Policy Statement

This policy provides the overall rules and rationale that govern the circulation of library materials at Peterborough Public Library. The intention of this policy is to ensure free and equitable access to the Library’s collections while also providing the framework to ensure the protection of Library collections.


Circulation: the borrowing (check-out) of library materials for use outside the library.

Member: a person who has a membership account (library card) with the library. For more information, see our Membership Policy.

Loan period: the number of days a member can keep a Library item before it must be returned it to the Library.

Due date: the date on which an item reaches the maximum number of days in its loan period.

Claims returned: a Library item which a member has claimed to have returned and which the Library circulation system shows as still being checked out to that member.

Good standing: a member account which is current (not expired), has no outstanding lost or damaged items, and no fees owing.

Renewal: an extension of the original loan period equal to the length of the original loan period.

Hold: a request submitted by a Library member for a specific item which reserves that item for the member as soon as it is next available.

Interlibrary Loan: an item which is borrowed by the Peterborough Public Library from another library system on behalf of a Peterborough Public Library member.

Reference material: an item which does not circulate (is not available for borrowing) to ensure that it is always available in the library.

Overdue material: an item which has been on loan to a member beyond its loan period and which has not been renewed by the member.

Damaged material: an item which has been physically altered such that its value and usefulness has been noticeably reduced. Damage does not typically include regular, reasonable wear and tear. 

Lost material: an item which has been borrowed by a member and can no longer be located or returned to the library.

Fee: a charge for certain library services or to recoup costs for lost or damaged items.

Library Cards

A valid library membership card is required to borrow materials from the library. Library cards must be presented in order for members to borrow materials. For more information, see the library’s One Card Policy. Library cards are free for anyone who lives, goes to school, or owns property in the City of Peterborough. A replacement fee will be charged to replace lost or stolen cards.


The use of materials onsite within the library as well as the borrowing of materials for take-home use is free of charge.

Certain items are not available for borrowing and may only be used onsite within the library. These items are designated as reference material.

Loan Periods

To ensure the timely flow of materials, the library sets loan periods depending on material type. The library may set shorter loan periods for popular or high-demand items.  

Loan periods for each material type are posted on the Library's Borrowing page.


For most items in the collection, it is possible for members to renew their loan at the end of the loan period. The renewal period is equal to the original loan period. High-demand items, and items which have been placed on hold by other members are not eligible for renewal and must be returned to the library at the end of the loan period.


Library members may place circulating titles on hold. If more than one member has placed a hold on the same title, each new hold request is placed in a waiting queue. Members in the queue will be notified as soon as the title is available for them to borrow.

Library staff monitor hold queues and may purchase additional copies of high-demand items as appropriate. 

Overdue Materials

To ensure barrier-free access to the library’s collections, the library operates on a fine free service model. Late fines are not charged for overdue materials. Borrowers are responsible for returning materials promptly by the due date so they can be made available to other community members.

The library sends reminder notices by phone, text or email as follows:

Library Notice Schedule
Notice TypeTiming
Courtesy reminder 2 days before due date
First overdue notice 7 days after due date
Second overdue notice 14 days after due date
Final overdue notice 30 days after due date
Assumed Lost notice / Billing notice 44 days after due date

At 44 days overdue, the library assumes the item is lost. A non-refundable processing fee is charged to the member’s library account along with the replacement cost of the lost item. Also, at 44 days overdue, the member’s library account is blocked from borrowing any additional items. To reinstate the account, the member must return the overdue material and/or pay the fees owing on the account. 

Point of no return date

The library will continue to accept returns of assumed lost items up to 90 days after they have been assumed lost (a total of 134 days after the original due date). If the lost item is returned within this time frame, the replacement cost of the item will be refunded. The non-refundable processing fee remains outstanding until paid.

If the lost item is not returned within this time frame, the item will be considered discarded from the collection and will not be accepted back as a return. The borrower will be responsible for paying the replacement and processing fees and may keep the item. 

Damaged Materials

The Library charges a damaged item fee for items that are returned damaged. The item remains the property of the library and must be returned along with payment of the damaged item fee. Damaged item repair fees for each material type are posted on the Library’s Borrowing page.

Claims Returned

If a library member claims to have returned an item which is still recorded in the library system as being checked out to that member’s account, library staff will do a thorough shelf check for the item in the library. If the item still cannot be located after internal procedures are followed, staff will follow up with the member on a case-by-case basis before the item is moved to lost status. A replacement fee for the item may be charged.

Interlibrary Loans

If the Library does not own a copy of an item in the collection, members can request the title through interlibrary loan. The Library will make every effort to borrow the title from another Ontario library and then lend it to the requesting member. As Peterborough Public Library is not the owner of interlibrary loan materials, these materials are subject to late fines.

Borrowing parameters for requests are subject to change. Current information is posted on the Library's Interlibrary Loans page.


Approved by the Peterborough Public Library Board, September 14, 2021.