Open Borrowing for Librarians
Procedures for Participating Libraries
 Open Borrowing   Open Borrowing and You   Participating Libraries 
The Open Borrowing Program is a self-funded program paid for by participating members. The participating members are M.A.I.N., Morris Automated Information Network; PALS Plus, Passaic County Library System; LMxAC, the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium; the Libraries of Sussex County, including the Sparta Public Library; and the Libraries of Warren County. Many of the procedures that were in place previously have continued with the new program.
  1. Who is eligible?
    Any resident with a valid library card from a public library in the participating systems including member libraries in the counties of Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris and Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren is eligible to borrow materials in person from any participating library. A list of participating libraries is included on the website (
  2. Identifying Open Borrowing Patrons
    Residents must obtain a sticker that identifies them as an Open Borrowing patron from their home libraries. This sticker, affixed to their local bar-coded library card, indicates that they are a patron in good standing at their home library at the time that the sticker is issued. Libraries should continue to use the green stickers they received in the past that say "OPEN BORROWING". Participating members are responsible for printing their own stickers. No materials should be loaned to patrons who submit a bar-coded card without the green sticker. If a patron arrives with a bar-coded card without a sticker, the lending library may choose to call the home library to obtain permission to issue a sticker. There is no obligation on the part of the lending library to place this call or for the home library to accept these calls.

    The status of LMxAC patrons may be verified at:

    At this time, LMxAC patrons cannot be verified. As long as the patron has a green sticker, it is at each library's discretion to lend or not. LMxAC is working to remedy this.
    The status of MAIN patrons may be verified at:
    At this time, MAIN patrons cannot be verified. As long as the patron has a green sticker, it is at each library's discretion to lend or not. MAIN is working to remedy this.
    The status of PALS borrowers may be verified at:
    At this time, PALSPlus patrons cannot be verified. As long as the patron has a green sticker, it is at each library's discretion to lend or not. PALSPlus is working to remedy this.
    The status of Sparta Library patrons may be verified at:
    2. Click on the white "My Account" link toward the bottom right of the grey area at the top of the screen
    3. Click 'View Account and Update Holds'
    4. Enter patron's library card barcode number
    5. Click on 'Display User Information' button

    The status of Sussex County patrons may be verified at:
    2. enter patron's barcode, request PIN from patron
    3. click on My Account Tab
    4. click on Blocks (some are informational)
    If the staff aren't comfortable making a determination on whether the patron should be permitted to use the library, or don't understand our block types, they can call 973-948-3660 and ask for a determination by the SCLS library staff.

    The status of Warren County patrons may be verified at:

    Enter or scan the member's barcode and click on the Submit button. Follow the onscreen prompts.

  3. Registering Open Borrowing patrons in Your System
    Consult local procedures for registering Open Borrowing patrons in your library's consortium. Libraries may register new Open Borrowing patrons at any time. Expiration dates should be set for one year from the date of registration or to the date that the patron's home library card will expire, whichever comes first. To avoid duplication of registrants and insure correct circulation statistics, wherever possible, courtesy cards and pay cards should be converted to Open Borrowing. Each participating member is responsible for registering patrons in such a way as to be able to report Open Borrowing statistics.
  4. Can I renew an Open Borrower's record?
    Any library can and should renew expired Open Borrowing patrons' records. Expiration dates should be set for one year.
  5. What May Be Borrowed: Books and Media
    The program includes all materials, including media, owned for six months or more. (Some libraries may choose, but are not obligated, to lend newer materials.) Any other local restrictions applying to consortia borrowers apply to Open Borrowing patrons as well. Open Borrowing patrons should check at the library they visit regarding local policies for media. Some libraries will require that borrowers return media directly to the lending library. Books may be returned at any participating library. Bookmobile materials are not available for Open Borrowing.
  6. Discharging Items
    Libraries receiving returned Open Borrowing items will not be able to discharge materials. Libraries returning Open Borrowing items not discharged must include the Open Borrowing Transit Form with every item. Please indicate the date returned and if any fines are due. (Returning libraries may collect and keep overdue fines. Fines are assessed at the rate charged by the receiving library.) A master form is included in this documentation.
  7. Overdues
    If the amount of fines a patron owes can be determined, it can be collected. Please remember that while you are taking returned materials and may be collecting fines, the patron's record is NOT cleared until the material is received and discharged at his home library. An Open Borrowing Transit Form must be completed and included with every item. The guest library may keep any fines collected. Owning libraries should clear fines that may have accrued while the item was in transit. Forward any notices and bills for Open Borrowing directly to the patron. Do not forward them to the home library of the patron until materials become 90 days overdue. At that time, notify the borrowing patron's home library via the "Inter-library Contact Form" that their patron has materials borrowed through Open Borrowing that are 90 days overdue. The borrowing patron's home library should make every effort to get the materials or payment for the materials from their patron.
  8. How to access the "INTER-LIBRARY CONTACT FORM"
    This form is used to contact member libraries and the BCCLS office for lost items and patron delinquencies.
    Click on the "Open Borrowing" link on your consortium's website
    The "Open Borrowing and You" window will open
    Click on "Inter-Library Contact Form"
    Alternatively, click here.
  9. Lost Books or Media
    Patrons must pay for lost items at the libraries from which they borrowed the materials.
  10. Lost Materials - How to Submit Claims
    The borrowing patron's home library should be notified by the lending library via the "Inter-library Contact Form" when materials are 90 days overdue.

    The patron's home library should make every attempt to recover these materials from the borrower. If, after a period of six months, the patron's home library is unsuccessful in getting either the materials or payment for unreturned materials, the lending library should send a bill to Open Borrowing Lost Book Fund.

    The Open Borrowing grant provides $1,000 for a Lost Book Fund. Libraries unable to recover monies from delinquent Open Borrowing patrons may submit claims for items lost by submitting a "Six-month Overdue Notice and Bill" (download Six_Month_Bill.doc or Six_Month_Bill.pdf).

    Items should be overdue at least 6 months but not more than 9 months and should be reported within that timeframe. Include title, author, price, date borrowed, mailing address of owning library and library name for "check made payable to". Please send a signed voucher with a copy of the bill. Open Borrowing patrons who fail to reimburse for lost items must be blocked/barred in the home library's system and the library system from which the material was borrowed. Use the Inter-Library Contact Form to correspond with the home library of the patron.

  11. Reciprocal Borrowing Reimbursement Fund
    Open Borrowing loans that go beyond the courtesy 50 items per month for each library are eligible for reimbursement from the Reciprocal Borrowing Fund. Lends to fellow consortia members are not eligible. Lending to residents of non-participating communities, e.g. Prospect Park, is also not eligible. Reimbursements are distributed every six months All participants have agreed that reimbursement will not fall below $.40 per item.
  12. Open Borrowing and ILL
    Open Borrowing does not impact procedures for Inter-Library Loan. Patrons who wish to request materials from LMxAC, M.A.I.N., PALS, Sussex or Warren libraries and who cannot visit the library in person, may still request items through their home libraries on inter-library loan or Jerseycat. A future goal is to institute an expedited ILL within Open Borrowing.

Funded by LMxAC, MAIN, PALS Plus, and SWELL
 Open Borrowing   Open Borrowing and You   Participating Libraries