Circulation Policy

General Information:

The Circulation Desk is the gateway to the Plainsboro Public Library. The circulation staff promotes a warm, welcoming, and friendly environment, embodying the Library’s open spirit. Patrons at the desk receive priority. The circulation staff is trained to handle all circulation procedures, answer directional questions, assist with the catalog, encourage patrons to access our databases, and direct informational questions to the Reference Desk.

Plainsboro Public Library is part of the Libraries of Middlesex County Automation Consortium (LMxAC). Plainsboro residents who have valid Plainsboro library cards can use their library card at any of the libraries in LMxAC.


The Plainsboro Public Library supports the American Library Association’s recommended policies regarding confidentiality of patron records, intellectual freedom and freedom of information. The Library always observes strict confidentiality in the handling of patron records. No information contained in a patron’s record will be released to any third party except upon the presentation of a court subpoena and then only by the Director and the Board of Trustees with advice of legal counsel.

Staff may not release to patrons the personal contact information of library staff or board members.

Library Card Registration:

  1. Any resident of Plainsboro is entitled to a Plainsboro Public Library card.
  2. Proof of Plainsboro residency is required to obtain a library card. Bank statements, utility bills, drivers’ licenses or legal documents showing the applicant’s name and address constitute valid identification. West Windsor-Plainsboro School I.D.s are acceptable as proof of residency. West Windsor students must show a Mercer County Library Card to staff when they register at Plainsboro Library.Exception: Plainsboro residents without appropriate proof of residency at the time of registration can receive a library card and immediately borrow up to three items. We will mail the library card to the patron’s home address. The patron must then prove residency at the next checkout to receive continued borrowing privileges.
  3. Each cardholder is responsible for materials checked out on his or her card.
  4. Lost cards are replaced for $1.00. On reissue, staff must verify the cardholder’s name, address and telephone number and establish proof of residency.
  5. People who work in Plainsboro but do not reside in an LMxAC town may receive a courtesy card valid for one year. Current proof of employment showing the employee’s name and employer’s Plainsboro address is required to obtain a Plainsboro library card. Current proof is required each time the card is renewed.
  6. People who reside in LMxAC or Mercer County Library System towns must obtain library cards from their home libraries in order to check out materials from Plainsboro Public Library. Staff will enter valid Mercer and Cranbury library cards into the LMxAC system with an annual expiration date.
  7. Non-residents who do not reside in an LMxAC, Mercer, Middlesex Union Reciprocal Agreement Libraries (MURAL) or Open Borrowing Library system town may purchase a non-resident card for $40.00, valid for one year. For more information on the Open Borrowing Library System see
  8. Non-residents who own property in Plainsboro will receive a library card if requested and upon proof of such ownership by presenting a current real estate tax bill. LMxAC residents who own property in Plainsboro must choose which library will be their home library.
  9. Cardholders may not hold two library cards under their name. At registration, staff will determine whether the applicant already holds a valid card. When replacing a lost card, staff will render the original card invalid. A patron relocating from another LMxAC town who had a valid library card will receive a Plainsboro library card and staff will delete the other library card from the system.Exception: Middlesex County Community College students can have two cards in the system.
  10. Cardholders claiming a stolen card will receive a replacement card at no charge and staff will render the stolen card inoperative.

Checkout and Return

  1. The Library honors all valid cards from the Plainsboro Public Library or any library participating in LMxAC, MURAL, Open Borrowing, or Mercer County Library systems.
  2. Cardholders must use one of the following items to check out Library items: library card, smart phones with scanned barcode from library card, or a valid ID.
  3. There is no check out limit on materials.


      • Three new DVDs per card.
      • Three School Summer Reading books per card.
      • One Educational Tablet per card.
  1. Loan Periods:
    Educational Tablets, New books, TV series, Summer Reading Books: 2 weeks
    DVDs: 4 days
    Books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs: 3 weeksCardholders may request additional time for vacations or personal reasons on all items except new books, DVDs and School Summer Reading books.
  1. Staff will notify cardholders borrowing DVDs of the terms of the loan; that is, staff will mention the item’s due date.
  2. The following fines are assessed for late items:
    Books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs: 10₵/day; maximum fine $5.00/item
    DVDs and Educational Tablets: $1/day; maximum fine $10.00/DVD or TabletFines are not charged for holidays or days the library is closed.
  1. At checkout, staff will notify cardholders who have fines less than $5.00 or item(s) overdue fewer than six weeks of the outstanding fines or items. Cardholders may continue to check out items without paying the fines or returning the items.
  2. Cardholders who have fines above $5.00 or holding any item(s) overdue more than six weeks may not check out any additional items until they have fines less than $5.00 or item(s) overdue fewer than six weeks. The Director, Assistant Director or Circulation Supervisor may make exceptions to this policy.
  3. Cardholders may return borrowed items to any LMxAC library; however, we caution you about the possibility of lost, late, or damaged materials when using this option.
  4. Cardholders are liable for damaged items. Damage fees range from $1.00 for a missing barcode to the replacement cost of the damaged item.

Overdue Notices:

  1. Cardholders may choose to have overdue notices sent via email or through the mail to the home address.
  2. Cardholders receive a first notice for an item overdue for two weeks. The first notice reminds the cardholder that the item is overdue, that fines are accruing, and advises returning the item at the cardholder’s earliest convenience.
  3. Cardholders receive a second notice when an item is overdue for four weeks. The second notice is identified as such and explains fines are still accruing and that failure to return the item will result in suspension of borrowing privileges.
  4. Cardholders receive a bill when an item is overdue for six weeks. The bill is for the replacement cost of the item as specified under “Lost Items.” The bill is sent through the mail to the home address. The bill states that the cardholder’s privileges have been suspended until the item is paid for or returned and the fines paid.
  5. The Library may engage the services of a collection agency to recover items or fines in excess of $100. Such action occurs no earlier than two months and no later than six months after the due date of the overdue items.
  6. Upon finding in the Library an item for which a cardholder has received an overdue notice, staff will promptly cancel any accrued fines and update the cardholder’s account.

Lost Items:

  1. The Library charges the cardholder the purchase price listed in the library catalog for lost items. When a price is not listed in the library catalog or on a current Internet retail site, the following prices apply:
    Adult, YA Books $20.00
    Children’s Textbooks $75.00
    Children’s Books, Paperbacks and Board books $10.00
    Educational Tablets $100.00
    Magazines $5.00
    Audiobooks $60.00
    Children’s Audiobooks $30.00
    DVD $15.00
    CD $13.00
  2. The Library charges processing fees for all lost items.
  3. The Library does not accept replacement copies for lost items.
  4. No refunds are issued for lost item(s) that the cardholder has paid for in full.


  1. Cardholders may reserve items (except new DVDs and Educational Tablets) owned or on order by the Library. Cardholders may also reserve items owned by other LMxAC libraries in the LMxAC catalog. Some LMxAC libraries limit what items they allow Plainsboro cardholders to reserve.
  2. Reserved items are put on a waiting list; staff will notify the cardholder when the reserved item is available.
  3. After notification, the reserved item is placed on the hold shelf and held for 5 days. If the item has not been picked up by the end of the fifth day, staff will notify the next person on the reserve waiting list or re-shelve the item.
  4. Cardholders may request that a family member pick up their reserved item by calling the Library in advance of pick up. The cardholder must give staff the name of the family member they have approved to pick up their reserved item. The person picking up the reserved item must have the family member’s library card and their own valid I.D.


  1. Cardholders may renew items in person, online, or by phone. They may renew items up to three times for an additional three-week period each time, providing there are no reserves on the items.
    – Educational Tablets and New books (green dot) may be renewed only once for two weeks.
    – DVD’s and DVD-MULTI’s may not be renewed.
  2. Cardholders may checkout an item that they had previously renewed the maximum number of times after waiting one day.

Revised and adopted:
February, 2002
October 5, 2011
September 6, 2016
February 4, 2020