Borrowing Policies

Van Horn Public Library Borrowing Policies

Who Qualifies for a Library Card?

Minnesota residents or anyone who owns or rents property in Minnesota may receive a free library card. People who live in Minnesota but outside the SELCO region are requested to provide a valid library card from the county or city of residence. Minors (less than 18 years old) require parent or guardian information. The Library has a responsibility to protect the taxpayers’ investment in Library materials. Therefore, identification and personal information is required to obtain a library card.

You must have your card with you when checking out materials, picking up reserved materials, or using the Internet.

Applications for a library Card can be found here: Adult Registration

Acceptable forms of Identification

The library accepts the following current identification:

  • Drivers’ license or state ID card with current address
  • Checkbook with address
  • Postmarked bill or letter
  • Rental or lease agreement or receipt
  • Property tax statement

 Reciprocal Borrowing

Van Horn Public Library card holders may borrow books and materials from all SELCO libraries and bookmobiles in accordance with SELCO reciprocal borrowing agreements and local library regulations.  All cards from SELCO member libraries will be honored at the Van Horn Public Library.

Minnesota Residents Living Outside the SELCO Region

If you are a Minnesota resident with a library card from a participating Minnesota library system, you can register your card with us and use it at the Van Horn Public Library. This will let you use our many services, including checking out books, using subscription databases, and using the Internet terminals. You must present photo identification that verifies your address as well as your home library card when you use it at the Van Horn Public Library for the first time. If you don’t have a library card from your local library, you need to acquire one from them first.

Non-resident Cards

Non-resident cards are given to library users who live outside of the state of Minnesota. These cards cost $40.00 per year, a non-refundable fee that is set by our regional library system (SELCO). Present a valid state photo i.d. from your state of residence. The non-resident card will be set to expire one year from date of issue. Patrons may renew a non-resident card by paying the $40.00 annual fee.


Library staff will place reserves for patrons who call or stop by and request assistance. You can also place your own requests through the online catalog; either in the Library or through the Web site (go to You can choose to be notified by mail or e-mail when the requested item is available for pickup at the Library’s Circulation Desk. Items are held for 10 days. Reserve materials will be released to the patron, or to family members living at the same address as the patron.


The library believes in the ALA Bill of Rights which states that “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views”.   The “right to use a library” includes free access to, and unrestricted use of, all the services, materials, and facilities the library has to offer. Every restriction on access to, and use of, library resources, based solely on the chronological age, educational level, literacy skills, or legal emancipation of users violates the bill of rights.

Library staff will not make judgments of the appropriateness of materials for any patron any age.

There are no restrictions placed on the type or quantity of materials a patron in good standing may check out.


Books may be borrowed for a period of two weeks, and may be renewed two times, if no one else has requested it.


Magazines may be borrowed for two weeks, and may be renewed two times if no one has requested it.  The most current issue is not loaned.

Compact Digital Discs

Both music CDs and books on CD may be borrowed for two weeks and may be renewed two if no one has requested it.

 Audio Cassette Tapes

Books on cassette may be borrowed for two weeks and may be renewed two times if no one has requested it.

 Video Tapes and Discs

  1. Feature film/entertainment videos circulate for two weeks.
  2. Educational/documentary/non-fiction videos circulate for two weeks.
  3. Television series sets circulate for two weeks.
  4. Videos may be renewed two times if no one has requested them.
  5. Patrons must have a Minnesota driver’s license or valid Minnesota ID card in order to check out videos.
  6. Patrons are requested to rewind video tapes before returning them.
  7. Copyrighted videos may not be used for public group showings unless the library has been granted public performance rights.

Materials from other Libraries

Each Library in the SELCO region sets its own lending and borrowing polices, Therefore renewals, requests, fines and the loan period of materials from other libraries is set by the owning library. Staff at the Van Horn Public Library will follow the circulation polices of the lending library.

Note: Library staff can use their best judgment in determining when to make exceptions to the standard loan periods and renewal policies for materials owned by Van Horn Public Library. Staff may be able to offer “vacation loans,” for example, and set a longer-than-normal loan period if you are going to be out of town. Library staff will refrain from extending due dates on new material; please speak to the Library Director or the Children’s librarian regarding extended loans on new material.

Van Horn Public Library cannot make changes to loan periods and renewals for materials from other libraries.


Fines are charged as an incentive to return items promptly so that others may make use of them.

 For items owned by Van Horn Public Library the fines will be charged for overdue materials as follows:

§    $.20 per day for all children’s books and  magazines
§    $.20 per day for all adult books and magazines; and for all audio materials, including records, CDS, cassette tapes, and tape/book-kits, both adult and juvenile.
§    $.20 per day for all videos/DVDs.

Fines for overdue materials have a grace period of two days.

Restrictions: If there is a fine of $5.00 or over on your library card, you will be unable to check out materials until the fine is under the $5.00 limit.

Responsibilities: If you are 18 years or older, you are responsible for ALL fines and fees on your account. Parents/legal guardians are responsible for fines incurred by their children under age 18.

Maximum per item overdue fines

Overdue charges shall not exceed the cost of the item.

Lost materials

Lost materials will be charged to the patron at retail price.  If the cost is not available, lost materials will be charged at an average retail price, or $5.00, whichever is higher.

There will be no refunds for lost items paid and subsequently found.

If a borrower purchases a replacement for a lost item, a processing fee of $2.00 may be charged.


PC Use:  There is no charge for PC use.

Printing:  $.15 cents per page Black & White; $.50 per page for color

Copy Machine. $.15 per page for 8 x 11. $.25 per page for legal size.

Library Cards: First Library Card is free; replacement cards costs 1 dollar.

Forgiveness/Exemption from fines or charges

Reducing fines on a case-by-case basis is inherently inconsistent and therefore unfair to other patrons and should be refrained from. In extreme cases the Library staff will have the option to forgive or reduce fines according to their judgment. The library director will work with patrons to reduce fines in appropriate way if the patrons requires. The Library Board may grant fine exempt status on a case-by-case basis.  Institutions or individuals may petition the Board for fine-exempt status by using the application form found in the appendices to this policy.


Each library sets its own policies regarding the number of items that may be checked out, loan periods, renewals,  and fine amounts. At the Van Horn Public Library, you are no longer in good standing and may lose borrowing privileges when:

  1. You have ten (10) or more currently overdue items on your record
  2. You have one (1) or more currently lost item on your record
  3. Your fines total $5.00 or more dollars
  4. You claim to have returned ten (10) or more items which Library staff cannot locate
  5. Van Horn Public Library patrons who have reached fines or fees in excess of twenty five dollars (25) may have their borrowing privileges limited to 2 items checked out at a time per the discretion of the Library Director.

Library staff will handle questions and complaints about your account promptly and courteously. All Library staff members are empowered to make adjustments to fines when it is fair and reasonable to do so. Library staff will make every effort to work with you in re-instating borrowing privileges. For your part, you must keep in mind that it is against Minnesota law to intentionally damage, remove, or detain library materials (Minnesota Statutes 609.541 – Protection of Library Property).

 Damaged materials

Damaged materials will be charged to the patron at retail price.  If the cost is not available, lost materials will be charged at an average retail price, or $5.00, whichever is higher.

Damaged materials are defined as materials which would not be placed in use after return.  This includes, but is not limited to:

§  Books with water damage to the extent pages do not sit evenly;
§  Books with water damage which has caused mold;
§  Books missing a dust jacket;
§  Books with scribbles or writing which detracts from the content;
§  Multi-part items with a part or parts missing or broken, such as audio books, book/audio combos, etc.
§  Audio items missing box liners or information booklets;
§  Videos missing box liners;
§  Periodicals missing covers or pages.

Patrons may keep damaged items for which they have paid.

If a patron brings a new copy of the damaged item to the library as a replacement, there will be a $2.00 processing fee.


A responsible adult or caregiver must accompany any child under the age of 10 years old while he/she is using the Library, for the child’s safety and comfort.  A caregiver is defined as any individual 16 years of age or older who has the authority and responsibility to care for a child by the child’s parent or legal guardian.  The Library does not act in loco parentis (in place of parents) and Library staff does not have the authority to take responsibility for unattended children. A child must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver at all times inside the building.  If an unattended child calls attention to him/herself, Library staff will attempt to locate the parent/caregiver in the library and inform him/her of the policy. If the parent/caregiver is not present in the building or cannot be reached by telephone, the local Police Department may be asked to intervene.  Parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and children who are in violation of this policy are subject to suspension of library privileges.

Approved by the VHPL Board of Trustees Feb 22nd 2010