Muenster Public Library

Circulation Policy

Circulation Policy

The Muenster Public Library will provide the widest possible circulation of materials.  Free access to circulating materials, prompt notice of overdue materials, and respect for personal privacy are all-important in this effort.

A.    Library Cards

All people of any age who can write both a first and last name are eligible to obtain and use patron cards. Minor children must have a responsible adult party co-sign their applications. As long as proper photo identification is given by an applicant, there are no restrictions regarding residence.

At the Library Director’s discretion, check-out privileges may be suspended for patrons with overdue materials or who have outstanding fines. If fines are not paid, suspension of Library privileges will remain in effect until the Library card expires.  If material is overdue, the suspension remains in effect until the material is returned or paid for.

The patron must present proof of identity and a residence address when applying for a Library card; a driver’s license is preferred.

A parent or guardian must sign the application form of a child under 18, at which time a child becomes of a legal age to accept financial responsibility. 

TexShare Card
The Muenster Public Library participates in the TexShare card program which is a reciprocal borrowing program established by the Texas State Library.  It is designed as a service to offer wider access to information and services.  This card allows the cardholder borrowing privileges at all TexShare libraries throughout the state of Texas. This includes libraries at all public and most private colleges and universities, as well as participating public libraries that belong to one of the regional library systems.

The card program allows registered users of participating TexShare libraries to obtain a TexShare card at their home library and use the card to borrow materials directly from other participating libraries.

Borrowers must have a valid TexShare card from their own library, a valid driver’s license or state issued ID card with photo showing their home address, a valid library card from their home library, and a parent’s signature of patrons under sixteen (any or all of these stipulations, according to your library’s policy).

The cardholder should return items to the lending library and is solely responsible for any expense involved in returning the items and for all fines and fees accrued at other libraries.  Patrons may have their TexShare card revoked if that patron has outstanding fees or fines with any TexShare Library. Failure to return materials or to pay outstanding charges will result not only in the cancellation of TexShare privileges, but in the suspension of borrowing privileges with the Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library.

B.    Patron Confidentiality

Library users will be free to use Library materials and services without fear of intrusion, intimidation or reprisal by government, community, or other individuals. This Library policy is pursuant to Vernon’s Annotated Civil Statutes, Article 6252-17a, and The Texas Open Records Act. All records relating to patron registration and circulation are considered to be confidential.  Such records shall be disclosed only if:

1.    The Library determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary to the operation of the Library and the records are not confidential under other laws;

2.    The records are released to the patron himself, or to his parents if he is a minor, or the patron has given permission, in writing, for the information to be released;

3.    The records are required under a valid court order or subpoena under the law.

C.    Privacy/Confidentiality of Records

The Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library supports every patron’s right to have his or her records remain confidential.  Library records include patron registration data, circulation records, overdue and reserve records, participation in library sponsored programs, library visits, and/or any data that contains information that links a specific materials or services used. It is the intent of the Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library to protect the privacy of those who use the Library.

Each patron has individual control over his/her borrower’s card and presentation of the card permits access to information about borrower’s current circulation record. Patron information will be retained only for the proper and efficient functions of the library, and only for as long as is necessary to perform those functions. Personal information, such as name, address, and telephone number, are kept indefinitely.  Except during the actual period of transaction (circulation, maintenance of record on unpaid fines, reservation of materials), the library will not maintain a record of transaction.  When no longer needed for administration purposes, physical records will be destroyed and computer files will be deleted from their respective systems or media.

Library program records, with names and telephone numbers, are kept until the program has taken place.  Meeting room reservations with contact names, telephone numbers, and purpose of meeting are also kept until after the meeting has taken place.

In compliance with Chapter 552 (Texas Open Records Act) of the Local Government Code, confidentiality of the records of any library or library system which is supported in whole or part by public funds, that identify or serve to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used library materials or service, no information will be released to any person, agency, or organization except in response to a valid court order or subpoena of district court properly presented to the Library Director.

Nothing in this policy shall prevent authorized library personnel from using library records in the administration of their regular duties.

The Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library affirms the provisions of the American Library Association’s statement on Privacy:  An Interpretation of Library Bill of Rights (see Appendices).

Be advised that The USA Patriot Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-56) overrides all state laws protecting the patron’s right to privacy.  Section 215 of Access to Records Under Foreign Intelligence Security (FISA):
•    Allows an FBI agent to obtain a search warrant for “any tangible thing”, which can include books, records, papers, floppy discs, data tapes and computers with hard drives.

•    Permits the FBI to compel production of library circulation records, Internet use records, and registration information stored in any medium.

•    Does not require the agent to demonstrate “probable cause”, the existence of specific facts to support the belief that a crime has been committed or that the items sought are evidence of a crime.  Instead, the agent only needs to claim that he believes that the records he wants may be related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorism or intelligence activities, a very low legal standard.

•    Libraries or librarians served with a search warrant issued under FISA rules may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existence of the warrant or the fact that records were produced as a result of the warrant.  A patron cannot be told that his/her records were given to the FBI or that she or he is subject to investigation.


Overdue Fines

Overdue fine amounts will be set by The Friends of the Muenster Public Library Board, and may be adjusted at the Director’s discretion with just cause. Overdue fines will be accrued at $0.10 per item per day overdue.
Loan Periods

Books and audio books will have a loan period of two weeks. For videotapes, CDs and DVDs, the loan period is one week.


One fourteen (14) day renewal of books is permitted, if the item is not reserved by another patron.  One week renewals of videotapes, DVDs, and music compact discs are permitted if the item is not reserved by another library user.

Items may be renewed in person, or by telephone, unless there is a reserve or hold placed on the material.

Materials that are overdue cannot be renewed by telephone.  Interlibrary loan materials may not be renewed.
Circulation Limits

Two books may be checked out on the day that a library card is acquired.  After this initial use, the limits of all materials will be left to the discretion of The Muenster Public Library personnel.
Forgotten Cards

Materials will be checked out to those who have forgotten their Library card upon proof of identity, or authorization from the responsible party whose signature is on file at The Muenster Public Library.
Special Loans

The Library Director may establish the loan period and limit the number of materials in a special collection.  (For example, materials in temporary great demand for student projects.)

Patrons may be granted extended loan periods for a special need or to cover times when they will be out of town.  The Library Director will determine which items qualify for extended loan periods.

Reference materials do not circulate without special permission from the Library Director.  If permission is given, books are checked out overnight.



Patrons will be notified of overdue materials promptly, either by phone or mail.  Second notices will be only by mail. If patrons fail to respond to second notices, the Muenster Police Department will be notified.

Lost Materials

Patrons who lose materials will reimburse the Library the price paid for the item, or a price determined by the Library Director.  If this information is not available, a predetermined average cost will be charged.  No processing fee is charged.

The Library will accept replacement of lost or damaged Library materials.

Patrons who pay for lost Library materials may have the cost of the item refunded if the item is returned at a later date in good condition.
Claims Returned

When a patron claims to have returned the materials which is recorded as checked out to him, the patron will be given the benefit of the doubt, unless the patron is a chronic offender (more than three instances).

A patron can have a maximum of two “Claims Returned” or “Never Hads”.  Any items over that limit will be considered as lost, and must be paid for or replaced by the patron.


1.    Reserves: A reserve is a hold placed on an item that is checked out or is otherwise unavailable at the time of the hold.  Patrons may place a reserve at the Circulation Desk, by mail, by phone, or by e-mail on a specific item that is currently checked out. When more than one reserve is placed on the item, a queue will be established, and each request will be filled in the order that they were received. When the item is returned to the library, the patron will be notified that the item is being held for them at the Circulation Desk for three days.  The specific date will be included in this notification in order to avoid confusion. Patrons may be notified by mail, telephone, or by e-mail.

A patron may have no more that ten (10) outstanding reserve requests at one time.  Further, the patron may only place one reserve per title. Patrons are responsible for notifying the Library if they no longer require a reserved item and wish to be removed from the waiting list. 

2.  Interlibrary loan requests: Materials from the collections of other public, academic, and special libraries may be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan. Patrons may request that the library attempt to locate books or copies of journal or periodical articles that are not available in the Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library.

Libraries do not lend rare or fragile items, audio-visual materials or items in high demand. Most libraries do not lend genealogy, microfilm or items designated as reference in their catalogs.  Libraries are under no obligation to lend materials.

Interlibrary loan materials cannot be renewed and those materials returned late with be assessed a fine of $5.00 per day.  Patrons who fail to return materials borrowed on their behalf will be charged the cost of the item (as determined by the lending library).

Borrowers are asked to sign the following statement:

I understand that as an interlibrary loan borrower, I am responsible for:
•    Any charges assessed by the lending library, whether or not I choose to use the material;
•    Overdue fines of $5.00 per day as assessed by Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library and additional charges/fines/fees imposed by the lending institution;
•    Replacement cost  if the materials are lost or damaged;
•    Compliance with the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

G.    Fees, Charges and Fines

Fines:  A fine of 10 cents per day, including Sundays and holidays is charged for each overdue item.  Any patron with overdue materials will be held responsible for all fines, postage costs, and legal costs involved in the recovery of the materials.
Maximum fine:  In order to encourage return of long-overdue materials, there is a maximum per item fee of half the cost of the item for overdue materials returned.

Replacement Cost-Damaged:  When an item has been damaged enough to warrant replacement, the patron will be charged the original cost of the item. The Library will accept replacement copies.

Replacement Cost-Lost:  The fee for lost items is the price of the item. If the item is found within one year and returned in usable condition, the replacement cost will be refunded. The overdue fines are not refundable.  Library users who request a refund must provide the receipt that was issued by the Library at the time the payment was made.  Refunds over $50.00 will be mailed directly to the patron.

Other charges:  It is the policy of the Bettie M. Luke Muenster Public Library to charge for photocopying and printing at public-access machines to defray financial costs, conserve resources, and ensure equity-of-access standards. The following fees will be charged which have not been covered elsewhere:

•    Photocopying-$0.10 per page
•    Printing-$.20 per page for color
•    Printing-$0.10 per page for black and white
•    Scanning-$2.00 for the first file saved to Floppy or CD; + $1.00 each thereafter
•    Scanning-$1.00 each black and white page
•    Replacement of lost library card-$3.00 per card

*See below for statement on copyright compliance in regard to photocopying and scanning.