Borrower's Policy Print Email

REVISIONS: August 20, 2013, September 18, 2012, May 18, 2010, March 17, 2009, Dec. 16, 2008, May 20, 2008, September 9, 2007, May 24, 2005,
July 22, 2004, September 16, 2003, November 21, 2000, March 18, 1997

ADOPTED: August 16, 1994


SCOPE: This policy defines who is eligible for a WCLS library card and limitations to borrowing privileges.

I. The Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) is a system of libraries serving the diverse needs of area residents of all ages.  All library branches and bookmobile are open to the public.  Anyone may browse or use reference materials, attend library programs, and otherwise use services in the library facilities. 

II.  Eligibility for a Library Card

The following categories of individuals are eligible to register for library cards with provision of current address and proof of identity: 

  1. All residents of Whatcom County 
  1. Non-residents of the Library District who pay taxes to support the Library District, such as individuals who work in or own businesses or property located in Whatcom County. 
  1. Card holders who reside in communities with which WCLS has a reciprocal borrowing agreement, including but not limited to:
    1. Fraser Valley Regional Library (Canada)
    2. Sno-Isle Regional Library System
    3. Timberland Regional Library System 
  1. Bellingham Public Library card holders may use their BPL cards to borrow materials at WCLS libraries and bookmobile through a reciprocal agreement. 
  1. Nonresidents must purchase a library card for an annual fee to borrow materials. 
  1. Visitors to Whatcom County may purchase temporary library cards to borrow materials for a monthly fee. Non-residents and visitors must provide identification showing permanent address. 
  1. Whatcom County business firms and institutions may be issued agency library cards upon the written approval of the owner and/or official authorized to enter contracts on behalf of the business or institution. 
  1. Minors under 18 years of age may receive a library card with a parent’s or guardian’s signature.  Parent/guardian signatures will not be required for minors who are demonstrably free of parental control, such as through marriage. 

III.  Limitations on borrowing privileges 

  1. Borrowing privileges may be denied for: 
    1. Failure to return overdue library materials or failure to pay for damaged or overdue materials. Money received for lost material will be refunded or credited if the materials are returned within one year of the last transaction. 

    1. Due cause including failure to comply with library rules, destruction of library property, and disturbance of other library patrons. See WCLS Disruptive Behavior Policy. 
  1. Lost or stolen cards: Lost or stolen library cards should be reported to the library immediately.  A replacement card will be issued at no cost.


  1. It is not recommended that library cards be loaned as the Borrower is still responsible for all materials borrowed on the card. 


  1. Borrowers are normally expected to present their library cards each time they wish to borrow materials from the library. If the computer is down borrowers are required to present their cards to borrow materials.

  1. The overdue fees shall be levied according to Attachment A, Schedule of Fines and Fees. 

6.  Other charges: 

  1. If library materials are not returned after the maximum fine has been reached, the borrower will be charged for the list price of the item at the time of purchase.
  2. If an item is returned damaged or with missing parts, the borrower will be charged according to guidelines maintained by the Library.
  3. Past due financial accounts may be submitted to a private collection agency for collection.  An additional fee(s) may be charged to any account submitted to a collection agency. 
  1. If an adult borrower fails to pick up a requested item prior to the pickup deadline, a fee will be charged.

7.  Exceptions:

  1. Fines and lost charges may be waived in cases of library error or exceptional circumstances, according to guidelines established by the library.
  2. If a payment plan is developed and followed, collection agency accounts may be temporarily suspended and limited checkout privileges may be restored. 

IV.  Privacy:  It is the policy of Whatcom County Library System to protect the privacy of library borrowers.  See the WCLS Policy on Confidentiality of Patron Records.

Adopted by the Whatcom County Library System Board of Trustees:

Borrower's Policy
Attachment A (Effective January 1, 2013)

1. Nonresident card fees:

a. Family Fee $52.00 (up to 8 cards)

b. Adult Fee (18-65) $40.00

c. Child Fee (under 18) $20.00

d. Senior (65 and older)/Disabled Fee $20.00

2. Visitor’s Card Fee $5.00 per month

3. If library materials are returned late:

a. Items classified as adult items, following a grace period of 2 days: $.25 per item per day to a maximum of $10.00 per item regardless of card used.

b. Items classified for children and teens, checked out by minors on children's cards: No overdue fines; items that are more than 60 days overdue will be considered lost. Damaged and lost fees apply.

c. Items classified for children and teens and checked out on an adult card following a 2 day grace period: $.10 per day per item to a maximum fine of $5.00 per item.

4. If the account is submitted to collection agency: $10.00

5. If an adult borrower fails to pick up a requested adult item prior to the pickup deadline: $.50

6. Lost items or missing parts:

a. Lost items will be charged to the patron's account at their replacement value according to library records

b. Missing parts that are not returned by a specified date will incur a missing part fee: $5.00

Adopted by the Whatcom County Library System Board of Trustees.


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