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Circulation Of Reference Materials Policy


Statement of Policy & Text

Selected reference titles may be checked out of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library according to the "Requirements & Guidelines” below. Reference items from the following Units are included in this policy:

  • 2nd floor Reference
  • 1st floor Youth Services
  • 3rd floor General Collections
  • 5th floor California Room

Need for the Policy

The needs of patrons for off-site use of reference materials must be balanced with the general expectation of users that reference books will be available in the library. Patrons from both institutions request permission to check out reference books for specific periods of time and are given permission to do so within the constraints of library policy. The San Jose Public Library and the San Jose State University Library maintain different circulation policies for reference material circulation based on the needs of their clienteles.

Requirements & Guidelines


  • Reference books in the 2nd floor Ready Reference collection will not circulate.
  • Patrons wanting to check out a Reference item must have an SJPL/SJSU library card and secure permission from a SJPL or SJSU reference librarian (see below).
  • Patrons receive a Reference Check Out Form to accompany and keep with each Reference item to be checked out. The Reference Check Out Form identifies the borrower, the authorizing librarian, the date/time due, plus check out and return procedures. A duplicate copy of the "Reference Check Out Form" is kept at the issuing Reference Desk.
  • Patrons will check out Reference items at the Circulation desk. Patrons with fines or overdues above thresholds specified in Access Services’ policies will be denied checkout privileges.
  • Reference book borrowers are subject to the “Fines and Fees” schedule of Fines and Fees Policy PL-259.
  • Patrons will return Reference items to the Course Reserves book return.

Reference books/items owned by San Jose Public Library (SJPL)

  • An SJPL reference librarian authorizes the checkout of an SJPL reference item. In the absence of an SJPL librarian, the SJSU Head of Academic Services or the Ranking Librarian will authorize the checkout of SJPL reference items.
  • SJPL Reference (2nd floor) items that do not circulate:
    • Any book/item in the Ready Reference collection.
    • Any parts of multi-volume sets.
    • High-use/high-demand items.
    • Classroom assignment tools.
  • General Collections and Youth Services may check out volumes from multi-volume sets.
  • California Room materials are part of a special research collection and may not be checked out. Exceptions to this policy are rarely granted and must be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the California Room Lead Librarian.
  • Authorized checkouts circulate for a standard 1-day. Any special extension to the 1-day circulation period must be noted on the Reference Check Out Form at the time of checkout.

Reference books owned by San Jose State University (SJSU)

  • An SJSU librarian must authorize the checkout of an SJSU Reference item. In the absence of an SJSU librarian, the SJPL Reference Senior, lead designee, or Ranking Librarian has the discretion of checking out items to faculty, University Administration, students and the public.
  • Checkout to faculty and University Administration.
    • Any SJSU reference books not in the Ready Reference collection may be checked out to faculty and University Administration, at the discretion of an SJSU reference librarian.
    • Checkout is for a limited period, not to exceed one week.
  • Checkout to SJSU students and the public.
    • SJSU students and the public may check out SJSU reference books at the discretion of an SJSU reference librarian, with the following exclusions:
      • Any book/item in the Ready Reference collection.
      • Any parts of multi-volume sets.
      • High-use/high-demand items.
      • Classroom assignment tools.
    • Authorized checkouts circulate for a standard 1-day.

Applicable Personnel/Departments

All library staff, especially those in Reference, Youth Services, General Collections and the California Room.




Reviewed and approved by:
Date of Approval

Head, Academic Services
Sandra Belanger

Senior Librarian
Joan Bowlby

Associate Dean
Jo Bell Whitlatch

Supervising Librarian
Lisa Rosenblum

History & Dates

Category of Policy: Administrative/Operations; User Services
Author(s): SJPL Supervising Librarian, Reference Services: Joan Bowlby
SJSU Head of Reference: Sandra Belanger
Authorized by: King Management Team; University Library Board
Date Written: 10/6/03
Date Effective: 10/15/03
Date(s) of Revision(s): 09/03/04dk; 2/23/05;6/3/05ec.lmg


A. SJSU Fines & Fees

B. SJPL Fines & Fees