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Policies

Looking for information about using the library? Check out the Library Use Policies page.

Basic Services

The library provides a full range of basic public library services at no cost, including:

    • In-library use of materials and equipment
    • Public use computers
    • Circulation of materials to registered borrowers
    • Answers to reference questions
    • In-house research and reference assistance
    • Children’s story times and other programs
    • Interlibrary loan for items not held by the library (except for direct costs to the library which will be
      reimbursed—no profit is made on these transactions)
    • Deposit collections in selected locations
    • Van/delivery service to eligible citizens

The library staff may not offer any tax advice, including which forms one should use, or any legal or medical advice.

Materials offering these types of information may be offered or quoted, but no personal opinion answers without
citation are to be given by staff. The staff is not allowed to give information about individual addresses and/or phone numbers from area phone books or other directories.

A staff member may allow public use of library phones if a patron has no cellular phone and the conversation is kept very short—under 3 minutes. An example is allowing a child to call a parent to pick him/her up from the library. The library phone is the public’s way of getting help from the library—it is not to be used for outside business purposes or for extended calls.

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, page 9.

Extension Services

NGRL will reach out to those unable to physically reach the library primarily through multiple library facilities,
deposit stations, and delivery service to qualified individuals.

Telephone service for reference requests is available. Book reserves and loan renewals are already a part of the
service at each library in the system.

Qualifying residents of the region’s three counties will continue to be served by the Library for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped (LBPH) located within the Headquarters of the Sara Hightower Regional Library System in
Rome. Any of NGRL’s branch libraries can assist in registration of patrons. This service, which provides unabridged
audio recordings of books and magazines on long-play cassette or flexi-disc records, is provided without charge to all
qualifying residents. Braille is also available from the LBPH. Large print collections are available in all branch libraries.

Within budgetary constraints, the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System may offer the following extension
services beyond the confines of a stationary library facility to members of the community whose mobility is restricted
by physical or geographical limitations or other special circumstances. Services currently provided include deposit
collection and delivery service to homebound individuals, rural communities, nursing homes, correctional
institutions, other specialized residential institutions.

DEPOSIT COLLECTIONS: May be provided to agencies with special needs.

SERVICE TO PERSONAL RESIDENCES: Books and other library materials may be delivered to the private residences of patrons in our service area who are housebound by ill health, physical handicap, lack of transportation, or other circumstances which make access to regular library service difficult.
When and where appropriate, extension service may be provided by library staff, corporate partners, and/or
volunteers. (Amended April 27, 2010)

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, page 11.

Multi-Purpose Rooms

In libraries where multi-purpose rooms are made available, the primary function of these rooms is to provide space
for library-related activities. Such activities as story hours, film programs, discussion groups, and other activities
sponsored or co-sponsored by the library will receive priority booking.

Library multi-purpose rooms may be used for non-commercial purposes by individuals and groups, including but not
limited to those engaged in educational, civic, cultural, and governmental pursuits.

The room is not intended to be a regular meeting place for any non-library group. The library address may not be
used as the official mailing address for any group or organization except for the Friends of the Libraries.
All programs, events, meetings, and gatherings shall be open to the public at no admission fee. Permission to use the room will not be granted unless the presentation assumes the nature of an open forum, with all
viewpoints presented.

The NGRL Board and/or its branch library boards reserve(s) the right to review any and all requests to use the room
and may reject any which they deem to be unsuitable. Failure to adhere to the rules governing the meeting room will
result in denial of the privilege to use the facility.

Any damage to or loss of library property resulting from the use of the room will be the responsibility of the group using it. Users are also responsible for any equipment or supplies owned by any group or individual brought into the meeting room, and such material must be removed at the conclusion of the meeting. The library is not responsible for items left in the room.

Group activities involving more than normal wear or tear on the room will not be permitted. A maintenance fee to
recover costs of operating the multi-purpose room may be assessed.

When the room is to be used by organizations or groups with members under the age of 18, applications for use of the facility must be made by adults, and the adult in charge must arrive before the minors and must stay until the
departure of all minors.

No smoking is allowed in the meeting room or in any area of the library.

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, page 15.

Access to Library Materials

The NGRL believes that free access to information is essential to a free society. Library staff cannot make a judgment as to what is suitable reading for any person, particularly a child. The only person with the authority to guide or restrict a child’s use of library materials is that child’s parent or guardian. Accordingly, there are no public areas in the library which are restricted from children, and all materials are openly shelved.

Some parents wish to restrict their children’s borrowing and cannot always accompany them to the library. On
request, a child’s parent or guardian (and only the parent or legal guardian) may restrict his or her child to checking out materials designated for juvenile borrowing only.

The library serves a diverse population of many ages, ethnic groups, and educational levels, with many different
values and needs. The library tries to provide the widest possible variety of informational and recreational resources
to meet these needs. The library wants parents/guardians to know that there are materials in the library that some
parents/guardians may not consider suitable for all age groups. The library staff and board members encourage
parents/guardians to be actively involved in their child’s reading and to monitor the materials they read, whether
these are from the library or any other source.

Families are responsible for deciding which materials in the library are appropriate–or inappropriate–for individual family members. A public library may neither set nor enforce values for the families it serves. The library strongly urges parents/guardians to judge all of library books, videos and audiotapes by their own values, decide which family members may use the material, and determine the appropriate level of supervision necessary to enforce these decisions.

Patron Accounts

NGRL is a member of the PINES network. Library cards are free to all residents of Georgia. Applicants for a card
must complete and sign an application form, available at the library’s circulation desk. Proper identification must be
presented to register. An applicant for a new card is required to provide proper ID, which includes current, local
address. Acceptable ID for receiving a PINES card are limited to the following: (a) a photo ID showing current local
address, or (b) photo ID and one item from approved list (see below) showing current, local address (if photo ID does
not have correct address), or (c) two items from approved list showing current, local address. The approved list
includes:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid voter registration card
  • Valid matricula consular
  • Checks with pre-printed address
  • A utility bill
  • Tax receipt or other piece of mail that shows the user’s name and present address

Original documents are required. The registering library is responsible for ensuring that a correct address is
obtained. Social Security Numbers are not used in PINES.

Persons who attend school, own property or are employed full-time in Georgia are eligible for a free PINES card.
Most PINES cards are valid for two years. Property owners who do not reside in Georgia are required to show proof
of Georgia property ownership, such as a tax bill or deed. Non-Georgia residents who are employed in Georgia or
attending school in Georgia are required to show proof of that employment or enrollment.

Out-of-state cards are available to persons living outside Georgia who do not meet the above criteria for a $25 annual fee, payable at the time the card is issued. A temporary card is available for a $12.50 fee and is valid for 6 months. Persons who will be in Georgia for less than 6 months, and reside outside Georgia, may be issues a temporary card. This card carries limited borrowing privileges. Temporary cardholders may check out up to 5 items simultaneously.

Signing a PINES card application denotes acceptance of responsibility for all fines and fees for lost or damaged
materials.

There is no minimum age for a child to receive a PINES card. A parent or legal guardian may register a child. Parent of guardian must show proper ID to register a child. A parent of guardian must sign the application for all children under 18. Signing a child’s PINES card application denotes acceptance of responsibility for all fines, lost, or damaged materials.

A library card is required in order to check out materials. Card applicants under the age of 18 are registered as
juvenile cardholders; applicants 18 or older are registered as adult cardholders. The patron’s birth date is required.
A replacement charge of $2.00 is assessed for lost cards. The patron pays the fee at the time the new card is issued.
A patron may only have one valid library card.

Because families have different values, and children mature at varying rates, NGRL offers parents the option of a
restricted card for their children. If a parent requests this option, his or her child will be allowed to check out
materials only from the Juvenile or Easy collections. No materials from the Young Adult, Parenting, or Adult
collections can be checked out on a restricted juvenile card.

Circulation

A patron must present a card in good standing to borrow materials. Exceptions include the following:

  • When an item is in hand, no library card is required in order to renew the item
  • When an item is in hand, no library card is required for payment of fines

A patron’s card will be blocked, and no services may be obtained with it (including circulation, renewals or holds
placements) if the patron has 10 or more overdue items, or owes $10 or more in unpaid fines and/or fees.

A card is required for renewals or bill payment if neither the cardholder nor the item is present.

Proxy Borrowing: Any user may present another user’s card to check out materials. Items may be checked out to an authorized individual (the proxy), as opposed to the user who originated a hold. Materials placed on hold by juveniles are accessible and may be checked out by parents or legal guardians without prior authorization.

Holds: A component of PINES is the ability for patrons to see and borrow library materials from all participating public libraries in the state. If a patron wishes to borrow an item that his/her library does not own but is owned by other PINES libraries, the patron may place a hold on that item. Holds may be placed on items which are on the shelf in any PINES library. Most patrons may place 50 holds at any given time on their account.

Renewals: Most items may be renewed twice. Certain categories of materials are not eligible for renewal, and if a hold request has been placed on an item, it may not be renewed.

Audio-visual items are only available for holds by patrons registered to the owning library/region.

Library staff members are authorized to forgive fines/fees for what they deem good reason, and as part of “fine free” or “food for fines” type programs. (Adopted April 25, 2006)

Patrons may return materials to the front desk during library hours. An outdoor book drop is available. Please return audiovisual materials to the circulation desk during library hours, as they are prone to damage when placed in the book drop.

Bills

Damaged Items: Patrons are responsible for all library materials checked out to them, including audio and videotapes damaged by equipment. The library is not responsible for damage to patron equipment that might be caused by library material. If repairs or rebinding is necessary, the cost is charged to the patron.

Books or tapes that are so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired will be charged at the current replacement
cost. The replacement cost is determined by consulting vendors used by the library for the exact materials. If the
exact material is not available, the cost listed in the item record will be used. Library staff will determine whether to replace the item with a duplicate, similar or different item. Parents are responsible for items checked out by their children. If a child loses or damages a library item beyond repair (as determined by library staff), it is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to pay for the item(s).

Fines/Fees: To encourage the prompt return of materials, PINES libraries adhere to a schedule of fines and fees as penalty to those patrons who fails to return materials by their due dates. Fines may be paid at any PINES library. Fines will never exceed $5.00 per item. Fines are in addition to the cost of replacement or repair of lost or damaged items.

Overdue Notices: Overdue notices are sent as a courtesy from the library. Failure to receive notices does not exempt patrons from the responsibility for library materials or overdue fines. 10-day overdue notices are sent via e-mail to those patrons with e-mail addresses in their user records. The final overdue notice is sent via US Mail 30-days past the due date, as required by Georgia law.

The library may use a telephone notice service to call patrons concerning overdue notices.

Lost Items: A patron may inform staff that an item is “LOST”. In addition to the cost of the material, the library charges a processing fee of $4 per item to recover the processing costs of preparing an item for circulation. The lost fee and processing fee will be assessed to the patron’s card. If, at a later date, a patron finds a lost item for which they have already paid the library’s replacement cost, no refund will be given.

Returned check fees: Returned check charges will be billed to the user’s account.

Unrecovered Debt: As a measure to bring library accounting practices in line with Governmental Accounting Standards Board regulations, the library has adopted a procedure for marking fines/fees owed by patrons for over three years “unrecovered debt.”

Interlibrary Loan

Lending

The library accepts ILL requests online via OCLC; paper requests via mail or fax (ALA or equivalent). Loan period for ILL materials is set by the lending library. The library normally allows 30 days when material is lent. New books,
reference books, periodicals, and microforms are not generally available for lending. Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library, but may not generally be expected.

There is no charge to the borrowing institution for books. Charges for copies are 25 cents per page. Reciprocal
agreements with specific institutions may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Borrowing

The library will make an effort to find and acquire for loan items requested by a patron. There is no fee for this
service; however, patrons will be asked to reimburse the library for the actual cost of postage on the items they borrow and/or any fees charged by the lending library. Patrons will also be held responsible for any items damaged or lost, except items lost in transit between libraries.

Overdue, Lost, or Damaged Materials

Fines will never exceed $5.00 per item, or the price of the item, whichever is less. Patrons with $10.00 or more in
fines will not be allowed to check out more items. Fines are in addition to the cost of replacement or repair of lost or damaged items.

Patrons are responsible for all library materials checked out to them, including audio and videotapes damaged by
equipment. The library is not responsible for damage to patron equipment that might be caused by library material.
If repairs or rebinding is necessary, the cost is charged to the patron.

Books or tapes that are lost or so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired will be charged at the current
replacement cost. The replacement cost is determined by consulting vendors used by the library for the exact
materials. If the exact material is not available, the cost listed in the item record will be used. In addition to the cost of the material, the library charges a processing fee of $4 per item to recover the processing costs of preparing an item for circulation. Library staff will determine whether to replace the item with a duplicate, similar or different item. If, at a later date, a patron finds a lost item for which they have already paid the library’s replacement cost, no refund will be given.

Parents are responsible for items checked out by their children. If a child loses or damages a library item beyond
repair (as determined by library staff), it is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to pay for the item(s).

Northwest Georgia Regional Library System Policy Book, Effective April 1, 2013, page 21-24.

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