403. Library Materials Lending

Originally adopted February 2011. Current version adopted September 2016. Next review, July 2019.

The purpose of this policy is to establish the specific lending rules under which card holders may borrow Library materials.  Such rules are essential in providing free and equal access to all members of the community and to assure funders that the Library properly oversees the collection purchased with public monies.

Section 1.  Responsibility of borrowers

An issued library card is to be used only by the account holder unless the Library has been given explicit permission for someone else to have or use the card.  Card holders are expected to responsibly manage their accounts, keeping track of all materials checked out and return materials on time.   A lost card should be reported immediately to the Library; any materials checked out prior to the Library’s notification of a lost card are the responsibility of the account holder, although the liability will be limited to $50.

Section 2.  Responsibility of custodial parents or legal guardians

Only custodial parents or legal guardians may apply for their children’s cards, as they are legally responsible for all items checked out on those cards.  Once a child has a card, he/she has complete access to all materials in the Library’s collection.  The Library cannot act in loco parentis for children with cards so parents and guardians are also responsible for being aware of what their children are checking out.

Section 3.  Placing holds

Card holders may place a hold on an item, regardless of its availability.  Holds are filled throughout the Plum Creek Library System in the order in which they were placed.  When a hold is available and ready for pick up at the location chosen by the customer, he/she will receive notification that it is available.  Holds are kept for seven days, where upon the item will pass along to the next customer on the holds list or returned the shelf of the library that owns the item if not checked out.   There are no limits on the number of holds a customer may place.

Section 4.  Lending periods and renewals

  • Books, Audiobooks, Music CDs, Puppets, Puzzles :: 3 week check-out period :: up to 2 renewals
  • DVDs, Cake Pans, Back Issues of Magazines :: 1 week check-out period :: up to 2 renewals
  • Current Issues of Magazines and Reference materials :: not for lend
  • Book Club Kits :: 6 week check-out period :: not renewable
  • Inter-Library Loan :: check-out period determined by lending library :: not renewable

Materials checked out through outreach services on specially designated library cards may have different lending and renewal periods.

Materials may be renewed in person, online or by telephone.  Materials on hold for other borrowers may not be renewed.

Section 5.  Limits and fines

Currently, the Library limits checkouts on the following materials:

  • DVDs: 5 per card
  • Plum Creek Library’s OverDrive ebooks and audiobooks: 4 per card
  • OneClick audiobooks: 10 per card
  • hoopla ebooks, audiobooks, music and movies: 8 per month, per card

The Library, under the discretion of the Director, reserves the right to place temporary limits on materials or collections as a response to demand.  Permanent limits will be brought to the Board for discussion and potential adoption.

Likewise, the Director, or designee, may allow an item that normally does not circulate, such as Reference materials, to be borrowed for a limited time.  Fines for these items, however, are more when not returned on time.

For overdue materials, the following fines and limits apply:

  • All children’s materials, except DVDs :: $.10 per item per day :: $1.00 maximum
  • All other materials for both 1 week and 3 week checkouts, including children’s DVDs :: $.25 per item per day :: $3.00 maximum
  • Book Club Kits :: $.50 per day per kit :: $5.00 maximum
  • Materials that normally do not circulate :: $1.00 per item per day :: $10 maximum
  • Inter-Library Loan :: fines and fine limits set by lending library

The Library allows a seven-day grace period following the date the materials are due.  Should the borrower return the material during this grace period, no fines will be assessed.  On the eighth day an item is overdue, the fines accrued but not charged during the grace period will be added to the account.

Staff may use their judgement to forgive part or all of a fine based on an individual’s circumstances.  No more than a total of $10 may be forgiven on an account without a supervisor’s or Director’s approval.

Per Plum Creek Library policies, borrowers with $5 or more in fines/fees and/or with five or more items a week or more overdue will have their borrowing privileges suspended until the materials are returned and the fines/fees are below $5.

Borrowers may opt in to be notified via email their materials’ due date is within the upcoming few days in order to avoid overdue fines.  However, the borrower is still liable for those overdue fines if the email notification is not received.

Section 6.  Overdues

The following is a schedule of overdue notifications:

  • Pre-overdue (optional) :: sent up to 5 days prior to due date :: notification via email
  • Overdue :: 8 days after due date :: notification via email or postal mail
  • Long overdue :: 30 days after due date :: notification via email or postal mail
  • Lost: legal notice :: 60 days after due date :: notification via postal mail

Section 7.  Lost and damaged materials

Once an item is 60 days overdue, per Minnesota Statute 609.541, the borrower is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.  The final notice of the overdue materials, with the full charges assessed and referencing this statute, will be sent to the address of record.  Once materials are considered lost, the cost of the materials (which shall be the average cost per format, as determined by staff), along with a $5 processing fee per item, will be assessed and the overdue fines removed.

Materials that are returned after considered lost by the Library will have the cost of the materials removed from the account and the maximum fines for each item reinstated.  The $5 processing fee for each item will remain on the record.

If borrowers find items after paying for them, they may return the items within 180 days (6 months) of payment, along with the original receipt [as required by the City finance director], for a refund of the cost of the materials (minus the maximum overdue fines for each item).  The $5 processing fee per item will not be refunded.

Only a supervisor or Director may waive the cost of lost materials.  The exact or similar items will not be accepted in place of the lost materials.  The Director may make rare exceptions to this and accept other materials in lieu of payment for lost materials.

At ninety days, if the borrower has not contacted the Library and the materials are not returned, the Library Director will decide whether to pursue further action through legal or credit reporting channels.

Materials returned in condition considerably worse than when checked out will be assessed for damage charges.  This includes, but is not limited to, items returned with parts missing (discs, book jackets, music CD covers, etc.), damage that is unrepairable, damage that makes an item unusable and damage beyond normal wear and tear.  If the damage makes the item unusable, the Library may charge the borrower the entire cost of the item.  If the damage is due to a lost piece, the staff will attempt to contact the person and retrieve the lost piece.  After thirty days, if the piece is not returned, the staff will assess whether the item can be continued to be used without the piece.  If it can, a smaller amount than the full cost of the item may be charged; otherwise the borrower will be charged for the full price of replacement.

Materials lost or damaged due to extraordinary events such as fire, tornado or flooding will not be charged to the borrower’s account.  It is the responsibility of the account holder, however, to notify the Library immediately after the event and the loss of the materials.

Materials lost or damaged due to theft may not be charged to the borrower but the Library will require a copy of a police record reporting the theft or notification to insurance for recovery of stolen items in order to not be charged for the materials.