Westerly Library and Wilcox Park Lost or Damaged Materials Policy
When a book is determined to be lost, the patron will be charged the replacement cost of the book as listed in a standard bibliographic source. If the book is out of print, the standard replacement cost is $15.00, the combined average cost of adult and children’s books. The patron is given a receipt for the amount paid. It frequently happens that shortly after paying the assessment, the patron locates and returns the book. In this event, the library will refund the amount paid, minus the overdue charges provided the patron can produce the receipt. No refunds will be given after 90 days.
Patrons with items 2 years or more past due will be required to pay for the replacement cost of the item. Even if the item is returned, the replacement cost will still be charged to the patron’s account.
When an item is returned damaged, and the extent of the damage is such that, in the judgment of the Head of Circulation or any professional librarian on staff, the item cannot be returned to the shelf for further circulation, the following options may apply:
The patron will be charged any overdue fines, and the replacement cost of the item as listed in a standard bibliographic source. The library will keep the item for 90 days, unless keeping it will harm the collection or staff by introducing mold or bacteria into the environment. After 90 days, the library will discard the item regardless of its condition. The charge will remain on the patron’s record.
When an item is returned damaged but, in the judgment of the Head of Circulation or any professional librarian on staff, may be repaired and returned to the shelf for further circulation, the patron will be fined any overdue charges and a $5.00 fine to cover the library’s cost in repairing the book.
An item damaged beyond repair or in poor condition is one that should not be kept in any collection – private or public – and respect for the value of a book or other library materials in readable or usable condition is what drives our policy in this matter. Patrons will not be permitted to keep damaged materials, regardless if they are paying for the damaged, as the material remains library property.
As for purchasing an in-kind replacement copy for the library, in many instances patrons have a difficulty understanding an in-kind requirement: often they will buy a copy that is in a different format or edition, or used/poor condition. It is also frequently the case that the book is no longer in print, or that the library no longer needs that particular book and would make a different purchase based on professional selection principles. It is to the library’s, and therefore the community’s, benefit that the patron pay the replacement cost and processing fee and let the library staff make a sound selection decision.
Approved by the Memorial and Library Association Board of Trustees June 17, 2014