Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Question of the Day: Can I use my Plainfield Library card at other libraries?

The short answer: yes, you can!

In Illinois, public libraries cooperate through a program called "reciprocal borrowing." The program allows anyone with a library card in good standing to borrow items from another participating library. Most public libraries participate, as do some community colleges and other types of libraries.

Here are a few things to know before you drive off to another library to check out their selection:

First, your account needs to be in good standing as defined by your home library - because the lending library will check on your account before allowing you to check out. At the Plainfield Library, "in good standing" is less than $10 in fines,fees or bills per card and less than $50 in fines, fees and bills per household.

Second, the lending library may place limits on what you can check out and for how long. For example, reciprocal borrowers may not be able to check out DVDs or other audiovisual items directly from another library or you may not be able to renew an item. Those rules are set by the lending library.

Third, you can return your items to any library - but it might not get checked in until the item reaches its home library. Let's say you check out a book at the Naperville 95th Street Library and return it at the Plainfield Library. Because the two libraries use different catalogs and check out systems, the book can't be checked in when you turn it in at Plainfield. The book will be routed through library delivery, likely taking several days to travel to Naperville 95th Street Library where it is checked in. Be sure to leave some time for delivery if you choose this method of return!

Last, be sure to return the items! The lending library will share information with your home library if you don't. You may not be able to check out anything else from any library until you clear up any fines or bills with the lending library. If you don't pay, your home library is required to pay the lending library for the unreturned items.

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