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Circulation Policy

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Circulation Policy

The Library maintains a Circulation Policy and applicable procedures to ensure that all patrons are provided with consistent and equitable services from Library staff members and that every patron has clear expectations of their rights as a James Prendergast Library Association (JPLA) cardholder.

Account Registration

Registering for a library card must be done in person, or online registration is permitted for a temporary account. Library cards obtained through online registration will give cardholders 3 weeks of access to all JPLA digital resources and allow individuals to place holds on physical library materials. After 3 weeks, temporary patrons must visit the library in person and provide identification to continue access to materials.

Applicants must supply photo identification and proof of address, and complete and sign the Library’s card application. By signing the registration card, applicants certify that the information they provided is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and that they agree to obey all policies of the James Prendergast Library.

Cardholders are only allowed one library card in their name. JPLA is a member of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System (CCLS). The library card you receive from JPLA can be used at any CCLS member library. Upon application for a library card, the Library will verify that the applicant does not already have a card within the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System.

If the Library finds that an applicant has a pre-existing account, the applicant will instead update the information on the existing account. If a patron is found to have multiple JPLA accounts, those accounts, along with all fines, items, and holds associated with them, will be merged to the most recent record.

The Library reserves the right to withdraw borrowing privileges from any patron providing the Library with false registration information.

Registering for a JPLA library card is free for all New York State residents. Out-of-state residents will be required to pay an annual $10 fee to maintain a JPLA library account.

Juvenile and Young Adult Registrations  

A parent or guardian may obtain a library card for their child by providing a valid form of identification and signing the card application. Upon signing, the parent/guardian assumes responsibility for all materials and any fines incurred through the use of the child’s card. The parent/guardian is the account guarantor and the child is the account guarantee. The child must be present at the time of registration.

Young adults aged 14-17 unaccompanied by a parent/guardian may obtain a library card by presenting appropriate identification. Library staff retain the right to modify the registration process for youths in situations where the above policy does not apply.

DVDs and non-traditional items (such as science kits and literacy theme boxes) may not be checked out on juvenile or young adult accounts.

Lost cards and Replacements

Cardholders are responsible for the safekeeping and use of their card, including all items and fines charged to their account, unless the card has been reported lost or stolen. Lost cards should be reported to the Library immediately to avoid unnecessary charges.

Replacement cards can be issued; a wallet-sized card costs $1.00 to replace and a keychain card can be provided at no cost. No more than 3 free replacement cards will be provided annually.

Patron Accounts

So that the Library can maintain accurate contact information of our patrons, JPLA library cards are set to expire one year from the date of initial registration or the date of a card renewal.

When renewing a library card, a patron will be asked to provide their current address, phone number, and email address. If the information provided differs from what is currently in the account, the patron’s record will be updated. The Library reserves the right to request that a patron complete a new registration form.

Authorized Users

Patrons are allowed to grant authorized users access to portions of their account information. Permissions include the ability to check out items on the account and place and pick up holds on the account. The Library also considers access to and payment of a patron’s fines as authorized permissions. Authorized users can be added or removed at any time.

Online Account

All JPLA system cardholders have access to an online account. Accounts can be accessed at prendergastlibrary.org. To sign in, users must have their library card number or username, and PIN. Patrons can use their account to view checkouts and holds, place holds, renew items, pay fines, and set preferences for their account.

A PIN is needed for patrons to access their JPLA online accounts as well as our digital materials. Patrons may reset their PINs via the phone by providing their library card number, or their name with one additional identifier matching the information on their account (i.e. address, phone number, email, date of birth).

Confidentiality of Patron Accounts

The Library complies with New York State law regarding the confidentiality of patron records. The law states: ‚ÄúRecords related to the circulation of library materials which contain names or other personally identifying details… shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed to the extent necessary for the proper operation of such library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.‚ÄĚ

Library staff members will not discuss a patron’s record of loans, holds, renewals, or fines with anyone other than the patron, their authorized users, or library staff members to the extent necessary for efficient and effective service to the public.

Borrowing Privileges & Responsibilities

Patrons are required to present their JPLA library card or photo ID when borrowing materials. All cardholders reserve the right to have a receipt printed that lists the due dates for their items. Item due dates may also be accessed via the patron’s email, online JPLA account, or by calling the Library.

Borrowing privileges may be limited or rescinded if the cardholder or cardholder’s guarantees have long-overdue items (over 30 days past the due date), damaged items, unpaid fines or fees exceeding $9.99, or if the cardholder has violated the Library’s Rules of Conduct Policy.

Loan periods and number of renewals are determined according to demand for the material and value of the material. [see Loan Periods and Fee Schedule Appendix].

Patrons may apply for extended education checkouts which will be noted on their account; this permits a loan period of 6 weeks for books, audiobooks, and periodicals. Extended education accounts cannot be used for extended loan periods on DVDs or non-traditional items.

Returning and Renewing Items

The Library maintains an outdoor bookdrop for our patrons’ convenience. Items returned via the bookdrop when the Library is closed will be backdated to the last day the Library was open. Returns made while the Library is open are treated as being returned during that day.

An item may be renewed unless a hold has been placed on the item or the item’s allotted number of renewals has been exhausted. An item can be renewed within three days of the due date.

Patrons may not return an item and then immediately check it out again, but may request to have their loan period extended for special circumstances at the discretion of Library staff.

JPLA provides patrons with overdue notices indicating that they have not returned an item: the first notice is given at one week overdue and the second notice at two weeks overdue. If an item is not returned 30 days past the due date, the patron will receive notification that they are being billed for the cost of the item. Notices are sent via email, text message or automated phone call. If an item presumed lost is returned to the library, the cost of that item will be removed from the patron’s account.

Digital materials are returned automatically after three weeks and cannot incur late fees.

Holds and Interlibrary Loans

Patrons of JPLA have access to the collections of the other libraries in the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System. Patrons may request in person, by telephone, or online, that materials from other CCLS libraries be delivered to their library of choice. Items will be held for no more than two weeks after the patron has been notified of the availability of the item.

Patrons may request materials not available in the JPLA catalog, or at CCLS libraries, through the interlibrary loan (ILL) system. Patrons will be charged $4.00 for an ILL request; patron is only charged when they pick up an item. Loan periods and renewals for ILL materials are determined by the owning library. 


The current rates for overdue fines are listed on the fee schedule [see Loan Periods and Fee Schedule Appendix]. All patrons are responsible for any fines related to damaged or lost materials. When materials become 45 days or more overdue, they are automatically billed to collections. To compensate for collections costs to the library, a $10 collection charge will be added to the patron’s account.

Cardholders reserve the right to receive a copy of a receipt for all payments or reductions in fines. Cardholders are responsible for requesting a copy of a receipt at the time of the transaction.

Payments received for lost items or damaged materials are transferred to the owning Library. All other fees or fine payments made at JPLA are retained by JPLA.

Contesting Fines

Patrons wishing to contest fines on their library accounts must do so in person at the Library. Ultimate discretion for the voiding of fines falls to the Library Manager or his or her designee.

Fines for damaged or lost items owned by another library must be contested at the owning library. JPLA can provide patrons with the name and contact information for the owning library of an item.

Replacement Copies

In the case of loss or irreparable damage to JPLA materials, the cardholder will automatically be charged the original price of the item.

Patrons who lose or damage items originally owned by a CCLS library besides JPLA must contact the owning Library to discuss any replacement or payment that is different from the automatically charged fee.

Claimed Returns

In such instances where a cardholder notices an item still on their record that they believe was returned, they should contact a Library staff member. JPLA or the owning library will look for the item on their shelves. If the item is located, all fines on the patron’s record associated with that particular item and loan period will be voided.

If the item is not located within the library system, discretion for whether the fine should be voided or upheld falls to the owning library. Instances in which a claimed returned item cannot be located and no fine was assessed will be noted on the patron’s record.

Loan Periods and Fee Schedule Appendix


Books, audiobooks, magazines, CDs

Loan Period

3 weeks


 Up to four times

Late fees

15 cents per item per day. Maximum late fees are $5 for each adult item and $1 for each children’s item.


DVDs can only be checked out to adults. Up to 25 DVDs may be checked out on an account.

Loan Period

1 week


 Up to two times

Late fees

50 cents per item per day.

NY CPLR § 4509 (2014).


Approved by the James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees 11/17/2022