A. Circulation Department Goals

  1. The Joplin Public Library’s lending policies facilitate the use of Library materials, except for those judged irreplaceable or needed in the collection for basic informational services.  Materials not immediately available may be reserved for patrons.
  2. The Library’s circulation practices and policies provide for protection of patron confidentiality.
  3. The Library’s circulation process provides accurate and reliable information about the materials collection.
  4. The Library keeps accurate records of citizens registered for Library cards.

B. Use of Library Materials by the Public

  1. All Library collections are available to the general public for in-house use. 
  2. Some restrictions apply to in-house equipment and computer use.
  3. Some restrictions apply to use of fragile or valuable collections, including some archival collections.


A. Residency Requirements for Non-fee Cards

  1. To qualify for a Joplin Public Library District card as a resident of the Joplin Library District, a person must reside at a permanent address within the Joplin city limits or own property within the city limits and show a current real estate property tax receipt. 
  2. Hotels, motels, shelters and other temporary housing are not considered to be permanent addresses except for residential managers of such facilities.  (See Section Five. II. D. Corporate or Group Home Cards)
  3. Post office boxes are acceptable as mailing addresses only and may not be used as proof of residency.  A person using a post office box as a mailing address must also provide the Library with written proof of an actual physical address.
  4. Joplin Public Library District cards can be issued to non-residents for $50 a year.  The fee covers individual cards for all members of the household residing at the same address.  Individual cards all have a common expiration date one year from the payment of the annual fee, regardless of the date each individual card was actually issued.  The applicant is responsible for informing the Library of the payment of the fee by a family member within the previous twelve months.
  5. College students residing at temporary dormitory addresses within the city of Joplin are exempt from the non-resident fee if they provide proof of enrollment.  The exemption is granted only during semesters or summer sessions.
  6. Employees of the Library and employees of the City of Joplin who live outside the city limits are exempt from the non-resident fee.  Family members at the same address are also exempt.

B. General Card Requirements

  1. A patron registering for a Library card must supply the following documentation and information: Identification and written proof of current physical address. Acceptable as proof of address are: utility receipt, official rent receipt, recent voter registration card, recent computer generated mail with name and address, or insurance card. Other non-specified forms of proof may be considered. Not acceptable as proof are: personal mail, library cards, hand-written rent receipts, and business cards.
  2. The applicant must sign the application acknowledging that all information is correct and that he or she accepts responsibility for all use made of the card.  The applicant’s signature on the application card and on the library card itself is a promise to abide by all Library policies and to notify the Library of any change of status (name, address, etc.) or the loss or theft of the card.
  3. A person who cannot provide proof of current address may fill out a postcard which the Library will mail to the address.  When the patron returns the postcard to the Library, the postmarked card is considered as proof of address.
  4. Patrons will be asked to allow their photo to be placed in their Library record. If a patron chooses not to allow this, they will be required to show photo ID when checking out materials or using the Computer Lab. This will help to ensure only the patron has use of the Library card.

C. Cards for Minors

  1. If the applicant is 17 years old or younger, the application must be signed by the parent or legal guardian.  Applicants eighteen and older must sign their own applications.
  2. The parent or guardian may submit a written request that the minor’s borrowing privileges be restricted to items in the Children’s Department.
  3. Cards issued to minors do not allow access to the Cmputer Lab.  Parents or legal guardians must register a minor for Computer Lab access at the Lab service desk.

D. Corporate or Group Home Cards

  1. The Library issues cards to organizations such as businesses or group homes for business or organization use.  Employees of the organization or business may not use these cards to check out items for personal use or use the Computer Lab.  Family members of the owners or managers of the organization or association may not use these cards to check out items for personal use or use the Computer Lab.
  2. Application for a corporate or group home card must be made in a letter on letterhead signed by the individual who will assume financial responsibility for any materials checked out on the card.  The letter must state that the individual who signs the letter will assume financial responsibility for Library materials checked out on the card, including all overdue fines.
  3. Organizations or businesses located outside the Joplin Public Library District are charged a $40 annual fee.
  4. The names of all individuals allowed to use the card must be listed in the letter, and this letter must be updated yearly or when changes are made to the list of people allowed to use the card.
  5. The card must be kept by the organization and must be presented when materials are checked out.
  6. All organization cards are issued for the current fiscal year (November 1 – October 31.)  Fees are not prorated. 

E. Visitor and Temporary Cards

  1. Visitor Cards
    1. Upon payment of a $10 fee, a visitor card may be issued to a non-resident visiting in Joplin for a limited time. A visitor card expires at the end of three months.
    2. A visitor card can be renewed upon payment of a renewal fee.
    3. A person visiting from out of town must provide proof of permanent address in addition to the temporary local address.
    4. Visitor's cards are only available for patrons whose permanent residence is greater than 50 miles from Joplin.
    5. A maximum of two items may be checked out on a visitor card at any one time. A visitor card may also be used to access the Computer Lab.

    (Approved by Board of Trustees 12/12/11)

  2. Temporary Cards
    1. Temporary cards for those residing in group homes, shelters, etc. will expire in one or six months (depending on location determined administratively) and do not require a cash deposit.
    2. Persons residing in Joplin in group homes, shelters are not required to provide a permanent address but must provide a letter from the shelter, group home on letterhead stating they are residing at that location.
    3. A maximum of two items may be checked out on a temporary card at any one time. A temporary card may be used to access the Computer Lab.

    (Approved by Board of Trustees 2/11/13)

F. Transfer of Cards

  1. Library cards are not transferable either permanently or temporarily.  A Library card is not to be used by any person other than the person to whom it is issued.  There are only two exceptions to this rule: the card of a patron registered as Patron Type “Homebound” may be used by someone designated by the patron; the parent of a minor may use the minor’s card to check out children’s materials.
  2. The patron is responsible for all use made of his or her Library card.

G. Expiration and Invalidation of Library Cards

All Library cards are valid for one year from date of issue except for cards issued to local college students, business/organization cards, and temporary cards.  Non-resident cards are valid for one year from the date of payment, regardless of the date of issue.  Renewal of a card follows the same procedure as for a new card.  Visitor cards are valid from three months from the date of issue. Temporary cards for those residing in group homes, shelters, etc. will expire in one or six months (depending on location determined administratively). A Library card may be invalidated by the Joplin Public Library District at any time if the patron does not return overdue materials, does not pay outstanding fines, does not abide by other Library policies, or habitually abuses Library policies.  A resident card becomes invalid if the card holder moves outside the Library District unless the individual still owns property inside the city limits.

H. Complimentary Library Cards

A non-fee complimentary card may be issued to a patron at the Director or Department Head’s discretion. 


A. General Circulation Guidelines

  1. A patron must present his or her card at the circulation desk at the time of checkout.
  2. Items limited to in-house use, such as reference books, microforms, newspapers, bound periodicals, current issue periodicals, reserve books, local history room materials, and others so designated, do not circulate and may not be checked out for any reason.
  3. All materials, with the exception of videotapes, compact discs, DVDs, equipment, and items on hold, may be renewed once for the same period as the initial checkout.  The Library will not renew materials for anyone unable to provide the patron barcode or other proof of identification.  Patrons may self-renew either in the Library at any catalog terminal or from an outside computer via the Internet.
  4. Library users will not be allowed to check out materials or use computers in the Computer Lab if they:
  5. Owe $5 or more in unpaid fines or charges. If fines or charges are on a child's card, this block includes the parent/guardian who is responsible for the child as well as all other minors for whom the parent/guardian has signed responsibility.
  6. Have unpaid fines or charges three months old or older.
  7. Have more than one overdue Library item.
  8. A parent may use a child’s card in the child’s absence to check out Children’s Department materials only.  A child’s card may not be used in the child’s absence to check out Adult Department materials.

B. Interlibrary Loan

  1. Interlibrary loan periods are determined by the lending library.  Items loaned by another library on the condition that they be used under supervision may not be checked out.
  2. ILL records are kept and requests made at the Reference desk, but all ILL items are picked up, checked out, and returned at the Circulation desk.

C. Requests for Holds

  1. Each patron may place up to fifteen holds for items that are checked out or otherwise unavailable.  The staff may place holds for up to three items per day for a patron.  Additional holds over this limit must be placed by the patron on the system, either on a catalog terminal or through the Library’s web site.  A patron making phone requests for holds must supply his or her Library barcode number or other proof of identification.
  2. All materials on hold for patrons will be kept at the Circulation desk.  Materials held by some means other than a system-placed hold must be marked with the patron name and the date of hold expiration.

D. Return of Materials

  1. All materials except ILL materials may be returned at the Circulation desk, by mail, or in the book drop.
  2. ILL materials must be returned to the Circulation desk or in the book drop.


A. Overdue Guidelines

  1. The Library has no obligation to remind patrons to return materials.  The Library sends reminder notices as a courtesy to patrons.
  2. All materials are due on the due date.  There is no grace period.
  3. In case of inclement weather, the Library may, at the Circulation Supervisor’s discretion, allow for the late return of non-renewable or previously renewed materials.  It is the patron’s responsibility to call and request such an allowance.
  4. Overdue notices will be sent by phone or e-mail.  If there is no response (person answering or answering machine), and there is no email address on record, the notice will be mailed. For details, see Appendix E.

B. Fines

  1. The fine structure is set administratively.  For details of charges, see Appendix E.
  2. Overdue items returned in the book drop after hours but before 7:00 a.m. will be assessed a fine based on the last operating day.

C. Charges for Lost Items

  1. Charges for lost items are set administratively. 
  2. For details of charges, see Appendix F.

D. Refunds

  1. The Library will issue a receipt for each lost item paid for.  If the item is found within three months of being declared lost and if the item is in acceptable condition, the patron may request a refund upon presenting the item to the Circulation desk.
  2. The processing fee is non-refundable.
  3. No refunds for any charges will be issued to patrons whose overdue materials have been submitted for collection to either a collection agency or Municipal Court.  If a patron submitted to a collection agency or to Municipal Court pays for unreturned materials and then at a later date returns the materials, the Library will not issue a refund.
  4. Refunds will be issued from fine receipts when cash is available.  It may take several days for a patron to receive a refund.  Refunds will be made in cash only, and must be picked up at the circulation desk.  Unclaimed refunds will be forfeit three months after the item’s return.
  5. Patrons may opt to have a refund placed on their account as a credit. This credit can then be used for future fines and/or fees.

E. Bankruptcy

  1. Checkout privileges will be suspended for patrons who have Library materials lost or overdue until the materials are returned or the issue is otherwise resolved.