Legal Service Area
Any resident of the Otsego District Public Library legal service area may apply for a library card. The library’s legal service area consists of Alamo Township, the City of Otsego, Otsego Township, Trowbridge Township, and Watson Township. A card will be issued, upon showing proof of residency in the legal service area. Anyone applying for a library card must show some form of identification, (preferably a photo ID) with his or her current address printed on it. All cards must be obtained with the person requesting the card present, cards cannot be made for people not present unless there is special permission from the Library Director for homebound patrons only. Minors (children 17 years of age and younger) cannot apply for a library card without a parent or legal guardian present. Aapplications are available at the circulation desk. For residents, it is free to obtain a resident library card. Patrons are eligible for one free replacement card. After a replacement card has been issued a charge of $1 will be assigned for further lost card(s).
Proof of Identification and Residency
A library card will be issued upon showing proof of identity and proof of residency in the library’s legal service area. Patrons 18 and older must present an acceptable form of identification such as:
- State-issued driver’s license or identification card
- U.S. passport Foreign passport
- Alien registration card
- Military identification card
- Student identification card
In addition, proof of residency must be verified by one of the following items:
- Michigan driver’s license or identification card
- Current utility bill
- Current auto insurance card
- Current vehicle registration
- Lease agreement
- Voter registration card
- Current bill from a major credit card
- Applicable digital documentation as per above
- And any other proof deemed acceptable by a library director
Online Library Card Registration
Otsego District Public Library residents and reciprocal borrowers may sign up for a library card online and receive a physical library card in the mail. By signing up online for a library card, patrons agree to all the guidelines listed in the Otsego District Public Library Borrowing Policy. Proof of residency and signature on library card application will be verified and collected at the next in-person visit to the library.
General Borrowing Guidelines
By receiving borrowing privileges, the patron agrees to comply with all rules and regulations of the library, to pay all fines, to make good any loss or damage to library materials incurred while in use and to give immediate notice of any change of address or phone number. Parents and their guardians are responsible for monitoring their children’s internet usage and checkouts. Upon presentation of an Otsego District Library card or a valid picture ID, materials will be loaned to the patron. If a card is not presented and the staff member is reasonably sure of the identity of the patron, the loan will be permitted. Library staff may ask the patron for verification of identification. Materials will be loaned only to those persons with borrowing privileges in good standing with the Otsego District Library. Interlibrary loan of materials to qualified libraries will be honored when it is deemed advisable to do so.
Item Loan Periods
- 3 Weeks – Adult / Juvenile / Children’s Fiction, Adult / Juvenile / Children’s Non-Fiction, Audiobooks, NEW Fiction and Non Fiction
- 1 Week –Magazines, DVDs, Launchpads, and Music CDs
Overdue Fine Fee
The Otsego District Library recognizes the barrier to access that library overdue fines create for families. For this reason, the library does not charge overdue fines on materials. However, this does not mean that patrons can take an item and never return it with no penalty or completely ignore due dates on the items that they checkout. Existing checkout limits still apply and if materials are not returned within the amount of time listed in this policy, the library will bill replacement costs/materials recovery fines/processing fees for the items not returned as listed in this policy. Damaged materials replacement costs are also not included in “fine free.” Fine free relates solely to overdue fines on materials.
The library offers interlibrary loan to all patrons residing in the legal service area of the library. The library encourages patrons to initiate their own interlibrary loan request by visiting mel.org/welcome. Staff can assist patrons with learning how to use the interlibrary loan system.
Reciprocal Borrowing Agreements
Residents from several nearby communities have the ability to borrow materials from the Otsego District Library. Otsego has reciprocal borrowing contracts with the Allegan Public Library, Kalamazoo Public Library, Martin Public Library, Parchment Community Library, Plainwell’s Ransom District Library, and the Van Buren District Library. Residents from those areas must receive a card from their home library. The application process is the same as for those residents in the legal service area. Library staff will contact the applicant’s home library to inquire whether the applicant is in good standing or not before issuing them the Otsego District Public Library Card.
Shared Use of Library Cards
The library advises against sharing library cards because whoever signs on the card is responsible for replacement costs for all materials unreturned, lost, or damaged. Library staff will not allow family members to check out on a family member’s card unless there is a staff note on that card that the patron gave permission for their family member to do so or they have the physical library card in hand. A note may be put on a library card allowing a family member/close friend to checkout/pick up holds if patron is homebound or needs assistance. Call or alert the library staff to add or remove usage notes to a library card account. Library staff will verify patron’s identity before allowing them to check out on the family member’s card.
Non-residential patrons (patrons outside of our borrowing area) may purchase a library card at the price of $100/year. This yearly fee allows the patron access to the library as well as the library’s digital services and interlibrary loan delivery.
Renewal of Materials
The renewal of materials may be done in person, by telephone, email, or self-renewal through the library’s online catalog. There is a limit of one renewal per item for all materials. An item with a reserve on it will not be renewed. Interlibrary loan materials are renewable upon the approval of the lending library. The renewal period is also determined by the lending library.
Materials Reserves (Holds)
As a special service to library patrons, a reserve (hold) may be placed on eligible library materials by telephone, email, Internet or in person. There is a limit of 25 items that a patron may have on reserve. The patron will be notified when the reserve becomes available and must be picked up within six days. A reserved item may only be checked out on the card for which the original reserve was made.
Lost and Damaged Materials
It is the responsibility of the patron to return materials in good condition. If an item is lost or damaged, the patron must pay replacement cost for the item. The replacement cost will be the actual cost of the item plus a $3.00 processing fee, this fee is included in the item cost listing. The library will also accept an exact duplicate of the item that has been lost, in lieu of payment, but the $3.00 processing fee will still be assessed.
Refund or Found Items – A patron who pays for a lost item may have the cost of the item refunded if the item is returned within 30 days and is in good condition. The proof of payment (receipt) must accompany the material.
Denial of Use
Use of the library or its services may be denied for due cause. Such cause may be failure to return materials, or to pay penalties, destruction of library property, disturbance of other patrons, or any other objectionable conduct on library premises.
Materials Recovery Policy
(Approved June 17, 2013)
Patrons will be contacted by the library at the telephone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses listed on their library card. It is the patron’s responsibility to update this information as needed. Otsego District Library utilizes an outside agency to recover long overdue items. If the library has contacted the patrons with multiple notices (as follows) to no response, the library will turn over to the agency the information they have on file for that patron.
The process for collecting overdue, lost, and or damaged materials is as follows:
- 14 days overdue: Patrons will receive a phone call or email from library staff.
- 30 days overdue: Patrons will receive a first notice in the mail from the library warning them at 75 days overdue they will be referred to a materials recovery service.
- 60 days overdue: Patrons will receive a second notice in the mail from the library warning them at 75 days overdue they will be referred to a materials recovery service.
- 75 days overdue: Patrons with a total of $50 in unreturned materials will be referred to a materials recovery service. Patrons will be assessed a recovery fee of $10 upon referral to a materials recovery service.