Evanston Public Library
Services Policy
Amended 5/20/2020

5.0 Library Services and Community Outreach

It is the policy of the Evanston Public Library to optimize availability of library services and programs throughout the community. Library staff and the Board of Trustees shall determine the best and most efficient means to accomplish this goal.  Services may be provided at library locations, schools, summer reading program sites, book study venues, community centers, senior centers, festivals/fairs, community events, and other locations where community members gather. Local officials — library trustees, librarians, and other professional library staff — are the most qualified to decide how library services including Internet access should be provided to their patrons.

5.1 Borrower Registration

5.1.1 Evanston Residents

To receive a borrowers card you must be a current Evanston Resident and provide valid picture identification as listed in 5.1.2 and proof of residency as listed in 5.1.3

At the time of registration for a library card, the applicant will provide the following information: legal name, street address (PO Boxes are not acceptable), and signature. Patrons may choose to include date of birth, as well as demographic information related to race/ethnicity and language spoken at home. Additionally, to receive some notifications a telephone number, email address, and wireless carrier information may need to be provided.

Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who must present picture identification as listed in 5.1.2 and proof of residency as listed in 5.1.3.

These cards will be valid for three-years.


5.1.2 Picture Identification

Acceptable picture identification includes:

* Driver’s License
* State Identification Card
* Student or Faculty Identification Card
* Northwestern University Wild Card
* Passport
* US Permanent Resident Card (green card)
* Illinois Public Aid Identification Card
* Evanston Township High School Identification Card
* City of Evanston Employee Identification Card
* Matricula Consular Identification Card
* Military Identification Card
*Temporary Visitors Driver’s License

5.1.3 Proof of Residency

As proof of the applicant’s current address, one of the following is acceptable (paper or electronic copy acceptable)

* Lease or Housing Agreement
* Utility Bill (Telephone, Gas, Electric, Water or Cable)
* Credit Card Statement
* Bank Statement
* Northwestern University Wild Card Statement

An account statement or bill must be not more than sixty days old. Leases, housing agreements, and instructional permits must be currently valid. People who live and work in the home of an Evanston Resident may confirm their local address by means of a letter from their employer indicating that the employee resides in the household. Residents of transitional shelters or assisted living homes may confirm their residence by means of a letter from the shelter’s administration on the shelter’s letterhead.


5.1.4 Residents of Temporary Housing in Evanston

Residents of transitional shelters, facilities or assisted living homes must present valid picture identification as listed in 5.1.2 and a letter from the facility indicating they are a resident including the expiration date of their lease on the facility’s letterhead and a signature of the representative from the facility.

The card will be valid for the length of the lease.

5.1.5 University and College Students/Graduate Students

College and university students who do not have a permanent residence in Evanston must provide both their temporary Evanston residency and permanent residency when not at school.

These cards will be valid for one-year.

5.1.6 Library Card Terms

Each library cardholder must safeguard their own library card.   Lost or stolen cards must be reported immediately to the Library to prevent unauthorized use. Cardholders are responsible for all materials checked out on their library cards.

5.1.7 Permissive Library Card Use

A patron may grant permission to other individuals who may use their library card for checking out materials or managing activity of the account.  This authority may be immediately revoked at patron’s written request.

5.2 Borrowing Privileges

5.2.1 City of Evanston Employee Cards

An Evanston Only card may be issued to each non-resident employee of the City of Evanston. This card will become void when the employee no longer works for the City of Evanston. This card is only valid at Evanston Public Library Branches.

5.2.2 Non-Resident Taxpayers

Library cards are available without charge to persons who pay Evanston property taxes, but do not reside within the City limits. Such cards are issued to non-residents who as an individual or as a partner, principal stockholder, or other joint owner owns taxable property or is a senior administrative officer of a firm, business, or other corporation owning taxable property in Evanston. Only one such card will be issued for each parcel of property. Applicants should present their current tax bill and acceptable identification as described above.

Such cards are only valid at the Evanston Public Library and valid for one year.

5.2.3 Business Borrowing Privileges

Library borrowing privileges may be extended to businesses located in Evanston. The applicant must be the sole owner, a partner, principal stock holder, joint owner, or senior administrative officer of a firm, business, or corporation located in Evanston. The applicant must present a letter on the organization’s letterhead indicating that the organization will take responsibility for all materials borrowed and indicating who in the firm is authorized to borrow materials.

Such cards are valid for one year and may only be used at the Evanston Public Library.

5.2.4 Organizational Borrowing Privileges

Not-for-profit organizations and units of local government located in Evanston may obtain library-borrowing privileges by presenting a letter on organizational letterhead indicating that the organization will take responsibility for all materials borrowed and indicating who in the organization is authorized to borrow materials.

Such cards are valid for one year and may only be used at the Evanston Public Library.

5.2.5 School Borrowing Privileges

Library borrowing privileges may be extended to District 65 schools, Evanston Township High School and other schools located in Evanston. To receive a school card, the school principal shall complete an application form, attach a list of teachers and/or staff eligible to use the card and return the form to the Library.  These cards are only valid for use at the Evanston Public Library. Schools will be responsible for items that are lost at the end of the year if the total amount exceeds $30.  The school card will expire at the end of the school year.  The Youth Services staff and the Young Adult Librarian will monitor the school cards and will communicate with school staff and/or teachers about overdue and missing items.

5.2.6 Youth Organization Borrowing Privileges

Library borrowing privileges may be extended to organizations that serve Evanston youth (infants – grade 12). The organizations must be located in Evanston. To receive an organization card, the head of the organization shall complete an application form, attach a list of staff eligible to use the card and return the form to the Library. Depending on the structure of the organization more than one staff card could be authorized by the Circulation Manager. These cards are only valid for use at the Evanston Public Library. Organizations will be responsible for items that are lost at the end of the year if the total amount exceeds $30.  The card will expire at the end of the year.  The Youth Services Department staff and the Young Adult Librarian will monitor the organization cards and will communicate with the organization about missing/lost items.

5.2.7 Non-Resident ”Fee” Cards

Non-residents may purchase a library card for use at the Evanston Public Library if such non-residents are eligible for an Evanston Public Library card under the current State of Illinois rules and regulations governing the issuing of such cards. The minimum fee for such a card is determined by a formula prepared by the Illinois State Library. The Library Director calculates said fee annually and reports it to the Library Board at the April meeting. When necessary the Library Board will adjust the non-resident fee to equal or exceed the fee determined by the Illinois State Library formula.

A non-resident card will only be issued to patrons who have a current valid library card from their home library. If a patron cannot provide proof of said library card, the Library is required by State law to deny the sale of a non-resident card to the individual.

The applicant for a non-resident card must meet the same identification requirements as a resident of Evanston.

Such cards may only be valid for one year and may only be used at the Evanston Public Library.

5.2.8 Registration of Reciprocal Borrowers

The Evanston Public Library will register for use any currently valid library card from a Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) library or from any library having reciprocal borrowing agreements with RAILS or with the Evanston Public Library. In addition to presenting a currently valid library card, the applicant must present valid picture identification as listed in 5.1.2 and proof of residency as listed in 5.1.3

5.2.9 Cash Deposit Borrowing

New residents or temporary residents who cannot meet the above identification requirements may borrow books by making a cash deposit equal to the value of the materials and the appropriate replacement service charges.The entire fee will be refunded if the books are returned in circulatable condition by their due date. If materials are overdue, refunds will be determined by the library appointed designee.

5.3 Verification and Changes of Patron Information

5.3.1 Library Card Renewals

The Evanston Public Library looks upon the renewal of a library card as an opportunity to confirm that the card holder is still entitled to a library card and that the library’s registration records contain current and accurate information on the borrower (including voluntary information related to date of birth, race/ethnicity and language spoken at home). All applicants for the renewal of a library card are required to meet the same identification requirements as a new applicant, as described in the applicable section. Reciprocal Borrowers must be in good standing at their home library.

5.3.2 Patron’s Change of Address

All registered patrons of the Evanston Public Library, whether Evanston residents or registered reciprocal borrowers, are required to inform the Evanston Public Library of any change of address. If at any time mail sent to a patron by the Evanston Public Library is returned, or if the Library learns by other means that the address on file is no longer accurate, the patron’s library card privileges will be suspended until the address can be verified by staff. The patron will need to verify their address according to the procedures outlined above.

5.4 Account Suspensions, Denials and Appeals

5.4 .1 Library Card Account Suspension

The Evanston Public Library reserves the right to suspend the Library card account for violation of library rules or in other instances determined by the Library’s Administration.

5.4.2 Appeals

Anyone who believes that they have been unfairly suspended or denied a library card and is not satisfied by the decision made by the Library Director or designee, may appeal to the Library Board. Notice of an appeal should be made in writing to the Library Director, who will inform the appellant of the date of the meeting at which the appeal will be heard.

5.5 Fees, Replacements and Service Hours

5.5.1 Borrowers with Overdue Items or Bills

The Library notifies patrons by email prior to an item’s due date and notifies patrons by email or US mail when items are overdue.  These notices are sent as a courtesy to patrons and bills or fees accrued are due to the Library whether or not the patron sees or receives any notice.  It is each patron’s responsibility to return items before or when due.

Bills or Fees may be waived by the Circulation Manager or designee when, in their judgment, there are mitigating circumstances.  It is the goal of the Library to assist patrons in maintaining valid accounts so cardholders have access to all services.

Patrons are not permitted to check out library materials or renew their library account when they have long-overdue materials, owe bills or fees that total $10.00 or more. Library materials are considered lost when they are 45 days overdue. Patrons are expected to pay for the replacement of lost materials. An additional processing fee is also charged for lost materials. Refunds are made if lost materials are returned in good condition to the Library within 365 days after items are billed.  The processing fee is not refundable.

The Library makes use of a collection service or appropriate legal remedies to obtain the return of or payment for billed library materials. Accounts will be sent to collections if the total amount billed is over $25 and an additional $10 collection service fee will be applied

When informed that a patron has overdue books or owes fines at another library, the Evanston Public Library may deny borrowing privileges until those materials are returned or the debt is paid.


5.5.2 Borrowers with Damaged or Missing Materials

There is no charge for normal wear and tear on any item. If an item is damaged by a patron so that further circulation is impossible, the patron is charged the full replacement price of the item plus a processing fee. The Circulation Manager or their designee determines the charge for damage that can be repaired. Patrons may replace lost or damaged books owned by the Evanston Public Library with a new book that is an exact ISBN match.  Replacement items must be new and not used or marked.  Otherwise patrons are to pay the specified replacement fee.  In either case, a processing fee is assessed.

The Evanston Public Library does not accept replacements for non-print material.

Damage to material is assumed to be accidental unless there is reason to suspect otherwise. Patrons found defacing or destroying library materials are required to pay for the items plus a processing fee. Suspension of Library privileges and legal action may be taken if the damage is extensive.


5.5.3 Hours of Service, Loan Periods, Fines and Fees Determined by Library Board

The Library Board establishes, in consultation with the Library Director, hours of service to be provided at each library service point, loan periods for materials, and fines and fees for library services. These are reviewed annually by the Library’s staff and the Library Board.

5.5.4 Photocopy Fees

The Evanston Public Library makes available to the public a wide variety of reference materials, including special resources relating to the history of Evanston: city directories, microfilmed telephone directories, and obituaries from the local papers. The Library applies a service charge to any request received from individuals residing outside the Reaching Across Illinois Library System and the metropolitan Chicago area for the location and photocopying of material. This fee is listed in the Library’s Fee Schedule. Staff may place a limit on the pages photocopied, due to copyright restrictions, staff limitations, or the fragility of the material.

5.6 Confidentiality of Records

It is the policy of the Board of Trustees of the Evanston Public Library to insure the privacy of the users of its services and considers any patron-identifiable library records to be confidential in nature. Patron-identifiable library records are collected only when they are necessary for the fulfillment of the Library’s mission or for the purpose of protecting public property and are not to be used directly or indirectly to identify the types of materials used by individual library patrons. Patron-identifiable library records include any information that links a patron to use of particular library materials, resources, or services, or that identify a patron’s choices, tastes, or research interests. Such records include, but are not limited to, all types of registration and circulation records, temporary Internet files stored in a computer, computer sign-up sheets, inter-library loan requests and records, patron requests to reserve, recall or obtain certain materials, staff notes pertaining to patron requests for assistance, and all correspondence with patrons having to do with use of library resources including email and social media. Even records that do not include a patron’s name, but refer to some other identifiable characteristic, such as the patron’s library card number, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, or phone number are considered patron-identifiable library records. In addition to physically extant records, patron-identifiable library records include computers, computer components, disks and other electronic storage media containing such records.

Patron-identifiable information does not include statistical records relating to use of the Library or its materials and services that cannot be used to identify particular patrons or information concerning behavioral issues in the Library’s records concerning particular patrons.

No identifiable library records shall be made available to members of the public, the press, or any agency of state, federal, or local government, except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized by a court under the authority of and pursuant to federal, state or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power. Any costs incurred by the Library in any search through patron records, even under court order, shall be chargeable to the agency demanding such search. Only the Library Director and designee are authorized to accept and respond to such court orders. If the order requires immediate compliance, the designated librarian-in-charge, may respond to such an order, but should first attempt to notify the Library Director or designee. Whenever possible the Library’s staff should seek to have the court order reviewed by the City Attorney or his/her designee before complying.

Patron-identifiable information may be disclosed without a court order only in the following circumstances:

* A patron may have access to any patron-identifiable records the Library holds about them, if the patron presents their library card or valid photo identification. Telephone callers who provide their library card number will be treated the same as in-person visitors.

* If the patron is a minor, the minor’s parent or legal guardian may have access to the circulation records of that child if the parent or guardian is in possession of the child’s library card and is able to provide appropriate identification for themselves.

* When contacting a patron, patron-identifiable information (such as the title or subject of a requested item available to be picked up) may not be left on an answering machine, voice mail, or email to the patron, unless the patron specifically requests this form of identification at the time of the request. The Library cannot be responsible for maintaining confidentiality in the notification process if these methods are selected by the patron.

* The Federal Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act requires the Library to report possible violations of child pornography laws to the Cyber Tip Line at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( Reports received by the Cyber Tip Line are forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Such disclosures should be made only by the Library Director or designee, and whenever possible they will consult with the City Attorney before making such a disclosure. The Library is protected from liability for good faith disclosure to the Cyber Tip Line.

5.7 Library Cooperation

Since cooperation between libraries depends upon the good will of the cooperating libraries that loan materials for use, and because the Library is responsible for the return or replacement of these materials, the Library must be particularly careful to oversee the use of materials obtained from cooperating libraries and agencies.

Materials from other libraries must be requested by the person who will be responsible for those materials and must be checked out on that person’s card.

Patrons who are not currently allowed to check out library materials because of bills, fees, or overdue items are not allowed to request materials from cooperating libraries or agencies. The services involved include, but are not limited to, interlibrary loan and photocopy requests.

If a patron has repeatedly lost or kept overdue materials that have been supplied by a cooperating library or agency, the privilege of using these services may be suspended for six months to a year. The suspension will reflect the number of items kept overdue and will be determined by the Library Director or their designee.

The Evanston Public Library charges back to its patrons any charges for services provided by cooperating libraries and other agencies.


5.7.1 Reciprocal Borrowing

The Evanston Public Library shall make all material that it loans to Evanston cardholders available to valid cardholders from RAILS member libraries except the following materials:  Interlibrary Loan, Wi-Fi Hotspots, Most Wanted, New, Hot Picks, Downloadable, streaming material and any other material as deemed by the Library Director or designee.

5.7.2 Chicago Public Library Reciprocal Borrowing

In order to maintain a balance in the Reciprocal Borrowing arrangement with the City of Chicago, the Evanston Public Library restricts loans to Chicago residents to no more than fifty items charged to a library card at any given time. The library card will be blocked from all checkouts, placement of holds and renewals if the patron’s card has more than 4 outstanding over dues at one time.


5.7.3 Interlibrary Loan

The Evanston Public Library is an active member of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), and follows System interlibrary loan procedures and protocols wherever applicable. The Evanston Public Library also initiates and responds to loan requests within the greater library community.

The Evanston Public Library relies on RAILS as its primary means of satisfying interlibrary loan requests, and the Library attempts, in turn, to fill all requests received from RAILS member libraries.

The Evanston Public Library attempts to satisfy requests from non-RAILS Illinois libraries with any item not currently on loan, except those published within six months and those in frequent demand. The Evanston Public Library will accept requests from libraries throughout the United States, when it appears that the requesting library may have exhausted local and regional resources. Reference books are generally not loaned. Material in fragile condition is not loaned.

5.8 Internet Access Policy

5.8.1 Internet Policy

Internet access is available on selected public computers for all users of the Evanston Public Library. The Internet is a resource to be used in the fulfillment of the Library’s mission (see Mission Statement). The Library’s Internet access is intended primarily as an information resource. The Library cannot insure the privacy of individuals who use the Internet to conduct business or for personal correspondence. The Internet allows users to connect to networks of resources outside the Library. The Evanston Public Library has no control over these resources nor does the Library have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet. The Library does not select or edit Internet content, or take responsibility for its reliability, currency, or accuracy. Library patrons use the Internet at their own discretion. The Internet contains some material that is inappropriate for viewing or reading by children, such as sexually explicit, violent, and racist material and images. For this reason, parents are encouraged to monitor and supervise their children’s use of the Internet. The Library staff does not limit or restrict adults or children in the Internet sites they choose to view. Users are, however, expected to follow all state, municipal, and federal laws, as well as library rules of conduct while using the Internet, and may not use the Internet to harass or intimidate others. Patrons using computers not equipped with privacy protection need to be aware that other Library patrons may view the screen. If such images disturb other people’s use of the Library, the Library will address the incident as a disturbance and will both address the behavior and reserves the right to ask patrons to use a computer equipped with privacy protection.

The Library provides unfiltered Internet access and may also make limited or filtered access to the Internet available at certain locations within its facilities. The Library recognizes the limitations of filtering software and urges parents and other Library patrons not to assume that filtering software will prevent access to materials that they may consider objectionable. The filtering software may also block access to some materials that patrons wish to access, in which case the patron may need to use the unfiltered stations.

The Library’s staff develops and implements such rules and procedures as are necessary to ensure the fair and reasonable use of Internet resources.

The Library’s staff assists patrons with Internet use as time permits but cannot offer personal instruction. The Library may offer formal instruction or information on the Internet at designated times. Current materials about the Internet are available in the Library’s collection.

The Evanston Public Library is bound by an agreement with its Internet provider that prohibits any unlawful use of the Internet. The Internet and/or Wi-Fi connection shall not be used for illegal purposes nor used in such a way as to violate Evanston Public Library policies. Patrons who make unlawful use of the Internet may be barred from using the Library’s Internet resources. This policy applies to all Library users who use the Library’s network to access the Internet.

5.8.2 Wi-Fi Hotspots General Guidelines

Patrons must be 16 or older and will require an acceptable picture identification as detailed in section 5.1.2 Picture Identification.

An Evanston public library cardholder in good standing can borrow one device per library card to use within the City of Evanston
Patrons can borrow a Wi-Fi Hotspot for a period determined by the Library Director or designee; the loan is not renewable.

Wi-Fi Hotspots may be placed on hold

Wi-Fi Hotspots are available for pickup/checkout at the locations designated by the Library Director or designee.

Wi-Fi Hotspots must be returned to the Evanston Public Library only or a location designated by the Library Director or designee.

The Wi-Fi Hotspot is intended for the use of the patron who checked out the device and their immediate family members.

Patrons are responsible for the ethical and legal use of the technology usage of the device.

Patron agrees the transmission of any material that is in violation of any federal or state law is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to the following; confidential information, copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, and computer viruses because of internet usage from the Wi-Fi Hotspot.

Any attempt to alter data or the configuration of the Wi-Fi Hotspot, is strictly prohibited and may be considered an act of vandalism and subject to full replacement cost value.

Late fees will be charged for each day the Wi-Fi Hotspot is past its due date

A replacement fee will be charged to the patron’s account for lost or damaged Wi-Fi Hotspots. Privacy and Safety

Using chat rooms and sending chain letters is not permissible.

Do not open, use, or change computer files that do not belong to you.

Do not reveal your full name, phone number, home address, social security number, credit card numbers, password or passwords to other people through the internet.

Storage is not guaranteed to be private or confidential. Legal Propriety

Comply with trademark and copyright laws and all license agreements. Ignorance of the law is not immunity.
The library is not responsible for any misuse, harm or any other result due to your use of the Wi-Fi Hotspot.

Patron may not profit from renting or charging connection fees to the Wi-Fi Hotspot. Protecting and Storing

Patron is responsible for care of the Wi-Fi Hotspot ensuring that it is not abused by impact, water, sand, dirt, extreme temperature etc. and will be charged the replacement value of the device.

5.9 Reference Services Policy

The Library’s staff responds to the information needs of all Evanston Public Library users, providing clear and accurate answers to all patron inquiries, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity of the questioner, or purpose of the question. Reference services are available at all times the library is open, and users have a right to expect consistently high quality service from all members of the staff, at any time. Reference queries are accorded equal weight whether submitted in person, by telephone, email, mail, text message, IM or fax; and are handled as expeditiously as possible.

Library staff members may have to make judgments about the feasibility of answering certain time consuming questions, or those requiring expertise or materials outside the realm of a public library. In such cases, when the Library’s collection or services do not meet the patron’s needs, staff will give a thoughtful referral to other resources or institutions. To facilitate such transactions, the Library’s staff maintains collegial relations with other library facilities in the Chicago area, and is familiar with their collections.

The Library’s staff uses all available means to answer patron queries, and takes full advantage of emerging technologies. Conventional print sources, online databases, websites, and social media may all be used to answer questions. The professional staff reserves the right to determine which sources are most appropriate for each query.

The Evanston Public Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. Consistent with other Library service policies, the department maintains strict confidentiality and privacy regarding all patron inquiries and research interests.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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