Book and Equipment Loan Policies – LBPH

Book and Equipment Loan Policies

 July 2015 

The following policies govern the circulation of books and equipment to eligible blind and/or physically handicapped readers of the Connecticut State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH).

Eligible readers who borrow materials from the LBPH accept responsibility for using materials with reasonable care, returning them to the LBPH according to established loan policies, and not losing or damaging them through negligence. Violations of this policy can result in suspension of some or all library services.

All NLS-provided books, magazines, and equipment are the property of the federal government and must be accounted for accordingly. Locally produced recordings and materials are the property of the State of Connecticut or the state which produced them. 

1.  Active Patrons:

     a.  Braille books and recorded books and specialized playback equipment is loaned by the LBPH to active patrons without charge, and keeps detailed records of all such loans.

     b.  An active patron is an individual or an institution who borrows at least one NLS or network produced book or magazine per year for which the borrowed NLS equipment and accessories are necessary. NLS publications such as catalogs, bibliographies, and Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review are not considered magazines. Therefore, subscriptions to Talking Book Topics or Braille Book Review, alone, do not constitute active readership.

     c.  If a patron or institution does not meet the criterion for an active reader, they are considered inactive and are no longer eligible to borrow materials and must return all equipment and materials to the LBPH.

2.  Braille and Audio Book Loans:

     a.  The loan period for all braille and recorded books is 60 days. The book’s due date is specified on the mailing card attached to the book container. Extensions to the 60 day limit may be requested on a case-by-case basis and only for extenuating circumstances which prevents meeting the 60 day limit and not a matter of convenience.

     b.  There are no fees or fines for overdue books, however, borrowers are urged to observe the loan period so books can be available for other readers.

     c.  An active patron may have a maximum of 20 books in each format (cassette, digital or braille) at any given time. This maximum may be lower depending on the individual circumstances. The limits for each format are not cumulative with other formats. Once the patron reaches the maximum number of books in a particular format, no additional books will be sent until another book is returned to bring the patron below the 20 book limit. There is no limit on the number of magazines that a patron may subscribe. On a case-by-case basis, a patron may request to increase the book limit due to extenuating circumstances.

3.  NLS Digital Magazine Loans:

     a.  All magazines are now distributed on digital cartridges and they must be returned to NLS within the prescribed time period.

     b.  The loan period for weekly magazines is 3 weeks. A digital cartridge is considered as a weekly if all magazines contained in the cartridge are weekly magazines.

     c.  The loan period for monthly magazines is 7 weeks. A monthly cartridge is one which contains at least one monthly magazine and may also include weekly magazines.

     d.  There is no limit on the number of NLS-produced magazines that readers can select, however, readers are urged to use discretion in selecting magazine titles so that the limited resources may be shared among all readers.

4.  Equipment Loans:

     a.  The loan period for audio playback machines and accessories is for as long as the patron is eligible for the service and as long as they actively use the equipment to read books and magazines produced by NLS or a network library.

     b.  In the event that the equipment ceases to function properly or needs repair, including the failure of the battery to recharge, return it to the LBPH and a replacement will be provided. If there is no container to ship back the playback machine, call the LBPH machine department and one will be sent or hold off sending back the broken machine until the replacement is received and then use that box.

     c.  If at all possible, include a note in the returned playback machine giving a brief description of the problem, or if the return is a cancellation.

     d.  A patron is permitted to borrow only one audio playback machine for each book format, such as a digital player and a cassette machine. This limit of one machine applies to all circumstances including schools and secondary addresses.

     e.  An institution is allowed to borrow more than one audio playback machine consistent with the number of residents anticipated to use the equipment. The institution maintains custody of the equipment which can be used by any eligible resident. However, it is preferable to register the eligible residents individually and have books and equipment loaned to them personally.

     f.  Under no circumstances shall a patron attempt to repair the audio playback equipment or accessories, or any other books and materials.  

5.  Patron Responsibilities:

     a.  Return audio and braille books within 60 days of receiving them. There are no late fees but please remember that other patrons may be waiting for the book and that we have only a limited number of copies for any title. Should a pattern of overdue books begin to emerge, then the LBPH may document the problem and begin discussions with the patron to resolve the problem. Extensions of the 60 day limit may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

     b.  Return books and playback equipment in the same container that you received them and flip over the mailing card to show the LBPH’s address. If a cartridge or cassette becomes separated, please return it in an envelope as soon as possible. Write “Free Matter for the Blind and Handicapped” in the upper right hand corner as no postage is required and send it to us via the U.S. Postal Service. There is no need to use any other service, such as UPS or FedEx, and the use of such services is at the patron’s own expense.

     c.  Deliver books and equipment into the hands of the U.S. Postal Service. This includes placing them in a mailbox, handing them directly to the mail carrier, or delivering them to the post office. Placing them on the doorstep of the borrower’s home for the mail carrier to pick up does not constitute delivery into the hands of the postal service and if problems arise by the use of this method, then the borrower is responsible for the lost or damaged books and equipment.

     d.  Provide due care and diligence when using the materials and equipment. If broken, return the materials to the LBPH preferably with a note enclosed if possible. If it is a book, please advise if you want the book to be sent again. If it is a playback machine, please include a note describing the problem or if it is a cancellation. There is no charge for damaged or inoperable materials and equipment nor for their replacement.

     e.  Notify the LBPH as soon as possible of any changes in address, a desire to cancel the service, a temporary or permanent transfer of service to another geographical area, or any other circumstance which affects library services.

     f.  Patrons may not lend books, magazines, or equipment to any other person.

6.  Suspension procedures:  In the event that any of these policies are repeatedly violated or there is serious service abuse, the patron’s service may be suspended for a period of time in accordance with the following:

     a.  The LBPH will first discuss the problem noted with the patron by telephone, in-person, or by email, then the LBPH will send a warning letter that summarizes the discussion and the problem and provides an opportunity for the patron to reply.

     b.  If service violations or abuse recur, a second written communication will be sent to the patron citing the earlier warning letter, listing examples of subsequent violation and/or abuse, giving the patron an opportunity to reply by a certain date, and then suspending the service for a stated period of up to 6 months.

     c.  When the service is resumed, a letter will be sent to the patron notifying him/her of the resumption of the service and reminding the patron that further recurrences will result in another suspension or service as it relates to the documented violations or abuse.

7.  Service abuse is considered a pattern of detrimental patron behavior or actions which, on a case-by-case basis, creates problems with the service and can include, but not limited to, the following:

     a.  Repeated requests for replacement of equipment and accessories that have been damaged by negligence, maliciousness, or unauthorized repair.

     b.  Excessive numbers of overdue books or digital magazines.

     c.  Repeated loss or damage of books or digital magazines.

     d.  Repeated abusive verbal attacks or behavior toward the LBPH staff or associated persons, such as volunteers, that is offensive or threatening.