Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the library located and how do I get there?
Street Address
Athens State University Library
407 East Pryor Street
Athens, Alabama, 35611
Mailing Address
Athens State University Library
300 N. Beaty Street
Athens, AL 35611
When is the library open?

The Library operating hours are as follows. Hours may vary between semesters.

Monday – Thursday8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
SundayClosed
How do I get a library card? Is there a cost?

Athens State University students, faculty and employees can use their ID card issued when they register for classes or begin their employment. Athens State University Alumni Association members, current teachers in Athens City and Limestone County schools, and students from colleges with which Athens State University has reciprocal borrowing agreements (see “Reciprocal Library” section below for a list of these institutions) can be issued an ID card at the Circulation Desk with proof of identification.  Cards expire two years from date of issue.

Community or high school users are charged a fee of $20.00 for a 2-year card.  An adult signature is required for users under the age of eighteen.  (Graduates of Athens State who have not paid the Alumni Association dues are considered community members.)

Where do I get a student ID card?

Athens State student ID cards are issued by the Security Office, located in the Security Office House across from Founders Hall, (256)233-8222

Does the library have computers with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?

Student computers are equipped with Microsoft Office programs and other selected programs that support the Athens State curriculum.

I heard students can get free computer prints with their ID card. Is this true?

Students must print using their user ID and password to take advantage of these free print pages. Members of the public and Athens State students not using their student ID card information must pay for printing at the Circulation Desk at $0.25 per page. No refunds for unwanted printing.

How much does it cost to print from the computer?

Computer printing is available to students, faculty, and the public free of charge. Members of the public and Athens State students who are not using their student ID card information must pay $0.25 per page for printing at the Circulation Desk. Printing is available from workstations, and patrons are responsible for all print jobs. No refunds for unwanted printing.

How much does it cost to make copies?

Black and white photocopying is available for $0.10 per page.

How can I find on-line journal articles?

Students may access the online journal articles from home or in the library using electronic databases.  The databases are through the Athens State Library homepage. This will take you to the One Search feature, which enables you to search for information in the electronic databases, the library catalog, and selected authoritative web sites.  You will need to log in with your Athens State Id and password to access the results.

Guests may only access online journal articles inside the library building.

How can I find print journal articles?

The Library subscribes to selected current periodicals in print and has a sizable collection of older print journals as well. These are located on the first floor of the Library. A printed list of these journals is available at the circulation desk and at the reference desk.

What are e-books and how do I access them?

Electronic books (e-books) are full-texts books that are available in an online format.  You may access them via the One Search option on the homepage.

How are the print books organized in the library?

The Athens State Library classifies books using the Dewey Decimal system, which allows resources on similar topics to be arranged together on the Library shelves. The major Dewey Decimal divisions are:

000 Computers, information, & general reference
100 Philosophy & psychology
200 Religion
300 Social sciences
400 Language
500 Science
600 Technology
700 Arts & recreation
800 Literature
900 History & geography

What do I do if the book I want is checked out?

The book can be placed on hold for you to use after it is returned by the current user. Access the book on the library website, click on the “Request” button and enter your user information. The library will notify you when it is returned and available for checkout.

Is there a limit on the number of books I can check out?

Athens State Undergraduate students and staff may check out 15 books at one time. Athens State Graduate students and faculty may check out 30 books at one time. Alumni Association members, teachers, reciprocal guests, community and high school card holders are limited to 3 books at one time.

Reference books, periodicals, and special collections items DO NOT circulate.

What do I do if the book or article I want is not owned by the library?

Interlibrary loan service is provided for Athens State students, faculty, and staff.  The online request forms are available under the Library Use dropdown menu on the main library page. Upon receipt of desired items from the lending library, ILLs may be picked up at the Reference Desk.   For more information, please see Interlibrary Loan Procedures.

Can I check books out of the library if I take classes on-line or at a university site?

Currently enrolled Athens State students who live more than 30 miles from Athens and do not have scheduled classes on the main campus during a semester can receive Library books or articles at their homes by mail. The student is responsible for returning the items to the Library by the due date and for the cost of return postage. Students may request these materials using the electronic Interlibrary Loan form under “Use Library Services” on the Library web page. Indicate the mailing address in the “Additional Information” box on the Interlibrary Loan form.

What other libraries will allow me to check out books just because I am an Athens State student?

The Athens State University Library maintains reciprocal library borrowing agreements with Alabama A & M University, Calhoun State Community College, UNA, Oakwood University, Wallace State Community College, Northeast Alabama Community College, Snead Community College, Northwest-Shoals Community College, and Faulkner University. Athens State students must present proof of current enrollment to have borrowing privileges at these libraries. Athens State students are subject to all policies and restrictions imposed by the lending institution. For questions about reciprocal library agreements, contact the Athens State Library Director’s office.

Can I use the library if I'm not a student?

Although the Athens State Library is primarily intended to support the research needs of Athens State students, faculty, and staff, the Library is open to the public. Anyone can come into the Library and use its services and resources on the premises, including reference services and materials. A library card is required in order to check books out. Two public computers are available for use by non-Athens State library patrons. Abuse of library services, including inappropriate behavior or violation of policies, may result in temporary or permanent suspension of Library access.

Can I check out books if I'm not a student?

Library cards are issued at no cost to Athens State students, faculty, and staff, and to students from institutions with which Athens State has reciprocal borrowing agreements. These include Alabama A & M University, Calhoun State Community College, UAH, UNA, Oakwood University, Wallace State Community College, Northeast Alabama Community College, Snead Community College, Northwest-Shoals Community College, and Faulkner University. Athens State students must present proof of current enrollment to have borrowing privileges at these libraries. Teachers from Athens city and Limestone county schools are also eligible to apply for free library cards. Community patrons or high school users are charged $20.00 for a two-year card. Library card applications for patrons under 18 years of age must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Can I return books when the library is closed?

If the Library is closed, books may be returned in the Book Depository located beside the front doors on the right.

How do I renew a book? Do I have to come to the library to renew?

Materials may be renewed at the Library, by phone or online.  A link to online Renewals is available from the Library Use dropdown on the main library page.  Students, employees, alumni, and community may renew items two times unless the items are overdue, or a Hold has been place on the item.  Reserve items cannot be renewed.  Interlibrary Loan materials may not be renewed online, but must be requested through the ILL office.  The lending library determines renewals for Interlibrary Loan materials.

What happens at the circulation desk?

The circulation department deals with the actual borrowing of books. Books to be checked out should be brought to the circulation desk, and books that have been checked out should be returned to the desk. The circulation department also maintains the database of library users, makes and distributes library cards and collects overdue fines and other fees.

What are the late fees charged for books?

Overdue fines are 10 cents per day or 25 cents a day for reserve and rental items. Fines of $10.00 or more will result in academic sanctions and suspension of Library privileges.  Athens State University students’ grades will be held and they will not be able to register until fines are cleared.  In addition, students will be unable to add or drop classes, cannot graduate, or receive diplomas or transcripts.

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What does it mean if I have a hold placed on my record?

If your library materials are so overdue that you have been billed for the replacement cost of the item(s), an academic hold will be placed on your record. You will be unable to register for classes, graduate, or request a transcript until you have either returned the materials and paid the late fees or paid the replacement costs and the late fees. You will also be unable to check out any more items until your library account is clear.

What do I do if I've lost or damaged a book?

The Library will determine the cost of repair and you will be billed accordingly. Materials that cannot be repaired will be billed as Lost items. All damaged materials remain the property of the Athens State University Library.

What is an Alabama Virtual Library card?

The Alabama Virtual Library provides all students, teachers, and citizens of the State of Alabama with online access to essential library and information resources. It is primarily a group of online databases that have magazine, journal, and newspaper articles for research. Through the AVL, an equitable core of information sources is available to every student and citizen in Alabama, raising the level of excellence in schools and communities across the state. All of the AVL resources are available on campus through the Athens StateLibrary. To use the AVL resources from off campus, you will need to get an AVL card. Athens State students can get an AVL card from the Athens State Library. AVL cards are also available from your local public library, and K-12 students, teachers, and staff in public schools may obtain a card from their school library.

What is World Cat?

WorldCat is an online catalog of books and journals that reflects the holdings of thousands of libraries in the United States. It can be used to verify the existence of a book or journal article and locate it at a nearby library.

What are the Faculty Reserves?

The Reserves are items placed on a special shelf in the Library for use by students in particular classes by the professor, or for use by a specific group. Some items are for use in the library use only and others may be checked out for 1 day, 3 days or 7 days by students and employees only. Reserve late fees are 25 cents a day. For any questions concerning Reserves, contact Amber Skantz , (256) 216-6664 or .

How do I reserve a study room for a small group?

Current Athens State students and employees may reserve the room by completing the online form at http://athens.libcal.com/booking/room_reservations or speaking with Library Circulation Desk employees at 256-216-6669.

How do I make my general library suggestions/comments known?

Suggestions for Library materials and improvements are welcome.  Email the (Katherine Quinnell) or drop a suggestion in our comment box at the circulation desk.

How can I suggest that the library purchase a book?

You can find the Suggest a Purchase section under My Library in the online catalog.

What happens at the circulation desk?

The circulation department deals with the actual borrowing of books. Books to be checked out should be brought to the circulation desk, and books that have been checked out should be returned to the desk. The circulation department also maintains the database of library users, makes and distributes library cards and collects overdue fines and other fees.

How can I contact the circulation librarian?

By phone at (256)216-6669 or by .

Does the library have any college textbooks that can be checked out instead of buy them from the bookstore?

The library does not purchase or check-out current college level textbooks.

Does the library own a color copier?

Not presently. Black and white photocopying is available for $0.10 per page.

Is there a class I can take to learn how to use the library and do research?

Athens State offers three classes focusing on enhancing library skills. Research Sources and Skills (HU 321) is a one-hour elective course. It familiarizes the student with efficient search strategies and the use of key resources such as the online catalog, periodical databases, and specialized internet search engines.

Business Research Skills (GBA 300) is a one-credit hour course designed to familiarize students with print and online information sources and research methods in business. The class covers basic business research materials such as books, articles, and websites; sources of information about companies and industries; and career resources and job hunting skills as well as effective search strategies for using online resources, and use of APA citation format.

Information Literacy for the Teacher Candidate (ED 313) is a one-credit hour course for College of Education students. The class cover basic research and information literacy skills such as identifying an informational need, locating the information, comprehending the information, evaluating the information, and then to present the information appropriately and ethically.

Is there an online library tutorial available?

The Library website offers a tutorial to help solve some of the problems that a student may run into in using the Library. The tutorial is an interactive way to be introduced to many of the basics in utilizing the Library’s collection for writing a paper.

Can I arrange for my class or group to get a tour of the library?

Athens State University faculty requesting library instruction should contact Mary Aquila or their Electronically Embedded Librarian. Instruction is also available on request at the Library for individuals and groups other than Athens State University students. LI sessions can be scheduled for, but are not limited to:

  • Home school groups
  • High school classes
  • Scout troops
  • Special-interest groups
  • Community college classes
  • Area university classes

Community instruction sessions are by prior appointment only. Sessions should be scheduled a minimum of 1 week in advance.

Community groups should contact the Library Director, Dr. Katherine Quinnell, to schedule a session. Sessions can be general library orientation or can be designed to meet a group’s specific research needs. Optimal group size is 8-12. Groups must be limited to no more than 20 attendees.

What is an electronically embedded librarian?

An electronically embedded librarian is a reference librarian who acts as a support person in Athens State courses through Blackboard. The librarian can answer questions about resources through e-mail, respond to questions or make suggestions for research on the discussion board, post helpful handouts, create instructional Tegrity recordings, and provide advice on citing sources correctly in APA, MLS, Chicago, or Turabian format.

Can I get a student job at the library?

Students may apply with Ms. Jean Martin at the Career Services Office.

What's in the Archives and how can I use its resources?

The mission of the Athens State Archives is to identify, gather together, preserve, and catalog historical records, papers, and artifacts of enduring value to Athens State University. The Archives also preserves records and items of historical interest for the local area. The Archives are located on the second floor of the Library.

Access to the Archives is available to Athens State alumni and friends and to researchers with an interest in Athens State or local history. Those wishing to visit the Archives should make an appointment 24 hours in advance. For further information about the Archives, call Sara Love at (256) 216-6671 or e-mail

How can I contact a reference librarian?

By phone at (256) 216-6661 or by .

What happens at the reference desk?

The reference desk deals with assisting library patrons in searching for a particular book, finding articles on a topic, or using other resources to answer research questions. The reference desk is usually staffed by professional librarians who specialize in information resources and library use. The reference department also prepares instructional materials and coordinates library instruction.

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