Ransom District Library
Ransom District Library
Ransom District Library

Library Cards

Who Can Get a Card?

You can obtain a Ransom Library card if you live in our library district. Our library district encompasses the following:

  • City of Plainwell 
  • Gun Plain Township in Allegan County
  • Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County that is within the Plainwell, Otsego, or Gull Lake School Districts

(Please note that people who live within the Parchment School District in Cooper Township are also in the Parchment Library District.)

What do I need to get a card?

When applying for a card you must present valid identification. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Driver's license
  • Michigan ID
  • Passport
  • Mail addressed to you at your local residence

Reciprocal Borrowing

Reciprocal borrowing agreements between libraries allow patrons from one library to obtain a library card from another library. You must present both the library card from your home library and a piece of valid ID when you register for a library card.

Ransom Library has borrowing agreements with:

Membership Cards

In rare instances, a person wishes to obtain a library card from us who isn't in our library district, or in the district of any of the above libraries. In this case the person may purchase a non-resident library card for $50 per family, per year.

Visiting Patrons

Libraries that participate in the Visiting Patron program provide borrowing privileges to other libraries’ patrons without requiring reciprocal borrowing agreements or fees. VP is similar to MeLCat borrowing but it bypasses the shipping as it allows for the immediate pickup of materials. This service also offers other benefits:

  • Quick checkout—your home library card is already in the statewide system.
  • Using Visiting Patron will reduce the number of (library) cards in your wallet.
  • Visiting Patron provides immediate pickup on borrowed items.
  • Convenient returns—your home library will ship materials back to the lending library for free.
  • Late fines are assessed by your home library. No owing fines in multiple places.
  • Items show up in your MyMeL and you can renew in MyMeL.

How to Use Visiting Patron:
Take your ID and Ransom Library card to any participating Visiting Patron library and check out their materials directly! (Tip: Be sure your fines are below $10 and your account is not expired before you go!)

VP applies to all residents of the Ransom Library district. See list above.

Refer to the http://elibrary.mel.org/screens/participating.html for libraries where you can be a VP!

Nonresidents with the following local Home Libraries may use their library card at Ransom as a Visiting Patron: Allegan Library, Henika (Wayland) Library, J.C. Wheeler (Martin) Library. If your home library is not on this list please refer to: http://elibrary.mel.org/screens/participating.html

Non-Participating Local Libraries: Otsego, Parchment, Portage, Kalamazoo, Delton, and Richland. If one of these is your home library, ask the staff to consider participating.

Circulation Policy


You must present your current and unrestricted library card every time you wish to check out materials. A card is restricted if staff needs to update your contact information, and also if the fine balance on your account exceeds $10.

Returning Items

You may return items in several ways:

  • Drive-up book drop
  • Indoors at the Circulation Desk
  • Outdoor book drop

Due Dates

  • 3 weeks: Books, Magazines, Audiobooks, and Playaways.
  • 2 weeks: 14-day (high-demand) books and TV series
  • 1 week: DVDs/VHS, & CDs

Please ask library staff if you need to know about the due date for an item not included here.

14 Day Books

Books that are in high demand will be temporarily placed in the 14 Day Book status. The book is distinguished as a 14 Day Book by a "14 Day Loan" sticker. If you are unsure if your book is a 14 Day Book please ask library staff, review your due date receipt, or check your library account online for the due date.

Item Limits

No limits on any item! Parents are welcome to set their own limits on what their children check out, however.

Overdue Materials

5 cents per day per item, all items except DVDs/VHS and CDs.
25 cents per day per item for DVDs/VHS and CDs.

Fines will not be assessed for the first day an item is overdue.

Overdue Notices

1st notice sent out when items are 2 weeks overdue.
2nd notice sent out when items are 4 weeks overdue.
Final notice sent out when items are 8 weeks overdue.
Patron's card will be restricted until materials are returned or paid for.

The library will attempt to contact you by email (if applicable), phone, and mail. You will receive only ONE notice through the mail. It will be the final attempt of the library to notify you.The maximum late fee will be charged for each item when they are returned.

Borrowers with $10 or more in late fees will not be allowed to check out any more material.

Damaged or Lost Materials

Borrowers will be charged for damaged or lost materials. This charge will include a $4 processing fee (for each item), plus the amount needed to replace the lost or damaged item.

MelCat (Interlibrary Loan)

 If the library does not have a book or other item which you need, then it is possible to contact another library who owns it and request a copy. MelCat, the Michigan Electronic Library Catalog, connects you with more than 170 libraries statewide, increasing your access to millions of books, CDs, DVDs and other materials. For your convenience, anything you order through "MeL" can be picked up and returned at Ransom.

Go to mel.org and search for the title or author. When you have found the item you need, click on “Get This Item From Mel.” You will need your library card number to request a copy. You can also contact the library and ask a staff member for assistance.

If you are unable to locate the title you need or do not have access to a computer to order books through MEL, please contact us. In the case of newly released titles, we may be able to purchase the title to add to the Library's collection.

Reserves, Renewals and Requests


You may place a reserve on any item which is checked out to another patron, or which is on order. You must have a valid Ransom Library card in order to place a reserve. Reserves may be placed in several ways: 


Items automatically renew for you on their due date. However, that will happen only one time. In other words, you can check out a book for three weeks, and it will automatically renew for another three weeks, giving you potentially a total of six weeks with that book. However, if an item has been requested by another person, it may not be renewed. Popular 14-day items will not automatically renew, either.  You may renew items in all the ways you may reserve them--see the list above.

Inter-library Loan Renewals

If you have borrowed an item through inter-library loan, contact us and we will check with the lending library to see if a renewal is possible. Let us know up to three days in advance of the due date. You may also renew your inter-library loan item yourself online through MyMel. Just select your library (Ransom District Library) from the drop-down list, then log in with your name and library card number.


You can suggest titles for the library to purchase. Ask for a request form at the front desk or fill out Request A Book here.  Note that we do not guarantee that we will order every request. If we do not order the item to add to the RDL collection, we will try to obtain it for you via the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL.)


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Ransom District Library - 180 S. Sherwood Ave. - Plainwell, Michigan 49080
Phone: 269-685-8024 - Hours: Mon-Thurs: 10-9 - Fri & Sat: 10-5 - Sun: 1-5

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