Circulation and Customer Accounts Policy
Section: Library Operations
Revised: 9/16/2004, 10/10/2005, 4/16/2009, 5/20/2010, 10/18/2012, 11/21/2013, 1/15/2015, 1/18/2018, 1/17/2019, 10/15/2020, 4/15/2021
Ames Public Library strives to provide all customers with fair and equal access to library materials.
Library Materials and Services
All customers may have access to library materials while in the building or on the bookmobile.
A valid library account is required to make use of some library services. To be eligible to check out library materials, customers must have a library borrower account in good standing. To use public access computers, customers must have a borrower account or a computer use account.
Library Borrower Accounts
Account Application and Activity:
Residents of the state of Iowa are eligible to register for a library borrower account. Residents of cities not in compliance with Iowa’s Open Access agreement are excepted.
- To open a borrower account, customers must present a completed registration form, valid photo ID (required for persons age 18 and older), and proof of current residence.
- A photo ID may include a valid driver’s license, state issued ID, school ID, or passport.
- Proof of current residence may include a valid driver’s license, recent utility bill, lease, car registration, or a piece of mail received at the current address within the last 30 days.
- Library borrower accounts are active for a period of one to two (1-2) years and must be renewed by verifying/updating account information.
- A photo ID is required for customers age 18 and older to replace a lost or stolen card or to retrieve a card from library lost and found.
- Library borrower accounts can be closed only when all materials have been returned and all fees have been paid. The account holder or adult responsible for a Shared Account or Professional Account may request closure.
Ames Public Library offers five types of borrower accounts: Individual Account, Shared Account, Student Account, Educator Account, and Professional Account. Customers may have more than one type of account.
- An Individual Account may only be used by the person opening the account.
- Information about the Individual Account may only be given to the person whose name is on that account.
- Customers must be at least age 5 to apply for an Individual Account.
- A Shared Account may be opened by an adult (age 18 or older) who agrees to take responsibility for the account.
- The responsible adult may add or remove the name or names of other persons they wish to be authorized to use the account.
- Shared Account customers share account privileges with other authorized users and any member may exercise those privileges independently.
- Information about a Shared Account may be given to any person whose name appears on that account.
- Individual members may remove themselves from Shared Accounts.
- Student Accounts are created in partnership with Ames Community School District (ACSD) through ACSD registration process.
- Parents or students may choose to opt-out of or delete a student account at any point.
- ACSD students K-12 are eligible for a library account issued electronically.
- Student accounts are limited to checkout of 3 physical items at a time.
- A Student Account may only be used by the named student on the account.
- Information about the Student Account may only be given to the person whose name is on that account.
- An Educator Account may be opened by an adult (age 18 or older) who agrees to take responsibility for the account.
- An Educator Account requires a signed statement of responsibility, valid photo ID, proof of residence, and proof of employment at a qualifying organization (e.g. school, home school or daycare)
- Educator Accounts can also be created in partnership with Ames Community School District.
- An Educator Account may only be used by the person opening the account.
- Information about the Educator Account may only be given to the person whose name is on that account.
- A Professional Account may be opened for an organization by an adult (age 18 or older) who agrees to take responsibility for the account.
- A Professional Account requires a signed statement of responsibility and the approval of the Customer Account Services Manager.
- The named responsible party may add other persons to the account.
- The named responsible party may remove other persons from the Professional Account and any persons named on the account may remove themselves.
- Professional Account customers share account privileges with other account members and any member may exercise those privileges independently.
- Information about the Professional Account may be given to any person whose name appears on that account.
Computer Use Account
Account Application and Activity:
Anyone who is not the named responsible party on a borrower account is eligible to register for a Computer Use Account.
- To open an account, customers must present a completed registration form and photo ID (required for persons age 18 and older).
- A photo ID may include a driver’s license, state-issued ID, school ID, or passport.
- A customer who does not have a photo ID may provide proof of residence in place of the photo ID.
- Parents may serve as proof of identity in lieu of a photo ID for children under age 17.
- A Computer Use Account may be used only by the individual card holder.
- Computer Use Accounts are active for a period of one year.
- Computer Use Accounts may be closed at any time upon request by the cardholder.
- Customers are expected to comply with the library’s policies and procedures.
- Customers are expected to comply with copyright laws, and the library assumes no responsibility for customer infractions of copyright laws while using library materials.
- Customers are expected to use their own library cards when checking out materials or conducting other library transactions. Customers with valid library borrower accounts may request that circulating items be held for them; requests are added to queue lists in the order they are received.
- Customers must notify the library of changes in account information (name, address, telephone numbers, etc.).
- Customers must notify the library immediately when a library card is lost or stolen; customers are responsible for all account activity until the library is notified about a lost/stolen card. The library operates under implied consent - the expectation that a customer in possession of another person’s card has their consent to use it.
- Customers must not tamper with or alter library materials in any way.
- Customers must return library materials, including all parts and packaging, in good condition. (City of Ames Municipal Code, Sec. 15.12 Library Regulations)
- The responsible party on a borrower account must manage that account and pay any fees accrued.
Some materials are designated by the library as non-circulating. Other library materials have pre-determined check out and renewal periods.
The library does not charge overdue fines for items that are returned late. There may be charges for lost or damaged items. The library charges fees to encourage compliance with procedures which promote fair and equal access to limited resources for all customers. Customers may be notified of overdue materials, outstanding fees, or problems with their borrower account by telephone, email notices, printed notices, and/or other means. Please note: fees apply whether or not the notification is sent or received.
- The library charges for lost or damaged library materials.
- The library charges for lost or damaged parts or pieces of library materials.
- The library may charge for repairable damage to library materials.
- Customer borrowing privileges are suspended when fee limits are surpassed.
- More extensive measures may be taken for excessively delinquent accounts, including the use of a collection agency and/or prosecution in a municipal court.
- A list of fees is available as an addendum to this policy.
- The library may offer programs that allow options for the payment of fees (such as a payment plan or a fee alternative program).
- The library may reduce or eliminate charges as part of a promotional activity or due to extenuating circumstances.
Ames Public Library Confidentiality and Library User Records Policy