Due to COVID-19, some library services may have changed or may be temporarily unavailable. Please see the Rentschler Library Services during COVID-19 guide or contact the library staff for more information.

Our Mission

Rentschler Library contributes to the intellectual and cultural development of the students, faculty, staff, and community users at Miami University Hamilton by supporting the teaching and research needs of the campus and promoting personal growth and success through lifelong learning.

Borrowing Library Materials

Checking Out Materials
At Rentschler Library, your Miami ID card IS your library card! Students, faculty, and staff can use their valid Miami ID to borrow materials from Rentschler Library’s collection and can come to the main counter to pick up their requests from other Miami University Libraries or OhioLINK. All others should please see the “Community Borrowers” section below for more details on how to obtain library resources.

Returning Materials
Checked out materials can be returned to any of the Miami University Libraries. On the Hamilton campus, you can return items to the circulation counter in the library, by using the dropbox located just west of the library’s doors (towards the restrooms), or the convenient 24-hour dropbox located outside of Schwarm Hall that faces the parking lot.

Book Loan Periods

  • Undergraduates: 3 weeks
  • Graduate Students: 1 semester
  • Faculty: Until June 30th of that academic year
  • All Others: 3 weeks

Please Note: Books have unlimited renewals allowed. However, library materials are a shared resource, and all items are subject to Recall after 3 weeks if another user needs them. Items needed for course reserves are subject to immediate Recall. Please check your email and library account for accurate due date information.
Additional Loan Periods

  • Equipment: Varies. See the Equipment You Can Borrow page for checkout periods, late charges, and replacement costs.
  • Audiovisual Materials (DVDs, VHS Tapes, CDs, etc): 1 week. No renewals.
  • Reserve Materials: Loan periods vary from 2 hours in house use only to 7 days, depending upon the faculty request.
  • Group Study Rooms (for 2 or more people): 2 hours (depending on availability). Can be checked out again if no one else has requested the room. These rooms are heavily used, so it is advised that you reserve one ahead of time by calling (513) 785-3235.
  • OhioLINK Requests: Students and visitors can check out books for 3 weeks, with a maximum of 6 renewals. Faculty are able to check out books for 6 weeks, with a maximum of 6 renewals. Renewals will not be permitted if another user requests the borrowed item. Media items can be borrowed for 1 week by all patron types; no renewals permitted.

Overdue Notices
These are emailed to your email address on record as a courtesy once items have become overdue. It is the borrower’s responsibility to return or renew items on or before the due date, regardless of whether an overdue notice was received. Due dates can be viewed and renewals can be completed online by going to your library account.


Rentschler Library is committed to maintaining the privacy rights of its users. As such, library staff are not permitted to place requests for Holds/Recalls, discuss fines, or list checked out materials over the telephone. Library users can access their account information online at My Library Account and can place their own requests for Holds in the Miami University Libraries catalog and through OhioLINK. In order to discuss fines or check out materials, the library user must have photo identification that matches the name on the library account.

Community Borrowers

Area residents not affiliated with Miami University may use resources and services of Rentschler Library through our community borrowers program. Residents must be at least 18 years of age and present library staff with a valid, government-issued identification card (such as driver’s license or state ID) in order to receive an application. The Rentschler Library Community Borrower’s Card makes it possible to also borrow materials from Middletown’s Gardner-Harvey Library and from SWORD. However, residents wanting to borrow materials from Oxford’s libraries will need to contact the Dean’s Office at King Library (513-529-2800) to fill out an Affiliated Patrons of the Libraries application and submit a $25.00 annual fee. Applications for a community borrowers account from Rentschler Library are available at the circulation desk. Guests wanting to use our public computer stations should review our “Use of Public Workstations” policy below and our “Policy on Unattended Children” (also below), if applicable.

The following guidelines are subject to change without notification; please ask a library staff person for clarification if you have any questions.

  1. Only the person whose name is on the borrower’s card is eligible to check out materials. Friends, relatives, etc. are not allowed to check items out on the borrower’s behalf, even with the borrower’s permission.
  2. The owner of the library card is responsible for the return of all materials borrowed with the card and for any fines that may have accumulated.
  3. Books may be checked out for 3 weeks.
  4. No more than 5 items may be checked out at any one time.
  5. Items may be renewed unless they have been requested by another patron.
  6. When the library is closed, items may be returned by placing them in the book drop that is located on the north side of Schwarm Hall (facing the parking lot).
  7. Interlibrary loan services and off-campus access to databases are not included in community borrowing privileges. Please check with your local public library regarding interlibrary loan service.


For Miami University Materials

  • Overdue fines for library books are $.50 per day, per item, to a maximum of $15.00 per item.
  • Overdue fines and replacement costs for electronic equipment vary. Please see the Equipment You can Borrow page for details.
  • Overdue fines for reserve materials are:
    • Library use only and overnight: $2.50 for the first hour and $.75 for each additional hour, to a maximum of $24.25 per item.
    • 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day: $2.50 per day, to a maximum of $15.00 per item.
  • If items are not returned, you will be charged $115.00 for each item, broken down as follows:
    • Replacement cost for each item not returned: $70.00
    • Processing fee for each item not returned: $30.00
    • Overdue fine for each item not returned: $15.00
  • If a book becomes overdue, a courtesy notice will be sent to the email address provided. When the item is 30 days overdue, a second notice will be emailed to you, at which time you will owe $15.00 for the item. If items have not been returned within 60 days of the due date, a bill for replacement fees for the amount of $115.00 will be emailed to you. You are responsible for any incurred fines even if you do not receive notification.
  • Borrowing privileges for Community Borrowers (users not affiliated with Miami University) are suspended the first day any item is overdue and remain so until the materials have been returned. Borrowing privileges are also suspended if the fine amount exceeds $50.00. Privileges will be restored when the fines are paid. If you owe overdue fines for a returned item, a bill will be emailed to you the day after the book is returned. Overdue bills are sent via email.
  • Unpaid fines will be forwarded to the Bursar for collection.

For OhioLINK Materials

Please note that King Library in Oxford handles all overdue notices and billing issues for OhioLINK items.

The overdue charges on all OhioLINK items are as follows: $.50 per day to a maximum of $15.00, plus an additional late fee of $35.00 added to all items which are more than 30 days late.

The replacement cost for all OhioLINK items is a minimum total of $125.00, broken down as follows: $75.00 (minimum) per item, plus a $50.00 cataloging and processing fee.

Use of Public Workstations

Miami University Libraries provide computers for patrons to access the multitude of electronic resources available both in the library and through the Internet. As with printed materials, the library endorses the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association and, in doing so, does not practice censorship. No sites are blocked because of content or graphics, etc. The library does not monitor and has no control over the information accessed and cannot be held responsible for the content or quality of the information retrieved.

The primary purpose of public computers in the Libraries is to provide Miami students, faculty, and staff access to information that supports research, instruction, and the dissemination of scholarship. Consequently, Miami-affiliated clients receive priority in the use of the Libraries’ public computers. Should all computers be in use, non-affiliated clients will be asked to relinquish their computers.

To protect the equipment, ensure effective and efficient functioning, and provide the appropriate level of access, the following guidelines are to be followed:

  • Computers should not be used to store information. All downloaded files and changes to existing files (bookmarks, favorites, etc.) are deleted when a computer is restarted to protect the privacy of our clients. Miami students, faculty, and staff may save documents to their Google Drive. In addition, users may save files to portable storage devices such as a USB.
  • Library workstations are not intended for non-course related usage of personal email, instant messaging, game playing, or other recreational uses.
  • Patrons viewing or listening to multimedia content from the Internet are asked to use headphones and to keep headphone volume at levels that do not interfere with other users.

Policy on Unattended Children

Rentschler Library provides an environment for research and scholarship in support of the academic programs of Miami University. Although this environment is not intended for children, they are welcome to visit the library as long as they are accompanied by a parent or adult caregiver and under appropriate supervision.

Rentschler Library is open to the public, a situation which can present risks to children. For the safety and security of children and in consideration of other patrons using the library, the following policy has been established:

  • A parent or adult caregiver must accompany and supervise children under the age of 16 who are not enrolled in a Miami University Hamilton program.
  • The safety and security of children in the library are the responsibility of the parent or adult caregiver. The library cannot assume responsibility for the safety of children left unattended.
  • If an unattended child comes to the attention of library personnel, staff will try to locate a parent or caregiver in the library. If the adult responsible for the child’s welfare is not present, a staff member will ask the child to leave. If the child is too young to safely leave unescorted, staff will contact Campus Security to report the situation and seek assistance.
  • Parents and adult caregivers are responsible for the conduct of the children under their supervision and must monitor their activities and behavior while they are in the library. The staff person in charge will request that the parent or caregiver remove a child from the library if the library’s “User Behavior Policy” (below) is not adhered to.
  • Children age 16 or over may use the library unattended after a parent or guardian has visited the library to fill out a “Library Use” form authorizing the child to come to the library unsupervised and confirming receipt of a copy of the library’s “User Behavior Policy.”

User Behavior Policy

Rentschler Library is open to University affiliates and the general public. Both groups may use the library’s materials within the building at any time the library is open.

Rentschler Library is committed to maintaining a quiet and safe environment conducive to research and study in support of the academic programs of Miami University. To meet this end, all library patrons are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible manner in accordance with the policies outlined in this document, as well as all applicable Miami University policies, local, state, and federal laws.

Rentschler Library does not permit any behavior which is incompatible with use of the library by its patrons or staff. Specific examples of disruptive behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating excessive noise or using audible MP3 players, headphones, cell phones, or other sound generating devices;
  • Making disruptive noise;
  • Using threatening, intimidating, or abusive language;
  • Any hostile or rowdy behavior, including but not limited to horseplay, fighting, threatening, intimidating, or abusing library staff or patrons with words or actions;
  • Harassment of patrons or staff, including sexual harassment;
  • Refusing to leave the library when the building is closed;
  • Damaging or using library furnishings or equipment for purposes other than those for which they were intended;
  • Using library staff equipment without permission (including telephones, computers, printers).

Library staff reserve the right to require anyone who engages in behavior that disrupts study and effective use of the library to leave the premises immediately. Library staff will contact Campus Security if a patron refuses to leave when requested to do so.

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by and be under the supervision of an adult caregiver at all times while in Rentschler Library. Adults are responsible for the behavior of accompanying children. Disruptive or unattended children will be asked to leave the library. Please see our “Policy on Unattended Children” (above) for clarification.

Collection Management

The purpose of this document is to explain the general guidelines used by Rentschler Library staff in making collection management decisions. Every effort is made to build and maintain a collection that supports the mission of the library as stated below.

Library Mission Statement
Rentschler Library contributes to the intellectual and cultural development of the students, faculty, staff, and community users at Miami University Hamilton by supporting the teaching and research needs of the campus and promoting personal growth and success through lifelong learning.

The primary function of Rentschler Library is to support the undergraduate academic programs of Miami University Hamilton. Materials are selected to meet the needs of the students, faculty, and staff in their educational pursuits. In their efforts to carry this out, library staff will:

  1. Strive for a systematic approach to collection management where all subjects are equally considered and purchasing decisions are made purposefully with the needs of the campus community in mind. This will lead to a balanced and well-rounded collection and will prevent random, uneven coverage.
  2. Develop a functional collection that is useful to the majority of the users of Rentschler Library. The intention will be to actively support the undergraduate curriculum taught on the Miami University Hamilton campus, while still providing adequate coverage in other areas. All subjects will be considered and developed to the appropriate level.
  3. Provide the best possible coverage in each subject area. Efforts will be made to:
    • Maintain currency by continually adding and updating materials and withdrawing outdated sources that are no longer useful.
    • Maintain quality by selecting the best materials available in the most cost-effective way.
    • Maintain the physical condition by weeding, repairing, or replacing damaged books and implementing preventative maintenance.
  4. Encourage student and faculty use of the library by building a usable collection that is relevant for student coursework and is an integral part of the campus curriculum.

Responsibility for Selection
The professional librarians at Rentschler Library are responsible for selection in assigned subject areas of the collection. Each selector will also be responsible for weeding and maintaining these assigned areas. In order to provide complete coverage for the collection, these responsibilities are assigned in the following two ways:

First, assignments are made according to the Library of Congress classification system, with each librarian taking primary responsibility for specific classes. For example, one librarian manages the E class (American History), while another librarian handles the L class (Education). This ensures that someone is responsible for each part of the collection and will prevent inadequate coverage in a subject area that may not have specific coursework on campus.

Secondly, responsibilities are assigned based on the curriculum taught at the Hamilton campus. These assignments will correspond as closely as possible to the first division described above. For example, the botany classes on campus will be covered by the librarian who is responsible for the Q classification (Science). Therefore, each department on campus will have a specific contact person in the library. The faculty will communicate their needs and make purchase recommendations to their assigned library liaison.

Faculty Involvement
The most important thing that individual faculty members can do is to communicate frequently with the library liaison assigned to their discipline. Faculty can facilitate this in the following ways:

  1. Submit course syllabi and specific assignments that require library research.
  2. Participate in collection analysis projects. This involves evaluating the books or other materials in their discipline. Decisions are made to retain, discard, update, or send an item to the university’s remote storage facility. The procedure and criteria for this are described in a separate document, “Collection Analysis Guidelines.”
  3. Recommend specific titles by completing the Suggest a Purchase web form.
  4. Seek input from library liaison to create new assignments that will best utilize the resources already available in the library.
  5. Promote the library as an essential source for students. Encourage them to use the library when working on assignments or doing research.
  6. Maintain ongoing dialogue with library liaison through email, phone calls, or regular meetings.

Selection Criteria
Purchase selections will be made using a variety of criteria. In no particular order, these include:

  1. Relevance to the educational program of the campus.
  2. Anticipated use by Miami Hamilton students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Subject content applicable to the undergraduate level.
  4. Timeliness or permanence of the material.
  5. Accuracy and reliability as reflected in review sources*.
  6. Receipt of publication notification from our book vendor that new items have been published that meet the criteria established in our slip plan.
  7. Reputation of the author and/or publisher.
  8. Current strengths or weaknesses of present holdings in the subject area.
  9. Availability at Miami or OhioLINK libraries.
  10. Cost.

*Review sources will be the primary means of identifying purchase possibilities. “Choice” is a publication designed for academic libraries and will be a major resource. To a lesser extent, “Library Journal,” “Booklist,” and “Publisher’s Weekly” will also be consulted.

Faculty recommendations will be given thoughtful consideration, especially those that have the needs of the student body in mind. Rentschler Library is able to provide ready access to advanced level materials that support faculty research endeavors by participating in resource sharing with other Miami and OhioLINK libraries and through traditional interlibrary loan services.

Specific Areas of the Collection

Reference and Electronic Resources
The selectors work as a team when adding materials to the reference collection or purchasing electronic resources. Each librarian makes suggestions for titles to add and titles to weed in their subject areas. The team considers the price and potential usefulness of the product and makes the final decision.

This collection includes streaming videos, e-books, CDs, and other nonprint materials. Additions to this collection can be made by faculty suggestion or request. Please see the Streaming Video Services guide for specific information about purchasing this content. E-books are generally purchased at the discretion of individual librarians based on availability of the format, cost, licensing restrictions such as number of concurrent users, and perceived demand for the title.

Librarians will review active periodical subscriptions annually at the time renewals are due. Faculty, staff, and students can recommend titles to be added at any time. However, due to the high cost of periodical subscriptions, there must be a compelling argument that the new title will be an asset to the campus community. Electronic availability will be a major factor in deciding what titles to add or cut.

The library does not typically purchase textbooks for its regular collection. However, some textbooks may be purchased and placed on reserve for students to use within the library as part of our Textbooks on Reserve collection. Additional exceptions may be made in certain disciplines, such as Nursing, where textbooks are an integral part of the literature available, or when a particular title is considered to be a classic in its field. However, the library encourages donations of textbooks that are current and useful as additional resources for students in carrying out their coursework. For example, faculty can donate advance copies of textbooks that they receive from publishers.

Gifts and Donations

The library welcomes donations of books and other materials for its collection. When evaluating gift materials, special attention is given to the condition of the item and the date of publication (when relevant). Potential use and availability at other libraries are also considered. Books that are not added to the collection will be donated to Better World Booksor disposed of.