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Lost Book Policy

Lost Book Policy

All borrowers, including Calvin faculty and staff, are included in this lost book policy. The borrower of record is responsible for the safe and timely return of library material. Notification of overdue or lost material is a service provided by the library. Failure to receive a notice does not free the borrower of responsibilities.

An item is declared lost 45 days after the due date. A $50 fine, composed of a non-refundable $5 overdue fine and a $45 lost book fine, will accrue for each item lost. (A $15 fine is charged for “Recreational Reading” items.) The borrower will not be allowed to check out books until the fine is cleared. Calvin students are the exception to this restriction. The lost book fine is transferred to student accounts maintained by Calvin’s Financial Services. After the fine is removed from student library records, student users again have unrestricted use of the library.

The manager of circulation may decide if the lost item does not warrant a $50 fine. The matter will be referred to the library dean, who will decide the amount of the lost book fine. The manager of circulation will inform the borrower of the dean’s decision.

During the 45 days between the due date and the date when an item is declared lost, the borrower will receive three overdue notices - one day before the due date, four days after the due date, and 45 days after the due date at which time the item is declared lost. During this time, the circulation manager will make special effort to locate the item. The manager will also contact the borrower at least once after the 45 day period either by phone, e-mail, or regular mail. Failure in reaching patrons does not exempt the borrower from responsibilities outlined in this policy.

The borrower has the right to claim an item was returned. However, this claim must be made before or at the time the item is declared lost. The item will be given a “claims return” status and the borrower will be granted a waiver for 6 months. During that period, the borrower will be able to check out additional items. Extra effort will be made during this time to locate the item. If the item is found in the library, the borrower will be contacted immediately. If it is not found within the 6 month time frame, the status of the item will revert to “lost” and the $50 lost book fee will be placed on the borrowers account.

If the borrower finds the items he/she will be reimbursed $45 (minus the $5 overdue fine) if the book is returned within 6 months of paying the lost book fine or, in the case of students, after the fine is transferred to Financial Services. A reimbursement will be granted, without expiration, if the resulting lost book fine was the fault of the library.

The library reserves the right to determine how the lost item will be replaced.

Lost Book Fee

The library's "Lost Book" fee is a flat $50. The type of item, the in-print status, or replacement cost are not considered in assessing this fee. In most cases, $50 does not cover the replacement cost.

Replacing a lost book is not as simple as buying another copy and putting a call number label on the spine. The cost of replacing a book can be divided into two categories: time and materials. Librarians, support staff, and students are all involved in the ordering and processing of a book. The cost of materials is small; however, fees for third party services associated with processing a book are significant.

Paperback (excluding mass market)
Hardcover, Academic (avg. of all subjects)
Average Book Replacement Costs
(Source: Library and Book Trade Almanac, 2017)

The following tasks are involved in processing a book. The type of person responsible for the task is in parentheses.

  • Verifying that the book is lost and frequent correspondence with the patron (support staff and students)
  • Identifying the replacement copy, ordering it, and receiving it (librarian and support staff)
  • Creating a cataloging record for the replacement copy (librarian and service fee)
  • All paperbacks are bound by a third party (service fee)
  • Material preparation - call number label, security strip, due date slip (students)
  • If an exact match cannot be found, a search is made to locate a suitable replacement (librarian)
Processing Costs
$16.75 - 21.75
$9.75 - 14.75