Circulation Policy

Library Card Registration

Anyone age 6 and older is eligible to obtain a free Essex Public Library card. A library card application form can be completed at the library or through the library’s website. Proof of mailing address must be provided at the time of registration, which may be any document with the applicant’s name and address, including a state-issued ID, utility bill, check stub, etc.

Children ages 6 through 15

  • Eligible for a card with a registration form signed by a parent/guardian.
  • Child must be present to get a card.
  • Parent/guardian must provide proof of address.

Teens age 16-18

  • Complete and sign a registration form.
  • Provide proof of address.


  • Complete and sign a registration form.
  • Provide proof of address.

About Your Library Card

  • A library card should be presented for all transactions. Presentation of the library card will allow checkout of items on the account.
  • Library card account holders are financially responsible for the items checked out and use of the library card. Parents/guardians are responsible for items checked out on and use of children’s library cards.
  • Library card accounts are renewed every three years with verbal confirmation of contact information. Expired library accounts that have not been renewed after three years may be deleted.
  • Patrons should alert staff as soon as possible of any changes to contact information.

Non-resident Cards

  • If an applicant is visiting the area, lives in temporary housing, or does not have a mailing address, he or she is eligible for a non-resident card.
  • Non-resident cards expire after one year and allow for the use of online resources, e-books, and checkout of 5 physical items from the library.
  • Online registration is not available for non-resident cards.

Loan Periods and Checkout Limits

  • All books, audiobooks, and DVDs check out for three week (21 days). Checkout periods vary for non-book items including electronic equipment. Patrons will receive a receipt at checkout that provides the due date for materials. Checkout limits vary for digital collections (e-books, downloadable audiobooks, etc.). Contact the library or visit for more information.
  • Reference and genealogy materials may be used in the library only and are not available for checkout.
  • For a new patron’s first checkout, they may borrow up to 5 items. Thereafter, library card holders may check out 35 items at a time, with a limit of 10 DVDs per account.
  • Items may be renewed twice, unless a hold has been placed on the item. Renewals may not be allowed on some non-book equipment.
  • When an item reaches two weeks overdue, further checkout of materials on the account is prohibited. Returning the item will immediately restore checkout privileges.

Lost or Damaged Items

  • If an item is not returned within 90 days after the due date, the item will be billed as lost and the borrower will be charged for the cost of the item. The charges will be cleared if the item is returned within four months. If the item is not returned, the patron’s borrowing privileges will be suspended until the cost of the item has been paid.
  • If an item is returned to the library damaged, the borrower will be charged for the cost of the item if the item is too damaged to continue circulating.
  • The library does not accept replacement copies of lost or damaged items.
  • Material lost or damaged due to extraordinary events such as a house fire, tornado, or flood will be excused with documentation. Billing information will be provided for insurance purposes where applicable.
  • If a multiple-item set is returned without all of its parts, the borrower will be charged for the entire item unless all parts are returned. Replacement costs will be waived if all parts are returned within 3 months of notification.

Holds or Requests

  • A hold is a request placed for an item which is on our shelves, checked out, or on order.
  • For items with multiple requests, a queue is established and each request will be filled in the order in which it was received.
  • Holds may be placed on any circulating item.
  • After notifying the requestor of its availability, an item will be available for pickup for 7 days before it moves on to the next person in the queue or is returned to the shelves. Pickup periods for some equipment items may be shorter.

Interlibrary Loans (ILLS)

“Interlibrary loan” or “ILL” refers to an item borrowed from another library because it is not available in the Essex Public Library collection.

  • ILL requests may be made by Essex County residents with established library accounts in good standing.
  • A patron may request or checkout no more than 3 interlibrary loan titles at once.
  • Materials borrowed from other libraries through the ILL system are subject to the rules and regulations of the loaning libraries. Any charges for obtaining the item, as well as fees for overdue, damaged, or lost materials, will be charged to the patron.
  • ILLs cannot be renewed.

Pest Infestation

Any time staff recognizes signs of pest infestation in any library item, immediate steps will be taken to quarantine exposed materials and protect the rest of the collection and facility. Items returned by patrons with evidence of insects that are known to be damaging to library materials or that can result in pest infestation may be billed following normal procedures for damaged items. Depending on the severity of the situation, the library reserves rights to suspend borrowing privileges until a patron can produce a letter or a receipt from a licensed pest control company documenting treatment or inspection for bed bugs or other pests at his or her place of residence.

Approved by the Essex Public Library Board of Directors on October 20, 2021.