FINE FREE POLICY
In January, 2019, the American Library Association passed a resolution that asserted overdue fines are a barrier to equitable access and encouraged libraries to eliminate them.
Eliminating fines for overdue material means more people in our community have greater access to the library’s vial materials, resources and services. Late fines are a real and significant burden for low-income individuals, children and families. These financial barriers can discourage many people from coming in who rely on the library for access to all the offerings needed for schoolwork, job seeking or for those coming for a welcoming place to visit.
The Library Board of Trustees and staff desire to remove this barrier to its resources and to provide more equitable library access to everyone in the community. Eliminating overdue fines may encourage prior users to come back to the library, to return overdue material, and this may additionally attract new users to experience the library.
This policy applies to Union Public Library owned material only.
- Library material are available to borrow free of charge. Late fees or overdue fines will no longer be charged for most items*
*Fines remain in effect for Museum Passes and Video Games due to the limited supply.
|Material||Overdue Daily Fines||Maximum Fines|
2. Every item checked out will have a regular due date.
3. Most items** will be automatically renewed (up to 2 times), which allows patrons more time to use and return their items.
** Exceptions to automatic renewal include:
- Items on hold for other patrons.
- Chromebook Laptops
- Museum Passes
- Video games
4. Borrowing privileges will be suspended for patrons with:
- Two (2) or more overdue items on their account.
- $10 or more of fees on their account.
Once accounts are cleared, borrowing privileges will be restored.
5. All accounts with existing overdue fines will be cleared, all fees for lost and damaged material will remain.
- On the day following the item due date, all material not returned or renewed will be considered overdue.
- Overdue notices are sent via email. A total of three overdue notices are emailed to patrons every 14 days before the item is considered “Lost”.
Fees for Lost and Damaged Materials
- An item will be automatically moved into “Lost” status once it is 90 days overdue. Fees for damaged or lost items will still be charged to cardholder accounts.
- The cost will vary according to the price of the item plus a $5 processing fee.
- Items must be returned or paid for to resume library borrowing privileges.
Borrowing privileges will be suspended for patrons owing more than $10.00.
Lost and Damaged Items
The patron may pay the replacement cost plus the processing fee for the lost item, or they may replace the lost, or damaged item with a brand new exact copy of that item. This means that a lost hardcover book must be replaced by a brand new hardcover copy, etc. Used copies of lost materials will not be accepted.
A processing fee of $5 applies. The fee helps to cover the internal costs of processing library materials.
If the patron returns the lost materials, the cost of the item is removed from the account.
The Union Public Library does not charge the patron for damage due to normal use. The Library does charge the patron for damage beyond normal use. The Department Head of Circulation will determine the level of damage and whether the patron must pay the replacement cost for the item.
The patron can either pay the replacement cost plus the processing fee for the damaged item or replace the damaged item with a brand new, exact copy of that item.
A processing fee of $5 applies. The fee helps to cover the internal costs of processing materials.
The Union Public Library does not refund the patron the price of a lost or damaged item which the patron has paid for in the event that the patron finds the item. Once a patron provides the library with a replacement copy for a lost or damaged item in lieu of payment, the replacement item is the property of the library and will not be returned to the patron in the event the patron locates the item. If the patron locates the item after paying for it, the lost and found copy now belongs to them.
Claims Returned Materials:
Claims Returned occurs when the patron states they have returned an item to the Library and the Library staff cannot locate the item. If the item is not found after searching the library and requesting the patron to search again for the item, the Library will mark the item as Claimed Returned, one time as a gesture of good faith. the account will then be cleared of the item in question, and a note placed on their account.
Union Public Library cardholders, in good standing, may place reserves on most Library material, online through their account, in person or by telephone. A patron may request a maximum of 10 reserve items at one time. Due to limited supply, Museum Passes may not be reserved.
Patrons will be notified by telephone when a requested item is ready to be picked up. Reserves will be held for 3 days. After that time, if the item is not claimed it is returned to the shelf or given to the next patron on the reserve list.
LOAN PERIODS AND RENEWAL OF MATERIALS
Most items will be automatically renewed up to 2 times (see below) Items will not be renewed if other patrons have them on hold.
|New Fiction and New Non-Fiction||14 days||*2||yes|
|Career Materials||14 days||*2||yes|
|YA and Juvenile Summer Reading List||14 days||*1||yes|
|Test Preparation Material||14 days||*2||yes|
|Audiobooks on CD||14||*2||yes|
|DVD & Blu-ray|
|New Release DVD & Blu-ray||3 days||*1||yes|
|All other DVD and Blu-Ray||14 days||*1||yes|
|Music on CD||14 days||*2||yes|
|Museum Passes||3 days||0||none|
|Health Literacy Tote bag||14 days||*2||yes|
|Launch Pads||14 days||*2||yes|
|Video Games||14 days||0||yes|
|Chromebook Laptops||28 days||0||yes|
Union Public Library cardholders have access to extensive collections of e-books, e-audiobooks, digital magazines and music through multiple app enabled platforms. Lending periods and quantity of checkouts vary according to the specific resource.
LIBRARY CARD REGISTRATION
Photo identification is required for all adult patrons (aged 18 and older) and current proof of address before a card can be issued.
A Post Office Box is not sufficient.
Patrons under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian signature who must show identification and proof of their current address in order to issue a card to the child (waived for Union School District students getting a card through their teachers).
The following are acceptable forms of identification:
- Valid Driver’s License
- A valid passport
- A valid employee photo ID
- A valid school photo ID
- Any government issued ID
A valid Proof of address:
Valid motor vehicle registration
Current automobile insurance card
Current utility bill (gas, electric, telephone, etc.)
Current bill from a major company (credit card, department store, etc.)
Current Union Township tax bill
Current lease for rental in Union
Current bank statement
Current Mortgage statement
Current school registration
A valid email address is required when applying for a library card.
TYPES OF CARDS
Union Resident Library Card: In order to be eligible for a Union Public Library Resident card with borrowing privileges, a potential patron must produce an acceptable form of identification and proof of address. Children under the age of 18 applying for a Union Public Library card must be accompanied by an adult with proof of identification.
1. Provide in-person, photo ID and current proof of residency as outlined above. This applies for both adult and youth cards.
2. Parents or guardians must provide identification in order to obtain a card for their child. Parents or guardians are responsible for all materials their child borrows and must sign the application for minors. Guardians must provide proof of guardianship.
3. Complete a Union Public Library Application This Library Card is valid for 2 years and can be renewed by providing current updated ID information. A valid email address is required when applying for a library card.
In certain instances there are limits to the type and number of materials that may be borrowed. Please refer to the section “Loan Periods and Renewal of Materials” for this information.
Reciprocal Borrowers (MURAL): Reciprocal borrowers are patrons who live and have valid Library cards from MURAL participating libraries in Middlesex or Union Counties. Reciprocal borrowers are entitled to borrowing privileges at the Union Public Library, but do not receive a Union Public Library Card. Cards in this category are valid for 2 years, but may not exceed the expiration date listed on their card from their home library. These patrons must be clear of all fines at their home library in order to obtain borrowing privileges. This cardholder type is not entitled to request interlibrary loans through Union Library, borrow Chromebooks or Museum Passes, or access the library’s digital resources. Reciprocal borrowing privileges may be obtained by providing the following:
1. In-person, photo ID and current proof of residency, as outlined above. This applies for both adult and juvenile cards. Parents or guardians must provide identification in order to obtain a card for their child. Parents or guardians are responsible for all materials borrowed by their child and must sign the application for minors. Guardians must provide proof of guardianship. 2. A current, unexpired library card from their home library and 3. A completed Union Public Library Application. A valid email address is required when applying for a library card.
Works in Town: A person who works in the Township of Union is entitled to a Union Public Library Card.
This card is valid for 1 year.
A “Works in Town” Union Public Library Card may be obtained by providing the following:
- In-person, photo ID and current proof of residency as outlined above.
- Proof of employment in Union (this is typically a dated letter on company letterhead from the employer stating that the applicant is employed in Union or a recent pay stub receipt which indicates the Union address) and
- A completed Union Public Library Application. A valid email address is required when applying for a library card.
Non-Resident Students: All students attending public or private schools or colleges located in Union may obtain a Union Public Library card.
Parents or guardians are responsible for children under the age of 18. Cards in this category are issued in September and are valid through June of the following year. Students taking summer classes must provide proof of registration. This card category is valid for the school semester.
A Non-Resident Student Union Public Library Card can be obtained by providing the following:
- In-person, photo ID and current proof of residency as outlined above and
- Proof of School Registration
- Current Report card or
- A current letter from the school and
- A completed Union Public Library Application, including a valid email address.
Purchased Cards: Out of town residents may purchase a Union Public Library Card for an annual fee of $40. This card category receives all other privileges granted to resident card holders including reserves and interlibrary loans.
This card category is valid for 1 year.
A Purchased Card can be obtained by providing the following:
- In-person, photo ID and current proof of residency as outlined above.
- An Annual fee of $40 and a completed Union Public Library card Application, including a valid email address.
Use of Cards by Others: Patrons are not allowed to use library cards other than their own.
Lost or Stolen Cards: If a patron’s library card has been lost or stolen, they should report this incident to the Circulation Desk. A new card will be issued and the lost or stolen card will be invalid.
House Call Service:
The Union Public Library offers delivery service to resident cardholders who are unable to leave their homes due to health related issues. This service is staffed by volunteers who can both pick up items from the library and bring them directly to a patron’s home, and return them when they are finished. Application for House Call Service is made through the Adult Services Department.
The mission of the Union Public Library is to ensure that the residents of Union Township have the right and means to free and open access to ideas and information that are fundamental to a democracy. The Library affirms the safeguarding of First Amendment Rights, intellectual freedom, equity of access, confidentiality of information about patrons, and their use of library resources.
Throughout its history, the Union Public Library has made information available in a variety of formats. The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collections. It allows access to ideas, information, and commentary from around the globe.
Currently, the Internet is a vast and unregulated information network. While it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also allows access to ideas, information, images and commentary that might be considered offensive. Because of this and the fact that access points on the Internet can and do change often, rapidly and unpredictably, the Library cannot protect individuals from information and images which they might find offensive or disturbing.
The Union Public Library does not monitor Internet use, has no control over the information accessed through the Internet, and cannot be held responsible for its content. The computer workstations are located in public areas which must be shared by users of all ages, backgrounds, and sensibilities. Individuals are expected to consider this when accessing potentially controversial information and images.
ACCESS BY MINORS
The Union Public Library supports the right of all library patrons to access information and will not deny access to electronic information networks based on age.
Parents and legal guardians of children under 18 are responsible for the Internet information selected and/or accessed by their children. Children who use the Internet unsupervised may be exposed to inappropriate or disturbing information and images. We encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s use of the Internet, and to talk about their personal values, expectations, and boundaries for their children’s use of this resource. Parents and guardians are expected to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet. Library staff is unable to monitor children’s use.
ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY The Union Public Library affirms the following principles and patron’s rights as set forth in the American Library Association’s Access to Electronic Information Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: Electronic information, services, and networks provided by libraries should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users. Libraries and librarians should not deny or limit access to information available via electronic resources because of its controversial content or because of personal beliefs or fear of confrontation. Information retrieved or utilized electronically should be considered constitutionally protected unless determined otherwise by a court with appropriate jurisdiction. Responsibility for, any restriction of, a child’s use of the Internet rests solely with his or her parents or legal guardians.
The Union Public Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, arising from its connections to the Internet. The Library is not responsible for damage to a patron’s disks or computers, or for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from use of the library’s computers. The Library makes no guarantee, either expressed or implied, with respect to the quality or content of the information available on the Internet. Patrons are encouraged to be good information consumers and to evaluate the validity of information accessed via the Internet.
Patrons are cautioned that, because security in an electronic environment such as the Internet cannot be guaranteed, all transactions, files and communications are vulnerable to unauthorized access and use and, therefore, should be considered public.
The Union Public Library is not responsible for damage to a patron’s disks or computers, or for any loss of data, damage, or liability that may occur from the use of library computers.
DONATIONS OF PHYSICAL MATERIAL ARE NOT BEING ACCEPTED AT THIS TIME.
GIFT BOOK PROGRAM
The Library welcomes monetary contributions specifically for print or non-print purchases that may be in memory of a loved one or to honor a special occasion, such as the birth of a child. If the donor specifies a particular interest every effort will be made to purchase in that area. If the donor specifies a particular title, the Library Director will review the request according to the Library’s Criteria for Selection of Library Materials.
For memorial gifts, if desired, the Library will place a bookplate with the donor’s information inside the book. All donations will be acknowledged with a thank you letter to the donor from the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director. If requested, the Library will send a letter acknowledging the donation to whomever the donor designates.
The Union Public Library welcomes monetary gifts. Money given as a gift will be used to purchase needed additions to the Library‘s collections. If the donor specifies a particular interest, every effort will be made to purchase in that subject area. If the donor specifies a particular title, the Library Director will review the request according to the Library’s Criteria for Selection of Library Materials. All donations will be acknowledged with a thank you letter to the donor from the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director.
No donation can be accepted unless it is given to the Library without restrictions unless the Library’s Board of Trustees has specifically adopted an agreement to do so. All gifts may be used, sold, or disposed of in the best interest of the Union Public Library.
All donations are accepted only if, in the opinion of the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director, they are in the best interest of the Library.
The Union Public Library supports intellectual freedom and subscribes to the principles of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and its statements on Freedom to Read and Freedom to View. The Library staff applies the selection criteria described in the Library’s Collection Development Policy and thus endeavors to provide books and other materials that reflect the diversity of viewpoints within the community.
The Union Public Library does not promote particular beliefs or views. The obligation of the Library is to reflect differing points of view within its collection. The Library does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply endorsements of the viewpoint of the author. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be put in special areas except for the purpose of protecting them from theft or damage.
The choice of library materials by library patrons is an individual decision. While an individual may reject materials for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to library materials by others. With respect to the use of library materials by children, the decision as to what a minor may read is solely the responsibility of the parent or guardian.
Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedures have been developed to assure that objections or complaints are handled in a timely and consistent manner:
The staff member to whom the question is first addressed should bring the patron to the department supervisor who is responsible for the collection in question. The department supervisor will meet with the library patron and ask him/her to explain their request for reconsideration and to learn about the Library’s collection development policies and procedures.
If the patron is not satisfied with the explanation received and would still like the material reconsidered, the department supervisor will provide the patron with a Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form.
This form is to be filled out by the patron and then given to the Library Director.
The Library Director will review the Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form and reply in writing to the patron.
In the event that the patron who initiated the request is not satisfied with the decision of the Library Director, he/she may request a meeting before the Library Board of Trustees by making a written request to the Library Board President. Upon receipt of the request, the Library Board may make the request an agenda item and the patron will be notified of the time and place of the Library Board of Trustees meeting. The Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of the presentation and the number of speakers at the meeting.
After hearing from the patron making the reconsideration request, the Library Board will make a decision regarding the material under reconsideration based on the overall needs and interests of the entire community and not just the concerns of the patron requesting reconsideration.
The final decision will be made available, in writing, to the patron making the request within a reasonable amount of time.
The challenged material will remain in the library collection until a decision has been made.
The Library welcomes the full use of its facilities at the Main Building and the Vauxhall Branch by all members of the community. The Library recognizes the benefit to the students and parents of the community in permitting tutoring within the library. The following policy is adopted to provide a balance between the use of the library by tutors and their students and the use of the Library by other members of the community.
Non-profit and paid tutoring will be permitted in the Library under the following conditions:
- Before any tutoring session, tutors must register in person at the Adult Services Desk at the Main, or at the Circulation Desk at the Vauxhall Branch.
- The Library will provide designated areas for use by tutors as space permits; tutoring is limited to these designated areas.
- The staff will advise the tutor about the availability and location of appropriate study areas.
- Tutoring areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The library reserves the right to assign tutoring locations and/or relocate tutors in the building. The library recommends that a parent/legal guardian accompany children who are being tutored for the duration of the session.
- Children under the age of (10) ten must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible caregiver (see Unattended Child Policy).
- If no parent or guardian is accompanying a child who is being tutored it will be assumed that the tutor is acting in loco parentis in accordance with the guardian’s wishes.
- The library assumes no responsibility for children left unattended.
- Paid tutors may not publish or distribute advertisements or letters indicating the library as their place of business or otherwise imply sponsorship of their activities.
- Monies cannot be exchanged in the Library.
- A maximum of (2) two students per tutor per session is allowed. A tutor may not hold classes or work with groups of more than (2) two students unless it is a library sponsored program.
- All tutoring sessions may not exceed (1) one hour.
- All tutoring sessions must end (15) fifteen minutes prior to closing.
- Tutoring activity may not disturb staff or library users.
- Unacceptable behavior includes but is not limited to: engaging in loud or disruptive conversation or conduct, use of cell phones or monopolizing of work areas (see The Library Code of Conduct).
- The library does not provide school or office supplies; tutors must bring any needed items for their sessions.
- Library staff maintains the right to ask tutoring to cease if the space being used is needed for other library purposes.
- The Library is not obligated to accommodate any tutor on a regularly scheduled basis.
- The Library reserves the right to restrict or ban tutoring at any time without prior notice in the event that library staff determines that it interferes with the Library programs or use of the Library by other community members.
The Union Public Library hopes that children and families using our library will find it a warm, inviting, fun place to be. However, parents must be aware that the library is a public institution, open to all. Young children may not be safe when left unattended in the library. The staff cannot be expected to be aware of whether children are leaving the building with parents or strangers.
Library services are offered to all residents regardless of age, sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or economic status. All library users are entitled to courteous, efficient service from library staff, access to an excellent collection of library materials and pleasant surroundings free from harassment, discomfort and stress.
It is not the library’s intention to seek out unattended children, but rather to have a reasoned response prepared when a problem presents itself. For the protection and well-being of the children who visit our library, the following policy has been established.
Supervision and Behavior Appropriate for the Library
Parents, guardians and caregivers are responsible for the behavior of their children while they are in the Library. Responsible caregivers are those that are at least age 16 or older. Library staff cannot assume responsibility for the care, safety, or well-being of children in the Library. Behavior appropriate to the conduct of business in a library environment as outlined in the “Library Rules of Conduct” is expected of children, young adults and adult users.
Unattended Children under Ten Years Old: Children under the age of ten years may not be left unattended in any part of the library. If children under the age of ten are found without an adult or caregiver, staff will attempt to locate the parent or caregiver. If the staff is unable to locate the parent or caregiver within a reasonable time, the Union Police Department will be contacted to pick up the child.
Unattended Children over Ten Years Old: The above procedure will also be applied to the following situations involving unattended children over ten years old:
- If an unattended child is found frightened or crying in the library.
- If an unattended child is perceived to be endangering him or herself, or that another person in the library poses a perceived threat to the unattended child.
- If an unattended child exhibits inappropriate behavior.
- If an unattended child has not been met by a responsible caregiver at closing time.
The Library functions as an intellectual and cultural resource for the community. Exhibits and displays are a means through which the public can share experiences, appreciate special interests, and exchange information.
When not in use to promote library-related activities or services, display and exhibit spaces are available to community groups or individuals engaged in intellectual, cultural, or educational activities. Exhibitors wishing to use display space are required to submit a completed Exhibit Application/Release Form.
Applications for the use of exhibit or display space will be honored on a first come, first served basis and are limited to one month per calendar year for each organization or individual depending on demand and the amount of exhibit space available. All exhibits must be approved by the Library. It is at the sole discretion of the Library to approve or reject the exhibit request. The Library may request to view samples of the exhibit prior to approving or rejecting the request.
The Library does not accept exhibits of a purely commercial nature. No organization or individual shall be permitted to display or exhibit any materials, leaflets, or posters which advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for any public office, or which advocate a vote for or against any ballot issue, whether political or otherwise. Items promoting a particular religion will not be permitted. Brochures, pamphlets and posters of church-sponsored cultural activities, vacation Bible school, revivals, Bible classes or community festivities are permitted.
Display spaces are usually in areas accessible to and used by patrons of all ages, therefore the materials displayed must be appropriate for all ages. The fact that an organization or individual is permitted the use of a library display space does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the Library of their policies or beliefs.
The Library reserves the right to limit the size and number of items to be on display. No exhibits are allowed which create noise or which disturb the normal affairs of the Library. Exhibitors are responsible for mounting and removing their exhibits. The sponsor/exhibitor’s information must be clearly displayed on the exhibit itself. The Library will not provide storage for any objects. Any items left for a week or more will be considered abandoned and will be disposed of at the Library’s convenience.
The Library assumes no legal or financial responsibility for the preservation, protection, possible damage, or theft of any item displayed or exhibited. All items placed in the Library are done so at the owner’s risk.
The exhibitor agrees to indemnify the Library and/or Township of Union and hold the same harmless against any and all claims, demands, damages, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees for the defense of such claims, arising out of such exhibitions. The organization/individual placing items on display for an exhibit will be required to complete an Exhibit Application/Release Form.
Permission to mount exhibits or displays is based on the provisions of this policy and not on the viewpoints, beliefs or affiliations of the organizations responsible for those exhibits or displays.
Those who object to the content of an exhibit must complete and sign the Request for Reconsideration Form. The Library Director or designee will consider the complaint according to the policies established by the Union Public Library and send the Library’s answer, in writing, to the complainant.
All patrons of the Union Public Library are welcome to use the Library and its resources in a responsible, lawful and courteous manner. These “Rules of Conduct” have been developed to protect the safety of all library patrons, staff and to protect Library property.
Failure to observe these rules of conduct may result in a person being asked to leave the building, loss or suspension of library privileges or they may be subject to arrest.
Those who have privileges denied may have the decision reviewed by writing to the Library Board of Trustees.
- Covered drinks are permissible except near computers, please continue to enjoy your food outside the building.
- Smoking or using tobacco or tobacco products in the library is prohibited.
- The use of alcohol or drugs on library premises is prohibited.
- No Littering.
- No Sleeping.
- Bringing bicycles, skateboards or similar equipment into the library is prohibited.
- Do not obstruct the entrance of the library.
- Enjoy the use of library materials but do not mutilate, damage, deface or steal library property or the property of others.
- Harassing another patron or library staff member for any reason is not acceptable; nor is interfering with the use of the library by other patrons or interfering with library staff in performance of their duties. This includes but is not limited to loud talking or laughing, using obscene or abusive language, fighting, throwing objects or other boisterous behavior–library staff will make final determination of what is acceptable behavior.
- Any unlawful behavior or violation of any local, state or federal criminal statute is also not acceptable inside or around library property.
- No solicitation of any kind unless approved by the Director and Board of Trustees.
- Regarding Personal Electronics: we require that visitors have no audible ringers on cell phones. Please limit speaking on mobile devices to outside the building; also, using personal electronic devices without earphones is not permitted.
- Photographing any aspect of library operations without written permission of the Library Director and Board of Trustees is not permitted.
- Bringing animals into the library, except those trained as assistance animals for individuals with disabilities is prohibited.
- Do not use the restrooms for activities other than their intended purpose.
- Patrons must wear clothing and footwear in the library.
- Patrons must adhere to the Unattended Children’s Policy.
*The Library reserves the right to inspect all backpacks, bags, book bags, satchels and briefcases.