Circulation Practices, May 2004 (v.7, n.3)

The FY2004 Annual Report Information Survey included a section of the Additional Information Survey (AIS) on public library circulation practices. The AIS asked questions about fines, standard loan and grace periods, renewals, overdue notification, and charges for out-of-state residents. Three hundred and sixty four (98.4%) of the three hundred and seventy public libraries in Massachusetts completed and returned the AIS.

Overdue Fines

294 (81%) of 363 libraries reported charging overdue fines. For those libraries that charged fines, rates varied based on the type of media borrowed.

Overdue Rates (per day) Books-Children's
(260 responses)
Books-Adult
(263 responses)
Videos
(288 responses)
Audios
(264 responses)
Most frequent response and % responding $.05 (53%) $.10 (49%) $1.00 (66%) $.10 (47%)
Second (and third) most frequent response and % responding $.10 (37%) $.05 (44%) $.05 (8.7%)
$2.00 (7.6%)
$.05 (41%)
Range of responses $.01-$1.00 $.02-$1.00 $.02-$2.00
(one outlier- $10.00)
$.02-$1.00

Maximum Fines

Approximately 65% of the Commonwealth's public libraries reported maximum fines for books and audios. 70% reported maximum fines for videos.

Maximum Fines Books-Children's
(243 responses)
Books-Adult
(247 responses)
Videos
(288 responses)
Audios
(264 responses)
Most frequent response and % responding $3.00 (31%) $3.00 (28%) $5.00 (35%) $3.00 (25%)
Second most frequent response and % responding $2.00 (27%) $2.00 (25%) $10.00 (26%) $2.00 (22%)
Third most frequest response and % responding $5.00 (16%) $5.00 (19%) $2.00 (8%) $5.00 (18%)
Range of responses $.01-$10.00 $.10-$10.00 $.50-$30.00 $.50-$25.00

Grace Periods

37% of public libraries reported offering grace periods before fines were imposed for books and audios. 24% offered grace periods for videos.

Grace Period (# of days) Books-Children's
(138 responses)
Books-Adult
(138 responses)
Videos
(89 responses)
Audios
(131 responses)
Most frequent response and % responding 1 (40%) 1 (40%) 1 (64%) 1 (40%)
Second most frequent response and % responding 3 (27%) 3 (27%) 3 (12%) 3 (26%)
Range of responses 1-30
(one outlier-90)
1-30
(one outlier-90)
1-30 1-30
(one outlier-90)

Renewals

Of the 358 libraries that responded to the question about renewals, 356 libraries (99%) reported they renew adult books, 355 (99%) reported they renew children's books, and 347 (97%) renew audios. 256 libraries (72%) reported allowing video renewal.

Renewals Books-Children's Books-Adult Videos Audios
(% of libraries responding) Yes (99%) Yes (99%) Yes (72%) Yes (97%)
(% of libraries responding) No (1%) No (1%) No (28%) No (3%)

Overdue notification

354 (98%) of the 362 libraries that responded to the question about notifying their patrons about overdue materials indicated they notify borrowers either by phone, mail or e-mail.

Charges to Out-of-State Residents

Most public libraries in Massachusetts (294, or 82% of the 357 libraries that responded to this question) reported that they do not charge residents of other states to borrow materials from their libraries. 63 libraries (18%) reported charging residents of other states for borrowing privileges.



Prepared by James Lonergan, State Aid Specialist

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Page last updated on 08/27/2007