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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.

The Decatur Public Library supports the greatest possible use of the circulating collection by authorized patrons in good standing. The Library is committed to resource sharing at local, state, and national levels as demonstrated by our membership and participation in the Illinois Heartland Library System/SHARE as well as OCLC’s World Share Interlibrary Loan program.

Getting a Library Card

Decatur Residents

To borrow materials from the Decatur Public Library, patrons must have a library card from this library or other Illinois library which participates in reciprocal borrowing to borrow materials.

A Decatur Public Library card is free for anyone who is assessed taxes in Decatur. Library cards are non-transferable, although patrons may designate in their registration others who may use their account. The registered cardholder remains responsible for all activity on the account.

Cards that are unused for more than three years are deactivated and removed from the database. After this time, patrons will need to resubmit an application in order to have library privileges reinstated.

Patrons must notify the library as soon as possible of any changes in address or phone number.

It is the responsibility of the patron to report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible.

Cards for adults

Library cards will be issued to anyone 18 or older who can show adequate proof of identity and residency in the Decatur Public Library service area and who has no outstanding charges with other libraries.

Cards for children

Library cards will be issued to anyone under 18 when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian with an active card. As of January 1, 2022, the Library will no longer restrict library materials checked out to children. Parents, caregivers, and legal guardians are solely responsible for the child's selection. This responsibility is no longer managed by Decatur Public Library, Board of Trustees, or staff.

ALA's Statement on Minors

Patrons who sign an application form agree to abide by Library policies.

Non-Resident Cards

Patrons who are unserved by an Illinois public library are eligible for a non-resident card for a fee. Per Public Act 92-0166, effective July 1, 2002, non-residents must obtain a library card from their closest public library. This fee is established by the Library Board of Trustees effective annually on March 1.

Non-residents who pay Decatur property taxes 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. All family members who reside at the residence shall be eligible for a non-resident card. Non-resident cards are valid for 12 months and are renewable annually.

Exceptions are granted to children who are eligible for free school lunches, and disabled veterans, who may receive library cards at no charge per Illinois Administrative code [TITLE 23: EDUCATION AND CULTURAL RESOURCES, SUBTITLE B: CULTURAL RESOURCES CHAPTER I: SECRETARY OF STATE, PART 3050 PUBLIC LIBRARY NON-RESIDENT SERVICES] (Source: Added at 45 Ill. Reg. 9538, effective July 19, 2021)


Patrons who only wish to access the library’s electronic resources may apply for an E-card by filling out the form found on the library website.

Temporary Card

Temporary cards may be issued to those with a letter from a Decatur housing shelter, a work visa, or a college student ID card. These cards are valid for six months. The temporary card allows patrons to check out 5 print items and use library computers and databases.

Borrowing and Requesting Materials

All Library materials are due a fixed number of days after borrowing. Decatur Public Library items may be renewed up to two times if the material is not requested by another patron. Materials may be renewed at the circulation counter, online, or by phone.

Current loan periods are:

Books and audiobooks—28 days.

DVDs, CDs, Video Games, Magazines, and New Fiction—14 days.

No more than 20 DVDs, CDs, Video Games, or Audiobooks can be charged to an account at one time.

Library materials borrowed from other libraries are subject to the loaning policies of the lending library.

Requests for library material may be made online or in person. Patrons may be notified by email or text message when materials are available for pickup. Materials that are not picked up in the allotted time will be returned to the shelves or lending library.

Patrons who have not returned overdue materials will have their library privileges suspended until materials are renewed, returned, or paid for.

Patrons whose assessed fees exceed $25.00 shall be referred to a collection agency after 60 days. There will be a fee of $25.00 assessed for all returned checks.

Patrons who have lost or damaged materials shall be charged the listed price of the material. The Library does not reimburse patrons for materials returned after they have been paid for.

Willful destruction of library materials and property shall be subject to legal action.

Approved by the Board of Trustees November 18, 2021