Monroe County Public Library Checkout Policy

Purpose

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. 

Intellectual Freedom

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).

Confidentiality

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 fines 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 homebound customers;
  • 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; cost of the card is included in the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees. 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

Agency Cards

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.

Issuing Cards

Patrons may apply online or in person. Acceptable identification and address verification must be provided in person before initial checkout.

Homebound customers and eligible agencies register separately through the Library's community outreach staff.

Use of Library Card

Customer Obligations

  • 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.
  • Customers are financially responsible for all materials checked out on their library card.
  • Customers must inform the Library of any change in contact information for account notifications.
  • Customers are required to report lost or stolen cards to the Library immediately. The charge for a replacement card is included in the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees.

Customers Who Do Not Present Card at Checkout

Customers may borrow materials without a library card, if they can verify identity.

Customers Using Other Customers' Library Cards

Customers who have a library card in their possession are assumed to have the authority to use that library card. Customers may not check out items on another customer's account as a means of avoiding payment of fines and fees on their own account.

Picking Up Holds For Another Customer

Due to confidentiality concerns, customers must have permission to pick up holds for other customers.

Following confidentiality guidelines, holds for customers under 18 will be given to parents without prior permission.

Suspension of Borrowing Privileges

The Library may suspend borrowing privileges when customers abuse circulation policies.

Financial Penalties

Fines

  • Due date information is provided at checkout and materials are expected to be returned on time. Overdue fines are charged on most materials and are assessed on a per-item/per-day basis. Daily fines and maximum overdue amounts are charged at a daily rate established in the fee adopted by the Board of Trustees.
  • Fines are not charged for children's materials housed in juvenile shelving areas. (Parent/Teacher Resource Collection materials intended for an adult audience do incur fines.)
  • Fines are not charged for items checked out from community outreach locations. Homebound customers and agency cards registered with community outreach services do not incur fines.
  • Employees of the Library do not incur fines.

Replacement and Processing Fees

Customers (including Library employees) are charged replacement charges for items that are lost, damaged, or unreturned.

Collection Agency and Legal Action

The Library may use the service of a collection agency. When an account is submitted, the Library will add a fee as established in the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees. The Library reserves the right to take legal action to recover fines or fees owed.

Exceptions to Financial Penalties

Customer Claims Not Responsible

Customers 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.

Credits and Refunds for Found Lost/Paid Items

Customers may be issued credit or refunded the replacement cost if the complete item is found and returned in good condition within 90 days of payment. Refunds will not be given for single parts of a set. Account credits will be assigned for amounts less than $20.

Fine Option Program

Fine Option Program: Volunteer Work for Credit

In cases of financial hardship, customers age 14 and over may make arrangements with the Administrative Coordinator to perform volunteer work at the Library in lieu of payment of fines and 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.

Fine Option Program for Children and Teens: Read It Off

The Library is committed to developing children's reading skills and Library habits so that they become responsible lifelong Library users. Customers under the age of 18 may choose to enroll in a reading/literacy program in lieu of payment of all types of charges. 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 Fines

The Library supports local efforts to feed the hungry. During announced Food for Fines events, the Library will accept designated non-perishable food items in lieu of payment for overdue fines. Credit may only be applied against overdue fines and is not applicable against replacement/damage/repair costs or collection fees. See the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Trustees for current rate of credit for food items.

Removal of Customer Obligations

Customers may request removal of financial obligations in part or whole in the case of catastrophic loss or extraordinary hardship situations.

Structure and Maintenance

Borrowing Limits

The library may impose borrowing limits when necessary.

Loan Periods

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 July 17, 2019