Billing for library items that are not returned
This policy covers materials owned by the Scandinavia Public Library. Items checked out at the Scandinavia Public Library but owned by another library are governed by the owning library’s policy. Items owned by the Scandinavia Public Library generally are labeled as such on the spine label and/or barcode label.
Patrons will be billed for items checked out and not returned to the library. This includes items returned without all parts present.
This bill is generated 28 days after the item is due.
Patrons are encouraged to return billed items. The billed cost will be waived when the item is in the condition it was checked out it and all parts are present. Any applicable fines will be assessed.
The bill includes the cost of a replacement item plus $1 for ordering, updating computer records, and labeling. Items that require special packaging after purchase, for example audio books without a sturdy case, will include the additional cost of replacing any special packaging.
Lost parts or damage
In cases where the item is lost or damaged beyond library use, as determined by the library director, items will be billed for replacement as detailed above.
Examples of lost or damaged parts that may result in a bill for an entire set include loss or damage to one disc of a multi disc package, loss or damage of instructions in a video game, loss or damage of a game piece in a board game.
Library staff will attempt to notify patron of missing or damaged pieces and resulting fees before billing the patron.
Patrons with bills are encouraged to contact the library director if bill payment cannot be made within 45 days after the item's due date. Unpaid patron balances over $50 may be referred to a collection agency. This activity will incur a $10 fee for the patron. With library director approval, payment plans may be used to avoid collection agency use. It is the patron’s responsibility to initiate a payment plan with the library director.
Items that have no record of being returned
Library staff will search for long overdue or billed items on the shelf when the item is long overdue and weekly thereafter for up to four months after a bill for the item has been generated.
Patrons are to notify the library when they become aware that an item that is thought to be returned is still checked out to the patron. Library staff will search the return area, circulation desk, and the shelf for the specified item. Patrons are highly encouraged to search areas they may have transported or stored library materials as well. Information such as the location of return (which library and which return receptacle), date and time of return are helpful in finding the item. If the patron informs the Scandinavia Public Library that an item has been returned to another library, the Scandinavia Public Library will contact that library to request that they also search for the item.
Omitting patrons from collection agency referral
Patrons may be omitted from collection agency referral for any of the following situations:
- Payment plan or plan to return billed items made between patron and library director.
- Fire, flood, or natural disaster with losses of over $1000 at the patron's home address as designated by the patron's library account. The billed items must have been affected by the event. Patrons with insurance are strongly encouraged to submit any library item replacement fees to their insurer.
- Serious illness or death of the patron or patron’s immediate family member.
- Significant hardship.
It is the patron’s responsibility to notify the library that one of these events has occurred.
Return of library items that have been billed and paid for
Library patrons are encouraged to return an item that has been billed and paid for. The library that owns the item will determine if a refund will be made.
Items owned by the Scandinavia Public Library may be returned to the library for refund of the billed amount for one year past the due date. The item must be in the condition that it was checked out in. Refunds may not be provided for damaged items. If a collection agency was used, the fee(s) assessed for this service will not be refunded.
A partial refund for the item may be given if the item can be made whole. For example, some audiobooks may be purchased by the library by the individual CD in a set of CDs. In this case, the patron would be responsible for the lower cost of replacing damaged or lost portion(s) and needed processing.
The library director will determine when partial or complete refunds are applicable.
Replacement of library items
Replacement of library items that are lost or damaged is at the discretion of the library director. Items that are likely to continue to have good circulation will be replaced with exact items. Items that are likely not to circulate as well in the future may be replaced with lower value replacements (a paperback rather than a hardcover book, for example) or an item of a similar theme (a current action movie to replace an older action movie, for example). Some items will not be replaced. This may include high cost items that do not have current demand, high cost items that were donated or purchased with donated funds, Library of Congress surplus items, or items that are found difficult to circulate.
The preferred method of replacement is payment of the value of the item to be replaced.
Consequences of unresolved bills, fines, or other fees
No card holder with billed materials or over $5.00 in late fees will be allowed to checkout additional materials. This will also apply at other OWLSnet member libraries, not only the Scandinavia Public Library.
The parent or guardian that signed a library card for his or her minor child may not be allowed to checkout additional materials if the child has billed materials or over $5.00 in late fees.
Adult patrons with late fees or bills that restrict their borrowing privileges may not use the library card of his or her minor child to checkout adult materials.
No card holder with billed materials or over $5.00 in late fees will be allowed to use public computers without approval of the librarian on staff. A card holder may be allowed temporary access to public computers for the purposes of paying or monitoring bills (library and electric bills, for example); seeking employment; or accessing government services.
This policy was approved by the Scandinavia Public Library Board on May 17, 2018.