Approved by the Board of Trustees July 26, 2016

St. Joseph Public Library
Public Services Policy

The St. Joseph Public Library issues cards to allow the recipient to borrow physical and electronic materials from the four branches of the library district.  Library cards also provide access to online resources at public service computers in the library and from devices that connect to the internet.

Individual (Personal) Cards
A library card may be obtained and used at any branch of the St. Joseph Public Library.  There are no age or residency restrictions for using the St. Joseph Public Library or owning a library card.  No out-of-residence fees or user fees are charged.

Anyone over the age of 17 applying for a library card must provide proof of identity with a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, identity card or passport.  A parent or legal guardian will be asked to authorize a library card for anyone 16 or under.  If a parent or legal guardian is not present when the child applies for the card, the child will be given a form to be completed and signed by the parent/legal guardian and returned to the library indicating consent and acceptance of responsibility.  Library staff may ask for proof of identity of those 16 years old or younger.  All library card applicants will be mailed a postcard to verify their address.  If the address proves invalid, library card use will be suspended until a correct address is received.

Institutional Cards
A local business or organization may obtain an institutional card by written request on the organization’s letterhead from a responsible person, such as an owner, manager, administrator or fiscal officer of the institution.  The letter must designate individuals from the organization who may use the card.

Temporary Cards
A patron requesting a library card who is currently residing at an emergency shelter, will be given a temporary card.  Temporary cards will offer library services for a period of three months and carry a check-out restriction of five items per checkout.  These cards are renewable.

Library-by-mail is available to patrons who live within the library district and are homebound.  Patrons who are interested in library-by-mail are asked to complete an application that allows the library to send and receive back library materials through the US Postal service at no charge.

Personal Identification Number
All cardholders are issued a Personal Identification Number, or PIN, to enable the patron to access or update account information, renew materials, send a message to the library staff, etc.  These features are available through the library’s online catalog.  Cardholders may obtain the PIN assigned to them from a library staff member.  The assigned PIN can be changed by a library staff member or online by the patron.  Access to the catalog is through the “Books and Materials” link on the library’s website,

Library Card Responsibility
A library card should be presented when checking out materials.  In the absence of a card, staff will make a reasonable attempt to identify a patron in order to allow materials to be checked out.  If a satisfactory identification cannot be made, borrowing of materials will be denied.

The checkout period for physical library items is three weeks, with the opportunity to renew materials twice, if no one is waiting for them.  The checkout period varies by vendor for electronic materials such as e-books, e-magazines and downloadable audiobooks.

Library users age 17 and older applying for a library card assume responsibility for any fees, damages, or loss of materials that may result from use of the library card.

A parent or guardian assumes responsibility for any fees, damages, or loss of material, which may result from the use of the library card by a child who is 16 and under.  When requested by a parent or guardian, a minor may be restricted to the checkout of juvenile materials only.

The corporate entity shall assume responsibility for any fees, damages, or loss of material, which may result from the use of the institutional card.

Cardholders are responsible for paying for lost or damaged items.  If the part(s) missing from a multi-part set cannot be replaced and the purchase of the entire set is necessary, cardholders are responsible for the replacement cost of the entire set.  This responsibility includes carrying cases for library materials, such as CD and DVD cases or parts of multi-part sets.  A processing fee of $3.00 is also charged for each lost or damaged item.  If an item that was lost and paid for is returned without damage within one year of payment, the amount paid for the item will be refunded, less the processing fee.

Interlibrary Loan
A patron may make a special request for materials unavailable at the St. Joseph Public Library through interlibrary loan.  These materials are subject to the checkout period of the lending library and may only be renewed with the permission of the lending library.  The lending library may require fees for the interlibrary loan service.  The patron using the service assumes responsibilities to the lending library for lost or damaged material.  See Interlibrary Loan Policy document for more information.

Lost Cards
Staff will assume that the bearer of a library card issued to someone other than the bearer has permission to use the library card.  Therefore, it is in the interest of a cardholder to report lost or stolen cards immediately.  Cardholders are responsible for materials checked out on the card until the loss has been reported.  Replacement cost of a library card is $1.

The library does not charge overdue fees.  The library does charge for lost or damaged items and the cost varies, based on the cost of the item.  There is also a $3 processing fee charged for each lost or damaged item that is billed.

Cost Recovery Charges

  • Black and white photocopies or prints are $0.10 per page, with the exception of printing from microfilm which is $0.25 per page.
  • Color prints are $0.25 per page.  Color photocopies are $1 per page.
  • Scanning: first four pages are free, then $0.25 per page.
  • The library sends faxes for a fee of $1 per page sent.  The library is not responsible for, nor will it accept incoming faxes.
  • Research Requests from people living outside St. Joseph are $10 for 30 minutes of research, with a maximum research time limit of two hours for $40.
  • Replacement library cards are $1 each.
  • Flash drives are $10 each.
  • Earbuds are $1 per set.