Skip to Main Content

Distance Learners

Learn how to perform different searches, navigate the results, and interact with the records in the Library Catalog by watching the video.  Find books through MERLIN, MOBIUS, or WorldCat, and then choose the delivery method that best works for you.   

📚 Books

Getting books not available in the Libraries

Renewing books online

Requesting Books from Remote Storage (UMLD)

Finding Books

Search in the following order:


Search Discover@MU for eBooks, articles, & more

Search the MOBIUS Catalog (Missouri academic libraries):

The MOBIUS Consortium includes

  • most academic libraries in the state of Missouri
  • two large public library systems.

Request books from any of those libraries where available copies are listed.

  • The usual turnaround time is three work days (not including weekends or holidays).
  • Allow time to request the items you need because turnaround times can vary.
  • Search the MOBIUS catalog if you live in Missouri and would like to pick up your books somewhere other than one of the MU Libraries.

Search WorldCat (across the U.S.):

WorldCat is a catalog of materials from libraries' worldwide.  It includes over 170 million records. 

When you find a record for an item of interest, click the  link to see if the item is available from MU. 

If it is, follow the normal procedures to request the item be sent to you.

If the item is not available from MU, click the   Request through ILL@MU - interlibrary loan 
link to ask that it be borrowed from another institution.

Reciprocal (in-person) Borrowing Privileges in Missouri and U.S.:

Visiting other MOBIUS Libraries

  • MU faculty, students and staff who are in good standing (no billed books or unpaid fines or blocks on their circulation record) may go to any other MOBIUS library, which includes the Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis campuses of the University of Missouri, and present their MU ID card and borrow books held in those libraries, if they are Available in the MOBIUS catalog.
  • Select any MOBIUS Library on the pull down menu as a PICKUP Location and ask that items you request be sent to those locations.
  • This is a convenient service for distance learning students, faculty and staff working in extension offices, and anyone else who is away from their home library for an extended period.
  • Visiting patrons are subject to the loan period set at the time of checkout by the lending library for each book as well as any other restrictions (such as, but not limited to, the number of items that may be checked out).
  • If you have any questions about whether or not you may check out an item, you may check with Ellis Circulation by calling (573) 882-3362 and ask to speak with a supervisor before you drive to another library.

Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) Reciprocal Circulation Program

Requesting books

MU Libraries will mail their books to MU Distance Learning students living outside Columbia.

Use the document retrieval service for electronic delivery of periodical articles, book chapters, proceedings, technical reports, government documents in the MU Libraries' collections.


  • Books (cannot be sent overseas)
  • Dissertations
  • Government documents
  • PDF copies of journal articles

What types of material cannot be requested?

  • Books from Special Collections
  • Reference materials  (e.g., REF-R location codes)
  • Entire magazine/journal volumes or individual current issues
  • A/V material  (microfiche, film)
    • Computer disks
    • CD-ROMs
  • Resources on Reserve for courses during the semester that they are on Reserve

Length of time you may keep materials

MU Students living in and outside Missouri can request books.

All students enrolled in MU's Distance Learning Programs are eligible for Reciprocal Borrowing privileges through:

Students not residing in the United States may be eligible for borrowing privileges at local libraries.

  • We do not mail books outside the United States.

Off-campus faculty living in Missouri or outside Missouri can also request books.

Search the Library Catalog for books (MU Libraries, UMKC, UMSL and MS&T)
Click on the Request tab in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG or MOBIUS to start the process:

If you live in Missouri within a short distance of a MOBIUS Library, you may use that library as the place to have books delivered for you to check out:

  • Request all items through the MOBIUS Catalog, even those held in the MERLIN Libraries. 

If you do not live near a MERLIN or MOBIUS Library:

  1. Choose MU Ellis Circulation as your pick up location.
  2. When you receive the email note telling you that the book has arrived and is ready for you to pick up, reply to the note or contact the Ellis Circulation desk at or 573-882-3362.
    • Tell the Ellis Library Staff that you are a distance learning student and would like the book mailed to you. 
    • Include an address that has a street name so that we may use UPS or FEDEX for delivery.
  3. If you do email the message back to the address given above, the book will be placed on the Ellis Library Hold shelf waiting for you to personally pick it up!


  • The Libraries pay the shipping to the DL student or extension faculty on the sending side.  Shipping is by UPS so distance does not matter but the Libraries do not ship internationally. 
  • Students and faculty are responsible for the cost of sending the materials back to the Libraries. To return items to the Libraries, you must use a system that tracks mail (FEDEX or UPS).
    Please return items to:

    MU Ellis Circulation Desk
    102 Ellis Library
    1020 Lowry Mall, MU
    Columbia, MO 65201
    Attn: Distance Learning Loan

If you need further assistance, please contact the Circulation Desk at Ellis Library at, or call (573)-882-3362.

If a book is recalled, you must return the item before you can borrow anything else from the Libraries.

  • You will be liable for a $2 per day fine for the overdue recall.
  • Further delay will result in an invoice for the cost of replacement for an additional $175.

If you have questions about notices or have lost a book, contact Ellis circulation at 882-3362.

Other campuses may charge for overdue items which have not been recalled.

Finding Books in the MU Specialized Libraries