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 includes the City of Plainwell,  Gun Plain Township in Allegan County, or a portion of Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County that is within the Plainwell, Otsego, or Gull Lake School Districts. (Those who live within the Parchment School District in Cooper Township are in the Parchment Library District.)

What do I need to get a card?

When applying for a card you must present proof of identification.  Applicants will be asked to produce either a valid ID showing their local address or a piece of mail delivered to said address in their name to verify eligibility for a library card.


The Michicard program included most of the public and academic libraries in the state of Michigan. The Michicard program ended December 31, 2013. As anticipated for some time now, Michicard has been eclipsed in terms of service and convenience by the Michigan eLibrary Catalog and Resource Sharing system (MeLCat).

Original Article:

Michicard Program Ending

Stating that "Michicard has been eclipsed in terms of service and convenience by MELCAT," the Library of Michigan has announced that the program will end as of December 31, 2013. Michicard is a program by which anyone who holds a valid library card in a participating Michigan library may borrow from any other participating library. However, through MELCAT, library patrons can secure books, movies, CDs and more from libraries all over the state through their local libraries without actually going elsewhere.

Ransom Library, however, has patrons who have depended on Michicard to use the services of the library. Library Director Katie Bell Moore states that, "We're trying to adapt to this new situation and cause as little disruption as possible to anyone who is already a patron." To do this, the library has signed reciprocal borrowing agreements with the Parchment, Kalamazoo, Portage, Otsego, and Allegan libraries, and is currently pursuing such agreements with Delton, Richland and Martin libraries. These agreements will allow people who live in any of these areas to circulate materials from Ransom without paying the $50 non-resident fee. It will also allow Ransom card holders to visit any of the other libraries and access their materials. Rules for borrowing remain the same and will be enforced by all of the libraries.

What is 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 your Michigan driver's license when you register for a library card.

Ransom Library has a borrowing agreement 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 Patron for Residents & Nonresidents of Ransom Library

Why Visiting Patron?

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. VP replaces the Michicard program.

Visiting Patron has many conveniences:

  • 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 the following residents of the Ransom Library district: City of Plainwell, Gun Plain Township, Portion of Cooper Township in Plainwell, Otsego, and Gull Lake School Districts, and all other Plainwell Schools Students.

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, Richland. If one of these is your home library, ask the staff to consider participating.

Circulation Policy


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


No limits on any item!


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.


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.


You must present your current and unrestricted library card every time you wish to check out materials.


All items may be returned at the front desk or in the outside book drop, located next to the ramp on the west side of the building. Please return DVDS/VHS and CDs inside.

Loan Periods, Fines, & Overdue Materials

Material Loan
Late Fee
Per Day
Late Fee
Per Item
14 Day Books* 14 0 $0.05 $2 None
Adult Books 21 21 $0.05 $2 None
Teen Books 21 21 $0.05 $2 None
Juvenile Books 21 21 $0.05 $2 None
& Readalongs
21 21 $0.05 $2 None
CDs, DVDs, & VHS 7 0 $0.25 $2 None
TV Series 14 0 $0.25 $2 None
All Magazines 21 21 $0.05 $2 None
Book Kits 56 0 $1.00 $100 None

*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.

Overdue Notices and Fines:

If you keep materials beyond the due date, a daily fine will occur for each item. The library will attempt to contact you by email (if applicable), phone, and mail. You will receive only ONE mail notice. However, the mail notice is considered your THIRD notification as the first two notifications are email/phone calls. 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.


Ten days after the mail notice is sent to a patron the account may be sent to a collection agency.

MELCAT (Interlibrary Loan)

Through MELCAT (Michigan Electronic Library Catalog), patrons can request materials from other libraries that are not available at Ransom. MEL allows patrons access to 170+ statewide libraries. The Mel Catalog (MelCat), includes most items held in participating libraries including millions of books, CDs, DVDs and other materials. Once ordered patrons may pick up and return those items at Ransom.

Visit www.mel.org today and browse MelCat. Or log in to your MEL Account via MyMel to check for due dates, renew your MEL materials, and see the status of your requests. Just select your library (Ransom District Library) from the drop down list and login with your name and library card number.

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 at 685-8024. In the case of newly released titles, we may be able to purchase the title to add to the Library's collection.

Reserves, Renewals, 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. Just stop by the library, or call us at 685-8024, and tell us which title(s) you wish to reserve. You may even place a reserve yourself using our card catalogs at the library. Ask any staff member to show you how!


You may renew each item once, and you may renew items by phone or through your account online.
If an item is on reserve for another patron, it may not be renewed.

If you have an InterLibrary Loan item you would like to renew, call us at least five days in advance of the due date, and we will check with the lending library to see if a renewal is possible. Or you may renew your InterLibrary Loan item yourself online through MyMel. Just select your library (Ransom District Library) from the drop down list and login with your name and library card number.


You can suggest titles for the library to purchase. Use the forms at the Suggestion Box on the front desk or fill out the Request A Book. Of course, we can't guarantee we'll order every request. If we do not order your request, we'll try to obtain it for you via InterLibrary Loan.


Sign Up for Email Services

Ransom only emails you once a month or as needed for the following reasons:

  • Reserve Notices - (As Needed)
  • Interlibrary loan (MEL) - (As Needed)
  • Item Due Notices - (As Needed)
  • Overdue Notices - (As Needed)
  • Ransom eNewsletters - (As Needed)
  • New Book Alerts - (Once a Month)

Sign up your email to your account and/or your child's account today!

Login to Your
Ransom Account








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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