Public Policy Manual: Section 4

Library Cards and Patrons Records

4A. Library Cards

a) Acquiring a Library Card
  • The Greene County Public Library permits all Ohio residents or Ohio income or property tax payers, regardless of age, the privilege of obtaining a library card.
  • At the time of registration, the patron is asked to provide her/his name, address, telephone number and birth date. Adult applicants must provide a photo ID with current address or a photo ID and separate proof of current address (piece of metered mail such as a bill or bank statement) before being assigned a card. The patron may borrow no more than 10 items from the collection for the first 60 days if borrower can produce a photo ID and proof of address.
  • If proof of address is not available, the library card is mailed to verify address. The patron may borrow no more than two (2) items from the collection until the card is brought to the library and is verified. The patron is then at a limit of 10 items for the first 60 days.
  • In the case of a minor child, the card is mailed to the parent or guardian of the minor child if the parent is not present or unable to provide a photo ID with a proof of address. The minor may borrow no more than two (2) items from the collection until the card is brought to the library and is verified. If the child is not present, a parent may register the child for a card. Mailing and limit 2 restrictions only apply if proof of address is not provided.
  • A patron may register for a temporary library account online and receive limited library privileges immediately. The patron must visit a Community Library to receive a permanent library card. Temporary accounts are deleted after 30 days.
  • Library users are expected to present their library cards to check out materials, request materials, access their patron record, or use the internet.
  • An adult library patron may present photo identification in lieu of a library card to gain access to services for his or her account.
  • Because minors do not usually have access to photo identification, library staff will provide services to a minor for that patron’s account, provided that the minor can verify his or her name, address, and birth date.
  • Self-service opportunities in the library do require the patron to use his or her library card.
b) Library Cards for Temporary Residents

Temporary residents must provide both permanent and temporary or school addresses. Temporary military residents or civilian workers will be issued a card with Military ID or Department of Defense (DOD) ID if proof of temporary address cannot be provided. Out-of-state students attending an institution of higher learning in Ohio must provide their permanent and their college addresses, as well as a student ID.

c) Non-Resident Card

Non-residents of Ohio are eligible for a card for a $25 annual fee.

d) Institutional Cards

Under the direction of the Outreach Services Department a library card in the name of a nursing home or facility will be issued to the activities director of the home or facility. The institution assumes the same responsibilities of an individual cardholder regarding fines or bills for overdue or lost items. Schools, corporations, governmental and social agencies are not eligible for an institutional card.

e) Teacher/Educator Card

A teacher/educator's card is available to verified educators, homeschoolers, and education students who are eligible for a Greene County Public Library card. This card is in addition to the teacher/educator's personal card. The card has a maximum borrowing and reserve limit of 150 items and allows the patron to borrow materials for six weeks; one week materials are loaned for only one week.

To qualify for a teacher/educator's card, the teacher must bring proof of employment in a school or; for homeschoolers, a letter from the appropriate authority such as Greene County Educational Service Center, the Beavercreek Superintendent's office or the Fairborn Superintendent's office; for education students, a letter from a professor or college official; for other educators, a letter from the institution at which they teach.

A teacher/educator's card expires annually. Only teachers, homeschoolers, education students, or other educators who have a Greene County Public Library Educator's Card are eligible for 6-week loans and room collections provided by the librarians.

f) OhioLINK Visitors Card

Visitors from other OhioLINK institutions must present a valid identification card from their institution in order to borrow materials.

g) Responsibility of Card Holders

Patrons are responsible for all materials checked out on their library cards. If materials are lost, damaged, or returned late, patrons are responsible for paying fines or replacement fees. The parent or legal guardian of a minor patron is responsible for all materials checked out on the minor patron’s card.

h) Lost or Stolen Cards

The owner of a lost or stolen library card is responsible for all material checked out on that card up to the time it was reported lost or stolen. A replacement card costs $1.

i) Renewal of Library Cards

Every twelve (12) months staff shall verify the patron's address, phone number, email address, and other personal information to keep the card up to date. All fines and fees must be paid or arrangements made for payment before the card is renewed for another twelve (12) months.

j) Damaged or Unreadable Cards

In the event that a patron's card becomes damaged or unreadable in Greene County Public Library's automation system, the card will be replaced at no charge to the patron.

4B. Restriction of Library Privileges

A parent or legal guardian may bar his/her child under eighteen (18) from borrowing projected media (videos and DVDs) from the library. Parents may choose from the following options for their children:

  1. Unlimited borrowing privileges: Minors may borrow any circulation item in the library’s collection.
  2. Limited video/DVD privileges: Minors may borrow videos and/or DVDs only from the juvenile collection.
  3. No video/DVD privileges: Minors may not borrow videos or DVDs.

4C. Denial of Library Privileges

A parent or legal guardian may bar his/her child up to age eighteen (18) from borrowing library materials by completing a form that will block the child from getting a library card.

4D. Personal Identification Numbers

Each registered patron is encouraged to have a PIN (Personal Identification Number). This number permits the patron, at any public computer in the library, from home or office computer with an internet connection or via the Tele-Notice system to place requests or obtain information from their account. Patrons can obtain one on their own or have a staff member create one for them at a service desk.

4E. Library Patron Email Addresses

The Greene County Public Library Board of Trustees approves the occasional use of the patron’s email for the purpose of sending news and information about the library, its services, programs, events, policies, and Friends groups.

4F. Public Access to Library Records

It is the policy of the Greene County Public Library that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of the Greene County Public Library to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.

a) Public Records

This office, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, defines records as including the following: Any document—paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, email), or other format—that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. All records of the Greene County Public Library are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code.

It is the policy of the Greene County Public Library that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. (See Section 4 for the email record policy.) Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly and posted prominently.

b) Record Requests

Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:

  • A request for public records is made to the Library Director.
  • Requests may be made:
    • by telephone (937) 352-4000 ext. 1200.
    • on-site in the Administration Office, Second Floor, Xenia Community Library. On-site review of public records is made in the presence of the Library Director or his/her designee during the business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays).
    • or by mail to Library Director, Greene County Public Library, PO Box 520, Xenia, OH 45385.
    • or by fax to Library Director, Greene County Public Library, (937) 372-4673.
    • or through the request form on the Greene County Public Library website,

Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the records custodian must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requestor in revising the request by informing the requestor of the manner in
which the office keeps its records.

The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. It is this office’s general policy that this information is not to be requested, except to the extent necessary to permit the library to comply with requests to mail or email documents to the requester.

Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. "Prompt" and "reasonable" take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.

Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes (both in draft and final form), budgets, salary information, forms and applications, personnel rosters, etc. If fewer than 20 pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows. If more copies are requested, an appointment should be made with the requester on when the copies or computer files can be picked up.

All requests for public records must either be satisfied (see Section 2.4) or be acknowledged in writing by the (public office) within three business days following the office’s receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond "routine," such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the following:

  • An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.
  • An estimated cost if copies are requested.
  • Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.

Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.

c) Costs for Public Records

Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies.

  •  The charge for paper copies is 5¢ per page.
  • The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1 per disc.
  • There is no charge for documents emailed.

Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies. Prepayment of copying and delivery costs is required.

d) Email

Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. Email is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.

Records in private email accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure, and all employees or representatives of this office are instructed to retain their emails that relate to public business (see Section 1 Public Records) and to copy them to their business email accounts and/or to the office's records custodian.

The records custodian is to treat the emails from private accounts as records of the public office, filing them in the appropriate way, retaining them per established schedules and making them available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.

e) Failure to Respond to a Public Records Request

The Greene County Public Library recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to comply may cause, the Greene County Public Library’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering the library to comply with the law and to pay the requester attorney’s fees and damages.

f) Records Commission

The Records Commission is composed of the members and the clerk of the Greene County Public Library Board of Trustees. The Records Commission is responsible for reviewing applications for one-time disposal of obsolete records, and schedules of records retention and disposition submitted by any employee of the library. The Records Commission at any time may review any schedule it has previously approved and for good cause shown may revise that schedule. The Records Commission meets at least once every twelve (12) months. The annual meeting of the Records Commission is held in the month of April.

g) Confidentiality of Patrons

The Board of Trustees recognizes that library records and patron information are confidential. According to Ohio Revised Code 149.432 library records are defined as a record in any form that is maintained by the library and that contains any of the following types of information:

  • Information an individual is required to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials.
  • Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a specific subject.
  • Information that is provided by an individual to assist a staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject.
  • Information that does not identify an individual and that is retained for studying or evaluating the use of the library is not considered confidential and is not subject to this policy.
Under Ohio law, library records shall not be made available to any agency of federal, state, or local government, or to any spouse or other individual, except as pursuant to the following:
  • For the records of minor children when requested by parents, guardians, or custodians.
  • In accordance with a subpoena, search warrant, or other court order, or to a law enforcement officer who is investigating a matter involving public safety in exigent circumstances.
  • At the written request or with the written consent of the individual who is the subject of the record or information.
  • For library administrative purposes as defined by Ohio Revised Code 149.432.
Sources of patron information may include but not be limited to:
  • Database Search Records: These records refer to the searches of the library collection a patron may conduct on the Online Public Access Terminals (OPAC). Searches use the integrated library system by Innovative Interfaces. The log of all searches is cleared at the end of the business day.
  • Circulation Records: Patron material is circulated via the Innovative Interfaces system. The circulation software tracks materials currently checked out, automatically erasing a user's borrowing record once the material is returned and checked out again.
  • Computer Use Records: Greene County Public Library is equipped with computers supplied via a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When a patron logs off of a Gates computer, the software erases all history of the patron's search activity.
  • WebSENSE Software Logs: WebSENSE software is used to assure that access to pornography is blocked on Greene County Public Library computers. This software logs daily activity on all Greene County Public Library computers. WebSENSE logs are cleared at the end of each business day.
  • PCReservation Logs: PCReservation software is used to assign computer access to patrons. Patron barcode information is retained in daily logs that are cleared at the end of each business day.
  • Resource Sharing Records: Greene County Public Library accesses materials from other libraries through SearchOhio, OhioLINK, and OCLC Resource Sharing services. No Greene County Public Library paper records are kept after the materials are returned and the transaction is complete. Identifying patron information is purged from electronic records when the transaction is completed.
  • Reference Interviews: A reference interview occurs when a patron needing information interacts with a staff member who questions or interviews the patron in order to narrow down the specific information needed. No paper record is kept during an in-person interview that includes patron information.
  • Telephone Reference Interviews: If a patron name and number is taken by phone, and patron information is recorded, the paper record is destroyed as soon as the requested information is delivered.
  • Email Reference Requests: Information requests received by e-mail are printed so the librarian can work on the question. The e-mail message from the patron is deleted. The printed request is destroyed when the question is answered.
  • Email Reference Responses: The librarian answers the e-mail query by e-mail. The email answer cache is deleted when the transaction is satisfactorily completed.
  • Instant Messaging (IM) Transactions: The library does not keep a transcript of instant messaging sessions.
  • Reading History: Reading History is a feature offered in the My Account area of the library catalog, and allows a patron, if he or she chooses, to create, maintain, or delete a list of items previously checked out by that patron. This option is patron-controlled and can only be turned on by a patron who chooses to do so. Staff do not have direct or easy access to the patron’s information; however it is possible to retrieve that data if the patron has turned on the Reading History option.
  • E-Commerce: Patrons may pay fines and fees online through the My Account feature of the library catalog. The library contracts with a third party to manage this service and neither has access to, nor is responsible for, the credit card information of patrons who choose to use this service.
h) Patron Privacy: Fundamental Principles

To assure patron privacy, library policies and procedures follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid creating unnecessary records.
  • Avoid retaining records that are not needed for efficient operation of the library.
  • Be aware of library practices and procedures that place information in public view.
  • All requests for information from library records or other documents that fall under the Public Records Policy shall be made to the Library Director or his/her designate.
  • The Library Director is responsible for handling requests from law enforcement officers.
  • The Library Director is the official contact for the library with the Office of the County Prosecutor, the library’s legal counsel.
  • In the absence of the Library Director, the Assistant Director, then the Clerk Treasurer, are official designates who may release information or contact legal counsel.
i) Releasing Patron Information
  • Library staff will provide access to patron account information at a service desk to a patron who has the library card in hand for that account.
  • Library staff will provide access to patron account information over the telephone to a caller who can provide both the library account number and the patron’s birth date associated with that account.
  • Because identification is difficult to verify over the telephone, library staff will provide only limited access to patron account information to the caller who provides the patron's name, address, and birth date.
  • Parents or legal guardians may obtain full access to a minor’s library account at a service desk by following the procedure described in section 4G below.
  • An Account Designate may have limited access to a patron account at a service desk upon presenting photo identification as described in sections 4H and 4I below.

4G. Parental Access to Children's Accounts

The Greene County Public Library recognizes the right of the parent or legal guardian of a minor child to have access to that child’s library account information. The library also wishes to secure that information in the interest of protecting that child. A parent or legal guardian may complete a Parental Access Form and present photo identification and then obtain complete access to the account of a minor child; thereafter, the parent or legal guardian may obtain access to that account at a service desk by presenting photo identification. (See Appendix C.)

4H. Adult Account Designates

Library cardholders aged eighteen (18) or over, including patrons with Homebound status, may grant more than one (1) other person access to their account by completing an Adult Account Designate form. This form designates another person who can, upon presenting a photo identification, be given access to another patron's account to pick up requested materials or check the account for fines and overdues. (See Appendix C.)

4I. Minor’s Account Designate

A parent or legal guardian may complete a Minor’s Account Designate Form and give permission for another adult or adults to be a designate on the minor’s library card. This form designates that another adult or adults can, upon presenting photo identification be given access to the minor child’s account to pick up requested materials or check the account for fines and overdues. (See Appendix C.)

4J. Retention of Records

No permanent record is kept of a patron's borrowing history.

4K. Borrowing Periods

All materials except videos, DVDs (Digital Video Disks), Express Books, Express DVDs and art prints circulate for three (3) weeks. Art prints circulate for six (6) weeks, while videos, DVDs, Express Books, telescopes, and video games circulate for one (1) week. Express DVDs circulate for two (2) days.

  • Materials circulated through the Outreach Department are loaned for 6 weeks.
  • Classroom Collections and art prints can be borrowed for up to six (6) weeks and renewed ten (10 times) for three (3) weeks.
  • Extended loans may be made in special circumstances, such as for homeschool collections, or when extra time is needed for vacations or due to illness.

4L. Renewal of Materials

Materials may be renewed up to ten (10) times after the initial checkout if there are no requests for that item. The only items that cannot be renewed are Express Books, Express DVDs, and circulating telescopes. All materials secured via SearchOhio can be renewed three (3) times if not reserved by another patron. Books obtained via OhioLINK can be renewed six (6) times. Media materials via OhioLINK can be renewed three (3) times. Print items obtained via OCLC Worldcat can be renewed one (1) time; non-print items obtained via OCLC Worldcat cannot be renewed. Renewals can be done on the telephone via the Tele-Notice system, on the internet or at a public catalog terminal if a patron has a Personal Identification Number (PIN), by phone, or in person at any Greene County Public Library. Overdue materials may be renewed by the patron via the patron's home computer, as long as the patron has not reached the $5 limit of accumulated fines. Overdue materials may not be renewed via the Tele-Notice system. At some locations, holiday materials may not be renewed.

4M. Borrowing Limits

  • A patron may borrow a maximum of 75 items at any time.
  • A teacher/educator card may borrow a maximum of 150 items at any time.
  • A patron will be barred from checking out any more items if the total number of items overdue is twenty (20) or more, or if the fines and fees exceed $4.99.
  • Circulation of high demand and seasonal items may be restricted by location.
  • Only 2 toys and/or puzzles may be borrowed at a time.
  • Only 5 video games may be borrowed at a time.
  • Only 5 Express DVDs may be borrowed at a time.
  • All new library cardholders (adults and children) with proof of current address may borrow up to ten (10) items at a time during their first two months as cardholders. After the two-month period, the cardholder will receive the same borrowing privileges as established cardholders.
  • A patron can have a maximum of 50 SearchOhio and 25 OhioLINK (including SearchOhio) items with the status of requested, checked out, or in transit.
  • A patron can have a maximum of 30 WorldCat/OCLC items with the status of requested, checked out, or in transit.

4N. Claimed Returned Materials

When borrowers claim they have returned materials that appear on their record the library staff will check the shelf in case the item or items have been reshelved but not removed from the patron's record. If not located on the shelf, the item or items may be renewed so that the library and the patron can continue to search for the item or items. If extended efforts to locate the item or items prove unsuccessful, the item may be given the status "claims returned" and the borrower may be excused from fines and fees for those items at the discretion of the head librarian, supervisor, or their designee.

4O. Overdue Fines

Fines are accrued on a daily basis regardless of library hours.

Juvenile and Young Adult print materials: no fines.

Toys and Puzzles: no fines.

Art Prints: 10¢ per day, per item; $10 maximum per item

Telescopes: $5 per day, $30 maximum

Resource Sharing: SearchOhio, OhioLINK, and OCLC/Worldcat are 50¢ per day, per item; $5
maximum per item

All other materials: 10¢ per day, per item; $5 maximum per item

Patrons sixty (60) years of age and older, holders of Golden Buckeye Cards, active military and family (spouse and dependents), and homebound patrons served by the Outreach Services Department are excused from paying fines. They are required to pay any charges for lost or damaged items. All patrons are required to pay any fines or damages for Resource Sharing materials, Express Books, and Express DVDs.

4P. Damaged or Lost Materials

Charges for lost or damaged materials:

  • There is no charge for normal wear and tear or minor damage that doesn't affect an item's usefulness.
  • Entire item or items owned by GCPL damaged beyond use: price from the item record, plus a $3 service charge.
  • Lost or damaged Resource Sharing—OCLC/Worldcat items: $20 per item plus any replacement charges levied by lending library.
  • Lost booklets from CD, DVD or CD-ROM packages: $5.
  • Lost or damaged bin for classroom collection or KEY kit: $5.
  • Lost video case, CD case, or audio cassette case: $5.
  • Lost map from travel book: $5.
  • Lost tape or CD from a multi-part audiobook: Cost of the entire item, plus the $3 service charge.
  • Lost tape or CD from a multi-part work: Cost of the entire item, plus the $3 service charge.

4Q. Refunds

When a patron returns an item, in acceptable condition, for which they have paid within the last 12 months, and have a receipt, the cost of the item is refunded. The library retains the $3 service charge. No overdue fines are charged.

4R. Overdue Materials and Notices

A patron is sent a notice by phone, email or mail when an item is three (3) days overdue, and (1) day overdue for Express DVDs. A second overdue notice is sent when an item is (14) days overdue, if the item is loaned for (3) three weeks. If the item is loaned for (1) one week, a second overdue notice is sent when the item is (6) six days overdue. If the item is loaned for (2) days, a second overdue notice is sent when the item is (3) three days overdue. A patron is sent a bill for the cost of an overdue item when the item is (24) days overdue, if the item is loaned for (3) three weeks. A patron is sent a bill for the cost of an overdue item when the item is (10) ten days overdue, if the item is loaned for (1) one week, and (5) five days for (2) two day items. A patron account totaling more than $30 in materials and fines may be turned over to a collection agency to recover the materials. An additional fee of $10 will be added to the account of a patron sent to the collection agency.

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