The MSU Herbarium has a relatively liberal loan policy to researchers located in other herbaria within the USA. In order to furnish loans to such researchers in an expedient fashion, loans are processed within two weeks of the request. Loans will not granted only in the event that the specimens are out on loan to someone else, or staff members are actively studying the material. We also do not normally loan material to individuals who are not based at an institutional herbarium. Very large loans on the order of 1,000ís of specimens are not made either, but we do encourage the researchers to first visit the MSU Herbarium to personally select a loan of a manageable size. Loans are made to recognized institutions and not to individuals. A formal request letter or email message is required, and the request must be approved by either the Curator or the Collections Manager. Details of regulations regarding loans from the MSU Herbarium are sent along with the loan. These regulations stipulate that loans, including types, are made for a period of two years, after which an extension must be requested in writing. We also encourage partial return of loans, particularly very large ones.
1. Loans of MSU Herbarium specimens are made to institutions and not to individuals. The head of the borrowing institution assumes complete responsibility for the safe custody and return of the specimens. Specimens should be stored in insect-free, airtight cases. They must be treated with extreme care in such a manner that will conserve them indefinitely for study in the future. Specimens should never be turned upside-down. Loans must not be removed from the borrowing institution and they may not be transferred from one institution to another without written permission and agreement of all parties concerned. Upon return, loans must be carefully packed to avoid damage during transit.
2. Loans of specimens, including types, are made for a period of two (2) years from time of receipt, but we request that specimens be returned at the earliest opportunity. We encourage partial return of loans, especially in the case of large loans, where difficult taxa may require more time for study. Written permission is required for an extension of all loans beyond the initial two-year period.
3. All loaned specimens must be annotated as fully as possible by the borrowing researcher. Annotations should be made on a separate slip of high quality paper or small label no larger than approximately 2.5 x 10 cm and glued fast to the herbarium sheet. Whenever possible, annotation labels should be attached above the original label near the bottom of the herbarium sheet. White herbarium glue is preferable; rubber cement should not be used because it is not permanent. Annotation labels should be placed within boxes or plastic bags of specimens stored in that manner. Annotations should be typewritten or written with indelible ink, never with a ball-point pen or felt tip pen. The borrowing researcher should clearly indicate the status of type specimens with reference to the basionym and author. If the researcher agrees with the original determination or cannot make a determination, the specimens should be so annotated. Previous annotations should not be altered, and original labels or notes must not be marked, covered, or removed. No marks of any kind should be made on the herbarium sheets.
4. Incomplete labels, especially on older specimens and mounted type photographs, can often be augmented with more complete data from duplicate sheets on loan from other institutions. We encourage researchers to provide any such additional data on a separate slip and attach it to appropriate MSU Herbarium specimens. We would appreciate this especially when it involves adding the locality, date, collector, or collection number to the specimen.
5. Judicious dissection of specimens is normally permitted. Whenever possible, all material studied should be returned to the herbarium specimen. The removal of important elements such as flowers, fruits, leaves, wood, or pollen is not permitted without prior written permission. We would appreciate having duplicate glass slides of pollen grains and copies of photographic prints resulting from studies based on our specimens.
6. All MSU Herbarium specimens should be cited with the accepted herbarium acronym 'MONT' in any published specimen listings. We would appreciate receiving any reprints of studies based upon MSU Herbarium specimens. These reprints will become part of our permanent botanical reprint collection. In order to fill possible gaps in the MSU Herbarium, we would be grateful if borrowers would send us duplicate specimens from their own collections of taxa which we are lacking.