Elk Horn Public Library

Circulation Policies


Library Cards

Library cards are issued immediately when information including name, address and phone number are provided.

Children are eligible for a library card according to the discretion of their parents or legal guardian. Parental signature is required for persons under age 14. Responsibility for a child’s selection and return of materials, and any fines or charges accrued on the child’s card, is held by the parent or guardian of the child.



Circulating books are loaned for a period of two weeks. Circulating magazines are loaned for a period of 1 week. Circulating videocassettes and DVDs are loaned for a period of 2 days. A fine of $1.00 per videocassette or DVD per day will be assessed against any patron not returning materials by the due date, with a maximum of $5.00 assessed per videocassette or DVD.

Damaged or lost materials will be the responsibility of the borrower at repair or replacement cost.

Persons with unpaid fines of more than $5.00 or overdue materials will not be permitted to check out additional library materials.

Patrons may request that an item be held for them. The patron will be notified when the item is available. If the item is not claimed within five library days after notification, it will be given to the next patron on the reserve list or returned to the general circulation.


Interlibrary Loans

If the Elk Horn Public Library does not have certain material requested by a patron, the librarians will be glad to request the sought after materials from SILO (State of Iowa Libraries Online).

Circulation Period: The Circulation period is set by the lending library. Renewals are up to the discretion of the lending library. If a renewal is requested by a patron, we will e-mail the lending library and request an extension; then contact the patron with the answer.


Confidentiality Policy

Policy Statement: Confidentiality of library records is central to intellectual freedom and directly related to the ability of citizens to use library materials and pursue information without fear of intimidation.  The purpose of this policy is to explain how the Library will respond to requests for information about library users.
1. Library circulation records and other records identifying specific users are confidential in nature.  Confidentiality extends to information sought or received, materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired including Internet and electronic resource search records, reference interviews and transactions, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials or services.  However, persons attending library programs or public meetings may be videotaped or photographed as audience members.
2. The lawful custodian of the records is the Library Director.  Only the Library Director and authorized library staff shall have access to patron records without the consent of a library cardholder.
3. Long overdue library accounts may be revealed to parents or guardians of minor children, a collection agency, or law enforcement personnel.
4. The library staff will not reveal library circulation records and other records identifying specific users unless required by law.
5. Circumstances which may require the library to release the information include the following:

Requests made in accord with the USA Patriot Act
a. A law enforcement official presents a valid legal subpoena seeking the information pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a crime
b. The library receives a Warrant for the information issued under the USA Patriot Act (which includes amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act).
c. The library receives a National Security Letter seeking the information pursuant to the USA Patriot Act.
d. The library receives a valid court order requiring the library to release registration, circulation or other records protected under the Iowa Code and the information is not sought in conjunction with a criminal or juvenile justice investigation. records of all books and materials you borrow from this library, and of Internet sites you visit on library computers, may be obtained by federal agents.  This law prohibits the library staff from informing you if federal agents have obtained records.

1.  The library staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to registration records or circulation records or other records identifying the names of library users, shall immediately refer the request to the Library Director without discussing with the person making the request what user information may or may not be available, or what the library can or cannot do.
2.  If the Library Director is not available at the library the staff member shall inform the requestor when the Director will be available and request a delay until the Director will be available.  If pressed to act sooner, the staff member shall attempt to contact the Director immediately.  If the Director cannot be reached, the highest ranking person on duty is responsible for enforcing the library’s confidentiality policy until the Library Director can be contacted.
3.  The Library Director shall take personal responsibility for handling the request as soon as possible.  If the request is from a law enforcement officer the officer must have a subpoena, a court order, a warrant issued under the USA Patriot Act, or a National Security Letter (NSL) issued under the USA Patriot Act to receive the requested records.  If the officer does not have a proper subpoena, court order, warrant, or NSL compelling the production of records, the Library Director shall refuse to provide the information requested. 
4.  If the request is made pursuant to the USA Patriot Act, the Library Director may not discuss the request with anyone other than legal counsel as required by the Act.  In order to protect the library and its patrons in this circumstance, the Director is authorized to obtain legal counsel regarding the request.
5.  Any problems relating to the privacy of circulation and other records identifying the names of library users which are not provided for above shall be referred to the Director.


References: The confidentiality policy of the Elk Horn Library is based on the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Code, and professional ethics. First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech...”
Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Code of Iowa 22.7 "Examination of Public Records (Open Records)"
“22.7 Confidential records.  The following public records shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records, or by another person duly authorized to release such information...:
13. The records of a library which, by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library. The records shall be released to a criminal or juvenile justice agency only pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime. The records shall be released only upon a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end and that the need for the information is cogent and compelling.
18. Communications not required by law, rule, procedure, or contract that are made to a government body or to any of its employees by identified persons outside of government, to the extent that the government body receiving those communications from such persons outside of government could reasonably believe that those persons would be discouraged from making them to that government body if they were available for general public examination.”
Code of Ethics of the American Library Association:
Professional Ethics: “We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.” (Source: Code of Ethics of the American Library Association)


Reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees:

January 2020