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Circulation Policy

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This is the official Circulation Policy of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL).  All B&ECPL Libraries, including any Contract Member, Branch Library, Library Outlet or the Central Library, are required to follow the policies delineated herein.

Terms that are used in the document are defined below.

Board of Trustees - The Board of Trustees of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Administration - The Director, Deputy Directors, Assistant Deputy Directors and other members of the Administrative Team of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library




Persons who reside in Erie County and specified non-residents are eligible for borrowing privileges, provided they meet acceptable identification requirements as established by the Administration.

All persons who live, work, own property or attend school in Erie County are eligible for borrowing privileges at no charge, except as noted herein.

Other residents of New York State are eligible for borrowing privileges at a charge (effective April 18, 2005).

Some restrictions may apply.


There are two Borrower Categories:

•  Adult – persons age 17 and older

•  Youth – persons up to age 17

Borrower Categories are further defined by Borrower Profiles, which identify the quantities and types of material that a borrower may check out or other privileges a library user may enjoy.


Eligible borrowers must complete the appropriate application.  The applicant must appear in person or qualify for a Proxy Application and provide appropriate identification.


Unless otherwise specified, library cards are valid for a three-year period, subject to verification of the borrower record.


The borrower, or the parent/legal guardian who has co-signed an application for a youth, is responsible for compliance with all B&ECPL rules, all use made of the card and all charges made against it.

As with all library materials, programs and services, parents/legal guardians have the sole right and responsibility to decide what is appropriate for their child, except as otherwise prohibited by law.

A borrower's card, issued by any B&ECPL location, will be honored by any other B&ECPL location.

The registered borrower is responsible for all use of the library card and assumes liability for fines and/or fees incurred for overdue, lost, damaged or stolen items.  A valid card includes photocopies as well as barcodes on smart devices and mobile apps.  Possession of a valid card implies authorized use.

Borrowers should immediately report lost or stolen cards to any B&ECPL location.  Failure to promptly report lost or stolen cards will result in the registered borrower being held financially responsible for any fines, fees, damaged, lost or stolen items incurred.

Borrowers are responsible for notifying B&ECPL of any change of mailing address, e-mail address or telephone number.



CIRCULATION is defined as checking out material on a borrower's card for the purpose of removal from a B&ECPL location for a prescribed loan period.  Any item inventoried in the B&ECPL database is subject to all terms of B&ECPL Circulation Policy.

Borrowers may check out material from any B&ECPL location.  Unless otherwise specified, the material may be returned to any B&ECPL location.

Items may be renewed up to two times provided the borrower’s account is in good standing, the items are not overdue and/or are not on a request list.

Circulating material is shared on a system-wide basis.  B&ECPL will provide access to any circulating item inventoried in its database.  Borrowers may request most circulating materials from any B&ECPL location and have the item delivered to the B&ECPL location of their choice.  * Fees may apply  - see link - http://www.buffalolib.org/content/borrower-information/fines-and-fees

Each borrower is responsible for all library material checked out on his/her library card.  Fines will be assessed for any material damaged beyond normal wear and tear.  Fines will be assessed for material returned after the prescribed due date, including closed days.  Failure to return material will be construed as a violation of New York State Education Law Section 265, and B&ECPL will take appropriate action, including possible referral to a collection agency, which includes assessment of an additional fee.

Materials that circulate, the length of the loan period, special regulations on returns and types and quantities of materials that can be checked out will be determined by the Administration.



BLOCKED OR BARRED BORROWER STATUS usually results from the retention of library materials beyond their prescribed due dates, but may also reflect other abuses of library privileges, including but not limited to inappropriate conduct on library premises or infractions against or attempts to circumvent any B&ECPL policies.

A borrower, who has not returned library material in the prescribed time frame, has not paid library fines or fees exceeding the prescribed amount or has violated library regulations deemed essential by the Administration for the security of library materials, fairness to all users and protection against misuse will be blocked or barred.


Fines are charges incurred for lost or damaged items or for the return of library materials after the prescribed due date, including closed days.  Overdue fines are imposed to deter borrowers from retaining materials beyond a specified due date, thus depriving others of their use.

A fine will be added to the borrower’s account for each day an item is kept past its due date including any closed days.

The B&ECPL partners with an outside service to assist with the recovery of outstanding overdue materials, fines and fees.  After a proscribed time period with excessive outstanding balances, borrower account information will be transmitted to a collection agency and subject to credit bureau reporting.

The fine structure is based upon item type (juvenile or adult/young adult) regardless of the Borrower Profile of the library card used.

Other fines may include but are not limited to charges for replacement of library cards or barcode labels, damaged library material, missing media cases, RFID tags and returned checks.

Fees are charges assessed for specified library services, including but not limited to printing, requests and interlibrary loans.

A borrower who accumulates fines and/or fees that exceed the Library's prescribed limits becomes a blocked borrower.

Overdue notices are a courtesy, not a legal requirement.  Non-receipt of a notice does not eliminate liability for outstanding materials or fines.



Pursuant to New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules Section 4509, library records that contain names or other personally identifying details of users, including but not limited to the circulation of library materials, computer use, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, title reserve requests, or the in-house use of library materials, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except that such records may be disclosed for the proper operation of the library and shall be disclosed upon request or consent of the user or pursuant to subpoena, court order or where otherwise required by statute.

Access to borrower information is restricted to authorized staff and the borrower with appropriate identification except in the case of custodial parent or legal guardian.



By adopting this policy, the Board of Trustees authorizes the Administration to develop rules and regulations to implement and enforce it.


Adopted January 18, 2001

Amended March 17, 2005

Amended July 21, 2005

Amended September 16, 2010 per Resolution 2010-33

Amended December 20, 2012 (Administration Revised 1/2/2014:  Registration Term – Library cards valid 3-years.)