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OVERDUE AND DAMAGED MATERIALS POLICY

1. DEFINED: An item is overdue when it is not in the possession of the Berkshire Athenaeum after the due date.

2. FINES: For most everything loaned by the Berkshire Athenaeum, a per day (not including Sundays and holidays) overdue fine will be charged at the rates indicated in the chart below.  The maximum accumulation of fines at any given time will be no more than $10.00.  The maximum fine for any item will not exceed the replacement cost for the item.

3. BLOCKS: An individual who has received an overdue notice and bill on an item(s) not returned will not be entitled to additional borrowing privileges until the overdue items are returned.  An individual with an outstanding balance in fines or replacement charges in excess of $10.00 forfeits the right to borrow materials until the account is settled with the library.

4. PROCESS: The library sends a computer generated overdue reminder fourteen days after the item is due.  A second notice/bill is sent twenty‑eight days after the item is due.  Costs for the replacement of the item are noted on this bill.

5. POSSIBLE ACTION:  The library shall exhaust, within reason, all possible avenues in pursuit of severely delinquent borrowers.  Such efforts may include, but not necessarily be limited to: securing assistance of the courts (under Massachusetts General Law chapter 266, section 100) by having delinquent borrowers appear in court; publishing the names of severely delinquent borrowers in the local newspaper; soliciting the assistance of a professional collection agency having the power to affect a borrower's credit rating; and sharing the names of severely delinquent borrowers with other Western Massachusetts Regional Library System and C/W MARS libraries so that service will be denied borrowers proving themselves a bad risk.  The choice of action in pursuit of delinquent borrowers will be at the discretion of the Library Director, taking into account such factors as time, expense, and anticipated results.  The definition of severe delinquent borrower is subject to interpretation by the Director taking such factors into account as expense of materials borrowed by one individual and repeated offenses.

6. CITY SOLICITOR SERVICE CHARGE: A ten dollar ($10.00) service charge will be assessed to each delinquent borrower who is sent notification by the city solicitor's office about an overdue account.

7. PROCESSING FEE:  For any cataloged item that was lost and paid for by the borrower, and then subsequently found by the borrower and returned for a refund, the library will charge a $5.00 processing fee.  No refunds will be processed after thirty days.

8. REPLACEMENT COSTS:  Lost or unreturned materials are billed at the default rates noted in the chart below unless costs are otherwise noted on the computer record:

ITEM LOAN PERIOD FINE/DAY MAXIMUM FINE DEFAULT COST TO REPLACE
ADULT SERVICE:        
Audio Cassette or CD
21 days
.10
3.00
10.00
Audio Cassette Player or CD Player
2 hours
3.00
3.00
100.00
Audio Headphones
2 hours
1.00/hour
3.00
25.00

Book -
Fiction or Non-Fiction:

       

Hardbound

21 days
.10
3.00
10.00

Paperback - Trade

21 days
.10
3.00
10.00

Paperback -
Mass-Market

21 days
.10
3.00
10.00

New

14 days
.10
3.00
10.00
CD ROM
Computer Software
21 days
.10
3.00
35.00
Interlibrary Loan
21 days
.10
3.00
at cost
Laptop Computer
2 hours
5.00/hour
10.00
750.00
Magazine
(Young Adult Collection)
7 days
.10
3.00
10.00
Multi-media Kits
21 days
.10
3.00
35.00
Museum Pass
1 day
1.00
3.00
10.00
Sheet Music or Scores
21 days
.10
3.00
10.00
Video Cassette or DVD
7 days
.10
3.00
35.00
CHILDREN'S LIBRARY:
       
Audio Cassette or CD
21 days
.10
3.00
10.00
Book -
Fiction or Non-Fiction
21 days
.10
3.00
10.00
CD ROM
Computer Software
21 days
.10
3.00
35.00
Magazine
7 days
.10
3.00
10.00
Multi-media Kits or Teacher Kits
21 days
.10
3.00
35.00
Teacher Kits
14 days
.10
3.00
35.00
Video Cassette or DVD
7 days
.10
3.00
35.00
PROCESSING SUPPLIES:
       
Book on Tape or
Book on CD Case
NA
NA
NA
10.00
Music Cassette or
CD Case
NA
NA
NA
10.00
Video Cassette or
DVD Case
NA
NA
NA
1.00

 

9. DAMAGES: Damage to library materials is anything beyond normal wear and tear that permanently and drastically reduces the visual appeal, marketability and usability of an item.  Borrowers responsible for damage that is repairable will be charged a fee that is one fourth the replacement cost.  This includes replacement of dust jackets, book jackets covers, minor moisture damage, burns from smoking materials, and torn pages.  Borrowers responsible for irreparable damage, which includes damage due to pets and severe moisture contact, defacement and disfigurement, will be charged the full replacement cost of the item (see Chapter 266, section 99 of the Massachusetts General Laws).  Borrowers will not be asked to pay for a damaged item whose overall condition prior to being borrowed would have made it a candidate for withdrawal.

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAWS

Chapter 266, Section 99.  Libraries; Defacement of Contents.

Whoever willfully, intentionally and without right, or wantonly and without cause, writes upon, injures, defaces, tears or destroys a book, plate, picture, engraving, map, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, manuscript or statue which belongs to a law, city, town or other public or incorporated library shall be punished by a fine of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months.

Chapter 266, Section 100.  Libraries; Willful detention of book, etc.

       Whoever willfully, intentionally and without right or wantonly and without cause, detains a book, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, manuscript, or any other material or thing, which belongs to a law, city or town or other public or incorporated library for thirty days after written notice to such person and to his parents or guardian, if he is a minor, from the librarian thereof, containing a copy of this section and sent by certified mail after the expiration of the time during which, by regulations of such library, such book, magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, manuscript or other material or thing may be kept, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one nor more than twenty‑five dollars.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Updated June 2010.  

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Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library, Pittsfield, Massachusetts