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Community Patron Policy

Library Accounts

Onondaga County residents may borrow library materials, but they must first register as a community borrower and show a form of photo ID (usually a NYS driver's license) to receive a library card. After the patron fills out a registration card, a Coulter Library card is issued, and s/he may borrow up to 10 (ten) items at one time.

Community patrons must have a library card to check out library materials, and are responsible for all items charged to their account. It is the patron's responsibility to inform the library of a lost or stolen card, or change of address or phone number. Patrons in violation of any library policy may lose their privileges at the discretion of the librarian.

NOTE: A community patron does not need an ID card to use the computers in the library. There is no database access off-campus for community patrons, but the library's online catalog may be accessed anywhere.

Circulation of Materials

Materials may be loaned for the following time periods:

  • Books: three weeks (two renewals allowed)
  • CDs: two weeks (no renewals allowed)
  • Leased DVDs (usually feature films): one week (no renewals allowed)
  • DVDs, videocassettes: do not circulate; in-library use only
  • Reference Items: do not circulate; in-library use only
  • Pamphlet File Items: one week (three renewals allowed)

During the last three weeks of each semester, all materials checked out are due back on the last day of the semester. If a community patron needs to keep something longer, arrangements can be made at the discretion of the librarian.

Books will not become due during the break between Christmas and New Year's Day. Books will be loaned for a lesser amount of time ("special loan") from New Year's Day until classes begin in January.

NOTE: All library items are subject to recall after the initial three-week loan period.


Any patron may place a "hold" on an item that is already checked out. If someone places a hold on an item, the patron who has checked it out will be asked to return the item after the usual check-out time for that item has elapsed.


Books may be renewed two times unless requested by another patron. Community patrons may renew items in person, by phone, or by e-mail: Leased DVDs (usually feature films) cannot be renewed.

Overdue/Lost Items

Community Patrons will receive a first overdue notification when an item is six (6) days overdue, and borrowing privileges will be suspended. Patrons will receive a second notification six (6) days after the first notification.

Patrons are charged for a lost item twelve (12) days after the item is due. If the patron was an OCC student at any time, a PERC restriction is placed on the patron's campus record which will prevent them from receiving a copy of their transcript until their financial obligation to the library has been fulfilled.

Replacement of Overdue/Lost Items

Community patrons must either pay for, or replace, the lost item to get borrowing privileges reinstated. Lost materials are billed at purchase cost (or $25. if purchase cost is not available) plus a $15 processing fee per item.

A patron has the option of replacing a lost item with a used item in very good condition. The replacement must be identical in format (e.g., hard cover vs. soft cover, etc.) and in the details of publication (e.g., edition, year, publisher, etc.) A librarian may be able to assist with obtaining a used replacement.

If the patron was formerly an OCC student, a PERC restriction is placed on the patron's campus record which will prevent them from receiving a copy of their transcript until his/her obligation to Coulter Library for the unreturned item(s) has been fulfilled.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

"Interlibrary loans" are items borrowed for patrons by Coulter Library from other libraries, and consequently are subject to varying loan periods and renewal periods, depending upon the lending library's policies. Interlibrary loans are also restricted by federal copyright laws, and are subject to various regulatory measures.

EXAMPLE: In any given year we can request only five (5) copies of any article from one (1) periodical title published within the past five (5) years. Other restrictions may also apply.

Community patrons may request up to five (5) single returnable items (books, tapes, dvds, cds, etc.) and five (5) single non-returnable items (e.g., articles) within a one-month period through interlibrary loan. (When ordering a set of items, each item within the "set" counts as a single item.) Patrons may only have five (5) returnable items out at one time. ILL media requests are limited to twenty (20) single media items (cds, dvds, tapes, etc.) per year. To request an item, patrons can either e-mail, or print out an ILL form and bring it to the main circulation desk on the first floor of the library). In addition, an on-line ILL form is also available through the WorldCat database. A link to this ILL form is found on the item record under "Borrow this item from another library".

Renewals of interlibrary loan items can be requested at Coulter Library either in person, by phone, or by e-mail. Renewals must be requested at least three days before an item is due, or the request will not be accepted. Renewal is not guaranteed and is completely at the discretion of the lending library.

Overdue Interlibrary Loan Items: Coulter Library's relationships with other lending libraries rely on timely return of ILL items. Therefore, an overdue interlibrary loan item will result in suspension of the patron's library account. After three overdue ILL items, the patron's ILL privileges will be terminated.

When Coulter Library receives a bill from the lending library, the patron is charged for the item plus a Coulter Library processing fee. The option to return the item is forfeited at this time. (Because ILL items are not the property of Coulter Library, there is no option for patron replacement of lost ILL items.) If the patron was formerly an OCC student, a PERC restriction is placed on the patron's campus record which will prevent them from receiving a copy of their transcript until his/her obligation to Coulter Library for the ILL item(s) has been fulfilled.

Patron Assistance

The circulation desk staff can direct visitors to the different offices within the building and assist users with simple title and author searches. Other searches or requests for information are directed to a reference librarian. Librarians are available to help patrons during all the hours that the library is open.


The library charges .10 per page for printing. There is no charge for abstracts or book records. If a user has printed less than ten (10) pages and cannot pay, they may take the pages and return another time to pay for them. The library will hold printing eleven (11) or more pages until payment is made. (We will print on paper a user provides, but the charge is still ten (10) cents per page.)

Printing from the color printer is limited to one hundred (100) pages per day for students/faculty/staff. Community users are limited to printing thirty (30) color pages; the charge for community users is twenty five (25) cents per page.


The circulation desk staff will make change if it is available. There is a $20.00 limit per day.


Patron Records: Coulter Library will uphold section 4509 of New York State Law regarding patron's library records.

Therefore, no personal information of any kind can be legally released to anyone by Coulter Library, regardless of the requestor's official status, unless a court order or subpoena is presented and has been verified and authenticated by the campus attorney. In addition, such records can only be released "by the person in charge of such library, or a designee of such person" (section 2307, New York State Law).

SEE ALSO New York State Law

2307. Books, papers and other things of a library

4509. Library records

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Records Retention

Patron registration cards are kept for four years. When a patron is no longer active and has no outstanding charges, his/her record will be removed from Aleph and the card shredded. If the user is still active, the card will be refiled into the current year. Patrons with outstanding items will have the registration card stapled to the billing paperwork.

Only current first and second notices for overdue items are retained. Once an item has been returned all paperwork related to the loan transaction is shredded.

Active billing paperwork is kept from 1991 forward. Once an item has been returned, the billing paperwork becomes a completed overdue.

Completed overdue paperwork will be kept for two years plus the current year. The paperwork will be double checked to insure all records are current.

Interlibrary loan records are held for one year; records are destroyed month by month. No personally identifying information is kept beyond one year unless an item is lost or otherwise not returned.