Title:  ARLS Regional Policy: Athens Regional Library System Circulations Policies
Prepared by: Valerie Bell & Resource Team & Branch Managers – October 6, 2023
Submitted to: ARLS Policy Committee – October 6, 2023
Approved by: ARLS Board of Trustees – Date: 7/10/2001, Amended: 4/17/03; 7/17/08; 2/16/09; 1/20/11; 7/18/13, 10/19/2023 


The Athens Regional Library System is a participating member of the PINES statewide consortium. PINES libraries adhere to uniform circulation policies and procedures as documented at pines.georgialibraries.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=circ:home

Library Cards

Library cards are free to all residents of Georgia. Persons who attend school, own property, or are employed in Georgia are eligible for a free PINES card. Patrons of both PINES and non- participating Georgia public libraries may receive a PINES card. An applicant for a new card is required to provide proper identification, which includes either a photo ID showing current local address, a photo ID and one item from the PINES approved list showing current local address, OR two items from the PINES approved list showing current local address. Original documents are required with the exception of utility bills, which may be presented online. Acceptable photo IDs include valid driver’s license, valid passport, valid US Military ID, valid matricula consular, or valid Georgia Weapons Carry License. The PINES approved list of address verification documents includes valid Georgia voter registration card, recent utility bill, recent tax receipt or other piece of mail that shows the patron’s name and current address, recent pay stub, current lease/rental agreement, county tax assessor records, or official base assignment documentation. Persons also have the ability to apply online at: gapines.org/eg/opac/register.

There is no minimum age for a child to receive a PINES card. A parent or legal guardian may register a child. Parents or guardians must show proper ID to register a child. In the Athens Regional Library System, a parent or guardian must sign the application for all children under the age of 18. Signing a PINES card application denotes acceptance of responsibility for all fines and fees for lost or damaged materials. Responsibility for a patron’s use of library resources, regardless of format or content, rests solely with that patron or a minor’s parent or legal guardian, not with the library.

Most PINES cards are valid for two years. All fines and fees must be paid to renew a library card. A valid library card or ID on record is required to check out materials.

Loan Periods

Materials from the collection circulate as follows:

  • Audiobooks on CD: 14 days, 2 renewals
  • Books: 14 days, 2 renewals 
  • Digital Collection: variable
  • DVDs: 14 days, 2 renewals
  • Music CDs (not available at all libraries): 14 days, 2 renewals
  • Park, Museum & Partner Passes: Varies according to state partnership guidelines
  • eBook Devices (not available at all libraries): 14 days, no renewals
  • Ukulele and Shareables (not available at all libraries): 7 days, 2 renewals 
  • Chromebooks: 14 days, no renewals
  • Launchpads: 14 days, 1 renewal (max 2 per card)
  • Hotspots: 7 days, no renewal (24-hour wait to re-check out)

Materials will not be renewed if there is a “hold” placed on the item. Renewal requests on eligible materials may be made in person, online, or by calling the library. DVDs and games are limited to 15 simultaneous checkouts for each item type per PINES card. The library reserves the right to recall an item and designate the item non-circulating.


To encourage the prompt return of material, the library has established a schedule of fines for those patrons who fail to return library materials by the due date.

  • Overdue Books, Audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs: $0.20/day
  • Overdue Zoo Atlanta DVD: $0.50/day
  • Overdue Park, Museum, and Partner Passes:$3.00/day
  • Overdue Shareables (e.g., ukuleles, drums, jewelry kit): $3.00/day 
  • Overdue Electronic Devices (e.g., chromebooks, hotspots, eReaders, launchpads): $5.00/day

Fines are not to exceed the price of the overdue item as determined by the owning library. Overdue notices are sent as a courtesy. Failure to receive notices does not exempt patrons from the responsibility for library materials or overdue fines. PINES fines may be paid at any PINES participating library. Fines will be retained by the collecting library regardless of the owning library. Returned materials which are owned by other PINES libraries will be promptly returned via PINES courier service. Patrons may pay all or a portion of overdue fines. Authorized staff may forgive overdue fines for patrons who have been ill or hospitalized or with other extenuating circumstances.

Library Card Blocks 

A patron must present a PINES library card in good standing in order to borrow materials. A patron’s library card will be blocked from additional borrowing if the patron owes $10.00 or more in unpaid fines and/or fees. A library card cannot be renewed until all fines and fees are paid in full.


Damages to library materials for such things as torn pages, pencil- or crayon-marked pages, torn book jackets, and wet/moldy books, are assessed according to the schedule set by the Athens Regional Library System’s Library Board (see Fines/Fees Schedule). The Athens Regional Library System will not accept a replacement copy in lieu of payment for a damaged item. If the total replacement price as posted in the PINES database is assessed for severe damage to an item, the patron may keep the item after paying the replacement price. Damaged items will only be kept for six months from the date that the patron is billed for the item.

Fees Schedule

AV Fees

  • DVD Case Replacement Cost: $2.00
  • Audiobook Replacement Cost for 12-Disc Cases: $8.00
  • Audiobook Replacement Cost for 18-Disc Cases: $10.00
  • Music CD Replacement Cost for Case: $2.00
  • Music CD Replacement Cost for Case if 3 Discs or Larger: $8.00
  • Cleaning Fee: $1.00 – $2.00 for dirty DVDs and audio CDs
  • Miscellaneous Damage to Labels, Barcodes, etc.: $1.00
  • Processing Fee if Item Needs to Be Completely Replaced: $10.00

There is no charge for replacing AV booklets.

Other Damaged Items Fees

  • Chewed Cover or Pages: $0.50/page; full replacement of item if book can no longer be circulated.
  • Crayon, Ink, or Pencil Marks in Books: $0.50/page; full replacement of item if book can no longer be circulated.
  • Dust Jacket Missing: $1.00
  • Gum Stuck to Pages: Supervisor will assess usability.
  • Missing Pages: Supervisor will assess usability.
  • Bag or Map for Park/Museum/Partner Pass Missing: $1.00 for each
  • Missing Barcode: $1.00

Lost Materials 

Library staff will mark an item as lost in PINES when a patron declares the item “lost.” The price of the item as listed in the PINES database, plus the processing fee designated by the owning library, will be assessed to the patron’s library card. The Athens Regional Library System will not accept a replacement copy in lieu of payment for a lost item. The full replacement cost may be assessed if one or more parts of a multi-part item are lost. Overdue fines are forgiven when a patron pays the replacement price for a lost item. Lost items may be paid for at any PINES library. Payments for lost or damaged materials will be returned to the owning library. These payments must be remitted monthly.

If a lost item is found and returned within 6 months of payment, a refund will be given, minus the overdue fines which have been accrued and the processing fee. The “found” material may be returned to any PINES library, with the understanding that the owning library will be the final authority on whether the material is in acceptable condition for return. The owning library will issue a refund check to the patron via U.S. Mail. The refund check will be payable to the library cardholder on whose record the materials were circulated. Materials lost through acts of God will be exempt from replacement charges. Materials stolen from houses or automobiles will be exempt from replacement charges if the item(s) are listed on an official police report. The report must be presented to the circulation supervisor or branch manager. 


A “hold” may be placed on an item in person, over the phone or online with the patron’s library card number. Blocked cards may not be used to place a “hold.” There is a limit of 50 holds at a time on a patron’s card. If a “Hold” has been placed on an item, it may not be renewed.

Confidentiality Law 

The Georgia Confidentiality Law (O.C.G.A. 24-9-46 (2008)) prohibits the disclosure of any patron information, including titles checked out, amount of fines/fees owed, and phone numbers/addresses. Library staff shall not disclose any information regarding library patrons unless legally compelled. If proper legal documents are presented, the Library Director or a designee must approve the decision to release confidential records.

Purchase Suggestions

Patrons may suggest that the library purchase material which is not currently owned. Acceptance of a purchase suggestion does not constitute an agreement to purchase the item. If the item is purchased, the patron(s) can request to be placed on a “hold” list for that item and will be notified when the material is ready to circulate.


See Donations Policy.

Return Policy 

With the exception of special items, library materials may be returned to any participating PINES library regardless of where the materials were checked out.

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