Circulation Policy

Oakland Public Library Circulation Policy

Approved by Library Administration: 3/1/17; Revised 5/24/19; Revised 10/13/21

Policy Statement

In support of its mission, Oakland Public Library (OPL) seeks to encourage access and reduce barriers to library materials for all patrons.

I. Patron Accounts – Describes library patron records

  • A. Anyone can apply for an Oakland Public Library (OPL) card by submitting a paper or online application and providing required identification.
  • B. A patron is responsible for notifying OPL of a lost library card.
  • C. A patron is responsible for notifying OPL of new contact information.
  • D. After verifying identity, a patron can request, in person, replacement of a lost library card.
  • E. After verifying identity or providing library card, a patron can request their barcode number, update contact information and reset PIN numbers in person, by phone, online, or by email.
  • F. After verifying identity or providing library card, a patron may designate or delete Designated Borrowers on their account at any time by notifying library staff.
  • G. Only the patron and Designated Borrowers named in the library patron record may borrow items.
  • H. For a Child Patron ages 0-7; the registered parents or legal guardians listed in the record have all rights and responsibilities accorded the child patron as described here.
  • I. A patron record will expire every three years from the date of issue. Staff will request confirmation of contact information before renewing the account. Accounts can only be renewed by library staff.
  • J. A patron record will be deleted if it is not used for three years and there is no outstanding balance, or if an online patron record has not been verified by the expiration date.
  • K. Online Patron - All online patron registrations 
    • Can use most electronic materials and resources, and reserve and use computers
    • Cannot borrow physical materials
    • Expires in 30 days. To update to a verified patron type and extend expiration date, patrons must verify their identification with library staff before the expiration date.
  • L. Adult Patron – For patrons age 18 and over 
    • Acceptable ID may be provided in print or electronic form.
    • Adults must provide 1 of the following forms of acceptable ID:
      • DMV License or Identification Card from California or another state
      • Student identification card or report card
      • Bank check or statement imprinted with the patron’s name and address
      • Current medical identification card
      • Any piece of First Class mail addressed to the patron
      • Rent or mortgage agreement with the patron’s name and address
      • Current credit or debit card
      • Social Security card
      • Passport from any country
      • Matricula Consular ID
      • Permanent resident card
      • Photo ID transit card
      • Other identification as approved by library staff in charge
  • M. Child Patron Ages 0-7    
    • A child must be present to receive the card.
    • A parent or legal guardian must sign the application.
    • The parent or legal guardian signing, or listed in the record, may designate or remove other parent or legal guardian names.
  • N. Child Patron Ages 8-12    
    • A child must be present to receive the card.
    • A child must have a parent or legal guardian sign the application.
  • O. Teen Patron Ages 13-17
    • Acceptable ID may be provided in print or electronic form.
    • Teen patrons must provide 1 of the following forms of acceptable ID:
      • Same as Adult Patron
      • A parent’s signature
      • School books or homework with the applicant’s name
      • Other identification as approved by library staff in charge
  • P. Extended Services Patron – For a patron with a disability   
    • Oakland Public Library grants Extended Services (ES) status to persons with disabilities so as to better accommodate their use of library materials and services.
    • An ES patron must have an active OPL record (see Child, Teen, and Adult options above)
  • Q. Teacher Card - For a patron requesting a Teacher Card.   
    • Oakland Public Library grants a Teacher Card for extended borrowing privileges for classroom or curricular use to anyone currently employed as a teacher, educator, administrator, librarian, childcare provider, or afterschool provider at a school, childcare facility, adult educational facility, or afterschool program in the Cities of Oakland, Emeryville or Piedmont.
    • To receive a Teacher Card, a patron must provide 1 of the following forms of educational employment identification:
      • School or educational institution personal identification
      • School or educational institution paystub
      • CA family childcare home license
      • Affadavit of private school
      • Letter of acknowledgement of homeschooling from local school district (Oakland, Piedmont, or Emeryville
      • Other identification as approved by library staff in charge or Youth Services specialist
  • R. Tool Lending Library   
    • For a patron to use the Tool Lending Library (TLL), they must register at TLL and provide all of the following:
      • An active Adult OPL patron record (library card)
      • A picture ID matching the information in the patron record above
      • Proof of residency or residential property ownership in the cities of Oakland, Piedmont or Emeryville
      • Sign a waiver
  • S. Patron Confidentiality   
    • Except to comply with applicable laws, valid legal process, or to protect the rights or property of the City of Oakland, Oakland Public Library will not disclose any information from the patron record to unauthorized individuals or to other agencies or organizations.
    • Parents or legal guardians may be given information related to fines and fees on their child’s (under age 13) record; but other information will not be disclosed except as above.
    • All library card applications will be shredded after the patron information has been entered and verified.

II. Borrowing

Describes item types and limits, loan periods, holds, and renewals.

  • A. All persons wishing to borrow Oakland Public Library (OPL) items must have an active patron record.
  • B. Onlinw patron records may only borrow online items.
  • C. After verifying identity or providing library card, patrons may borrow items from the library.
  • D. Borrowing limits are as follows (exceptions noted in II.E):  
    • Maximum number of items checked out at one time 50
    • Maximum number of holds at one time 15
    • Loan Period 3 weeks
    • Maximum number of renewals (Items cannot be renewed if another patron has placed a hold) 3 renewals
  • E. Exceptions to borrowing limits listed in II.C:  
    • Test Prep Books - One week check out
    • Tool Lending Library (TLL) - 7 day check out; 10 item limit; No renewals for select tools
    • Video Games - 2 item limit; No renewals
    • Toys - 2 item limit
    • Hot Picks - No holds; No renewals
    • Magazines - No renewals
    • Wi-fi hotspots -  One item limit; No renewals
    • LINK+ /ILL - Some renewal restrictions may apply. Call 510-238-2124
    • In-house use only -  Do not check out (i.e. Reference/OHR/AAMLO/laptops)
    • E-materials - Check out period varies by platform; No renewals
    • Extended Services - Patrons Double the standard loan period; double number of holds; double number of renewals
    • Teacher Card - Double the standard loan period; double number of holds
  • F. Holds  
    • Patrons may place holds online or by request to library staff.
    • Patrons with fines or fees exceeding $50 cannot place holds.
    • Patrons may change the pickup location of an existing hold request, either online or by requesting such a change from library staff, until the hold has been filled.
    • Holds for tools at the Tool Lending Library must be placed by library staff.
  • G. LINK+  
    • Patrons may place holds from other library systems that participate in the Link+ consortium if an item is not currently available from OPL.
    • Reference items and music CDs may not be requested through LINK+.
    • Teacher Cards are not eligible for LINK+ borrowing.
  • H. Interlibrary Loan  
    • Patrons may request books or periodical articles that are not owned by OPL or available through Link+ through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). An ILL request must be made in person.
    • Teacher Cards are not eligible for ILL borrowing.
  • I. “Library Use Only” materials  
    • Some items may not be checked out and must be used at the library during open hours; such items may include laptops, tablets and bike locks.
    • Reference materials, including the collections in the Oakland History Room (OHR) and African American Museum and Library (AAMLO) are for library use only.
  • J. Returning Library Materials  
    • Most circulating Library items may be returned to any branch of the Oakland Public Library either inside the library or in exterior book drops.
    • Tools, ILL materials, and other items needing special care must be returned inside the library to the owning branch during open hours.
    • Items should not be returned to a book drop that is too full as theft or damage may occur.
    • Oakland Public Library items should not be returned to another library system. If this occurs, overdue fines will be assessed on the date the item is returned to OPL, should it be recovered from another system.
  • K. Loss of Borrowing Privileges - The following conditions “block” a patron record and prevent borrowing:  
    • Exceeding fines and/or fees of $50.
    • Suspension of library privileges due to violation of the OPL “Guidelines for Behavior”.
    • Expired patron record.

III. Fines and Fees

Describes the charges for borrowing.

  • A. Replacement fees are assessed if materials are not returned to the library or are damaged beyond use.   
    • Once an item is 30 days overdue, it is determined to be “lost” and a replacement fee is assessed.
    • If an item is returned to the library after a replacement fee has been assessed, the replacement fee will be eliminated. Overdue charges may apply as noted in III.B.
  • B. Overdue fines are assessed on Tools if they are returned late.   
    • Tools must be returned to OPL by the date the item is due to avoid overdue fines.
    • Overdue fines are not assessed on closed days or holidays.
    • Overdue fines do not continue to accrue once the maximum fine for an individual item is reached.
    • No refunds will be issued following payment of fines or fees unless a charge was assessed by library staff in error.
    • Overdue fines are $1-$5 dollars per day for Tools.
  • C. Payment of fines and fees   
    • Fines and fees may be paid by cash, check, or online.
    • No refunds will be issued following payment of fines or fees unless a charge was assessed by library staff in error.
    • Patrons are encouraged to search carefully for unreturned materials before paying a replacement fee. If an item is found in patron’s possession after payment occurs, the patron is entitled to keep the item. No refunds will be issued.
  • D. Library Materials Damaged or Lost in Disasters   
    • Fees for library materials lost or damaged in natural or personal disasters may be waived if a patron provides proof of cause, such as, but not limited to:
      • copy of insurance claim (property damage or vehicle theft)
      • police report (theft)
      • verification of address within the area of a large-scale disaster (e.g. the Oakland Hills Fire)
      • other evidence as approved by library staff in charge

PDF: Circulation Policy, Revised 10/13/21

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