Circulation Policy Changes

Starting Tuesday, January 17th, you will notice some changes when checking out materials at any Corvallis-Benton County Library branch!

  • Library materials will have a 3-week check-out period, with 3-week renewal periods.
  • Juvenile (J) and Young Adult (YA) materials will be fine-free beginning on Tuesday, January 17. (Overdue fines incurred before that point still need to be paid.)
  • Most items can be renewed up to 5 times, except:
    • Items with holds and Lucky Day items – no renewals
    • Magazines, Maker Kits, STEAM kits, Launchpad tablets – 1 renewal
    • DVDs, air quality monitors, kill-a-watt devices, and videogames – 2 renewals
  • Checkout limits are mostly the same, but videogame limits will increase to 4.

Why are we making these changes? Overdue fines are a barrier that keeps library books out of the hands of many children, so the library’s new Strategic Plan directed staff to examine our policies to “help encourage the widest possible use of the library by all segments of the community.” The management team and Library Advisory Board recommended that we no longer charge overdue fees on materials for children and young adults. Beginning January 17, overdue fines will not accrue on youth materials.

Staff also determined that our loan periods and renewal limits were unnecessarily complicated. Circulation policy was therefore simplified. Staff proposed the three-week checkout because of consistent feedback from borrowers who said that two weeks was not enough time to finish many books and television series.

Have more questions? Here are some answers!

Q: Starting January 17, will I have to pay any overdue fines for juvenile and young adult materials?
A: It depends. Starting January 17, 2017, there will not be any new fines added for the late return of juvenile or young adult materials. However, if you owed fines before we made these changes, you will need to pay those. If you are having difficulty paying your bill in full, please talk to staff at the circulation desk to see what arrangements can be made.

Q: Does the 3-week checkout period apply to all items? Every last one?
A: Almost, but not quite. The book club collections will continue to check out for 60 days.

Q: Will replacement fees still be charged when an item is not returned?
A: Yes. Patron accounts will continue to be charged for any item checked out but not returned. Please see staff at the Circulation desk if you have been charged a Lost fee.

Q: Why can’t I renew maker kits, STEAM kits and tablet computers more times?
A: Our new collections are small and we want to give other patrons a chance to check them out. We reassess these rules every year and as collections grow, we might allow more renewals or more checkouts. For example, we just increased renewals for games and DVDs and allow more games to be checked out at once since these collections have gotten larger.

Q: Why do only Juvenile and YA materials get a free pass with fines?
A: We still want to encourage the timely return of materials by assessing a modest fine on late returns of materials intended for use by adults.

Q: How will children learn responsibility if they aren’t charged fines?
The main intent of the new policy is to encourage use of the library collection by children and youth. Because we will continue to charge replacement fees for materials not returned, we believe the new policy balances encouraging even young borrowers to behave responsibly with encouraging them to explore stories, songs and other materials that will enrich their lives. We are aware, too, that our youngest borrowers depend upon someone else to get materials back to the Library when they are due. If an older child or young adult has checked out adult materials, those materials will be subject to fines if returned late.

Q:Will the three-week checkout cause wait times to be longer for requested items?
We monitor request lists to be sure we have sufficient copies for demand. For audiobooks, compact discs and most of our books, the new checkout period is actually shorter than it used to be. Patrons often returned DVDs before the old two-week checkout period was over. We may find that readers also bring the books back if they finish before the new three-week checkout period ends.

Q:What is the difference between lost and overdue?
An item is considered Overdue for the first 29 days after the due date. On day 30 the item becomes “Lost” and the system automatically charges the patron the cost of replacing the item. Usually even one “Lost” charge is enough to block a patron from checking our more materials until the issue is resolved.