Circulation Policy

INTRODUCTION
It is the policy of the St. Louis Public Library to provide its current and potential customers with the fullest possible access to library materials and services within budgetary constraints. While the Library must take reasonable precautions to avoid theft and damage to its collections and facilities, the intent of the Library's circulation policy is to enhance access, not to restrict it.

CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS
Library records that are deemed confidential are covered by Missouri Revised Statute 182.817, with definitions provided in MoRS 182.815. The Library recognizes that its circulation transaction records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests, equipment or rooms, or other specific uses of the library are confidential in nature. This information will be disclosed only upon the request or consent of the individuals or groups whose library privileges (uses) are directly affected or pursuant to a court order that shows cause and is in proper form as required by statute.

Implementation of Policy

A Library staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to circulation transactions or other records identifying the names of library users will state that they are not authorized to release such information as a matter of policy based on Missouri law. Library staff will immediately refer the request for release of information to the Executive Director, or the Library's designated Information Officers, who will explain the Library's confidentiality policy. The Executive Director, upon receipt of a court order, shall provide such information as allowed by the laws of the State of Missouri. Any threats or unauthorized demands (i.e. those not supported by a court order) or problems relating to the privacy of circulation and other records identifying the names of library users shall be reported to the Executive Director or the Library's designated Information Officers. All staff is expected to honor the confidentiality of customer records. Failure to do so is grounds for dismissal.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Persons applying for and renewing a St. Louis Public Library card are required to provide proof of eligibility. Limited or full borrowing privileges may be granted, dependent on the identification provided. Library cards are renewed annually with the exception of Courtesy and Monthly Cards.

1. Age
Adult - All persons who are either:

  • 18 years of age or older, OR
  • Have completed the 12th grade or hold a GED certificate, OR
  • Are at least 16 years of age and married, OR
  • Are at least 16 years of age and no longer living in the home of a parent or legal guardian.
  • Any parent under the age of 18 will be considered an adult when signing for his/her child's card.

Minor - All persons who are under the age of 18 or are under the age of 18 and do not meet the criteria specified for an adult.

  • My 1st Library Card (Under the age of 6): Minors under the age of 6 are eligible to borrow only juvenile print materials and e-resources.
  • Restricted: Minors age 6 and older may be restricted by their legal guardian to borrowing only juvenile materials.
  • Unrestricted: Minors age 6 and older are eligible to borrow all circulating materials from the adult collection with the exception of public performance videodiscs or videocassettes and Book Club in a Bag.

A minor's card application must bear the signature of the legal guardian. The legal guardian of the minor is responsible for materials issued on a minor's card.

The following exceptions apply:

  • A minor who can provide sufficient proof that he or she is at least 16 years of age and are no longer living in the home of a parent or legal guardian.
  • Any parent under the age of 18 signing for his/her child’s card. A parent who is at least 16 years of age may also sign a card application to obtain a library card in his/her own name.

In each of these exceptions, the minor will sign his/her own card application, assuming responsibility for use of the card.

Residency

City Resident

  • Residents of the City of St. Louis are eligible for a free library card.

Non-Residents

  • Reciprocal Residents of and persons paying real estate or personal property taxes to the St. Louis County Library Taxing District, the St. Louis Municipal Library Consortium, and the St. Charles City-County Library Taxing District are eligible for a free library card.
  • City Business Employee Non-residents who are employed by a business, government, or non-profit agency located within the City of St. Louis or St. Louis Airport at Lambert Field are eligible for a library card. Military personnel who are assigned to full-time or part-time duty within the City of St. Louis are also eligible for a free card under this registration class.
  • Property Owner Non-residents who pay real estate or personal property taxes to the City of St. Louis are eligible for a library card. The nonresident is entitled to have additional cards for every member of his/her household - adults and minors.
  • Monthly Non-residents who are temporarily residing in the City of St. Louis and persons living temporarily in shelters, half-way houses, rehabilitation centers, etc. located within the City of St. Louis are eligible for a library card with limited borrowing privileges. Both adults and minors are eligible for this card. Up to five (5) items (print only) may be issued. The card can be used to access public computers. These cards will expire monthly, and can be revalidated upon presenting identification.
  • Non-Resident Student Non-residents living in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, but outside of St. Louis County, St. Charles County and the City of St. Louis, and attending schools, universities, colleges, trade schools, or daycares within the City of St. Louis are eligible for a library card. The metropolitan area is defined as the Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis, Warren and the City of St. Louis. The Illinois counties are Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair.
  • Fee-Based (Paid) Memberships
    * Annual Membership - Non-residents living in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area (see Non-Resident Student) who are not eligible under any of the other non-resident card types may pay an annual fee to obtain one (1) library card.
    * Friends of the Library - Current members of the Friends of the St. Louis Public Library, who do not qualify as a Resident or Non-Resident, are eligible for a library card. Depending on the type of Friends membership, one or more library cards may be issued.

Group
In each of the following group categories, the company, group, or organization applying for the card for the materials checked out assumes responsibility. The application and authorization arrangements are coordinated with a designated official of the company, group, or organization. The cards are to be used for the borrowing of materials directly related to company or educational/non-profit use. Employees of these institutions are eligible for a personal library card.

Company - Businesses located within the City of St. Louis are eligible for up to four (4) cards as needed within the company or within each department. Businesses located outside the City, but within the metropolitan area (as defined previously) may pay an annual fee to obtain up to four (4) cards as needed within the company or within each department.

Educational/Non-profit - Schools, daycare centers, senior citizens buildings, and shelters within the City of St. Louis are eligible for a special type of service. This service allows teachers and caregivers to borrow up to 50 items. Collections may include books, four (4) book boxes, twenty (20) music CDs, four (4) book bags, eight (8) digital books, or toys, for a loan period of thirty days. The materials are then made available to the students or residents of the educational or non-profit institution. Videocassettes, videodiscs, 16mm films, CD-ROMs, games, or telescopes cannot be loaned as part of a collection. This service is in effect for the school year or other normal operating season of the institution. There is no limit as to how many persons within the organization may be authorized by the director or principal of the organization.

Other
Courtesy
- A Courtesy card may be issued to visitors and guests of the library or other individuals at the discretion of the Executive Director or the designate of the Executive Director, who will determine the expiration date.

Permanent - Library board members or retired staff members with more than ten years of service are eligible for a free library card. These cards are issued and revalidated regardless of location of residence.

  • Internal Operations
    Unit - Departments and Branches within the St. Louis Public Library System may be assigned a unit card at the discretion of the designate of the Executive Director. This card will be used to maintain a list of materials in use by library staff for various reasons.
    Interlibrary Loan - A registration class of "Interlibrary Loan" will be used by the ILL staff to maintain a list of other libraries borrowing materials from the St. Louis Public Library.

ASSESSMENT OF FEES/FINES

1. Lost
Card Patrons (adults and minors) will be charged a $1.00 fee to replace a library card that is reported lost.
2. Overdue Materials
In the interest of assuring availability of materials and encouraging the timely return of items borrowed, the St. Louis Public Library assesses overdue fines. Materials are overdue if not returned or renewed by the due date. Fines are charged on all items for each day overdue. Customers may continue to check out materials until fines and/or fees reach or exceed $15.00.

Materials on adult cards (with the exception of videocassettes, videodiscs, book boxes, book bags, games, toys, Book Club in a Bag(s), and telescopes) accrue a $ .05 fine per item each day overdue, to a maximum fine of $3.00 per item. Paperback books and magazines accrue a $ .05 fine per item per each day overdue, to a maximum fine of $ .50 per item.

Materials on minor restricted and unrestricted cards (with the exception of videocassettes, videodiscs, book boxes, book bags, games, and toys) accrue a $ .05 fine per item each day overdue, to a maximum fine of $ .50 per item.

Videocassettes, videodiscs, book boxes, book bags, games, and toys accrue a $.50 fine per item each day overdue, to a maximum fine of $5.00 per item on adult cards and $2.50 per item on minor cards.

Book Club in a Bag(s) are issued only on adult cards. They accrue a $1.00 fine per item each day overdue, to a maximum fine of $10.00.

Telescopes are issued only on adult cards. They accrue a $5.00 fine each day overdue. At ten (10) days overdue, the cost of the telescope will be billed to the cardholder.

Exemptions from Assessment of Fines for Overdue Materials
The following categories of borrower cards are exempt from overdue fines:

  • My 1st Library Card
  • Company
  • Educational/Non-profit
  • Unit
  • Interlibrary Loan

Cardholders who qualify for Books-By-Mail and Van Services, and are returning materials using one of those services, are not charged overdue fines.

Damaged and Lost Materials
In the event that library materials are lost or damaged by patrons a fee will be charged to repair or replace the items. The cost to patrons for lost materials is the amount that appears in the St. Louis Public Library bibliographic record for those items. Borrowers will be charged a fee for missing pieces from items such as book boxes, book bags, Book Club in a Bag(s), kits, and telescopes.

The Department or Branch Manager responsible for the collection from which the item was taken will make the assessment of fees for damaged materials. The assessment for damage will not exceed the cost of the item as it appears in the bibliographic record.

Exemption from Assessment of Fines for Damaged and Lost Materials

Borrowers who suffer a natural disaster, such as fire or flood, which results in damage to or loss of library materials, may be exempted from the assessment of fines and charges. A copy of a police, fire, or insurance report substantiating the loss is required in order for fines to be exempted under these circumstances.

Loss due to theft is the fiscal responsibility of the borrower. If materials are fraudulently borrowed on a lost or stolen library card and the owner of the card reports the card lost within 30 days after an item is overdue, the cardholder's liability will be limited to $50.00.

LOAN OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
The vast majority of materials owned by the St. Louis Public Library is made freely available for loan and is referred to as circulating materials. There are some items, which for a number of reasons are not generally available for loan, but are reserved for use within the library. These materials are noncirculating.

1. Circulating Materials
The circulating collections of St. Louis Public Library are available for loan to all valid cardholders, according to the borrowing privileges of their card types. The circulating collections include cataloged books, periodicals, audiotapes, maps, pamphlets, documents, phonorecords, compact discs, CDROMs, kits, digital books, videocassettes, videodiscs, 16mm films, posters and clippings, book boxes, book bags, telescopes, games, and toys. St. Louis Public Library will not be held liable for damage to a patron's property while borrowed materials are in use.

Adults
Adults may borrow circulating items in all available formats for the standard loan periods.

Adults 18 years of age or older have access to the entire rotating videocassette and videodisc collection.

16mm films and public performance videocassettes and videodiscs from the Film Library collection may be borrowed by adults 18 years of age or older. Organizations, groups or institutions may also borrow videos as long as the responsible party has a valid personal St. Louis Public Library card.

Minors
Minors under the age of 6 with a My 1st Library Card may check out circulating print items catalogues for juveniles and juvenile e-resources.

Minors with a restricted status may check out all circulating items cataloged for juveniles.

Minors with an unrestricted status may check out all circulating items (except 16mm films, public performance videocassettes and videodiscs and Book Club in a Bag(s)) for the standard loan period.

Limits of Items Loaned
Cardholders may borrow up to a total of fifty (50) items. This total includes limits on the following media types:
There is a limit of twenty (20) titles for Music CDs.
There is a limit of four (4) titles for the following types of media:

  • Games
  • Videocassettes
  • Videodiscs
  • CD-ROMs
  • Book Boxes
  • Book Bags

There is a limit of eight (8) titles for the following types of media:

  • Book Compact Discs
  • Digital Books

There is a limit of two (2) items for Book Club in a Bag.

There is a limit of one (1) telescope.

Loan Periods --

Individuals
Items from the circulating collections of St. Louis Public Library are typically lent for a period of 3 weeks. The standard loan period for popular entertainment videocassettes and videodiscs, 16mm films, public performance videocassettes and videodiscs, and telescopes is 7 days. The standard loan period for Book Club in a Bag(s) is 6 weeks.

The loan period for items borrowed from Outreach, Books-By-Mail, and Interlibrary Loan will vary. However, the loan period will not exceed 45 days.

Groups
Education/Non-profit cards - Persons using this service may borrow up to 50 circulating items at one time. These items are typically lent for a period of 30 days, and may be renewed for an additional 30 days. Videocassettes, videodiscs, 16mm films and CD-ROMS, games, and telescopes are not loaned as part of a collection.

  • Renewal of Material Loan

Most circulating items from the St. Louis Public Library collection, with the exception of merchandised materials, Book Clubs in a Bag(s), toys, and telescopes, may be renewed for 3 standard loan periods provided there are no outstanding requests for the items by other users. Book boxes, book bags, and toys may be renewed for 2 standard loan periods provided there are no outstanding requests for the materials.

Items issued on Monthly cards are limited to one renewal for the standard loan period provided there are no outstanding requests for the materials.

Requests to renew materials borrowed from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan must be referred to that department.

  • Non-Circulating Materials

Certain items from the collections and departments of St. Louis Public Library are determined to be non-circulating. Most items can be photocopied. Access to rare and fragile materials is restricted and photoduplication may not be available.

Materials are determined to be non-circulating after consideration of:

  • Frequency of public demand for reference purposes
  • A need to guarantee the integrity of comprehensive collection of periodicals, documents and archives
  • The inability to replace or duplicate
  • The requirement for special equipment
  • Concern for conservation and preservation of rare, fragile and unique items
  • Exceptionally high purchase price
  • Site licensing agreements
  • Copyright law
  • Any obligation to honor endowment stipulations
  • The need for staff use of materials in daily operation of the library
  • Reservation of materials for exhibition

Exception can be made at the discretion of the Department/Branch Managers and Subject Specialists, which allows for special, restricted loan of noncirculating materials.

Interlibrary Loan

St. Louis Public Library participates in Interlibrary Loan as both a borrowing and a lending institution. Materials not owned by the St. Louis Public Library may be borrowed from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Interlibrary Loan requests are made according to the American Library Association Interlibrary Loan Code and the Interlibrary Loan Code for Missouri.

St. Louis Public Library provides Interlibrary Loan request service only to holders of valid borrower's cards. While this service is offered free of charge, the borrower is required to pay postage and any other fees charged by the supplying library. The borrower will abide by all policies and fees of the supplying library such as loan period, renewal policy, and replacement fees.

Most circulating materials at Central Library and the branches are made available for Interlibrary Loan. St. Louis Public Library does not loan periodicals, newspapers, genealogical information, census records, microform or audiovisual items, and kits via Interlibrary Loan. Non-circulating items are generally not available for Interlibrary Loan.

Photocopies from journals, newspapers, microforms, documents and other non-circulating materials in the St. Louis Public Library will be made for the purposes of Interlibrary Loan, provided specific citation information is given in the request, and the request conforms to Copyright law. St. Louis Public Library charges a fee for photocopying information sent through Interlibrary Loan.

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