner located on the 3rd floor
  • one scanner located on the 4th floor.

These workstations are accessed the same way as all others. A 30 minute time limit is enforced for these particular workstations for ALL users.

Which workstations have CD burners?

  • All of the computers in the library have have CD burners.

Can I buy a floppy disk, zip disk, flash drive, set of headphones or other computer assessories in the library?

  • The following items are available for purchase at the Main Circulation Desk on the 3rd floor and the Secondary Circulation Desk on the 1st floor:
3.5" Floppy Disk
Book Bag
1 GB USB Flash Drive
2 GB USB Flash Drive

Can I print my paper, spreadsheet, or graphs in the library? What is the cost?

  • All student workstations are connected to network printers that can print both color and B&W.
  • The cost is 10 cents per B&W print and 50 cents per color print.

Can I print on both sides of the paper?

  • Double-sided printing is available on all floors of the library.  Each side will be charged as a second print.

Can I print directly from the Internet?

  • Yes

How can I print in color?

  • All printers are set by default to print B&W.  To print in color, it must be selected in the drop down box in the print window.

Are there any Apple computers?

  • There are no Apple computers available in the library.

Can I use my laptop computer in the library to connect to the SWAN, Central Search etc.?

  • Yes, but you must have either an Ethernet card and cord or a wireless card. Instructions on how to set up a wireless connection are available at every service desk in the library.

Can I access the catalog (SWAN) from home?

  • Anyone is able to access SWAN from any computer with Internet access.

Can I access EbscoHost (or other online databases) from off campus?

  • Yes, simply enter your MOSO ID and password when prompted. These are the same Username and Password used to log onto campus computers.

Why can’t I use my cell phone on the 3rd floor of the library or “chat,” play games or do “instant messaging” on the workstations on that floor?

  • The 3rd floor of the library is intended to be an area conducive to students who are conducting scholarly activities. In a survey conducted by a consultant, it was noted that cell phones ringing and persons talking on cell phones bothered many people. It was decided to ban them from this floor and the “quiet room” located on the 4th floor.
  • Chat, IM & game programs are prohibited on 3rd floor computers because these computers are intended for scholarly activities. Chatting, etc. may be done on workstations located on the 1st floor near the coffee shop.


Circulation & Course Reserves

Where is the Circulation Desk?

  • There are two circulation desks - the Main Circulation desk is located on the third floor and the Secondary Circulation desk is located on the first floor near the coffee shop.

What are the telephone numbers to each circulation desk?

  • The telephone number to the Main Circulation desk is 625-9362.
  • The telephone number to the Secondary Circulation desk is 625-9803.

What information does a student or faculty member need to present to borrow materials?

  • MSSU users must present a valid MSSU identification card, a valid driver's license, or their non-MSSU college/university identification card to borrow and/or renew materials. Borrowing privileges are denied to those who fail to present valid identification. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Is there a limit to the number of items I may check out?

  • Book limits = 15 per library visit
  • Magazine limits = 10 TOTAL
  • Video/DVD limits = 5 TOTAL

In addition a students may only have a total of 50 items and faculty a total of 200 items checked out at any given time.

Can materials be renewed?

  • Items that check out for one week may only be renewed once. Main Collection, Juvenile and Young Adult books may be renewed twice. Items placed on hold by another patron may not be renewed.
  • Items may be renewed by calling (625-9362) or stopping by the Main Xirculation desk on the 3rd floor. Additionally, MSSU users can access their library account to renew their materials: 

Does the library charge overdue fines? If so, how much are they?

  • Yes, the library does charge fines for overdue and lost materials. Fines are as follows:


  • Reserve Materials - $.50 per hour/$12.00 maximum
  • 1 Week Item - $.10 per day/$5.00 maximum
  • 4 Week Item-  $.10 per day/$5.00 maximum
  • SWAN/MOBIUS $20.00/per book/non-negotiable


  • MSSU Book:  Cost of Book + $10.00processing fee + $5.00maximum fine or billing fee
  • MSSU Loose Periodical:  Cost of Issue + $10.00 processing fee + $5.00 billing fee
  • MSSU Bound Periodical:  Cost of Each Issue + $15.00 binding fee + $10.00 processing fee + $5.00 billing fee
  • SWAN/MOBIUS - $120.00/per book/non-negotiable

Does the library send overdue notices to remind users of late materials?

  • Yes, the library does send overdue notices. However, MSSU users are responsible for returning materials when they are due. Overdue notices are disseminated as a courtesy, and the failure to receive them does not absolve the user from responsibility to return materials and finance overdue charges and/or replacement costs.

Can you describe the MOBIUS/SWAN service?

  • MSSU is a member of MOBIUS/SWAN, a consortium of over sixty Missouri libraries for the purpose of sharing books. (MOBIUS libraries do not share periodicals, audio/visual materials, et cetera.)
  • Students from MOBIUS/SWAN libraries are eligible to electronically request books from other member libraries. A courier connects each MOBIUS library for expedited delivery. For example, an MSSU student who ordered a book from the University of Missouri-Columbia on a Monday could expect it to arrive by Thursday afternoon of the same week. Although delivery times vary, books typically arrive within 3-5 business days.
  • To appreciate its scope, access this link to view a map and a list of its participants: http://searchmobius.org/screens/libinfo.html
  • MOBIUS institutional membership covers the cost of belonging to this consortium. Therefore, students do not have to pay for books they order when they retrieve them at the main circulation desk. MOBIUS/SWAN affords MSSU students access to millions of volumes of books, most of which would have been ordered through traditional interlibrary loan, a more time-consuming and costlier option, if the consortium did not exist.
  • Students who order MOBIUS/SWAN books will be notified through their campus email accounts when their item(s) arrive. However, they are encouraged to contact the main circulation desk to see if their order has arrived. All MOBIUS/SWAN books are retrieved and returned to the Main Circulation desk.

How do I order books from the MOBIUS/SWAN consortium?

  • First, begin a search on SWAN (library catalog).
  • After performing a keyword search - or a title or author search, if you search for a particular book or author - you will see the titles to books that are consistent with the keywords you selected. These titles are for books at the George A. Spiva Library, as the SWAN online catalog is programmed to search your home library.
  • Second, to broaden the search, click on the "Search MOBIUS" option on the toolbar at the top of the screen. By doing so, your keywords will search the online catalogs for each MOBIUS/SWAN library. The results will include books that contain your keywords, listed in chronological order.
  • When you find a book that you like, click on its title to view its item record, providing you with more information about it - publisher, table of contents, publication year, et cetera.
  • To order that book, click "REQUEST THIS ITEM." You will be prompted to select the cluster to which you belong - "SWAN" - and select "SUBMIT THIS INFORMATION." The next screen will request this information:
  • Name
  • Campus Identification Number (your S #, followed immediately by MSSU)
  • Select a Pick Up Location (choose "Mo. Southern, Library Circ.")
  • The computer will confirm the order.  If the computer does not confirm the order, please call the main circulation desk at 625-9362.

My professor has placed articles and books on course "reserve." What are "reserve" materials and where are they located?

  • Some professors require that their students read important materials outside of class that are not included in the textbooks that they bought at the beginning of the semester. Reserve materials - articles, books, practice exams, et cetera - are consolidated at one location, affording students the convenience of retrieving the reserve materials they need at the Main Circulation desk.
  • Some Reserve materials are now available to view electronically and thus do not require a trip to the library. Those items available electronically are identified with *ELECTRONIC COPY AVAILABLE* in the 'Format' column of the Reserves listings.

Does the library have photocopiers to copy reserve materials or other items?

  • Yes, the library has four photocopiers. Three are located on the third floor (which is the main library floor) - two B&W photocopies near the Main Circulation desk and one a color photocopier in front of the Reference desk - and one B&W photocopier on the first floor, near the Secondary Circulation desk.
  • 3 of the photocopiers require the use of your Lion Card. One B&W copier by the Main Circulation desk accepts coins. B&W copies are 10 cents each. Color copies are 50 cents each.

Does the library have an outside depository to return library materials when it is closed?

Yes. In fact, the library has two outside depositories:

  • On the west side of the front entrance.
  • On the east side of the rear entrance.

Does the library have a fax machine for student use? If so, are there fees to use it?


  • The library's fax machine is located behind the Main Circulation desk. There are fees associated with using it that must be paid at the main circulation desk.
  • We do not charge for receiving and sending local faxes (Carl Junction, Duneweg, Joplin and Webb City only) or toll-free faxes
  • A $1.00 fee per page for incoming or outgoing domestic long-distance
  • A $3.00 fee per page for incoming or outgoing international long-distance


Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service for MSSU faculty, staff, students, community borrowers, and CMSU, SMSU, and UMKC graduate students who attend classes on the MSSU campus. On their behalf, we request from another library those items - articles, books, dissertations, and videos - that are not available at the George A. Spiva Library.

Where can MSSU users submit an ILL request?

  • The ILL form is available at the both Circulation desks and the Reference desk. The forms are to be submitted at the main circulation desk.
  • An ILL request may also be submitted online:

What information do I need to submit an ILL request?

  • Most of the information that you will need is available in the citation information. For books, you need title, author, publisher,copyright date and ISBN and Edition numbers when available. For a magazine article, you will need title of the article, title of the magazine, volume/issue numbers, page numbers, date, and author.

Can I get magazines? Dissertations?

  • Yes. Magazine articles and dissertations can be obtained through ILL. You will receive a copy of the article you need but not the entire magazine. Occasionally dissertations are only available if purchased. Please ask at the Circulation desk.

Are there charges associated with this service?

  • The ILL department does not charge university affiliated patrons for its services, unless the lending library charges Spiva Library.
  • Accordingly, MSSU is a member of Libraries Very Interested in Sharing (LVIS) consortium, which shares materials free of charge. It is our goal to acquire the materials our users have ordered as quickly as possible from an LVIS library.
  • However, some materials are available only at non-LVIS libraries, which charge fees. When this is the case, we contact the requester to ask if s/he is willing to finance the lowest available fee. Although ILL charges vary, most non-LVIS libraries charge $10.00 to $25.00 for each request.
  • Community patrons are charged $4 for each completed request even those from LVIS libraries. If an item is loaned to us from a non-LVIS institution charging us an additional fee, the community patron will be charged the additional fees, as well, if they approved this charge when contacted.

Where do I pick up an ILL request?

  • An ILL request is retrieved at the main circulation desk. (If the request is an article, the requester may keep it; if the request is a book or video, s/he must return it to the main circulation or secondary circulation desk on or before its due date, or face a $3.00 per day fine.)

How long does it take to retrieve an ILL request?

  • It depends. Journal articles can be electronically disseminated within a few days. (Occasionally, articles are electronically received on the day they were ordered.) Books, dissertations, and videos take considerably longer to receive, usually seven to fourteen business days.
  • There are many factors that influence the time a request is submitted to the time it arrives, including the number of requests the lending library has received from other libraries, shipping method, lack of access to electronic tools - a fax machine, for example - that expedite the delivery of journal articles, and the number of experience workers it can devote to ILL requests.
  • For these reasons, it is important for students to begin long-term class assignments early in the semester. The longer they procrastinate, the harder it is to receive materials through ILL before assignment due dates.

How long are the loan periods?

  • Lending libraries assign due dates, and each has different loan periods. Due dates are not assigned to journal articles, which are photocopies that users may keep. Although there are some exceptions, due dates for books, dissertations, and videos are generally 21 or 28 days.

Are there some types of materials that are difficult to acquire through ILL?

  • Yes. Lending libraries have restrictions on what materials are available to borrow. Although there are exceptions, they are usually unwilling to lend the following materials:
  • Archives
  • Audio (Cassette Tapes, CD's, et cetera.)
  • Journal Articles only available through a proprietary database
  • Maps
  • Microfilm/Microfiche
  • Rare books
  • Reference
  • Videos/DVD's

Does the ILL department impose fines for late/lost ILL materials?

  • Yes. The fine for a late ILL item is $3.00 per day, which must be paid before the user can borrow MSSU materials or request additional materials through ILL.
  • Additionally, if an ILL item is lost, the lending library will impose a replacement charge. This charge - which the lending library will determine and is non-negotiable - must be paid before the library user can borrow MSSU materials and request additional materials through ILL.

Can ILL items be renewed?

  • Yes. Library users can renew an ILL item longer than its assigned due date. Contact Document Delivery at 625-3180.
  • However, it is the lending library that grants or rejects renewal requests. Regardless of its decision, the requester will be called and informed of the lending library's decision. If the ILL item is renewed, the user will be given a new due date.

What is the difference between the MOBIUS/SWAN service and the ILL service?

  • MOBIUS/SWAN is a Missouri consortium of over sixty academic and public libraries, including Spiva Library. It affords students the ability to electronically order books that are unavailable at Spiva Library. A courier service connects each member library and expedites delivery in two or three business days.
  • ILL is a broader service that includes tens of thousands of academic, public, and special libraries in Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe. It affords users the ability to access millions of books, dissertations, journals, videos, and much more, that are unavailable at Spiva Library, its proprietary databases, and the MOBIUS/SWAN consortium.


Reference & Research

Where can I get help with my Research?

  • Spiva Library's Reference department provides library instruction to classes (as scheduled by the instructor), at the Reference desk, by telephone (417-625-9729), email (LibrRef@mssu.edu) and even Facebook.
  • Librarians are happy to work with students on an individual basis and can schedule appointments as needed.

What's Ready Reference?

  • Ready Reference books are Reference books that are commonly used by staff to answer brief factual questions. The Ready Reference collection is located behind the Reference desk. If a patron needs to view a Ready Reference book, they should ask at the Reference desk and return the item to that desk.

Where’s the card catalog?

How are books, etc. shelved in Spiva Library?

  • Spiva Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System for items located in the main collection, reference collection, audiovisual collection, etc.
  • Spiva is a selective depository for documents of the federal government and these are shelved using the SUDOC (Superintendent of Documents) classification system.
  • Periodicals(journals/magazines/newspapers) housed in Spiva Library do not have a call number. They are filed in alphabetical order by their title.
  • For assistance locating items in the library, please stop at a help desk on any floor.

How do I know if Spiva Library owns a particular newspaper or periodical?

  • Use SWAN and select the 'Journal, Magazine and Newspaper Titles' search. To begin the search, type in the title of the newspaper or periodical and click on the “submit search” button. If the publication is in our collection, the title will appear on the screen. In extended display, below the title will be information detailing what format the publication is in (loose, bound, microfilm or microfiche).
  • Periodicals that are listed as microfilm or microfiche are stored in cabinets located on the 4th floor. There are readers and reader/printers, to view and make copies from the microforms located in the same area. Assistance in locating the film or fiche and operating the reader or reader/printers is available at the AVC/Government Documents Desk on the 4th floor.

How do I find articles from newspapers or periodicals on a topic?

  • Depending upon the age of the article you are seeking there are several places to check. If you’re looking for information from the current year or perhaps as far back as the mid 80s you might look in one or more of the electronic indexes we subscribe to here in the library such as: Academic Search Premier, Lexis/Nexis or NewsBank..
  • If the article(s) you’re looking for is older then that you will probably have to use a print index. For example, we have bound indexes for the New York Times newspaper for the years 1851-1990. We also have the magazine index, Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature from 1900 to the present year. A staff member from the reference desk will assist you in using these indexes, if needed.

What's the difference between a magazine, journal, and periodical?

  • A magazine is usually thought of as a “general interest” publication. It will contain advertising, but not article abstracts or bibliographies. Examples of magazines: Sports Illustrated, People, and Newsweek.
  • For more information see Evaluating Journals Page.
  • A journal is scholarly in content and is often published by a professional society or organization. Articles tend to be lengthy, are preceded by an abstract and followed by a bibliography. Examples of journals: Historian, JAMA, and Science.

What does it mean when my professor asks for a scholarly or peer-reviewed article?

  • The professor wants an article that has gone through a strict editing process. When an article has been submitted for publication in a scholarly or peer-reviewed journal, it is sent to one or more persons who are knowledgeable in the subject area that has been written about. This is supposed to ensure a higher degree of accuracy in the article content.

Where are the newspapers, periodicals, ERIC documents and other materials on microform located? Is it possible to copy them? How much are copies?

  • All microform materials are located on the 4th floor across from the Government Documents/Audio Visuals help desk. Newspapers & journals are in alphabetical order by their titles. ERIC documents are in numerical order by their “ED number.” A staff member at the Government Documents/Audio Visuals help desk can assist you in locating the material and in demonstrating how to use a reader or reader/printer to view or make photocopies of microforms.
  • There are reader/printers for both microfilm (on reels) and microfiche (cards). The cost is 10¢ per page.

What is ERIC?

  • ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) is a collection of education and related documents that have been compiled for use primarily by educators. Anyone may use ERIC. It is actually a very good database to use for almost any subject area.

Where can I access ERIC?

What is the difference between an ERIC document (ED) and an ERIC journal (EJ)?

  • An ERIC document (ED) is part of a collection of documents dating back to 1966. We have the ERIC document collection on microfiche from 1966-2004. Any ERIC document published after 2004 is available full-text online on the ERIC web portal.
  • An ERIC journal is an education or education related journal that has been indexed by ERIC.

What is an online index/database?

  • An online index or database is an index that is accessed using the Internet. It can either be one that is produced by a commercial source, governmental source, educational source or even an individual. The main requirement is Internet access in order to reach it and then utilize it.
  • Usually when Spiva library staff refers to an online index (electronic index/database) they are referring to one of the commercial databases that we have subscribed to through vendors such as: Ebsco, ProQuest, H.W.Wilson, etc. and can be found on our article databases page. Access to them requires you either use an on-campus computer or entry of your Missouri Southern Username and Password from off campus.

Can I access the library’s online databases from home?

  • YES! It is possible for MSSU students, faculty & staff to access these databases over the Internet from off campus. You simply need to enter your Missouri Sourthern Username (1st half of University email) and Password (Missouri Southern PIN) when prompted.

What's the difference between articles found in an online database and those found on the Internet?

  • Potentially, quite a bit in terms of accuracy. If the article is found on a database produced by: a commercial source (ex. EBSCO, ProQuest), governmental source (ex. CIA, the census bureau, etc.), or educational source (ex. University of Illinois) the researcher is getting material from a "known" source. Articles located on the Internet through a "search engine" may or may not be accurate or even true. Often it's difficult and sometimes impossible to determine the validity of information posted on the Internet and the expertise or bias of the organization or individual who posted it.
  • Library staff recommends, and a growing number of faculty members require, that you verify the validity of materials obtained through websites located through search engines before using it in your paper(s). Students should review the Evaluating Websites web page and discuss the site with their professor.

How do I cite a print or electronic source?

  • Depending upon the class or professor, you may use one of the following style manuals:

American Psychological Association (APA)


Modern Language Association (MLA)


Copies of each of these style manuals are kept on reserve at the Main Circulation desk.

Many of the online databases available via our article databases page (Academic Search Premier, Lexis-Nexis) contain examples on how to cite articles obtained through them. Look in the “help” section on the page or ask for assistance at the reference desk.