Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to our Frequently Asked Questions reflect the Library’s regular operating policies. Occasionally, our policies, resources, & services must be altered or changed rapidly.

General FAQ
I have a question about…

Borrowing / Renewing

How do I check out books from Johnnie Mae Berry Library?

All students, faculty & staff must present their current Surge card at the checkout counter. The number of checkouts is unlimited for all Cincinnati State users. Please see the Library’s User Agreement Form for information on loan periods & fines.

How does Library PickUp work?

Please see our Borrowing page for details about Library PickUp.

Can someone else check out my book for me?

For privacy reasons, the person checking out the book must be the same person named/photographed on the Surge card presented.

How much does it cost?

It is free to check out library materials.

How long do I get my books? Can I renew them?

Students can check out books for 21 days & renew them up to six (6) times, provided another library user has not requested the item. You can check your due dates, status of Hold requests, & renew your books online by going to “Your Library Account”, by calling the library at 513.569.1606, or by stopping by the library in person.

How do I order items from other libraries?

Cincinnati State patrons can borrow books from academic libraries in Ohio (OhioLINK), public libraries in Ohio (SearchOhio), & libraries in other states (Interlibrary Loan).

  • OhioLINK:
    Look for the item you want in BLINK, Berry Library’s online catalog. If the item you want is not available, click on the “Search OhioLINK” button. This will search for the same item in about 121 libraries throughout Ohio. If the item you want says “Available” at any of the libraries listed, click the green “Request This Item” button. Choose “Cincinnati State as your institution & provide your name & 7-digit College ID. You will receive an email notification when your item arrives.
  • SearchOhio:
    If the item you want is not available through the OhioLINK system, you can also order books through the public library system using SearchOhio. The black & teal “SearchOhio” button can be found at the top of the OhioLINK search page. Once you have found the item you want, click on the “Request this Item” link. After selecting “Cincinnati State” as your institution, you will be asked to enter your name & 7-digit College ID to proceed with your request.
  • Interlibrary Loan: 
    If you are unable to locate the book you want using the above resources, you may complete an Interlibrary Loan E-Form Request. Interlibrary Loan books can take up to a month to arrive & renewals may not be granted. Consequently, this service is not recommended for textbooks. Only current Cincinnati State affiliates are able to use this service.

If you need help with any of these, please stop by the library or give us a call at 513.569.1606.

Can I use other libraries with my SurgeCard?

Berry Library users have borrowing privileges at all OhioLINK member libraries.

I am not affiliated with Cincinnati State. How do I obtain borrowing privileges?

Users from OhioLINK academic libraries can check out materials with a current school ID.

Community members with a valid State Identification card may create an account that offers local borrowing privileges. See our Policies page for more details.


How much are library fines?

Items which a borrower may pick up themselves from the stacks do not incur overdue fines. This includes General Collection & Reference books, as well as fiction & academic videos. Items which a borrower has to request at the desk DO incur overdue fines. Overnight reserves, including 7-day laptops, are subject to overdue fines of $1 per day. Most Course Reserve items, such as study room keys, 4-hour laptops, and laptop accessories, etc.  are subject to overdue fees of $2.50 per hour.

General collection books that are 30 days overdue are considered “lost” & bills are sent out. Reference books, atlases, videos, and overnight reserves are billed at 7 days overdue. The fee for lost materials from the Cincinnati State Library varies based on item type, with most items incurring a minimum bill of $70. If the item is returned in acceptable condition within 90 days of the overdue date, the billed amount may be reduced to the overdue fine.

The fee for lost OhioLINK and SearchOhio materials is a minimum of $125. per item.

Please contact the Coordinator of Circulation Services at 513.569.4690 for more information.

Where do I pay my fines?

All fines may be paid in person at the Cashier’s Office; fines of at least $5.00 may also be paid online in Self Services. Fines may be paid after you have received an emailed copy of the fine. Please see the Bursar & Cashier Office’s Payment Methods for more details.

What happens if I don’t pay my fines?

Borrowing privileges will be suspended once a user has incurred $85.00 worth of unpaid fines. Fines must also be paid in order to register for the next term, graduate, or receive transcripts.

Computing & Laptops

Can I use a computer?

All Cincinnati State affiliates are welcome to use the desktops on the library’s main floor & may sign in using their CState username/password. Please note that the desktops are primarily for research purposes.  Community users may asked to be signed in to a desktop PC, except during the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on weekdays.

How I do use a library laptop?

The library laptops are intended for general academic use & can accept flashdrives, are able to edit Microsoft programs (including Word), & are able to send print jobs to the library’s printer. Current students with accounts in good standing are able to check out laptops for 4 hours at a time and headphones for 2 hours.

Please note that all library computing equipment is intended for academic & ethical use & are subject to the college’s Acceptable Use of Technology agreement. The library is not responsible for work lost or compromised due to equipment failure.

Other Equipment & Accessories

What else can I borrow from the Library?

Group Study Rooms

  • Headphone Splitters
  • Projector
  • Dry Erase Markers

Accessibility Tools

  • Magnifiers (Handheld & Stand Alone)
  • Large Print, High-Contrast Keyboard
  • Noise Cancellation Headphones

Laptops (4-Hour, & 7-Day)

  • Mouse
  • Laptop Chargers

More Tools for Success

  • Graphing Calculators
  • Regular Calculators
  • Headphones
  • Phone Chargers (iPhone, USB C, Micro USB)
  • Keyboard with Common Access Card Reader (Veterans & Student Soldiers)

Printing & Photocopying

How do I print in the library?

You may use either your Surge card or log into the print release station using your Cincinnati State username & password to release jobs sent to the printer, but you must have available funds on your account either way. Surge cards are loaded with $18 in available funds each semester, thereby enabling students to print “for free” until their account is depleted. All library laptops & desktops are able to send print jobs to the library’s printer, located on the main floor of the library.

Can I print if I forgot my Surge card and don’t know my Cincinnati State username/password?

Library staff are not able to accept money for print jobs, but can assist you with looking up your Cincinnati State username. You will need to reset your password in Blackboard or by contacting IT Help Desk for assistance.

Can I print from my own computer?

The library’s printers are not configured to accept wireless print jobs from personal computers. Students may check out a library laptop in order to transfer the documents that need to be printed (via email attachment, saved work in Onedrive, or by USB flashdrive).

How do I photocopy?

The library has 2 photocopiers; one is located on the main floor by the back wall & the other is located down the stairs by the reading area. Cash or coin must be used to operate the photocopiers; they are not able to accept Surge cards. Students can get change at the Cashier’s Office in Room 154 of the Main Building. Copies cost 10 cents per page; double-sided copies will cost 20 cents.

Does the library have a scanner?

The library does not have a dedicated scanner, but the library’s photocopier can be used to scan pages to a flashdrive. Students can also use the scanner in the college’s main computer lab located in the ATLC building, Rooms 316-317

Does the library have a fax I can use?

The library does not have a fax for public use.


Where is the Johnnie Mae Berry Library?

The Library is in the Main Building, Room 170 at the Clifton (main) campus.

My class is meeting in the Library for research instruction. Where do I go?

After entering the Library, you will need to take our elevator to the lower-level (LL), which is where you will find the Library’s computer lab.

Where is the College Archives?

The College Archives is only accessible by appointment. Please contact Tracey Stivers to arrange a day/time. Once an appointment is made, the Archives is reachable by coming into the Library, veering toward the back-right, then taking the Library’s elevator to the lower-level (LL).

Where is the Library Conference Room?

The Conference Room is located on the main floor of the Library. Once you walk in, veer to the right, go past both of the service desks, & it will be straight ahead of you (it is the only door on the wall you will be facing). Note: the Library Conference Room is currently unavailable for reservations.

Room Reservations

Does the library have study rooms that students can reserve?

The library has 4 (four) group study rooms for student use located on the balconies. Rooms may be reserved up to one week in advance by using the Online Reservation Form. A current Surge card must be presented at the circulation desk in order to check out one of the room keys; keys can be checked out for a 2 hour period. “Same day” use of open rooms is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Because the library is an overall quiet zone, we dedicate these rooms for work requiring conversations and collaboration, not individual quiet study.

How do I reserve the Library’s conference room?
Faculty & staff can reserve the library’s conference room, located on the main floor, by calling Event Scheduling at x4123 or by emailing .

How do I reserve the library’s computer lab?
The primary purpose of the library’s computer lab, located on the lower-level of the library, is to provide library bibliographic instruction to students in an environment that facilitates hands-on active learning. In order to be flexible & to meet the needs of our faculty & students, availability for other purposes is limited. Priority of requests will be considered as followed:

  • Library Instruction:
    Instructors can request library instruction to provide their students with the opportunity to actively engage with their research topics during a librarian-led session tailored to suit their research needs. To learn more about library instruction for students, please visit our Faculty Guide: Improving Student Research page or contact Kathleen Pickens via email (kathleen.pickens) for more information. To improve the likelihood of availability, it is advised that instructors make requests by the start of each semester, or at least two weeks prior to the desired class date.
  • Class Reservation (No Librarian):
    Instructors who would like to use the library’s computer room in order to give their students time for research may request up to 2 reservations per class section; availability is dependent upon expected demand for library instruction. Reservation requests can be made by contacting Kathleen Pickens via email. Instructors who need regular computer access for their students should contact IT.
  • Departmental or Non Course-Related
    Depending upon demand & availability, departments may be able to reserve the library’s computer room for limited periods of time. Please email Kathleen Pickens with your request.

Connecting from off-campus

What’s my 7-digit College ID?

Your 7-digit College ID is how you connect to library resources from off-campus, plus how you can log into your Johnnie Mae Berry Library account to check due dates, status of hold requests, & renew books. If you don’t know your ID number, you can look it up using the ID Verification Form. Be sure to check the box to display your College ID with the results.

Students can also find their 7-digit College ID in Self Services. College employees can also find their 7-digit College ID on their electronic paystubs, listed as “Employee ID”.

Research FAQ
How do I find…

Background Information (Reference & Statistics)

The Library’s Online Reference Shelf is a reliable starting point for finding background information for your research assignment. Use the tabs below to find encyclopedias, country background information, statistics, & more for your topic.

Academic Journals, Newspapers & Magazines

You have access to millions (literally) of academic articles, newspapers, & magazines from the Library’s Research Databases. Below are short tutorials on our most popular databases, taken from our YouTube Playlist. If you don’t know where to start, try using Academic Search Complete, one of our more general resources.

If your assignment requires articles from peer-reviewed journals, you may also find it helpful to watch Scholarly vs. Popular Articles, & How to Read a Scholarly Journal Article.

Watch & Learn

Books & E-Books

Some of your assignments may require you to use books or E-books as one of your academic sources, but how do you find them at Johnnie Mae Berry Library? The tutorials in our YouTube Playlist will walk you through how to search for books using BLINK, the Library’s online catalog, as well as how to search our E-book databases, where you can connect to over 400,000 books online!

Below, our Step-by-Step guide will walk you through everything you need to search BLINK, the Library’s online catalog, including how to place holds, pickup your materials, and renew your items.

Credible Websites

Let’s face it–there is a lot of information available on the Internet! How do you determine if it’s GOOD information, especially if you want to use it for research? Videos in our YouTube Playlist below will show you how to evaluate websites, use Google’s Advanced Search to get the best search results, & how to use Google Scholar to find academic articles online.

Watch & Learn

Primary Sources

These are simply first-hand accounts or original records of an event. Primary sources may include newspaper articles, diaries, letters, interviews, maps, government documents, oral histories, videos, illustrations, photographs, and more. A primary source may also be the result(s) of original research, including quantitative or qualitative data. Visit our Primary Sources on the Internet page for great starting points..

Secondary sources

These are resources that were created “after the fact” by persons who were not present at the actual event–they are simply reporting on information they have received “second hand”. Secondary sources usually offer an analysis or interpretation of primary source materials. For example, most scholarly textbooks, reference sources like encyclopedias, and even scholarly articles would be considered secondary sources.

Watch & Learn

Problems viewing? Watch it on YouTube.


You can watch over 40,000 academic videos online from Films on Demand, the Library’s database of streaming videos. Our short YouTube videobelow shows you how to search for, watch, & cite academic films.

Watch & Learn

Course Reserves / Textbooks

Course Reserves are required textbooks or films that an instructor places “on reserve” for students to use in the Library. We do not have the required textbook for every class, but you can search Current Course Reserves in our catalog to see what is available each semester. Our Finding Course Reserves video can guide you through the search process.

Visit our Textbook Resources Guide for more ways to borrow, rent, or buy your textbooks.

Practice Tests

Learning Express: practice tests can now be access via the Ohio Means Jobs website at You may create an account to track your progress, or access the test center anonymously (does not store progress or results).

Citation & Formatting Guides

Whenever you use information from a source, you have to cite it! This includes when you are paraphrasing the information (putting it in your own words), as well as when you quote directly from it. The two most common citation styles that your assignments will require are MLA format & APA format. Look at your assignment directions to see which style is required and, if it doesn’t say which to use, be sure to ask your instructor. The YouTube Playlist below shows you how to avoid plagiarism, use Purdue’s The OWL to set up citations, & how to format your paper in Word.

All about citations
Follow the links below for examples of how to cite different types of resources in your Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page.

In-Text Citations
If you’re quoting or paraphrasing (putting it in your own words), you’ll need to know how to do an “in-text” citation within your paper! Readers will use that information to find the full information about the sources in your Works Cited or References page.

Watch & Learn

Plagiarizing is just one example of Academic Dishonesty. Other examples include:

  • Taking credit for work created by someone else or by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Sharing your work or your instructor’s course materials for use by other students (like uploading them to a shared site like Course Hero).
  • Reusing your own paper (self-plagiarizing) for different courses.
  • Inventing or fabricating evidence, sources, or citations.

In addition to being unethical, violating Academic Integrity may lead to disciplinary action. Visit the Student Code of Conduct on Academic Integrity for more details.