The Portage Library Consortium Board enacted a policy at its last board meeting to use a collection agency to help encourage patrons with long overdue materials to return them to the library. The Portage Library Consortium Board voted to pass the cost of this service on to each patron whose account will be handled by the collection agency.
This new policy was developed with fairness to all library patrons in mind. Materials not returned are not available for others to use or borrow. Also, if materials are not returned, in most cases, money from the library budget is used to replace them. This same money could be used to purchase new items for patron use instead of replacing non-returned items.
The Portage Library Consortium Board hopes this practice will encourage all library borrowers to return items on time so the materials are available for other people to use. Most library items may be renewed by bringing the items with the patron’s library card for presentation at the circulation desk, by calling the library, or by going online and accessing the patron record. Also, book returns for returning material when the library is closed are conveniently located for patron use.
Patrons will still be notified by the library that their materials are overdue and have ample time to respond prior to being turned over for collection. If the items are still not returned, the library will send a replacement bill. Beginning in June, if the account remains unresolved, it will be sent to the collection agency, sixty days after the due date, when the account balance reaches $50.00 or more. In addition, a $10.00 service charge will be added to the account.
Unique Management Services has been selected as the collection agency for the library. Unique Management Services works with libraries throughout the United States and specializes in the recovery of overdue materials and has an excellent record of treating patrons professionally.
The Portage Library Consortium is serious about recovering overdue materials. Patrons who do not return materials are stealing from the library. Fortunately, only a small percentage of patrons using the library do not return materials as agreed. This new policy will not affect the vast majority of patrons who return materials on time. The Portage Library Consortium is committed to providing excellent service and having materials available to meet patrons’ needs. The Portage Library Consortium is made up of the Kent Free Library, Portage County District Library, and Reed Memorial Library. For more information about this new policy or for information about library programs and services, visit or contact your local library.