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Library Quick Guide

The Thurgood Marshall Library (TML) provides vital resources and services to meet the information and research needs of the Bowie State University Community.


Keep the library bug-free. Honor the "No food in the library" (and study carrels) policy. Take your snack break in the newly renovated TML Gallery furnished with tables, chair, snack machines, and free WiFi.


The Thurgood Marshall Library is one of the 16 libraries within the University System of Maryland & Affiliated Institutions (USMAI). BSU students with a current, registered Bulldog Card can borrow from the other 15 USMAI libraries in person and request to deliver to TML for pickup.


  • Study Areas

The library has 19 private study rooms, three areas for group study, and seating for 420. Study rooms must be reserved at the main floor circulation desk.

  • Interlibrary Loan - ILL 301-860-3862

ILL is a service that students, faculty, and staff can use to request materials not owned by the Thurgood Marshall Library. Forms are available on the ILL web page. Before placing an ILL request for a book, use the USMAI catalog to find out if the book is owned by another USMAI library. If it is, use hold/recall to have the book sent to the USMAI library of your choice. If USMAI does not own the book, an ILL request may be placed. Before placing an ILL request for a journal article, check to see if the Thurgood Marshall Library owns that issue. If we do not own it, then an ILL request may be placed. Check your citation for accuracy; your request cannot be fulfilled without all the correct information.

  • Copier and Printing Services

There are two copiers located on the 1st floor of the library. The copier makes copies as well as prints documents from the computer on the 1st floor of the library. Students are now required to log on and off of the computers.   They will use the same log on information that they use to access their BSU email accounts.



  • Circulating Collection

Circulating books are shelved by call number on the second floor and may be borrowed and returned at the main floor Circulation Desk. New books are displayed on the main floor.

  • Special Collections 301-860-3851

Hours may be available by appointment. Collections are located on the second floor. Holdings: University Archives; BSU historical and photographic materials; Special Collections; Maryland History book collection; rare books.

  • Reference Services 301-860-3862

The reference collection includes data compilations, dictionaries, directories, yearbooks, and other core reference materials.Reference materials do not circulate.

Patrons who desire in-depth assistance are encouraged to make an appointment with a librarian. The library offers formal instruction in using library resources. Sessions must be scheduled by an instructor at least one week in advance. Tours with a general orientation to library services are available by appointment.

  • Borrowing Materials 301-860-3870

User must have a valid USMAI or BowieCard to borrow books. The card must be registered every calendar year at the circulation desk on the main floor. Patrons are responsible for returning borrowed material on time and in good condition.

  • Loans

Materials must be checked out at the circulation desk. Books may be returned to any USMAI library. Undergraduate loan period: four weeks; Graduate Students: three months; Faculty and staff: six months; Bowie State University Alumni: four weeks.

  • Overdue/Renewal

Items must be brought in for renewal. Email and phone requests are not accepted. Overdue fine: $.50 per day payable by check or money order. Items from other libraries are handled according to the policy of the lending library.

  • Reserves 301-860-3871

Reserve materials are items that faculty have assigned for particular courses. Materials are kept behind the circulation desk on the main floor. A valid ID is required to borrow materials. Reserve materials do not leave the library.



Research Port

The University System of Maryland's Research Port gateway lets current students, faculty, and staff access electronic databases from an Internet connection. Users must register at the library circulation desk periodically to obtain and keep login rights. Login with the last name and barcode number printed on the BowieCard.

PLEASE NOTE:  From the introductory screen in Research Port, users can choose a category or database to search, or enter a quick search of the catalog and general databases.

Research Port makes it possible for users to search a number of databases at the same time using a single search interface. Searches can be controlled by search field (title, author, subject, etc.) and limited by year. Research Port also supports sophisticated searches using logic operators, truncation, and other search controls. Learning search strategies saves time and produces better search results.

Research Port offers many methods for managing research efforts. Users can save items to an electronic folder, save searches for re-use, create custom lists of databases and electronic journals, locate libraries that own items, and do other research tasks electronically. Records can be downloaded, emailed, or printed using the directional buttons on the screen.

Many databases provide full text articles. Others are scholarly indexes or research tools that make it possible to locate relevant material in books, journals, and other sources. A citation provides the information needed to locate the source: author, article title, journal title, date, issue, and pagination. Many indexes include abstracts or brief summaries.

USMAI Catalog

This is the online catalog that provides access to cataloged materials in any USMAI library. Users can search by author, keyword, subject, or title. USMAI Catalog can be accessed directly without a password.

Other USMAI Catalog features allow you to check the circulation status of items; to search one or more libraries at once; to save records to download, email or print and to review your personal library activity records for due dates and the status of hold/recalls.

Finding a book in the Thurgood Marshall Library: Every book in the catalog is assigned a unique call number. We use the Library of Congress alpha-numeric classification system. Once you find a book that you want, open the full record to see if it is checked out.

The call number tells you where in the library the item is located: STACKS LA 215.C73 1970. STACKS is the term used to identify circulating materials in a library (other terms are REF, SPECL). The letters and numbers pinpoint the shelf location.

Request button

Lets valid users borrow circulating materials from any USMAI library and have them sent to the campus of your choice for pick-up. When you find a book that you want at another campus, click the yellow request button on the side of the screen and follow the directions. It usually takes three weeks to arrive.

For more information and assistance, please call Circulation Desk 301-860-3870 | Reference Desk 301-860-3862