3.1 Borrowing and Library Account Policy


In order to exercise good stewardship over the lending collections, borrowing parameters are set by Traverse Area District Library (TADL).  TADL aims to keep books and other media in hands of people who want them, as long as they need them, while encouraging on-time return of borrowed materials for use by others.  TADL policies and procedures are designed to foster the highest possible utilization of the lending collection, a limited resource. The Library Director has authority to establish any procedures needed to implement this policy. Loan periods, fines and notices are to be uniformly applied throughout the District.

Confidentiality of Library Records

Pursuant to “The Library Privacy Act” (MCL 397.603), library records are not subject to disclosure without the written consent of the person liable for payment for or return of the materials identified in that library record.

The Library will refuse the issuance or enforcement of any process, order or subpoena for library records or portions thereof protected by the Library Privacy Act until such time as the proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Mailing lists maintained by TADL which are derived from library card applications are for library use only and are also protected by the Library Privacy Act. Mailing lists of cardholders will not be sold or given to the general public. 

Borrowing Classifications

All library borrowing card applicants are required to show proof of their identity with a current photo ID and provide proof their current address/residency before a card will be issued.

  • Resident Borrowing
    Residents eligible for full borrowing privileges with no fee must reside within the Library’s taxing district (Grand Traverse County, Elmwood Township in Leelanau County, and Almira and Inland Townships in Benzie County).

Residents residing in counties that are part of the Northland Library Cooperative (Alcona, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, and Wexford) are eligible for a library card with no fee. However, per licensing agreements, certain online database services are not available outside the TADL taxing district. Borrowing from the Library of Things is also not available. 

Outside of the above counties, existing library card holders may maintain their TADL library cards as a Non-resident borrowing status. No cards will be issued to new patrons from those areas. 

  • Non-resident Borrowing

Non-resident cards are available, one per household, at the rate of $100 per year, or $50 for (6) six months or less. A Non-resident is defined as persons outside of the Resident Borrowing and Short-term Resident/Visitor classifications above. A “household” includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit as their usual place of residence. The fee must be paid by cash or credit card at the time the card is issued. Non-residents do not have access to certain online database services, interlibrary loans, or items from the Library of Things. TADL will only issue one card per household.  

  • Limited Borrowing
    • Short-term Residents and Visitors

Library cards with reduced borrowing limits may be issued to applicants currently residing in short-term housing or those visiting the area. Short-term and visitor status is defined as a place a person on the average would stay less than a month, which include, but are not limited to hotels, motels, halfway houses, campgrounds or temporary shelters, and relatives/friend homes. Limited cards expire after three (3) months, whereupon residence must be re-verified for renewal.  

    • Youth

Youth under 16 years old who are not accompanied by their legal guardian may be issued library cards which provide access to computers, online resources, and a borrowing limit of (3) items. Special identification accommodations may be made for this group. Parent(s)/Guardians may request to update the minor’s account from the limited status to a full patron account at any time after issuance. 

  • Computer Use Only

For patrons living outside of the TADL service area or living in transient housing, computer use only library cards provide access to computers in all (6) six libraries in the TADL district and are valid for (1) one year. 

Parameters of Card Eligibility and Privileges

  • Library Card Eligibility
    Proof of identity and address/residency must be provided in order to apply for, or renew, a borrowing card.  Procedures for proving eligibility shall be established by the Circulation Department and approved by the Director.
  • Borrowing Privileges
    An established account is required in order to borrow materials from the Library.  Library account holders that forget their card, may still exercise full borrowing privileges using a valid Michigan driver’s license or Michigan ID. Borrowers are limited to three items who use any other current picture ID.
  • No Age Discrimination
    The Library does not distinguish between a youth or an adult card when items are borrowed. Youth are permitted to borrow any type of library material. 
  • Borrowing Periods and Conditions
    The Library Director, in collaboration with Leadership staff and collection usage statistics, may determine lending item limits, lending time limits, and renewal limits that support good stewardship. Materials are to be returned by the end of the day on which they are due.  Borrowers are to be informed of delinquent status of accounts.  
  • Special Service Limitations
    Some digital service contracts require that, in order to access the digital resource, the cardholder reside in the taxing district as defined under Borrowing Classifications. 
  • Suspension of Borrowing Privileges
    Borrowing privileges will be suspended for accounts with more than ten overdue items or with owed fee balances of $10 or more. Borrowers may bring fees below the $10 cap with partial payments. 

Fines and Fees

Items in the regular library collection are free from overdue fines. TADL may charge fines or fees for specific library items and functions including, but not limited to: items classified as “Hot”, current year magazines, kits, presentation equipment, and lending items from the Library of Things. Maximum fines shall not exceed the cost of the item. 

Replacement of Lost and Damaged Materials
A replacement fee is charged to the borrower account if an item is lost or damaged and beyond repair.  Items not returned 45 days past the due date are defined as Lost.  If a missing part cannot be individually replaced, the full replacement cost is billed to the borrower account.  Overdue fines are over-ridden by replacement cost.

Responsibility for Youth Borrowing and Library Account
A borrower less than 18 years old and the parent or guardian of the borrower less than 18 years old, is responsible for any fees, fines, damage to the library or its collections, or other costs incurred by the minor cardholder at the library and the return of materials borrowed by the minor. The Library Record of a minor may be released to either the minor or the parent or guardian.

Material Recovery Agency

The Library Director is authorized to utilize a material recovery agency to assist with seriously delinquent accounts. Accounts are referred to the agency 60 days after the due date when the account balance exceeds $25.00.  The account is billed an additional one-time service charge when submitted to the agency based on the agency fees.  

Policy new on August 18, 2022, combining former policies: 3.1 Borrowing Privileges; 3.2 Borrowing Parameters and Delinquent Charges; 3.21 Fines and Lending Periods; 3.3 Limited Borrowing Privileges; 3.4 Confidentiality of Library Records; and 3.5 Mailing Lists Available to the Public