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Circulation Policy

Circulation Policy


This policy provides written guidelines pertaining to the circulation of library materials for the Winthrop Public Library & Museum (WPL&M). It is based on the need to make materials available to all patrons on an equal basis and to ensure adequate access based on the size and/or nature of the collection. In order to provide for the return or replacement of library materials, this policy determines length of loan periods, renewals, fines, etc. Eligibility to borrow library materials reflects regulations established by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners governing reciprocal borrowing. As a member of the North of Boston Library Exchange, Inc. (NOBLE), the library complies with circulation policies adopted by NOBLE which are included in this policy along with those specific to this library.

A. Library Patron Agreement: By signing a library card application the applicant agrees to be responsible for all materials borrowed on this card, including any accrued fines, fees, or charges.

B. Winthrop Residents: Any Winthrop resident is eligible to obtain a library card free of charge. A Winthrop library patron may use their library card in any NOBLE library provided the patron is in good standing throughout the system. There is no age restriction in order to obtain a library card, however, parents must register their children and will be held completely accountable for material(s) borrowed by them.

C. Nonresidents: Residents of communities within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts whose public libraries are certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners have a right to borrow library materials from the WPL&M free of charge in accordance with the Code of Massachusetts Regulations 4.00. Residents of communities within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts whose hometown library is a member of another Massachusetts network may also obtain a library card for the WPL&M.

D. Identification: Adults: To register for a library card, patrons must present a photo ID showing name and current legal address. A driver’s license, utility bill, checkbook or a postmarked envelope that has been mailed to you may be used to prove current address.

E. Material Checkout Without a Library Card: Normally a patron is required to present his/her library card in order to check out library materials. If a patron has forgotten his/her library card, staff may require identification in order to check out any library material.

F. Card Replacement: The charge for replacing a lost library card is $3.00. A replacement card may not be issued if the patron’s account is delinquent.

G. Expired Card: A library card will expire three years from the date of issue. If the patron is in good standing, the card may be renewed. When a library card expires, borrowing privileges may be suspended until previous registration information is reconfirmed. Acceptable identification may also be requested.

H. Confidentiality: Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 78, Section 7, library records are confidential. Staff may not reveal to a third party the titles of items borrowed on a patron’s card. These include requests by parents for information regarding materials borrowed on their children’s library card. Parents who want to monitor the reading of their children are encouraged to check out their children’s books on their own card.

I. Access to Minors: The Board of Library Trustees endorses the Library Bill of Rights which states that “a person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” Consequently, the responsibility for what children or young adults may choose for their own use from the library’s collection rests with their parents or legal guardians.
A. The following lists the loan periods and fines for various library materials.
Material Type              Loan Period     Renewals      Fines                     Max. Fine
Adult Books                2 weeks               2                 15 cents/day            $5.00
Children’s Books      2 weeks               2                 10 cents/day            $5.00
Audio Books              2 weeks                2                 15 cents/day            $5.00
Videos/DVDs*           1 week                  1                 $1.00/day                 $10.00
CDs                                  2 weeks               2                 15 cents/day            $5.00
Museum Passes        3 days                 none              $6.00/day               $12.00
Framed Art Prints     1 month           none              50 cents/day           $5.00
*DVDs limited to five checked-out per patron card.

Please note that Network transfers (items shipped from other NOBLE libraries) have a universal loan period of 14 days for books, periodicals and audiobooks, and 7 days for CDs and DVDs.  All network transfers have two renewals, unless the item has been reserved by another patron. Fine rates follow the owning library’s rules.

D. Damaged or Lost Library Materials: The patron is responsible for all materials checked out on their library card, and will be held liable for the cost of lost or damaged materials. If a patrons loses a piece of a library item, such as a CD or DVD or case, they will be required to pay the replacement cost. If a patron loses an entire item, such as a book, they will be responsible for the replacement cost of that item. If library staff determines that an item has been damaged beyond repair and is no longer suitable for circulation, the patron will be charged the replacement cost for that item.

E. Payment for Lost/Damaged Material: Payment for lost or damaged WPL&M material may be made in cash or by check made out to the Town of Winthrop. Staff will issue a written receipt at the time of payment. If a patron returns a lost WPL&M item with our receipt within 30 days of paying for a replacement item, a refund can be issued by the Town of Winthrop.

F. Replacement Cost for Library Materials: The patron will be charged the amount listed in the item record.

G. Overdue Notices: Overdue notices are sent as a courtesy to patrons. Items that are returned with missing materials, such as a CD or DVD case, are generally renewed once as a courtesy to allow the patron time to locate the missing piece. Once the renewal period has ended, fines will begin accruing as long as the item remains incomplete.

H. Patron Delinquency: Patrons with overdue materials or fines in excess of $10.00 may not borrow additional materials.

A. Requests/Holds: Patrons may reserve library material in person, by telephone or online. The library materials will be sent to the NOBLE library of your choice, and the staff will contact you when they arrive.

B. Reserving Museum Passes: Patrons are encouraged to reserve these passes in advance. Three passes per family may be reserved in advance.

A. Book Drop: The outside book drop is open for return of all library materials during and beyond normal library hours of operation.

B. Claims Returned: If a patron claims to have returned, or to have never checked out an item(s) that appears on their record, the item(s) will be marked “claimed return”.  Staff will note this information on patron’s record and clear the patron’s account. Frequent incidents of “claims returned” can lead to the patron’s designation as “delinquent,” resulting in a loss of borrowing privileges.


Approved by the Board of Library Trustees:
May 19, 2015