13. Loan Periods, Item Limits, Extended Use Fees, and Other Fees

Loan periods, item limits, extended use fees, and other fees vary by type of material and item demand (see Attachment A). Loan limits are placed on books in a particular category when there is a school project that will require many students to use the books available or at the discretion of the Branch Manager or their designee.

A. Lucky Day Collection

The Lucky Day Collection is meant to be a browsing collection for patrons who are physically in a branch, and was created with the intention of meeting patron demand for highly popular, newly released adult titles with large reserve lists. The collection was created to lessen the time patrons wait for a book to become available for circulation, as patrons who are "lucky" to find a copy of a title in the branch will likely cancel their hold request, thereby shortening the wait time for all patrons on hold for that title. These collections are available at select branches. The parameters of lending books designated in the Lucky Day Collection are:

  1. This collection will only include newly released, adult materials with large reserve lists
  2. Two (2) week lending period
  3. Titles cannot be reserved through the library's holds process
  4. Renewals are not permitted

B. Browsing Collection

The Browsing Collection is designed to meet the popular reading needs of the library's young patrons. This collection, which is available at select branches, consists of highly popular older titles, with a concentration on fiction series, that still hold the interest of our patrons, especially when a new entry in the series is published. The parameters of lending books designated in the Browsing Collection are:

  1. This collection will only include older titles, with a concentration on youth titles that are a part of a series
  2. Three (3) week lending period
  3. Up to four (4) renewals
  4. Titles cannot be reserved through the library's holds process

C. In-house and Circulating Launchpads

Launchpads were purchased to offer a learning tool to our youngest patrons that are safe, fun, and meet the educational and entertainment needs of today's youth in a digital format. Launchpads are secure, pre-loaded learning tablets created for children in a circulation environment. Each Launchpad is pre-loaded with high-quality, ad-free learning apps grouped by age, grade level, subject area and theme. The devices cannot access the internet and no other software can be added onto the device.

  • In-house Use

    In-house use Launchpads were purchased to be used in the library branch and do not circulate outside of the branch.

    1. In-house use Launchpads must be checked-out on a valid library card and have a loan period of one (1) hour
    2. Holds may not be placed on in-house use Launchpads
    3. In-house use Launchpads can be renewed only one (1) time
    4. The maximum number of in-house use Launchpads that may be checked-out is three (3) per library card
    5. If an in-house Launchpad is inadvertently taken out of the library there will be a $.50 per day extended use fee imposed until the Launchpad is returned
  • Circulating Launchpads

    1. Have a loan period of one (1) week
    2. May be renewed up to four (4) times as long as no other patron is on hold for the device
    3. The maximum number of circulating Launchpads that may be checked-out is three (3) per library card
    4. There is a $.50 per day extended use fee for devices that are not returned or renewed by the date due

D. Holds / Reserves

A hold can be placed on any circulating material, with the exception of periodicals, and the Lucky Day and Browsing collections. If not filled, a hold will be canceled after twelve months. The patron will be notified when cancellation occurs. When a reserved item is checked in at a branch library, the patron will be notified either via email or phone call, and the item will be held for five working days from the check in date. If a hold item is not picked up within five working days, the hold is automatically canceled.

E. Renewals

Circulating materials may be renewed four times in person, by phone, or via the online catalog, with the following exceptions:

  • Items on Hold (reserved) for another patron cannot be renewed
  • The item is designated with an item type of "Lucky Day" or Museum Pass
  • The item is an ILL material

Staff are not able to override the maximum renewal. If a patron requires the continued use of an item after the item has exceeded the four maximum renewals the patron must present the item in person. With the authorization of the branch manager or their designee, the item must be checked-in and can be checked back out to the patron, as long as there is at least one other copy, which is in a "checked-in" status, available in the library system.

F. Lost Material

An item that is attached to a patron's record that has been lost for 90 days will revert to a lost status, at which time the patron will be responsible for replacing or paying for the item. There is a $2.00 processing fee that will be added to each lost or replaced item. A patron wishing to replace the item must obtain permission to do so from the Branch Manager or their designee. If approved, the replacement item must be an exact duplicate of the item, in excellent/new condition.

  • Refunds

    A refund may be issued only in the event that a lost and paid for item is returned within a 14 (fourteen) day period. The refund will not include any overdue fines or reprocessing fees, which may apply. This excludes:

    1. ILL items, as other fees designated by the lending institution may apply
    2. Replacement items that have been processed and cataloged into the collection. For example, in the event a patron replaces a lost item and the lost item is processed into the collection, then the patron locates the lost item and would like to return the item and take back the replaced copy, the library will not accept the original lost item back once the replacement has been processed and added to the collection.
  • The return of a lost MCLS item after the 90 day period and before it is deleted from the library catalog

    If a lost item, belonging to MCLS, is returned after the 90 day period, but before the item has been deleted from the library catalog, staff will waive the cost of the lost item down to a $6.00 maximum overdue fee, plus a $2.00 processing fee (for a total of $8.00.)

  • Recovery of a lost MCLS item that has been deleted from the library catalog

    The library initiates a monthly search for items that remain in a lost status. If the library cannot locate the item within one year, the item record is deleted from the library catalog, although, the lost notation and fees remain attached to the patron record. If the lost item is found after it has been deleted from the catalog, the item will not be accepted. The patron will be responsible for the cost of the item, plus processing fees.

  • If a patron believes they have returned an item that is on their library record

    If a patron believes that an item has been returned, the patron will be advised to search further for the item. The library staff will search for the item also. The status of items not recovered in the 90 day period of the search will automatically be converted to "lost". The patron will be responsible for the lost item charges.

G. Damaged Material

Patrons are responsible for replacement or payment of damaged materials, as these items cannot be circulated due to the damage. Damage fees will be assessed to cover the full replacement of the item or in accordance with the replacement part costs, listed on the Extended Use Schedule (Attachment A). A $2.00 processing fee will be attached to damaged materials.

H. Barred Status

  1. A patron will be blocked from borrowing materials when the total of all fines, fees, and/or lost materials charges on a patron's account reaches $25.00. If a patron whose borrowing privileges are blocked does not bring the total of fines and charges below $25.00 by the end of the calendar month in which the total is reached, the patron will be deemed barred. Once a patron has been designated as barred, borrowing privileges will be suspended until all overdue materials are returned and the patron's balance is paid in full.

  2. A patron with outstanding Interlibrary Loan materials that are overdue more than three weeks will be designated as barred, and all borrowing privileges will be suspended, regardless of the total of fines and other charges against the patron's account. When the ILL materials are returned and all charges associated with the loan of ILL materials are resolved, borrowing privileges will be reinstated.

I. Bank Returned Checks

There will be a $20.00 bank fee for any returned check. When the bank returns a check to the library, library staff will freeze the patron's library account until payment is made on the amount of the returned check and the $20 surcharge. Payment must be made in cash, money order or certified check, at any branch of the library system.

J. Fee Policy

The Mercer County Library System believes in promoting access to resources and services. Services and resources developed in accordance with the library's Mission and Roles statements are provided without fee to the library's constituency. Fees may be imposed for auxiliary services beyond the library's accepted roles, and/or as a measure for preserving services equity or curtailing excessive individual demand detrimental to the constituency at large. Fees are set periodically. Please see the Extended Use Schedule (Attachment A) for a complete list.

Non-Resident Fee $75.00 annually
Non-Contributing Mercer County Senior Fee $10.00 annually
Lost or replacement card fee $ 2.00
Internet Only Card $ 2.00 one-time
    Black and white

$ .10 per page
Computer Printouts
Black and white

$ .10 per page
$ .50 per page
Photocopies and faxed materials sent from other branches, to include certain ILL faxes and photocopies $ .10 per page
Audiovisual material returned in the bookdrop or non-DVD or non-Blu-ray items returned in the DVD drop $ 1.00

K. Damage to a Patron's AV or Automobile Equipment

Mercer County Library System assumes no responsibility for the consequences, including damage or other malfunction, to home, business, or personal electronic equipment of any type, as a result of using physical or electronic material obtained through the Mercer County Library System.