Lost or Damaged Materials | Mechanics' Institute

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Lost or Damaged Materials

A member who loses or damages any library item is required to pay replacement costs. Replacement costs include the retail price of the material, a processing fee to cover additional handling and processing, and overdue fines if the Library is not notified of the loss prior to the due date of the borrowed material.

What will I be charged if I lose a book, magazine, audiobook, CD or DVD?

You will be charged a reasonable estimate of the price the Library will pay to re-purchase the material.

What is the processing fee for?

This fee partially covers the Library costs of re-ordering, updating the catalog record, and the physical processing necessary to prepare each new item for borrowing.

What does “damaged” mean?

Normal wear and tear is expected on books and other library materials that are used by hundreds of people. However, when the book is deemed too soiled (stains, odors, writing, etc.) or pages and/or covers have been ripped, broken, or water damaged, then the Library will bill the borrower as if it were lost.

Why do I have to pay for the total cost if I only lose one CD or DVD of a set?

We must replace the entire set when part of it is lost or damaged. It is not normally possible for us to reorder one disc of a set, whether it is a film, music CD or an audiobook.

What if I can find a replacement copy at a cheaper price on the Internet? Why didn’t the librarian accept the book I bought from Amazon?

Please do not bring in a replacement copy for a book you lost. Cost is only one of several considerations for the Library in replacing lost or damaged materials; rather, our professional staff looks at collection needs in that subject area. In some cases the book is dated and can be replaced by a new edition, or the same title in a different format, or a new title by the same author that includes additional and/or more up-to-date content. It may be out-of-print. We may have received a recent donation of that title, and will use replacement funds to order another item that meets our collection needs. In addition to these considerations, librarians also look at the quality of the physical format to determine its suitability for long-term use.

When am I required to pay for the lost material?

Material that is 60 days overdue is automatically billed by the Library computer system. If you notify staff prior to the due date, we will attempt to give you extra time, without late fees, to search for a lost item if no other member has placed a hold on it. Once you are billed, you may pay at your convenience by cash, check or credit-card. If your total bill exceeds $29.99 your library access and borrowing privileges (and all household cards attached to your account) will be blocked until you pay your account in full.

What if I find the material after I have paid for it? Can I get a refund?

Bring it to the Library within 15 days of paying for it. If the Library has not already ordered a replacement copy, the Acquisition Librarian will consider adding the material back into the collection. If it is accepted, a refund for the price paid - not processing fees or overdue fines - will be paid by check, following Library procedures.