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Circulation Policy

This policy covers the material lending from the Decatur Public Library collection, as well as the guidelines for obtaining a library card.

Circulation of Library Materials

In order to borrow materials from the Decatur Public Library patrons must have a library card from the Decatur Public Library, or any library in the Illinois Heartland Library SHARE System. Likewise, Decatur Public Library cards may be used at any library in the Illinois Heartland Library SHARE System.

A Decatur Public Library's card is free for anyone who pays property taxes in the City of Decatur. Decatur Public Library cards are non-transferable. Each patron (or in the case of a minor child – the parent) is responsible for all materials checked out on their card. Decatur Public Library cards do not expire, however there is an address check every 3 years. If a cardholder moves from the Decatur Public Library service area, the card will be cancelled. Cards that are unused for more than three years will be cancelled. If a patron card has been removed from the system, the patron must go through the application process again, in order to have library privileges reinstated.

Apply for a Library Card

To apply for a library card, applicants must present a valid state-issued driver’s license, a state-issued photoID card or a federal (passport) photoID that has their current residential address. If the address on the ID differs from the patron’s current residence, the patron will be asked to supply verification of their current address. Acceptable forms of verification include:

  • A piece of mail addressed to the patron at their current residence (postmarked within the last 30 days)
  • A utility bill within the last 30 days
  • Imprinted bank check
  • A current lease or contract (within 30 days) with the applicant’s name and address
  • A vehicle registration card
  • Library mailed self-addressed postcard
  • Deed or title for property in the city of Decatur, IL

Patrons who sign application forms agree to abide by the regulations and guidelines of the Library.

If the card is lost or stolen, it is the responsibility of the card holder to notify the library as soon as possible. Lost or stolen cards can be replaced for a $3.00 fee.

The Library should be notified of any changes in address (including email addresses), phone numbers or name changes as soon as possible. Mail notifications (including email and text notifications) that are returned to the library for any reason will prompt a patron block, temporarily suspending library card privileges until the contact information has been confirmed.

Registration for patrons under 18 years of age requires parental/guardian signature. The parent or legal guardian of the child/young adult must be present at the time of registration.Exceptions may be made for school-sponsored registrations.

Patrons 13 and under will be restricted to borrowing items from the juvenile (J) collection.

Non Resident Cards

Patrons who are unserved by an Illinois public library, but reside within Macon County are eligible for one Non-resident card per family for a fee. Public Act 92-0166,effective July 1, 2002 requires non-residents to obtain library cards at the closest public library.

Non-residents who pay Decatur property taxes and their households may obtain a library card free of charge by presenting a valid state or federal ID and a current tax bill providing proof of taxes paid to the City of Decatur for the current year. All family members residing at the residence of the non-resident taxpayer fee payer shall be eligible for a non-resident borrower’s card. Non-resident cards are valid for twelve months from date of payment of fee.

Temporary Cards

To obtain a temporary card, applicants must have valid state or federal ID and verification (e.g. work visa, college ID card, or letter from temporary shelter) of temporary residence in the city of Decatur. Temporary cards are restricted to 5 print items, the library internet computers, and library databases. Temporary cards expire every 6 months.


Electronic cards are available for the access of online library resources only. In order to obtain an E-Card, applicants must fill out the online form. A barcode and password will be emailed back to them for access to the libraries online resources as soon as their information has been confirmed.

Loan Period

All materials loaned by the Library are due a fixed number of days after they are borrowed. Items may be renewed twice. Items may be renewed over the counter, by phone, or through the Library’s website, providing that the item is not reserved by another patron and the patron’s account is in good standing.

The Decatur Public Library will only renew materials borrowed from other libraries according to their policies. The Decatur Public Library will not extend due dates on materials owned by other libraries, without the owning library’s consent.

Reserves on Material

Requests may be placed on materials using the online catalog, or via library staff. Patrons are notified by mail, email or text notification when their requested materials arrive at the Library. Requested materials that are not picked up before the date on the patron’s notification will be returned to the shelves or other lending libraries. Patrons may cancel requests by phone, online, email or in person.

Fines and Fees

Decatur Public Library does not charge patrons overdue fines. Patrons who have not returned overdue materials will have their library privileges suspended until either the materials are renewed, returned, or paid for.

Notice will be given to the patron that the materials are overdue within 10 days after their due date. If the materials are not returned, a second notice will be given within 20 days after the first notice that the materials are overdue. Failure to return library materials within 10 days after the second notice will result in a bill for library materials from the library.

Items borrowed from other libraries within the SHARE consortium will be subject to the loan period and renewal policies of the lending library. Items borrowed from other libraries outside of the SHARE consortium will be subject to the loan period, renewal and fine policies of the lending library.

Patrons who have been assessed fees in excess of $25.00 and have not paid within 60 days may be referred to a collection agency.

After an account has been turned over to the collection agency, materials charged to that account may be returned within 15 days of the collection agency notification.

Payment of all fines and fees for all items that are lost or damaged is the responsibility of the library card holder (or in the case of a borrower under 18, the parent or guardian).

Patrons who have lost or damaged library materials shall be charged the list price of the material. The Decatur Public Library will not reimburse replacement costs or items returned after payment has been received.Decatur Public Library charges $3.00 for a replacement library card, $10.00 for a returned check, and $10.00 collection agency fee.

Destruction of Library Materials

Individuals who commit willful destruction of library materials and library property may be subject to legal prosecution.

Approved by Board of Trustees Effective June 1, 2018

Amended by Board of Trustees June 21, 2018