FAQ for New Students

Welcome, New Students!

Welcome to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The librarians and staff of the UMKC University Libraries are here to assist you in any way possible. We know you are juggling multiple commitments to work, family, and classes. We want you to find what you need in the Libraries: expert assistance from a librarian, the latest government statistics, a book or periodical article for your class assignment, your professor's reserve readings, access to research using the web or simply a quiet place to study. We want you to be successful during your course of study at UMKC.

Following are some Frequently Asked Questions that incorporate tips on efficient use of library services with links to the UMKC University Libraries' website (http://library.umkc.edu/). For questions not listed here, please call the appropriate Service Desk:

  • Miller Nichols Library: (816) 235-1526
  • Music/Media Library: (816) 235-1675
  • Health Sciences Library: (816) 235-1880
  • Dental Library: (816) 235-2030
  • Leon E. Bloch Law Library: (816) 235-1650

Where are the UMKC University Libraries?

The UMKC University Libraries operate in three sites: the Miller Nichols Library, the main library on the Volker campus; and two locations on the Hospital Hill campus: the Health Sciences Library and the Dental Library. The School of Law maintains the Leon E. Bloch Law Library. The Libraries provide information and research services, library instruction, checkout of library materials, reserve services and access to online resources. The nearby Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology (http://www.lhl.lib.mo.us/) is a private, independently-funded research library for science, engineering, and technology.

Miller Nichols Library
800 E. 51st Street
(816) 235-1526

Health Sciences Library
2411 Holmes
(816) 235-1880
Dental Library
650 E. 25th Street
(816) 235-2030
Leon E. Bloch Law Library
52nd and Oak Streets
(816) 235-1650

What are the Libraries' hours and semester schedules?

Library hours vary during the regular academic year and intersession; please refer to the current schedule.

What do I need to check out books and materials?

Your UMKC photo ID is all you need to check out books, sound recordings, reserve readings and other library materials. A state- or federal-issue photo ID (e.g. driver's license) is acceptable.

How long is the loan period for students?

The loan period for students varies. Undergraduate students may borrow most library materials for 4 weeks. Graduate students may borrow most library materials for the semester. For further information, consult the section on "Circulation Policies" for the Miller Nichols Library, the Health Sciences Library, the Dental Library, and the Leon E. Bloch Law Library.

How do I find out what I have checked out? Can I renew books online or by phone?

You can check to see what books and materials are checked out under your name by selecting the My Library Account tab in MERLIN. You can renew books online through your library account in MERLIN. Books can also be renewed over the phone by calling Circulation Services at the appropriate Library.

  • Miller Nichols: (816) 235-1526
  • Health Sciences: (816) 235-1880
  • Dental: (816) 235-2030

Are there fines if I am late returning books? My dog ate my library books - are there replacement charges?

There are charges for materials that are not returned or are lost or damaged. Please consult the Circulation Policies for the Miller Nichols Library, the Health Sciences Library, the Dental Library, and the Leon E. Bloch Law Library for the appropriate schedule of fines/charges. Please report any mishap to the library as quickly as possible.

Where do I pay library charges?

Any charges can be paid at the Circulation Desk of each Library. The Miller Nichols Library does not accept cash payment.

What features are part of MERLIN, the Libraries' online catalog?

MERLIN is the online catalog for UMKC and the other libraries in the University of Missouri System. MERLIN is accessible from the Libraries website. There is a MERLIN navigational button on each Library website page. You can use MERLIN:

  • to find information on library holdings
  • to check on the expected receipt date of periodical issues
  • to view your personal checkout record
  • to request books from another campus or MOBIUS system library
  • to view the library reserve list for your courses
  • to link to consortially-acquired online resources.

Hint: To save retyping citations for your bibliography, you can email information found in the MERLIN online catalog to your UMKC account, or download it.

For more information about the MERLIN Library Catalog, consult MERLIN Library Catalog information and guides.

What online databases and journals can I access through the Libraries? How do I arrange for remote access to UMKC databases?

Online information resources include databases with bibliographic information, full-text and e-journal articles, datasets and reference materials such as encyclopedias. A single link from the Libraries' website will access most databases both on- and off-campus. For remote access, after selecting a database, UMKC students, faculty and staff will be prompted to provide a Single-Sign-On user name and password or a 8-digit UMKC ID number followed by the letter k (example: 12345678k) and last name, as needed. A few databases are only available in the Libraries. The Libraries maintain a comprehensive list of all databases and online resources available.  For information about online journals, try our online journal locator.

How can I gain access to local, regional and national library catalogs? Can I borrow books myself from other Kansas City area libraries?

The UMKC University Libraries provide online access to a number of library and union catalogs that may be used to locate materials, either in the UMKC University Libraries or elsewhere:

  • The MERLIN Library Catalog provides access to information on the holdings of all libraries in the University of Missouri system.
  • The MOBIUS Union Catalog provides access to information on the holdings of college and university libraries throughout Missouri, including many in Kansas City. As a UMKC student, you can borrow books directly from other MOBIUS libraries using your UMKC student photo ID.
  • The UMKC University Libraries listing of local library catalogs provides access to information on the holdings of nearby institutions such as the University of Kansas Libraries and Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology. Through the UMKC University Libraries' Courtesy Card Program, students can obtain privileges at other academic/research libraries in the Kansas City area, including Linda Hall Library and the KU Libraries. For further information, visit the Courtesy Card webpage, or call Miller Nichols Library Circulation Services at (816) 235-1526.

Information on the holdings of other libraries worldwide may be found by using online resources such as WorldCat and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) (http://catalog.crl.edu) union catalogs.

Where do I find reserve materials for my professors' courses?

Materials may be placed on reserve for classes at the four Libraries sites, the Music/Media Library in Miller Nichols Library and electronically at Electronic Reserves. For more information, contact the Miller Nichols Library Circulation Services Department or the specific UMKC University Library. Your professor's reserve list can be accessed in MERLIN listed by your professor's name or the course title and number. You can also view a list of reserve materials at the Miller Nichols Library First Floor Service Desk.

Are there copy services available at the Miller Nichols Library?

We no longer have traditional photocopy machines; however, free scanning is available at KIC scanners across from the Service Desk on the 1st floor and across from the Music/Media Desk on the Ground floor.  Documents may be saved to e-mail or USB device and printing is available from any Information Commons computer or via wifi.

What kind of information can I find on the Libraries' website?

The UMKC University Libraries' home page can be found at http://library.umkc.edu/. Be sure to check out the website for general information about library services, collections and hours, Forms and Requests (purchase request, interlibrary loan, research request, request for library instruction, questions/comments, suggestions, and reserves), access to local UMKC and consortial online databases, access to library subject guides (including lists of subject-specific print and web-based information resources), a monthly listing of newly-cataloged books, and updates about new services and major collection resources such as online exhibitions. Also on the Website: links to MERLIN, MOBIUS and other local library catalogs.

How do I activate my Exchange/Single-Sign-On account?

All UMKC students, faculty and staff are encouraged to gain full benefit of the privileges and full access to the library resources to which they are entitled by activating their Single-Sign-On Accounts. An Exchange/Single-Sign-On Account provides access to library resources in a variety of places, including the campus computing labs operated by Information Systems and those operated by the University Libraries. A guest login is available for visitors to the Miller Nichols Library and Music/Media Library that provides access to a subset of library resources.

You may activate your account in the Information Services Computer Lab on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library or any other IS Computer Lab on campus. The Student Assistants in the Lab will assist you with this process.

Is there a computer lab at Miller Nichols Library I can use?

Information Services operates a student computer lab on the third floor of the Miller Nichols Library. The lab allows full access to the internet, as well as software applications for use with email and word processing. Information Services maintains a complete list of student labs on campus.

How do I request Interlibrary Loan for materials not in the University Libraries?

If needed materials are not held by the University Libraries, the Libraries will try to borrow or photocopy the material from another library through interlibrary loan. Requested items may be available in as little as three days or as long as three weeks. Every effort is made to ensure the shortest possible receipt time. Materials may be requested online using the Interlibrary Loan Request Form. Faculty and students may also request books from other libraries in Missouri through the MERLIN Library Catalog and the MOBIUS Union Catalog.

For additional information on interlibrary loan policies, please visit the Interlibrary Loan page for one of the University Libraries.

Miller Nichols Library
(816) 235-1586

Dental Library
(816) 235-2030

Can I suggest that the Libraries order a new book?

Students, faculty members or members of the community may submit recommendations for materials to be purchased for the University Libraries' collections. The recommendations must fall within the scope of the Libraries' collection policies. Requests may be made online using the electronic Library Purchase Form. Please be sure to select your academic unit so the request is forwarded to the appropriate subject librarian. If you would like to be notified about the Libraries' actions, fill in your name, address, telephone number and email address so we can contact you. For further information about collection policies, please contact Steve Alleman, Head of Collections at (816) 235-1580.

What new books were received in the Libraries? Can I browse a "New Books" shelf?

An online new book shelf known as University Libraries New Titles is posted on the Libraries' website. The New Titles page includes newly-cataloged videos and sound recordings in the Music/Media Library in the Miller Nichols Library, and new materials in the Health Sciences, and Dental Libraries.

The Library is closed, but I need to ask a reference question. When is the Service Desk staffed? Can I ask a reference question via email?

Research services are available at all University Libraries: Miller Nichols Library, the Health Sciences Library, the Dental Library and the Leon E. Bloch Law Library. To request research help outside regular hours, fill out the online Questions Form, which is emailed directly to the Learning and Research Department. A research librarian will reply the next business day or sooner. For more pressing needs, please call the appropriate service desk within each Library. See the Ask A Librarian page for phone numbers and addresses. You can also leave a message at the First Floor Service Desk of either the Miller Nichols Library at (816) 235-1526 or the Health Sciences Library at (816) 235-1885.

I need help using electronic information sources or guidance on finding information for my term paper. Can the librarians help?

Service Desk staff can assist you with general questions and help get you started. If you would like more time to discuss your research or term paper project with a research librarian, please call or email for an appointment. A subject liaison librarian is assigned to work with each department/school at UMKC for intensive research assistance beyond that available at the general First Floor Service Desk. More time can be dedicated to your needs when the librarian is not staffing the busy Service Desk.

To get started on your project, you may also consult the Libraries website for online guides to various subjects or databases.

How do I footnote printed and online resources like encyclopedia articles or internet websites in my term paper?

A term paper should include an accurate bibliography of resources consulted. Standardized citation systems exist for general or specific subject fields, including the Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, the Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Printed copies of these and other style sheets or citation manuals can be found in the Libraries by checking the MERLIN Library Catalog for the appropriate call number (all of the above are available in the Miller Nichols Library's "Ready Reference" section in the Information Commons). To cite online resources, consult the UMKC Writing Center guides for MLA and APA available online. Some web sources offer hints on citing materials.

Do the Libraries have adaptive technology workstations?

Two Adaptive Workstations equipped for use by patrons with disabilities are located in the Miller Nichols Library Information Commons. They may be used for gaining access to the MERLIN Library Catalog, online periodical indexes, and web information sources, as well as for scanning printed material, embossing braille, and using productivity software. For more information, contact Scott Curtis, Research Librarian, at (816) 235-1508.

Where is the nearest Federal Depository Library?

The University Libraries are a selective Federal Depository Library, one of two designated for the 5th U.S. Congressional District in Missouri. The Government Documents paper and microfiche collection is located on the first floor of the Miller Nichols Library. In addition, the Miller Nichols Library has many State of Missouri publications. Many publications are now online and may be found using the MERLIN Library Catalog.  The Leon E. Bloch Law Library is a selective depository for the State of Kansas. For more information, contact Christine Angolia, Research Librarian at (816) 235-1877.

Is UMKC a member of any research consortia?

 UMKC is a member of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (www.icpsr.umich.edu/) - an academic partnership between the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and over 200 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. The UMKC coordinator is Christine Angolia, Research Librarian at ((816) 235-1877), who can assist you and offer training sessions for your students and classes.