At their meeting on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Library Board of Trustees approved a policy to eliminate overdue fines, effective March 1, 2020. The policy waived all unpaid overdue fines and collection agency fees charged prior to implementation, and eliminated fines for all late returns moving forward.
The Library promotes responsible lifelong Library use with minimal barriers to facilitate fair and equitable sharing of the community's collections. This policy is designed to encourage users to keep their accounts in good standing so they may continue to borrow and return materials. Abuse of circulation privileges will result in the suspension of Library privileges.
Individual customers determine for themselves what Library materials are appropriate for personal checkout or viewing. Parents or guardians are responsible for determining what their children borrow, view, or use in the Library. Library staff will not monitor or restrict any patron's borrowing or use of the Library, its materials, or its resources based on a customer's age, background or views. The Library endorses and defends the concepts of intellectual freedom, as protected by the United States Constitution and as described in the Library Bill of Rights. The Library adheres to and supports the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" (Appendix A), "Freedom to Read" (Appendix B), "Freedom to View" (Appendix C), and "Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights" (Appendix D).
Library users' account information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, items borrowed, items requested, activity dates, and all other data particular to an account, is confidential. The Library does not provide such information to anyone other than the account's owner, with the following exceptions:
- When issued with a valid subpoena or warrant;
- When requested by the parent or legal guardian of a minor for the purpose of paying fees or recovering lost items;
- When an account with lost materials or unpaid fines is turned over to a collection agency;
- When trained volunteers are selecting and delivering materials to patrons receiving House Calls service;
When sharing specific identification data with school partners for the limited purpose of creating and maintaining Library accounts for their students. Account use information, including items borrowed, items requested, and activity dates, remains confidential.
Within these exceptions, only limited and precise information is disclosed to satisfy the specific need of the request.
Eligibility for Library Cards
Resident Library Card
Individuals of all ages are eligible for a library card if they meet the following criteria:
- Live at a Monroe County address, OR
- Own real property in Monroe County, AND
- Can demonstrate an ability to receive notices
Indiana University students who meet the above criteria are eligible for a library card.
Employees of the Library will receive a library card for the duration of their employment.
Students attending Monroe County schools which have partnerships with the Library are eligible for a resident card for the duration of their registration at the school.
Teachers and other educators employed at any pre-school or K—12 school physically located in Monroe County, regardless of their personal residence, are eligible for a resident library card for the duration of their employment.
As circumstances change any of the above criteria, card eligibility will also change. Individuals who are not eligible for a resident card under these criteria may apply under the policy for non-resident cards.
Non-Resident Library Card
Individuals living outside of Monroe County who hold a valid Indiana public library card may purchase a Public Library Access Card (PLAC). A PLAC provides access to all public libraries in the state of Indiana. PLAC holders must provide a valid Indiana public library card and proper identification in order to obtain a non-resident Monroe County Public Library Card.
Individuals living outside of Monroe County in an area that does not receive library service may purchase an annual subscription card. This subscription card provides access to the Monroe County Public Library only. Individuals eligible for this subscription card include:
- those who do not live in a library taxing district
- those whose home library service is received under annual contract
- those who are out-of-state residents
Annual costs for PLAC cards and Subscription cards are included in the fee schedule adopted by the Library Board of Trustees.
Certain types of organizations in Monroe County are eligible for an agency card that confers organizational borrowing privileges. These include senior and assisted living facilities; Head Start and preschool programs; and social service agencies providing out-of-school care or transitional housing. The Library reserves the right to decline agency cards due to capacity limitations.
Patrons may apply online or in person. Acceptable identification and address verification must be provided in person before initial checkout.
House Calls patrons and eligible agencies register separately through the Library's community outreach staff.
Use of Library Card
- Use of the library card implies acceptance of and adherence to all regulations of the Library.
- The Library assumes no liability for any damage caused by the use or misuse of any Library materials.
- Patrons are financially responsible for all materials checked out on their library card.
- Patrons must inform the Library of any change in contact information for account notifications.
- Patrons are required to report lost or stolen cards to the Library immediately.
Patrons Who Do Not Present Card at Checkout
Patrons may borrow materials without a library card, if they can verify identity.
Patrons Using Other Patrons' Library Cards
Patrons who have a library card in their possession are assumed to have the authority to use that library card. Patrons may not check out items on another patron's account as a means of avoiding payment of fees on their own account.
Picking Up Holds For Another Patron
Due to confidentiality concerns, patrons must have permission to pick up holds for other patrons.
Following confidentiality guidelines, holds for patrons under 18 will be given to parents without prior permission.
Suspension of Borrowing Privileges
The Library may suspend borrowing privileges when patrons abuse circulation policies.
Items that are lost, returned with damage or missing parts, or otherwise did not return in the same condition as when they were checked out are billed accordingly.
The Library reserves the right to take legal action to recover fees owed.
Exceptions to Financial Penalties
Patron Claims Not Responsible
Patrons may request removal of responsibility in the cases of "Claims Not Checked Out," "Claims Not Damaged," and "Claims Returned." The Library imposes limits for the number of each type of claim.
Fee Option Programs
Volunteer Work for Credit
In cases of financial hardship, patrons age 14 and over may make arrangements with the Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator to volunteer at the Library in lieu of payment of fees. Credit may be earned for each hour of designated work. See the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees for current rate of credit per hour.
Care Fee Option Program
The Library is committed to providing access to patrons who may have incurred a prohibitive amount of fees so they can once again become responsible lifelong library users. These patrons may choose to enroll in a borrowing program in lieu of payment of Library fees. Credit may be earned through each use and return of designated Library material. See the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees for current rate of credit.
Limited borrowing privileges apply to participants enrolled in this program.
Food for Fees
The Library supports local efforts to feed the hungry. During announced Food for Fees events, the Library will accept designated non-perishable food items in lieu of payment for fees owed to the Library. See the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees for current rate of credit for food items.
Removal of Patron Obligations
Patrons may request removal of financial obligations in part or whole in the case of catastrophic loss or extraordinary hardship situations.
Structure and Maintenance
The library may impose borrowing limits when necessary.
Loan periods for materials are established for fair and equitable periods of time.
Inactive Library Cards
The Library will conduct periodic purges of inactive library cards.
Approved by the Library Board of Trustees June 16, 2021