Library Card Information

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The Mendocino County Library is a free, public library. With a library card, anyone may borrow materials, request books, use the public access computers, or use the databases for magazines and newspapers.

Library Card Holder Privileges and Responsibilities

The Library is committed to providing excellent customer service as well as free, convenient, and reasonable access to the Library’s collections and services. The Library must balance this commitment with its responsibility as a steward of resources paid for with public funds. To protect each individual's access to information and services, the Library has established rules governing the circulation of Library materials. These rules protect the borrowing privileges of Library patrons and preserve and protect the Library's materials

Cardholder Rights and Privileges

  1. General Library Cards are issued free of charge to any resident of California or anyone who owns property in the state. Applications must be turned in up to 15 minutes before closing.
  2. General Library Cards may be used at any Mendocino County Library branch. Mendocino Library card holders may also use their cards at Lake County Libraries and Sonoma County Libraries.
  3. A person may have only one Mendocino County Library Card and account.
  4. A General Library Card entitles the cardholder to full access to the collections, electronic information, and services of the Library without charge.  
    • "Collections" includes the use of all formats, including books, discs (CD/DVD), and other tangible formats.
    • "Electronic information" includes information available via a computer, including but not limited to the public catalog, online reference sources, and downloadable content.
    • "Services" includes, but is not limited to special collections, internet access, interlibrary loan services, and placing requests.
  5. Limited Use Cards are issued under the following circumstances:
    • Out of state residents who are visiting the area
    • California residents with no address verification
    • People under 18 without an address verification or parent/legal guardian's signature.
  6. Limited Use Cards are good for access to most library services except for programs such as Interlibrary Loans, the Zip program, circulating technology (such as iPads, Kindles, laptops), and some online services. Limited Use Cards are limited to 4 checkouts at one time.
  7. eCards are available for internet access within the library and/or access to some of the electronic resources.
  8. Online Cards can be made through our Find Catalog and can be used for most online resources. The Online Cards need to be converted to General Cards before physical items can be checked out and before some resources are accessible.
  9. The Library reserves the right to issue special cards such as the Educator Card or the Agency Card for which non-standard borrowing privileges apply.

 Rights of Adults & Children

  1. Adults are responsible, physically and financially, for all materials checked out on their own card.
  2. Parents or guardians are responsible, physically and financially, for all materials checked out on their child’s card, ages 17 and younger.
  3. If a parent or guardian wishes to cancel a child’s library card account, the adult should contact a local branch library in writing or in person.
  4. The Library does not provide group library card accounts.  Each person must have his or her own library card account.

Cardholder Responsibilities

  1. Patrons are financially responsible for all items checked out on their cards until those items are returned. The responsibility for returning materials on time rests with the patron and is not dependent upon receipt of a notice from the Library.
  2. The Library requires that each applicant for a library card provide information to enable the Library to contact the cardholder about their account.
    • Adults (people 18 years and older) must provide an acceptable form of identification and proof of address.
    • Youth (people 17 years old and younger) must provide an acceptable form of personal identification or a parent/guardian with an acceptable form of identification, proof of address, and an application signed by a parent or guardian acknowledging their financial responsibility. The application informs parents and guardians of their responsibility for resources checked out on their child’s card.
    • The list of acceptable forms of identification is available online and at all public service desks.
  3. Cardholders are responsible for late fees and charges for lost, destroyed or damaged materials.
  4. Notifications about library services or materials are sent using the contact information supplied by the cardholder.
  5. It is the library card holder’s responsibility to inform the library about any updates to the contact information in their library account.
  6. Lost or stolen library cards should be reported to the Library immediately to avoid any fees incurred by an unauthorized user.
  7. Anyone requesting a replacement card must show an acceptable form of identification.
  8. A library card holder’s right to use that card to checkout materials is denied if:
    • The fines and fees charged to the account are above the threshold listed below.
    • The cardholder has the maximum number of items checked out to the account.
    • The library card has been reported lost.
    • The patron has been excluded from using the library under the Library’s Standards of Behavior policy.

Circulation Parameters

Unpaid Fines and Fees

A patron with more than $20 in fines and fees on their library card account is blocked from checking out materials until the amount owed is lower than $20.

Billing notices are sent to patrons who have delinquent accounts that total more than $100.

If the account is still delinquent thirty (30) days after a billing notice is sent, the Library forwards the account to its Collection Agency. If the account is referred to the collection agency, the cardholder must pay a $10 service fee in addition to the amount owed on the account.

Waiving Fines & Fees

Fines may be waived under the following circumstances:

  • An inadvertent error in library routines.
  • Unexpected library closure.
  • A natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.)
  • Participation in a program such as “food for fines”

Loan Periods for Circulating Material

 Material type Loan period
 Books  21 days
 Periodicals  21 days
 DVDs with 1-2 discs
 21 days
 DVDs with 3 or more discs
 21 days
 Audiobooks  21 days
 Music CDs
 21 days
 Games/various items
 E-books  21 days
 E-audiobooks  21 days
 Laptops/various items
 3 hours - in library use only
 Do-it-Yourself Toolkits
 21 days

Mendocino County Library may pilot new formats and collections using loan periods not listed in this Appendix.

Loan limits

A general cardholder may have 50 items checked out at one time. Of those 50 items, no more than two may be video or board games, and no more than 20 items may be DVDs.

Special items such as tablets, laptops and games may only be checked out to Mendocino General cardholders and need to be returned directly to the lending branch.

Limited Use cards

Limited Use cardholders may have 4 items checked out at one time and are limited to 4 requests. Limited Use cards need to be renewed annually.


Items may renew up to three times if there are no requests on the item. If there are requests on the item, it cannot be renewed. If an item is in a special collection such as a “Lucky Day” item, renewals are not permitted.


A cardholder may have a total of 30 requests at one time.

A requested item is held for a patron for 10 calendar days before being returned to the shelf or sent to the next patron in the request queue or returned to the shelves.

Any item on request for a patron will remain active until filled or for 270 calendar days, or until the item is no longer available, whichever comes first.

Fines and Charges

Library items may be returned to any library branch in Mendocino, Lake or Sonoma counties. Late fees are charged according to the branch the items were checked out at. There is a book drop available for use when the branches are closed. Patrons will be charged for overdue, lost or damaged items.

Schedule of charges

 Material type Loan period

Adult items
 $0.25/day up to $10.00 per item
Children's items
 $0.10/day up to $2.00 per item

Item damaged beyond use
 List price as indicated in library system
Lost and not returned
 List price as indicated in library system

Interlibrary loan for our patrons
 $2.00 each, possible additional charges by lending library
Interlibrary loan fee to other states
 $10.00 each
Damaged Interlibrary loan item
 Fee determined by lending library
Lost Interlibrary loan item
 Fee determined by lending library
Printing and photocopies
  $0.10 per page
Flash drives
  $5.00 each
Ear buds
  $3.00 each