Circulation Policies

Below you will find Mid-Columbia Libraries policy documents that pertain to circulation. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your local branch.



Persons of any age may acquire a library card with Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL). Mid-Columbia Libraries considers the library card application to be a legally binding contract and recognizes the obligation of a parent/legal guardian to be financially responsible for their minor children (under the age of 18).

1.    MCL issues a variety of library cards, including, but not limited to:

a.    Juvenile (residents and service area students birth to age 12).

  • Library cards with this patron code provide access to books, children's DVDs, digital resources and computers.
b.    Adult (residents and service area students or teachers ages 13+)
c.    Non-resident
d.    Institution
e.    Homebound
f.    Staff
g.   Access 

2.    Minor children (under the age of 18) may get a library card without a parent/legal guardian present. A parent/legal guardian is required to sign the library card application accepting cardholder responsibilities for his/her child (under the age of 18).

a.     This signature constitutes the parent's or legal guardian's permission for the child to have a card and signifies a willingness to assume financial responsibility for all materials checked out on the child's card.

b.     Records for minor children can be provided to parents/guardians in instances of negative account activity.

c.     If no parent/legal guardian is available to sign the library card application, another adult may also give permission for a minor to acquire an Access card.

3.    Photo ID, date of birth, and proof of current address are required for the initial library card application. The photo ID and proof of current address of a parent/legal guardian may be presented for their minor children (under the age of 18). Digital only cards can be created for introductory services using the library’s website with proof of address verification.

a.     If no proof of address or no identification with photo is available, staff may issue an Access Card.

4.    A verification of information is required for changes to existing accounts (address, contact, or name changes or to replace a library card).

5.    Library cards are issued for five years. At the end of this time, a verification of information is required for continued use.  Non-resident, Institutional, and Access cards may be issued for smaller periods of time.

6.    Customers should present their own library card or username and password to check out materials, use the computer, or pay charges on their accounts.

7.    Borrowing privileges for physical items are suspended when a customer has an outstanding balance on their account in the amount of $25.00 or more. When the outstanding balance on an account falls below $25.00 suspended privileges are restored.

8.     Customers have the privilege of claiming that they have returned materials that the circulation system indicates are still checked out to them.  Likewise, customers have the privilege of claiming that they did not check out an item that the circulation system indicates is checked out on their account.  A limit of three active or unresolved claims is allowed.  A fourth active claim will result in suspension of borrowing privileges.

(1/17/2023; 11/19/2019; 05/15/2018; 11/21/2017; 10/17/2017; 04/19/2016; 06/16/2015; 11/15/2010; 09/20/2010; 02/17/2009; 09/15/2008; 09/18/2006; Adopted 04/18/1994)


Mid-Columbia Libraries provides library services to community groups. This policy allows an institution, as defined in the policy, to acquire a library card to be used to carry out the mission of the institution.

1.    Library cards may be issued to institutions such as licensed daycares, schools, and non-profit agencies for a period of one year following completion of the Institutional Card Letter of Agreement. At the end of this time, a verification of information is required for continued use.

2.    The individual who completes the Institutional Agreement form commits the institution to financial responsibility for any and all materials checked out on the card.

3.    Possession of the institution’s library card by an individual implies permission and authority to use the card.

4.    Institutional cards used to carry out the mission of an institution are subject to the same rules as individual cards, but are exempt from standard loan periods and limits.



(11/19/2019; 03/2018; 04/19/2016; 05/20/2014; 11/20/2006; Adopted 01/22/2001)

See also: Section 210 Circulation, No. 40 Acquiring and Using an Mid-Columbia Libraries Library Card


1.    Lost or Damaged Items

a.    Customers will be charged the original retail price listed in the item record to cover the cost of the item.

b.    When there is no cost listed in the item record, a fee will be charged. Mid-Columbia Libraries will establish the fee from industry sources.

c.    Customers may not provide replacement copies for lost or damaged items.

d.    Customers who pay for lost items, but return them in good condition, within 30 days of payment for the items are eligible for a refund. A refund due a customer with outstanding lost item(s) on their account will be applied to the account to pay other lost, missing, or damaged items.

e.    Damaged items become the property of the borrower upon payment and if claimed within thirty (30) days.

f.     At the discretion of the library, severely damaged items may be disposed of upon return, but the customer is still liable.


2.    Missing Parts

a.    Customers are responsible for costs related to replacement of missing parts in multiple item sets.

b.    These charges vary depending on the item that is missing.

c.    Refunds will not be given on payments made by customers for missing parts as the cost to replace the item has already been incurred by the library.


(05/20/2014; 09/20/2010; 07/17/2006; Adopted 04/18/1994)



Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) encourages customers to respect the terms of the loan agreement and to handle borrowed materials responsibly and with care for the benefit of all library users and the entire Mid-Columbia area. Mid-Columbia Libraries observes the following:

1.    Customers will be charged the original retail cost as reflected in the item record for any materials lost or damaged beyond repair.

2.    If the original retail cost is not listed in the item record, a replacement fee will be charged.

3.    Customers served by Homebound services will not be charged replacement charges.

4.    A lost or stolen library card will be replaced without fee.

5.    Mid-Columbia Libraries reserves the right to refer accounts owing $50.00 or more to a collection agency. All accounts referred to the collection agency will be charged a $10.00 collection agency fee.

(11/19/2019; 10/20/2015; 06/29/2012; 06/21/2011; 09/15/2008; 07/07/2006; Adopted 04/18/1994)

See also: Section 230 Outreach, No. 1 Homebound Status and Service



Dependent Adult – Person over the age 18 who has been assigned a guardian by a court of law

Legal Guardian – Person who has legal custody of a minor or has been appointed by the courts to care for a dependent adult

Minor – Under the age of 18

Private Cardholder Information – Includes name, date of birth, address, phone number, library materials in use or on hold, etc. or any combination thereof

It is the policy of MCL to protect the privacy of library borrowers, in accordance with the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the State of Washington.  Free and uninhibited access to library materials and information, as well as the right to dissent, is necessary to a democratic society. An individual must be able to inquire or read freely, without worry of being monitored, damaging one’s reputation, being ostracized, or liable for criminal penalties.

A customer’s registration and/or circulation records will not be released to any other person, except that a parent or legal guardian will be given access to the circulation records of his or her child 17 years of age and younger. The parent/legal guardian must present their own photo ID and provide the full name, address, telephone number, and birth date of the child.

All records, containing private cardholder information, will be kept out of public reach and view. When no longer needed, the records will be shredded or otherwise destroyed before being discarded.

Library volunteers shall not access cardholder records, both registration and circulation, except for those persons acting as proxy for library staff as defined in Circulation Policy, No. 43 Off-Site Registrations.

In order to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy, RCW 42.56.050 and RCW 42.56.210 all such information contained in these registration and circulation records in respect to specific customers shall not be made available to non-library employees by any library officer, employee, or volunteer worker, except under the explicit written order of the Library Executive Director, such order having been issued in pursuance of proper legal law process, order or subpoena under the law.

Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the person who has been named and/or served shall report to and consult with the Library Executive Director and the library's attorney to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper legal form and shows therein a proper cause for issuance.

If the process, order or subpoena is not in proper form, or if good cause has not been shown, insistence shall be made to the proper persons that such defects be remedied before any records are released.

The legal process requiring the production of circulation records shall ordinarily be in the form of subpoena duces tecum (bring your records), requiring an officer and/or employee of Mid-Columbia Libraries to present to the court named in the legal process, either in person or by means of deposition, certain specifically designated registration and/or circulation records involving a specifically named customer of the library.

In the event the legal process fails to sufficiently identify or name in specific terms or specifications the records on file in respect to an identified library customer, this policy regards such request to be defective and not binding upon the library and its officers and employees, except under further due process of law.

None of the foregoing shall be deemed applicable, however, to the communication of information among other libraries in the area relating solely to improper activities of users (such as falsifying names, addresses, failing to return materials or damaging materials), provided that the information is used by the libraries solely for the purpose of guarding against loss or damage to the other libraries involved, and is not in any way divulged or made public to any person, firm or corporation for any purpose, and providing further that the cooperating library or library districts enter into an agreement protecting the privacy of said records, and restricting the use solely to the protection and apprehension of improper or illegal activities regarding various library properties.

Any problems or conditions relating to the privacy of circulation records which are not provided for in this policy statement shall be referred to the Executive Director, who upon proper study of the issues, and as necessary upon the advice and counsel of the library's attorney, shall render a written decision as to whether to heed the request.

(11/20/2006; Adopted 12/16/1982)

See also: Section 210 Circulation, No. 43. Off-Site Registrations


Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) offers a large selection of materials, in a variety of formats, for use by its customers. Limits have been established for check-out and renewal to assure that all customers have an opportunity to enjoy these materials.

1.    Loan Limits

a.    A maximum of 100 items may be checked out on a customer’s library card.

b.    Most materials may be checked out for a three-week period. MCL may assign different loan limits for designated collections. Some items are available for in-library use only.

c.    Adult DVDs may not be checked out on a child’s library card.

d.    Library cards with Access parton code are limited to three physical items.


2.    Renewals

a.    Items may be renewed up to five times for the original loan period. 

b.    Materials for which there is an active reserve cannot be renewed.


3.    Due Date Information

a.    Customers are responsible for knowing when their items are due.

b.    A printed receipt with due dates can be provided upon check-out. If the receipt is lost, this information can be obtained online, by telephone, or by visiting any branch of MCL.


(1/17/2023; 1/18/2022; 5/18/2021; 9/15/2020; 11/19/2019; 12/20/2016; 09/25/2013; 06/21/2011; 04/21/2008; 11/20/2006; Adopted 04/18/1994)