Increase Text Size Reset Text Size Decrease Text Size

Public Libraries of Shelby County

Countywide Circulation Policies

Revised October 2013


I. Standard Registration Rules

1.      Library cards are initially available to all Shelby County residents free of charge. An application must be completed for every person wishing to obtain a card and use Shelby County Public Librariesí services.

2.      All applications must be completed and all cards issued at a Shelby County library during normal operating hours.

3.      All applicants and responsible parties must be present for a card to be issued.

4.      Identification and proof of residence are required for all patrons before a card can be issued. A photo ID such as driverís license, non-driverís id, passport, student ID, military ID, or work badge is preferred. A patron without a photo ID must provide two (2) alternate forms of identification such as social security card, insurance card, credit card, etc. Patrons providing a PO Box as a mailing address must also provide proof of their physical street address.

5.      Applications for minors who are younger than 18 must have a parent or legal guardian's signature. The adult who signs for the minor will be held liable for any and all charges or damages associated with the minorís card. Upon the minorís 18th birthday all present fines and fees will be assumed by the signing responsible party and all future fines will be the responsibility of the applicant.   

6.      If the parent/guardian signing for a minorís card, has a card that is not in good standing, then a card cannot be issued to the minor until the issues on the adultís card have been cleared.

7.      If a minor has a card that is not in good standing  and the parent/guardian who signed the minorís application wishes to apply for an adult card, then the charges on the minor's card must be paid before the parent/guardian may be issued a card.

8.      The use of VIP library cards is at the discretion of each individual library. Cards with VIP patron codes must only be assigned by the library director at each library. 

9.      Students who attend school within Shelby County may obtain a card free of charge for one year without charge if they present verification of enrollment and proof of current and permanent residence.

10.  Non-resident adults, 18 years and older, who are working for business located in Shelby County are eligible to receive a free library card for one year with proof of employment such as a paycheck stub and/or employer ID card or badge.

11.  Non-resident cards can be issued to adults, 18 years and older, for an annual $30 registration fee. Non-resident adults wishing only to gain access to databases or digital collections may apply for an electronic resources card for an annual $10 registration fee.

12.  The library also offers cards to adults, 18 years and older, who are residing within impermanent and/or transient housing situations. Temporary 6 month cards can be given to those who are staying in temporary housing with proof either through rent payments or letter from their host. A temporary card may also be issued to those residing in transient housing such as a shelter, group home, center, institution, or organization with a letter from the administration of the organization.

13.  If an individual's library card is lost or stolen, then the patron must report the loss immediately. The patron is responsible for all activity relating to the lost card until the library has been notified and the card made invalid.

14.  Replacement cards can be issued for old, damaged, unreadable, stolen or lost cards. All items must be returned, holds cancelled, all fines/fees paid, and lost or claimed items must be resolved on the current card before a new card can be issued. A card which has been replaced is no longer valid and should be destroyed if later found.

15.  Stolen cards will be replaced free of charge. If the card is old, damaged or unreadable, then the patron may apply for a new card free of charge if the old card(s) is attached to the application. When an individual's library card is lost, the patron may apply for a new replacement card and pay a nonrefundable fee of $3.

16.  The length of terms for library cards is dependent on the Patron Registration Code. Each can be renewed upon expiration after any charges have been resolved, identification and contact information has been verified, and any registration fees paid.


Patron Registration Codes


                        Adult                                                               3 Years

Shelby County resident who is 18 years or over. Expires every 3 years.

Juvenile                                                           3 Years

Shelby County resident who is a minor (under age 18). Juvenile cards require adult parent/guardianís signature. The signed adult is responsible for any charges associated with minorís card. Expires every 3 years.

VIP                                                                   3 years

Examples: City/County/State officials, board/friends of the library/guild/staff members.

Assigned only by library directors. Expire every 3 years. No late fines.

Books-By-Mail                                               3 years

Home bound individuals. Expires every 3 years. No late fines.

Student                                                            1 Year

Student cards issued to students with enrollment verification and proof of current and permanent residence.                                Expires every year.


Electronic Resources                                      1 Year             $5 library / $5 HRL

Non-resident adults 18 years or older who only wish access databases/digital collections. Annual $10 fee.

Expires every year. Cannot checkout any items.

Non-Resident                                                  1 Year             $15 library/ $15 HRL

Adult who is 18 years or older who does not live in Shelby County.

Annual $30 fee. Expires every year.

Non-Resident (In-County Employee)             1 Year

Adult who is 18 years or older who does not live but works within Shelby County.

Expires every year.

Temporary                                                        6 months         $5 library / $5 HRL

Adults, 18 years and older, who are residing within impermanent and/or transient housing situations. Must provide proof either through rent payments or letter from their host or the administration of the organization at which they are residing.

$10 registration fee.     Expires in 6 months.

Restricted to 5 nonprint and 15 print items.


II. Standard Loan Rules

1.      Patrons must present their own unexpired library card in good standing to check out library materials. Good standing is defined as: Non-permanently stopped cards with complete data and without long overdue items, without excessive fines/fees ($3 & over), and without noted problems restricting library privileges.

2.      Materials are loaned by the library with the understanding that the borrower will return them in the same condition and by the due date established by the library.

3.      Patrons are responsible for materials checked out on their library cards. The parent/guardian is responsible for materials checked out on the juvenile's card.

4.      Books borrowed through out-of-county interlibrary loan will be dealt with as determined by the interlibrary loan policy. 

5.      The ability to place a hold or renew an item is dependent on the owning library's policy.

6.      Holdable items can be reserved at any Shelby County library, through the online catalog at http://catalog.shelbycounty-al.org/polaris and/or through the mobile PAC at http://catalog.shelbycounty-al.org/mobile  

7.      Renewable items can be renewed at any Shelby County library, by calling the telephone renewal line at 205.669.3928, through the online catalog at http://catalog.shelbycounty-al.org/polaris and/or through the mobile PAC at http://catalog.shelbycounty-al.org/mobile 

8.      Books can be returned to any Shelby County public library without penalty.

9.      Media materials circulate and are fined according to the policies set at the owning library. Acceptable return policies of these items are determined by the owning library.

10.  Shelby County Public Librariesí materials must be returned to a Shelby County Public Library.


III. Fines, Fees, and Charges

1.      If materials are returned damaged or with pieces missing, the owning library can choose to charge for the repair and/or retrieval of missing pieces or the complete replacement costs of the item. The owning library shall have the discretion to determine if materials returned are in the same condition as when they were checked out.

2.      If materials are returned later than the due date specified at checkout, overdue fines will accrue daily but will not be applied to the patronís account until the item is returned, renewed, or deemed lost.

3.      Materials which are long overdue and for which the patron has been issued a bill are considered by the library to be lost and the patron is responsible for paying for the replacement cost of the item. As a courtesy, the library issues a reminder for almost overdue items and three overdue notices prior to charging the patronís account with the replacement cost of an item. Failure to receive overdue notifications or bills does not absolve the patron from the overdue fines or replacement costs for an item. Therefore, patrons are encouraged to keep their contact information up-to-date. 

4.      Other fines, fees, or charges may be assessed and applied according to the issuing libraryís policy.

5.      Fines and other outstanding charges will be brought to the patron's attention at the checkout desk.

6.      Only the owning library can waive fines.

7.      Fines not associated with lost or damaged items collected cumulatively in amounts lower than $25 will be retained at the library collecting the fine. When collecting cumulative fine amounts of $25 or more the entire amount should be routed to the owning library along with a copy of the printed receipt.

8.      Undisputed payments for lost materials may be made at any library without first contacting the owning library. The library handling an undisputed payment must issue a receipt verifying payment of the material. All payments for lost or damaged materials must be routed to the owning library - regardless of the amount along with a copy of the receipt.

9.      Disputes in payments for overdue, lost, or damaged materials must be resolved at the owning library. Replacement copies in lieu of replacement costs for lost items should only be offered and accepted by the owning library.

10.  If a patron finds and returns the materials for which they have paid the replacement costs, the owning library will reimburse the patron as defined by the owning library's local replacement policy. Each library must issue a receipt for lost material payments. Reimbursement of payments for lost materials will only be made upon presentation of a valid receipt.


IV. Suspension of Privileges

1.      Borrowing privileges will be suspended after a patron has accrued a total of $3 worth of fines/fees or if an item has been deemed lost on his/her library account. The account will be cleared and privileges reinstated upon the return of lost items and/or fines paid.  

2.      An associated adult card will be blocked and borrowing privileges suspended when the juvenile card for which an adult has signed accrues $3 or if an item has been deemed lost on the juvenileís card. Both accounts will be cleared and privileges reinstated upon the return of lost items and/or fines/fees paid.

3.      Borrowing privileges can be suspended for unacceptable behavior including but not limited to physical abuse of facilities or resources, physical or verbal abuse of staff or other patrons, stealing, vandalism, computer agreement violations, and/or any criminal activities on library property.

4.      Patrons can be temporarily or permanently banned from one, multiple, or all Shelby County Public Libraries following the completion of predetermined policies for banning abusive patrons. These policies will be developed and approved by each individual member library's board.

5.      Should a patron believe that their privileges have been unfairly suspended; the patron has the right to appeal to the member library board, which shall have the final authority in the matter.


V. Confidentiality of Patrons Records

All information retained in patron records is for the purpose of conducting daily library business. This information is confidential in nature and cannot be given out to unauthorized individuals or for any other purpose than to carry out normal procedures of the library.

Any requests for patron records or circulation records generated by the integrated library system must be presented to the director of the Harrison Regional Library. The Board of the Harrison Regional Library in consultation with the countyís attorney will determine the process in which information is released or information is refused. Any request for information may be refused. Any request for information must be accompanied by a subpoena signed by a judge.