Library Use & Circulation Policy

  • The Columbia Public Library offers full library service to all residents of the city. The Library facilities are available during regular Library hours, for use by any person who conducts himself/herself courteously and treats with respect and care the Library materials and equipment. Items to be loaned from the library are available to the holder of a valid borrowing card. Materials not found in the library will be borrowed for patrons through interlibrary loans. Computers and a typewriter are available for patron use. A large meeting room is available for use during library hours, and must be booked in advance.
  • Hours: M-Th 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; F 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sat 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Holiday Closings: New Year’s Day; President’s Day; Good Friday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veteran’s Day; Thanksgiving; the day after Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve (open 4 hours); Christmas Day. The library will close at 5:00 p.m. on the following days: the day before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. In order to offer library services and facilities on days that offer the greatest convenience to library patrons, holiday closings are subjected to substitution. (Example: President’s Day could be substituted for Lincoln’s Birthday.) Any member of the Library Board may propose a substitution day. Approval of the substitution required a majority vote of the Board members present.
  • Patron cards are issued to any applicant who is a resident of the City of Columbia. The card may be used at any Illinois library. Children must be entering kindergarten to obtain their first card.
  • Nonresidents may purchase a library card. (Illinois Library Laws, 1/1/94) “Privileges and use of the library may be extended to persons residing outside of the city, incorporated town, village or township. For such use, the Board shall charge a nonresident fee at least equal to the average cost paid by residents of the City of Columbia.”
  • Nonresidents who own or lease city property may have one card for family use.


  • To obtain a card you must present two documents with your current address. Cards are renewed every three years and you must have it with you to check out books. A lost card will cost $5.00 for replacement. Non-resident cards are good for one year. The fee is the average tax paid by a family within the City of Columbia.
  • CDs, DVDs, videos, and magazines are due in one week. All other materials are due in two weeks. A fine of twenty cents per library day is charged for an overdue item.  DVDs will be charged fifty cents per library day.   The fine must not exceed the value of the overdue item. Full replacement cost must be paid for a lost item. The library will send overdue notifications. Removal of a patron’s card from the active file is the result of failure to return or pay for lost items.
  • Audio books, CDs, DVDs, videos, magazines, and all other materials marked as such must not be placed in the outside book drop.
  • All lost and damaged items must be paid for by patrons at cost plus processing fees.
  • There is no limit to the number of books checked out.
  • Computers are in place for public use. Sign up boards are available for using these computers. The computers may be used for one hour unless no one else has signed up. Paper used with the printers is $0.25 per page for black print and $0.50 for color print.
  • A copier is also available at the cost of $0.25 per page for black print and $0.50 for color print. Patrons are to be aware of the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies.
  • A laminator is available for public use. The cost is $0.75 per sheet.
  • An Ellison machine is available for public use. There is no charge for using the machine, but patrons must bring their own paper.
  • The Fax is available for public use. The cost is $1.00 for the first page and .50 for each additional page. A charge of .25 per page for received faxes.

Overdue Materials Procedures (Updated: 6/23/2022):

  • When an item is overdue by four or more days, if a patron has not chosen to be notified by automated text or email, library staff will call the patron to remind him/her of the material’s due date.
  • If the overdue item has still not been returned by the following week, another automated text, email, or phone call is made to the patron.
  • In the third week, another notice will be given by text, email, or phone call.
  • In the fourth week, a bill for the item is mailed to the patron. This bill informs the patron that if the item is not returned, they will be responsible for payment to replace the item and their account will not be usable until the fee is taken care of.

 Patron Privacy Policy (Approved 9/14/10):

The Columbia Public Library abides by Illinois Law, which states that the records of patron transactions and the identity of registered library patrons is confidential material. The Columbia Public Library does not make available the records of patron transactions to any party except in compliance with the law. The Columbia Public Library does not make available lists of registered library patrons except in compliance with the law.

In the case of shared households, patron records will be shared with other linked patrons. Linking involves the following stipulations:

  • Patrons sharing a household may be linked and therefore may have full access to one another’s records and transactions.
  • Patrons age 16 and older must give permission to be linked.
  • Guardians of children age 15 and younger may link themselves to their child without the child’s permission.
  • It is important for guardians to understand that linking themselves to their children also permits children to access the guardians’ records.
  • In order to be linked, patrons must speak directly with a library staff member.
Library Use & Circulation Policy – Revised April 13, 2010