I. CIRCULATION POLICIES

I.1 BORROWERS

Any resident of Massachusetts may become a registered borrower by showing proof of current address and providing registration information. Anyone who wishes to borrow materials from the Conant Public Library must have either a Conant or C/W MARS member library card. Non-residents of Sterling are accorded all the same services as Sterling residents. Temporary residents of Sterling may obtain a temporary library card with proof of current address. First time loans on a temporary card are limited to four items. When the materials are returned, there is no further limit imposed.
 
Children are encouraged to have their own library card beginning in the 1st grade, but will be issued a card at any age at the request of a parent or guardian. The parent of a minor child will be financially responsible for fines or material replacement costs attributed to the child. A parent or legal guardian must accompany and provide residence verification for any child under 12. Parents of children under 12 years of age determine whether or not their child has permission to borrow videos. The library does not censor material selected by any cardholder.   Children 12 years or older must provide proof of address and registration information in order to obtain a library card.
 
Before a library card can be issued, all applicants must show identification containing their name and home address.  Acceptable forms of identification include:
  • Driver's License or Permit
  • Automobile Registration
  • Residential property tax statement
  • Lease or Rental Agreement
  • Current Utility Bill
  • Official photo identification from a school, employer, or government agency
  • Bank Statement or Check Book
  • Piece of Cancelled Mail

I.2 RECIPROCAL BORROWING PRIVILEGES

In accordance with the State’s Minimum Standard for Public Library Service (Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 78, Section 19B 1 & 6) the Conant Public Library extends reciprocal borrowing privileges to the residents of the Commonwealth who reside in towns who also meet the standards.
 
It is therefore the policy of the Conant Public Library to discontinue borrowing privileges to residents of communities who are on the list of libraries decertified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
 
The Conant Public Library Board of Trustees will notify in writing the Library Board of Trustees, the Selectmen or City Council, and individuals from the affected community who are registered borrowers of the Conant Public Library, whenever the Board votes to implement the above policy.
 
The Conant Public Library Board of Trustees agrees to provide reinstatement of borrowing privileges to all affected borrowers once a library is recertified.
 

I.3 MATERIALS CIRCULATION POLICY

All materials held by the Conant Public Library may be borrowed by any registered borrower in good standing, except for newspapers, materials designated as reference, and materials designated irreplaceable historical materials. Some materials in high demand for school assignments may be temporarily designated "in library use only" at the discretion of the head of children's services.
 
Items will not be checked out on a patron's card unless that patron is present. Exceptions are as follows:
  • Holds: A patron may pick up a requested item for a spouse or family member.
  • Parents may check out items on their children’s cards without the child being present.
 
Loan Periods
  • Books and books-on-CD are loaned for a period that ends three weeks from the day borrowed.
  • The director may designate high demand books, where two or more copies are owned, as “No holds, 14 day loan, no renewal” to provide new materials for the in library browse shelf so that people who do not request popular items online have access to them.
  • Magazines and DVDs are due 1 week from the day borrowed.
  • Museum passes are not issued more than one day before use and should be returned by 10 AM on the following day.
  • Materials obtained through interlibrary loan are due on the date shown at any C/W MARS circulating library. Materials borrowed directly from non-member libraries will be accepted for delivery, but cannot be checked in as received until the material reaches the owning library.
 
Renewals
 
All items, except interlibrary loans from non C/W MARS circulating libraries and museum passes, may be renewed once either by phone, on-line, or in person.
 
Reserves
 
A borrower may request that an item not available (e.g. in circulation or on order) be reserved. Borrowers may request any item from a participating library by phone, at the library, or on-line. Purchase of multiple copies of heavy demand items will be considered, contingent upon funding, in conjunction with a shortened loan period.
 
Interlibrary Loans
 
For any Sterling cardholder, the staff will actively encourage interlibrary loan of any requested material not available through the C/W MARS or Virtual Catalogs.  The loan requests will be handled through the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System.
 

I.4 OVERDUE MATERIALS

Circulating print and audio material will incur a fine of ten cents per day when the library is open, up to a two-dollar limit per item. Overdue video items will incur a fine of ten cents per day, with a maximum fine of three dollars per item.  Museum pass overdue charges are one dollar per day, with a maximum fine of five dollars per item. Fines are waived when the library closes for inclement weather, or any other emergencies. When a cardholder has incurred ten dollars in fines, borrowing privileges will be suspended until payment is made to bring the total under ten dollars.
 
The library shall make, within reason, every effort to ensure the return of overdue materials, including, if necessary, actions in pursuit of severely delinquent borrowers. Such actions may include, but are not limited to: denial of borrowing privileges; securing the assistance of the courts under Chapter 266 Section 100 of Massachusetts General Laws; securing assistance of a professional collection agency; and advising other libraries in Central Massachusetts not to loan materials to those borrowers severely delinquent in Sterling.
 
"Severely delinquent" shall be defined as overdue two months or longer.

I.5 MATERIALS LOST OR DESTROYED                

If an item is determined to be lost or destroyed while checked out to a patron, the borrower must pay the amount recorded on the item’s bibliographic record, or if none is listed, then the C/W MARS default price for that category.                 
Staff will offer to renew lost items, if possible, to encourage further searching.  If it still cannot be found, the item must be paid for.  No refunds can be issued, even if the item is subsequently found.  The only refunds made are when the library was in error.                
 
In some cases, the borrower may be given the opportunity to replace the item with another copy.  The replacement copy must be brand new, and must be in the same format as the lost or damaged copy.  This would require the prior approval of the library.
 

I.6 CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS

“That part of the records of a public library which reveals that identity and intellectual pursuit of a person using such library shall not be a public record…” – Mass. Gen. Law Chap. 78. Sec. 7, as amended by Chap. 180 of 1988.
 
In accordance with the above law and with the ALA Code of Ethics, the library will keep circulation and registration records confidential. Information from these records will not be given to any individual, agency, or government entity except pursuant to a process, order, or subpoena which Town Counsel will have advised us is in good form and with good cause.
 
The only exception to this policy is for children under 12 years of age. If asked the library staff will give parents or legal guardians only, the titles of materials currently checked out, or lost. This is a courtesy to aid parents in identifying items to be returned. Young people 12 and older will be accorded all the privacy rights of adults, outlined above.
 
Privacy rights for any individual terminate when materials are seriously overdue, in the interest of restitution. 
 
Parents/Legal Guardians reserve the right to suspend the library privileges of minors for whom they are responsible.