Ransom District Library
Ransom District Library
Ransom District Library

Library Policies

ADOPTED April 18, 2006

By the Charles A. Ransom Board of Trustees

Library Mission Statement and Objectives



The mission of the Charles A. Ransom District Library is to serve with integrity all residents of the district by providing literary and informational resources to support and enhance personal growth and the cultural life of the community.


1. The Charles A. Ransom District Library shall be a multi-media facility providing as varied a selection of materials and information as financing permits for residents within the designated patron area. These services will also be available to patrons of libraries with which the library has reciprocal agreements, Michicard holders and residents outside the area who wish to purchase memberships.

2. The task of the staff and board is to provide for the literary tastes of the citizenry, to make reference and research materials available, to aid in the enrichment the personal lives of its patrons, and to improve literary standards through presentation by guest authors and presentations of other programs of interest.

3. Board and staff should continuously work together to enlarge and reinforce the services available to all people, recognizing the pluralistic nature of this community and the varied backgrounds and needs of all citizens. There should be an awareness of changing needs of the community which necessitates a flexibility of library services in meeting these needs.

4. The library shall make every attempt to encourage children in their pursuit of knowledge and in gaining rewarding experiences through books and other media.

5. The principles of intellectual freedom shall be respected by the library in accordance with the Freedom to Read Statement as revised on January 16, 1991 by the American Library Assoc. Council and in the Library Bill of Rights as amended January 23, 1980 by the American Library Assoc. Council. In adhering to these principles the following items must be considered:

  • The freedom of individuals to learn about controversial issues and arrive at their own decisions.
  • It is not a proper function of the library to promote particular beliefs and views to censor the interest of its patrons.
  • Promoting particular beliefs and views or censoring the interests of patrons is not the proper function of the Library.

6. The Board shall periodically review the policies and objectives of the library to provide any needed changes.

Policy No. 1

Subject: Circulation policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: November 17, 2016

Due Dates

3 Weeks - Most items are due 3 weeks from the date of checkout. These items may be renewed once unless the item is being reserved for another patron.

2 Weeks - Fourteen (14) day bestsellers books, books that have 5 or more reserves, and television series DVDs are due 2 weeks from the date of checkout.  Items are not renewable.

1 Week - CDs, Videos and non-series DVDs (audio/visual) are due one week from the date of checkout. Items may not be renewed.

Exceptions - The Library can assign special due dates for items as follows:

Vacation Loan: Staff may adapt the loan period as needed to accommodate the patron.

Inter-library Loan: For inter-library loan materials the due date is given to us by the lending library.

Special Collection: Occasionally, a temporary shorter loan period, including overnight loan, may be set for materials that are being used for a specific school assignment or for a holiday. In general, these items are not renewed.

Book Club Kits: A longer loan period is required for a book club to use a kit from Ransom Library. They will be checked out until 2 days after the club's meeting date.

Current Ransom Readers Books: Titles will be excepted in the same manner as book club kits.


The library reserves the right to limit patrons' borrowing as needed.

Overdue Items

2 Weeks Patrons who have an item(s) 2 weeks overdue will be mailed or e-mailed a reminder.

4 Weeks Patrons who have an item(s) 4 weeks overdue will be mailed or e-mailed a reminder.

Overdue items may be renewed one time in order to stop the fine from accruing further.

Patrons with an item or items 45 days overdue will be mailed a pre-collection notice. The notice will advise the patron that he/she may not check out additional library materials until the overdue item(s) is returned and that the account may be sent to a collection agency.

Before sending out a pre-collection notice, the library will double-check the shelves to make sure the item(s) has not been returned.

The Director will be notified of any accounts in excess of $40.00. The Director may decide to proceed with the collection process. A $10.00 processing fee will be added to each account sent to Unique Management Services.


Grace Day: No fines will be charged for item(s) returned one day after the due date.

5 cents: Five (5) cents per day will be charged for all overdue item(s) except audio/visual materials.

25 cents: Twenty-five (25) cents per day will be charged for all overdue audio/visual materials.

Fines for any item will not exceed $10.00.  Patrons who have accrued fines of $10.00 or more may not borrow additional materials until the fines are paid below $10.00.

The library will not mail or e-mail fine notices - only overdue notices. However, the library staff will inform patrons if they have any fines when checking out materials.

Lost or Damaged Items

Lost Item: If an item is lost the patron is responsible to pay the replacement cost of the item plus a $4.00 processing fee. Patrons who lose one or more items from a set (of books, audio/visual materials) will be responsible to pay the full replacement cost of the set if the item cannot be replaced individually.

Damaged: If the item is damaged and cannot be returned to the collection, the patron is responsible to pay the replacement cost of the item plus a $4.00 processing fee.

Repairable Items: A $4.00 processing fee will be charged to repair a damaged book jacket, torn pages or to clean an item, as well as to repair damaged audio-visual materials.

Sample Pre-collection Letter

(Library Letterhead)



Our records show that you have library material(s) that are 45 days overdue. The material(s) that are over due are as follows:

Before sending this notice we have checked the library shelves to make sure the materials were not returned.

Please return the material(s) today. If the material(s) are lost you will be responsible for the replacement cost of the materials which is $ plus a $4.00 processing fee.

Until this is resolved you will not be able to check out additional library material(s). Also if this matter is not resolved within 10 days of this notice your account may be sent to a collection agency.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 269-685-8024.


Signed by Director

Patron Registration/Library Cards

Patrons aged 17 and younger must have a parent or guardian signature to register for a library card.

Service Area

The Library serves the residents of the City of Plainwell, Gun Plain Township in Allegan County and the part of Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County that is within the Plainwell and Gull Lake School Districts. Anyone who lives in or owns property in our service area is eligible for a free library card (including children). 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.

Reciprocal Borrowers

If a patron brings in a library card from a library listed below, a reciprocal card can be issued.

The patron must bring in a home library card (Allegan, Kalamazoo, Otsego, Parchment, Portage, Martin) from their home library and valid ID before a reciprocal card will be issued.

Fee Cards

Patrons who do not meet the criteria of a resident, or a reciprocal borrower may purchase a membership for $50.00 per family, per year.


All teachers/professional staff in the Plainwell School District are eligible for a library card. Staff ID cards are sufficient to verify employment.

Non-Resident Students

Any student currently enrolled in Plainwell Community Schools is eligible for a library card, regardless of their home address. Must show student ID.

Institutional Cards

Facilities housing temporary residents who do not have a valid ID with a local address are eligible for an institutional library card. The institution is responsible for reimbursing the Library if items checked out are not returned. If the institution does not hold a library card, residents without valid ID are welcome to visit the Library, use the computers, and use the Library's books and materials on site, but they may not check them out.

Policy No. 2

Subject: Internet Access Policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: February 21, 2017

The Charles A. Ransom District Library provides access to the Internet as an information and recreation resource. The Library provides this access via computers located in the library as well as a wireless network for patrons to use with their own computer equipment that they bring into the library. This policy applies to all Internet activity in the Library, regardless of the method of access.

Internet resources change rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current or legal. The Library is unable to monitor or control the content of Internet resources. The Library and its Trustees shall not be liable for any damages (direct or consequential) from any information obtained or provided on the Internet. Users are hereby notified that they are responsible for the choice of sites that they visit.

Acceptable Use

The Library network and/or workstations are intended primarily for research, communication and personal data management activities and may be used only for legal and ethical purposes. The following activities are strictly prohibited:

• Accessing obscene matter or sexually explicit material that is harmful to minors

• Displaying images which other library users may find offensive

• Harassing other users

• Destroying of or damaging equipment, software, or data belonging to the Library or other users

• Unauthorized monitoring or disruption of electronic communications

• Violating U.S. copyright laws and all other applicable laws

• Commercial activity or distributing advertisements

Library staff has the authority to interpret and enforce this policy. Staff shall actively monitor all patrons' network use during and after sessions. Patrons who violate the guidelines once will be warned by Library staff. Continued failure to follow the guidelines may result in the loss of the right to use the network and/or workstations.

Michigan Public Act 212 Compliance

Michigan Public Act 212 requires that libraries offering public access to computer network resources "utilize a system or method that is designed to prevent a minor from viewing obscene matter or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors". The Library complies with this requirement through the active monitoring of network use and strict enforcement of acceptable use standards.

General Procedures

1. Persons wishing to use the workstations shall ask for and be assigned a station number at the circulation desk.

2. Use of the workstations will be limited to one hour if others are waiting.

3. Library staff has the authority to extend or decrease time limits as necessary, depending on demand.

Policy No. 3

Subject: Reference Service policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

General Philosophy

The Library shall collect or provide access to informational resources appropriate to its mission and reflecting the interests of the full spectrum of the population it serves. These informational resources shall satisfy, through content, current format, organization, and quantity a diversity of user needs.

Staff shall direct the user to possible sources, both in and out of the library, where the information the user requires may be provided. These materials might include books, pamphlets, journals, Internet and electronic sources, service agencies, and professionals in the appropriate field.

Users of all ages and circumstances are to be treated with equal attention to particular needs. All requests for public information are legitimate. Staff may only provide information, not opinions. Questions should not be answered on the basis of personal experience. It is the staff's responsibility to provide information in an impartial and businesslike manner even when contrary to personal beliefs.

Medical, Legal, Financial and Tax Questions

The Library does not provide advice in the areas of medicine, law, finance or taxes. Under no circumstances will a staff member offer advice in medical, legal, financial or tax areas, no matter how commonplace the question seems to be.

Brief definitions and descriptions from authoritative sources will be provided. These sources will be quoted verbatim with no personal interpretation. The patron will be informed of the sources from which the information is taken. Every effort will be made to use authoritative, current online sources when using the Internet.

Specific tax forms and publications will not be suggested. Patrons must know the numbers or titles of the forms they need. If more information is required, the patron will be encouraged to examine the library's collections or be referred to another source.

Children's Reference Service

The Library provides reference service to children and adults working with children in order to promote a more literate public. To fulfill this goal, the Library develops a collection of materials that meets children's interests and information needs, stimulates their curiosity, and challenges them to greater achievement. The Library also strives to create a pleasant, stimulating atmosphere at the Library, including knowledgeable staff that makes children feel their requests are significant and their presence is welcome. The Library also offers programs and tours that encourage children and their families to come to the Library. Library staff will cooperate with individuals and groups with similar goals by extending library services into the community and emphasizing contact with children who are in need of literacy support.

Except where limited by law, children are entitled to borrowing privileges and open and ready access to materials and facilities provided by the Library. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for monitoring and limiting the use of library materials by their children.

School Assignments

Questions related to school assignments are handled in the same manner as any other reference question. With complex school assignment questions, librarians should make tactful suggestions to telephone callers or to parents of students, that the students come into the Library for personal assistance and do their own in-depth research.

Patron Priorities

Staff is expected to exercise good judgment in determining patron priorities. Generally, the public is served on a-first come, first-served basis. Patrons calling the Library are helped in sequence. Callers will be asked if they would like to wait, to call back, or to be called back before being put on hold. Patrons approaching the desk will be informed that they will be helped as soon as possible. If a patron has a time-consuming request, it may be necessary to get him/her started and make sure a follow-up is done to continue the patron in the process.

Policy No. 4

Subject: Surplus equipment policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

It is the policy of Ransom District Library to dispose of library materials, furniture and equipment that is no longer functional or useful. The Director shall be responsible for the sale or disposal of all library furniture and equipment that is no longer of any use to the Library. When an item no longer has value to the Library, it will be removed from inventory and disposed of in the following manner:

In an instance where an item of surplus inventory is determined by the Director to have unusual, historic or artistic value, it may be referred to the Board of Trustees for a determination of its value. This may necessitate the services of a professional appraiser or outside expert opinion.

Policy No. 5

Subject: Petitions and solicitations policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Solicitation of the public or the staff is not permitted on Library property by the public or members of the Library staff. Solicitation is defined as the sale or distribution of merchandise, sales materials, tickets, insurance, coupons, magazine subscriptions, political campaign material, and anything not connected with the work of the Library.

The only exceptions to this policy are the following:

Policy No. 6

Subject: Public use of telephone policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Library telephones shall be used by library patrons in emergency situations only or by children calling for rides home. Emergency calls shall be limited to no more than three minutes. Staff shall exercise their best judgment in determining which calls constitute emergencies.

Policy No. 7

Subject: copyright policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

It is the intent of the Ransom District Library to comply with Title 17 of the United States Code, titled "Copyrights", and other federal legislation related to the duplication, retention and use of copyrighted materials. A notice of copyright will be prominently placed on the library's photocopiers. Library staff will refuse to duplicate any materials if doing so would violate copyright law. Library patrons copying any materials on library machines are solely and fully responsible for using the materials in compliance with relevant copyright law.

Unless otherwise labeled, audiovisual materials are for personal and home use only.

Library staff will follow copyright law in selecting and using materials for public performance. Original or copyright-free art will be used to produce library publicity items or for creating displays and decorations.

Policy No. 8

Subject: friends of the library policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Friends of the Ransom District Library is a group of people who have joined together to form a not for profit support organization for the Ransom District Library. The aim of the Friends of the Ransom District Library is to allow our Library the opportunity to offer programs and services that could otherwise not be provided.


Policy No. 9

Subject: volunteer policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

The Ransom District Library welcomes members of the community serving as volunteers. The services volunteers perform are valued and valuable. Volunteer activities are governed by the following guidelines:

Policy No. 10

Subject: Copying/Printing/fax policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006




Policy No. 11

Subject: Archives policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

All items belonging to the Library with potential historical value will be professionally appraised before the item is discarded. Historical items will be placed in either the Archives or newspaper rooms.

Use of the original Plainwell Enterprise newspapers is highly discouraged. If these materials are used, those using the newspapers must wear white gloves.

Original newspapers will be allowed to be viewed only if the item is not readable on the microfilm. The only exception to this rule concerns those persons reading the newspapers for the indexing program.

A sign-up sheet is to be used for viewing Archives material. This sheet should contain the person's name, address, telephone number, and a description/date of the item viewed.

Local history research will be provided by staff only by appointment. The first hour of research is free; each additional hour is $5.00. Photographs may be reprinted for 5.00/5x7 print.

Photographs may be reprinted: Any size smaller than 5x7 $ 1.00

A 5x7 print $ 5.00

A 8x10 print $10.00

The prints are actual photographic reprints, not photocopies.

Policy No. 12

Subject: Patron rights and responsibilities policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees:

April 18, 2006

Patron Rights

Patron Responsibilities

Patrons are not permitted to engage in the following behaviors on Library property:

Talking loudly or creating other noise

Physical threats or abusing others or property.

Running and roaming

Using abusive or foul language

Abusing or misusing the of Library's furnishings, equipment or materials

Congregating in or around entrances.

Committing of an illegal or unauthorized act on Library property against patrons, personnel or property of the Library

Using or possessing alcohol or illegal drugs on Library property

Engaging in illegal sexual conduct


Soliciting (see Patron Policy No. 5 Petitions and Solicitation)

Eating (drinking of beverages is allowed is designated areas only)


Carrying a weapon in the Library unless carried by a peace officer or as allowed by state or federal law

Using cell phones, except in the lobby area

Animals on Library Premises

Animals are NOT allowed inside Ransom Library.

Exceptions may be made for:

animals who are part of library-approved events

animals trained to assist persons with Americans with Disabilities Act recognized disabilities

service animals in training accompanied by the trainer

All animals on library premises (inside or outside the building) must be physically restrained by a leash, tether or other physical control device not to exceed eight feet in length and under the physical control of a capable person. The only exception to this is animals who are currently participating in a library-approved event. After the event they are expected to be restrained as well.

The owner of the animal is responsible for any injury or property damage caused by the animal while on Ransom Library premises.

Library Actions

Patrons will be warned once and will be requested to leave if any unacceptable behavior continues. Suspension of Library privileges for a determinate or indeterminate amount of time may occur if a patron is found to have engaged in unacceptable behavior on Library property. Notice of suspension will be mailed by certified mail to the last known address of the patron or, in the case of a minor child, his parents or guardian.

Appeal of the suspension may be made in writing to the Board of Trustees, within ten (10) days of receipt of notice of suspension.

The patron, or in the case of a minor child, the parents or guardian, will be notified by the Board of the date and time of the hearing on the notice of appeal.

Policy No. 13

Subject: Staff rights policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

All Library employees are entitled to the following rights when serving patrons:

Policy No. 14

Subject: Unattended children policy

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Children are welcome in the Library, and we are concerned about their safety and welfare. However, parents and caregivers are responsible for monitoring their children's activities and regulating the behavior of their children while the children are in the Library.

If a child is left unattended, the following procedure will be enacted:

Policy No. 15


Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Patrons who wish to make a complaint concerning a Library staff member may do so via the following process:

Policy No. 16


Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Selection Objectives

The goal of the Ransom District Library is to select, organize, preserve and make freely available to all individuals in the community materials which will aid them in the pursuit of information, culture and recreation. The primary goal of collection development is to provide the best possible collection to meet the needs of the community. The decision to select any item for the collection is based on demand, anticipated need, and the effort to maintain a wide and balanced collection.

The Library strives to collect materials representing all sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection of materials by the Library does not mean endorsement of the contents or views expressed in those materials. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is an expression of the Library's policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of that particular point of view. The Library provides service to all members of the community and does not knowingly discriminate in its materials selection.

The Ransom District Library fully supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement.

Selection Responsibilities and Resources

The Director is ultimately responsible for the selection of library materials. Actual selection of materials and collection management activities are shared among trained library staff. All staff members involved in collection development are expected to adhere to the Library's philosophy of intellectual freedom and to develop inclusive, not exclusive, collections.

Staff shall use a variety of review resources when choosing materials, including but not limited to:

Booklist, Library Journal, New York Times Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates, reviews from local/regional newspapers and other popular media, postings from professional list-servs, and patron suggestions

Selection Criteria


All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the standards listed below. However, an item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable, nor are the standards listed in order of importance. Materials are evaluated on the significance of the entire work rather than individual parts. When judging the quality of materials several standards and combinations of standards may be used. The following principals will guide selection:

Electronic Format

Electronic information resources, such as subscription databases and e-books, are a very important part of the Library's overall collection. Resources such as these extend the Library's accessibility to all hours of the day and night, not just when the Library is physically open. Additional criteria are considered when selecting materials available in electronic formats.

Selection Parameters and Priorities


The majority of materials purchased for the Library are print, with an emphasis of currency in mind. Every attempt is made to provide a balanced collection of fiction and non-fiction to meet the needs of the community served by the Library. Besides regular print format, the Library purchases a number of large print materials for patrons with impaired vision or who prefer the larger type.

Single vs. Multiple Copies

Generally single copies are purchased, unless the title is extremely popular, or is being used in a book discussion group. Many new titles come automatically as the Library subscribes to a service which automatically provides newly published titles by certain popular authors.

Breadth vs. Depth

The Library's goal is to collect materials on a wide range of subjects, rather than to provide in-depth, specialized information. The Library will collect fewer books on more subjects, rather than more books on fewer subjects.

Children's/Teen Books

Children's and teen materials should be held to the same standards of quality as materials for adults. Therefore, the criteria for selection of materials for young people will be the same as described above. Additional consideration will be paid to the selection of materials depicting such controversial issues such as graphic violence and sexual activity. Addition to the collection will be contingent upon the work having other redeeming value, such as literary merit, contemporary significance, or author reputation. Materials of a controversial nature will not be selected for children or teens without the support of one or more positive critiques from established reviewing sources. Once selected, these materials will be housed in the teen section, but will not be singled out for their content by means of labels or other identifiers.

Audiovisual Material (Adult)

Ransom District Library offers a collection of videos for patrons' recreational and informational needs. The library does not compete with the selection available in video rental shops. Therefore, emphasis will be placed on collecting general interest informational videos and recreational films believed to have lasting value.

Informational films will include materials from various genres including but not limited to "how-to", documentaries, travelogues, music, health/fitness, dance, theater, and inspiration/motivational speakers.

Recreational films will be selected from available films believed to have lasting value to the community. This will include, but will not be limited to, award winners and materials with favorable reviews from reliable sources. Materials in the adult video/DVD collection will include films rated PG-13 and R. No X-rated films will be included in the collection, nor will music videos or infomercials.

Films with a PG rating will be divided between the adult and children's sections. The decision on which collection to house a PG film in will be determined by film reviews and the discretion of the Library Staff.

The selection of material in any new format may result in the library's decision to retire specific items or material formats from its collections in order to responsibly accommodate trends in user demands and/or changes in technology.

Audiovisual Material (Teens)

Parents tend to give teens considerably more latitude than younger children in regard to the content of audiovisual material. Therefore, both audiobooks and DVDs that are of interest to teens will be housed with the adult collections.

Audiovisual Material (Children)

Children's audiovisual needs differ considerably, as the developmental range from birth to age 10 is so broad. The children's audiovisual collection will address this age range. Priority will be given to fictional materials with a literary connection, and patrons will be encouraged to check out books and videos simultaneously. Series programs based on commercial or cable television stations will be given consideration if requested by patrons or if highly acclaimed.

G-rated films will be housed in the Children's Video collection. PG-rated films that are most suitable to children under the age of 10 will be in the same location. Parents are expected to decide which films are permissible for their own families and guide their children in film selection.

Informational videos for children will cover a range of development and interests. Materials will be available to stimulate infants and toddlers, and more comprehensive videos will be selected in subject areas that appeal to childrens' interests.

Audiobooks are an excellent tool to use with emergent readers, and people of all ages love to listen to books read aloud. Priority will be given to fictional materials with a literary connection. Abridgements will not be considered for inclusion.

A small selection of music CDs for children will be kept in the audio collection. This will be primarily songs for preschoolers to enjoy during library programs, but the collection will circulate.

Reference Materials (Adult)

Reference materials are carefully considered before purchase. Since so much information is available via the Internet, only those reference materials highly recommended for small and medium sized libraries will be considered and only if the information is not available on-line. Due to the cost of reference materials, they may only be used in-house. A hard copy of the World Book Encyclopedia is replaced once every five years. Current editions will be purchased and installed on the public computers. No more than two encyclopedia titles will be purchased for the library.

Reference Materials (Children)

As more reliable reference sources can be found on the Internet, the children's reference collection will be limited to basic sources of information. These will include, at the minimum, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas, and a thesaurus. Other reference materials may be added or removed as community needs dictate. The encyclopedia must be current. Replacements will be purchased every 5 years, and the older set will be recataloged as a circulating copy.


The Library purchases a number of general magazine titles and newspapers. Most of the newspapers are local or regional in scope. Most magazines are retained for no more than two years; fewer if the title is available through MeL. The local Union Enterprise is retained indefinitely and is available in both bound and microform formats. The Library keeps the current year plus one year of the Allegan County News. All other newspapers are retained for two months.

Periodicals (Children/Teens)

The periodical collection will be kept small and current. Children's titles will reflect a range of interests. Teen titles will be selected and maintained according to patron requests and consistency of circulation.

Genealogy/Local History

The Library also retains collections of genealogical materials and books specifically on or about Michigan. An archive of local materials which includes books, the Plainwell High School yearbooks, papers, maps, as well as other ephemera of local interest is available as well. These materials generally are non-circulating.

Foreign Language

Presently all materials purchased are in English, although some children's materials are available in dual Spanish-English format. If there are requests for materials in another language, we would consider building a collection in that language at that time.

Big Books/Sharing Box

A small, non-circulating collection of big books will be maintained for use during library programs. A number of pop-up books, identified as part of the "Sharing Box," already exist in the collection. These books have fragile parts and do not hold up well in a library setting. They will remain in the library as non-circulating materials for as long as they last. When discarded, these materials will not be replaced.


Some materials will be kept on hand for children to use when they visit the library, either during an independent visit or while participating in a library program. These materials will not circulate. The realia available will include, but not be limited to, puppets, puzzles, games, rhythm instruments and blocks. All material added to this collection will have a sound educational purpose behind its selection.

Plainwell Community Schools Curriculum

Charles A. Ransom District Library is not the primary support system for the local school curriculum. However, an effort will be made to maintain a collection that supplements what is being taught in the local schools. This will manifest itself primarily in non-fiction, where titles on subjects that are popular school assignments will be plentiful. Accelerated Reader, a popular reading incentive program, will be encouraged through the maintenance of a list of program titles in the library collection and labeling the spines of these books with an identifying sticker. However, no attempt will be made to specifically purchase titles on the Accelerated Reader list.


Generally textbooks are not added to the collection, unless there are no other books available to cover a specific topic (ie: mathematics)


Gift materials are thoroughly scrutinized and added to the collection only if they meet the outlined selection criteria. Gifts in some older formats may be considered if the item is in good condition, not currently available in the newer format, and would be of interest to patrons. Items not accepted are given to the Friends of Ransom District Library to be sold at their book sales.

Collection Maintenance

Weeding is an on-going process as materials date or become unrepairable. Staff continually looks over items as they are returned to see whether they need repair or should be discarded. Duplicate copies and/or materials which have not circulated in five years are considered for withdrawal as well. If the title is listed in the <span style="font-weight: bold" request="" for="" reconsideration="" of="" library="" material."=""

Upon receipt of a formal, written request, the Director will appoint an ad hoc committee from the professional staff including, but not limited to, the Children's Librarian and the Reference Librarian. The committee will make a written recommendation to the Director who will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The director will communicate this decision, and the reasons for it, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reconsideration at the earliest possible date. The Director will inform the Board of Trustees of all requests for reconsideration of library materials and their disposition.

In the event that the person who initiated the request is not satisfied with the decision of the Director, he/she may appeal for a hearing before the Board of Trustees by making a written request to the President of the Board. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Ransom District Library. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director.

Policy No.17

Subject: General Exhibits and Displays

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: November 19, 2019

The Library welcomes the opportunity to allow groups, organizations or individuals to exhibit artwork, collections or information that will benefit the community. The decision to allow an exhibit is the responsibility of the Library Director.

Guidelines for exhibits or displays will include the following:

Selection criteria for an exhibit approval would include:

Groups or individuals wishing to exhibit or display items in the Library are to fill out an application form and submit the request to the Library Director for approval.


Application process for an exhibit or display:

Exhibits are scheduled and approved by the Library Director. A signed application request is required. Applications will be accepted up to one year in advance. Individual or group exhibitors are limited to two months, unless an extension is approved by the Library Director.

Once an exhibit or display is approved:

• The applicant/group is responsible for installation of the artwork or display and removing the display. Library assistance may not be available.

• The applicant/group must sign a waiver on the application that releases the Library from any responsibility for loss or damage to works on display.

• The applicant agrees to conform to the space restrictions of the exhibit or display.

• The applicant/group agrees that nothing will be attached to walls. No use of tape, labels, thumbtacks or adhesive for signage on any library walls.

Policy No. 18


Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: April 18, 2006

Any notice to be considered for posting must be submitted to Library management for approval. Only library personnel will post notices.

Notices posted without approval will be removed.

The Library bulletin board is to be used for posting or notices:

All notices intended for posting on the Library bulletin board must contain the following:

  1. Name of organization or person requesting the posting.
  2. Address and telephone number of organization or authorized representative.

Notices may be removed after two weeks, when no longer timely or when space is required for more current notices.

Notice size can be restricted if deemed necessary to maximize available space.

The Library does not necessarily advocate or endorse the viewpoints of organizations permitted to post notices on the Library bulletin board. The library accepts no responsibility for loss or damage to any item accepted for postings.

Policy No. 19


Adopted by Library Board of Trustees:  tbd

Revised February 2015

The Library, as a community center, encourages community use of its meeting room (also known as the Burchfield Room), and will not charge a fee for its use. The Library reserves the right to refuse the use of the meeting room at any time, or to suspend or terminate future use of the meeting room by any organization that violates this policy.

Eligible Groups

- In accordance with the Elliot-Larsen Civil rights Act and Michigan Public Accommodations Act, the Library’s meeting room, located within a tax-supported facility, may be used only by those groups whose membership is open to all people without discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.

- The meeting room may be reserved by professional and governmental groups and by any local organized group in the Ransom District Library service area. Local business use is permissible when no selling, solicitation, or order-taking occurs.


- Library use of the meeting room takes precedence over all other uses and is not restricted by other reservation policies outlined in this document. In an emergency situation, if the Library should find it necessary to cancel a scheduled activity in the meeting room, staff will notify the person who booked the room that other arrangements must be made.

- Permission granted for the use of the meeting room does not imply an endorsement of the user or the user’s beliefs by the Library Board or staff members, and no group or organization shall state or imply in its publicity that the Library sponsors or endorses the meeting, the group or organization, or any particular set of ideas. Groups or organizations may not use the library’s name or address as their own address or location.

- Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

- Reservations may be made in person, by phone, or via e-mail.

- The meeting room is reserved for Library Board meetings on the third Tuesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

- The meeting room may be reserved not more than six months in advance.

- In order to accommodate public demand for use of the meeting room, weekly events scheduled by the same party are limited to not more than eight (8) consecutive weeks. The meeting room also may not be reserved by the same party for more than five (5) consecutive days.

Use of the Meeting Room

- No more than forty (40) people may use the meeting room at one time.

- The meeting room is only available during regular library hours. Organizations using the room must exit the building at the time the Library closes and will not be allowed to stay later.

- Approved use of the library’s community room does not include selling or moneymaking enterprises (see Policy 5: Petitions and Solicitations). If the Library Director suspects that the room may be used for profit-making purposes, the Library reserves the right to cancel or postpone the event.

- Use of the meeting room for private social events such as parties, receptions, family reunions, showers, and similar functions is also prohibited.

- The Library retains the right to request program materials, advertisements, and program outlines prior to use of the meeting room. The Library retains the right to modify the program if it is in the best interests of the community or if necessary to maintain the non-profit nature of the program.

- Educational groups, public service groups and citizens’ activities related to public policy may charge fees only to recover the cost of consumable materials or instruction, provided financial profit is not the purpose of the activity.

- Groups using the meeting room must provide adequate supervision of the group and any attendee’s children.

- The meeting room and any Library equipment must be left clean and the furniture and chairs returned to their original placement.

- Material on the shelves is for display only and should not be handled.

- The cost for replacement or repair of Library property will be the responsibility of the reserving organization.

- Users of the meeting room must converse quietly, so to not disturb others in the Library.

- Light refreshments are permitted.

- Smoking or use of alcoholic beverages is not allowed.

Policy No. 20


(CA. 1970)

The name of the room shall be the Gretta A. Burchfield Room in honor of Mrs. Burchfield in remembrance of 52 years of service to the Charles A. Ransom District Library. Mrs. Burchfield served 34 years as president of the Library Board of Trustees.

Public Use of the Room

The room shall be maintained as an attractive, uncluttered, dignified meeting room for the community. The Policy for Public Use of Meeting Rooms shall apply to the Burchfield Room.

Policy No. 21

Subject: Competitive Bidding

Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: February 19, 2009

General Guidelines:

• The Ransom District Library will seek competitive bids for all projects/purchases/services anticipated to cost over $2500.

• Purchases of standard library materials including books, media, periodicals, software, and office supplies are exempt from this policy.


• Requests for bids shall be advertised in two general circulation newspapers located within the service area of the library.

• Bid advertisements must appear at least two weeks in advance of the bid deadline.

• Advertisements will include a brief statement of the project, submission deadline, instructions to obtain full specifications at the library, notification of public bid opening, and staff contact information.

Bid Submissions and Opening:

• All bids must be sealed and delivered to the library by the posted deadline. Any bids that arrive after the posted deadline will not be considered.

• Bids must include proof of appropriate business license and appropriate insurance coverage.

• Bids will be publicly opened by the Library Director and/or a Trustee. Any bidder may attend the opening.

Awarding of Contracts:

• The Board of Trustees will discuss the qualifying bids at the next scheduled meeting of the board following the bid opening.

• The Board of Trustees reserves the right to reject all bids and/or cancel a proposed project if costs are too high.

• When costs, qualifications, and other considerations are comparable the Board of Trustees reserves the right to give preference to bidders located within the Library's service area.

Policy No. 22


Adopted & Revised by Library Board of Trustees: April 20, 2010

The Library is pleased to accept donations of cash and goods that will assist the Library to fulfill its mission and support Library programs as well as special projects.

Any donation that comes with a stipulation must have written approval of the Library Board. Any donation that needs or might need more than minor maintenance or upkeep or would incur an expense must have written approval of the Library Board.

In all cases, the final disposition of any donation is wholly in the purview of the Director or Library Board. The Library Board makes no warranty that any donated item will be displayed, added to the collection or kept permanently in the Library.

Policy No. 23


Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees: July 15, 2021

I.    Purpose
The purpose of security cameras is to enhance the safety and security of the Ransom District Library (“Library”) patrons, staff, and property.  The Library strives to take reasonable precautions to assure a safe and secure environment for its patrons and staff. Because Library staff is unable to provide direct supervision over all areas within the Library and Library grounds, security cameras have been placed at selected locations in order to observe and record images of activities of persons in the Library and on Library grounds.  Security cameras are also provided to assist the Library with enforcement of the Library’s Patron Behavior Policy.

II.    Signs
Signs will be posted at the Library entrances, informing the public that security cameras are in use.  

III.    Data Captured
The security cameras only capture video images.  Conversations or other audible communication shall not be monitored or recorded by the security cameras.
IV.     Security Camera Locations
Security cameras may be installed in locations where individuals lack a reasonable expectation of privacy. Examples include common areas of the Library such as entrances, near book and media collections, public seating areas, public computers, and areas prone to theft or misconduct.  

Cameras will not be installed in areas of the Library where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms or private offices.

V.    Security
The Library has no obligation to monitor the cameras in real time. As the cameras are not constantly monitored, Library staff and the public should continue to take appropriate precautions for their safety and for the safety of their personal property. The Library is not responsible for the loss of property or personal injury.

VI.    Surveillance Footage
Recorded video surveillance images made solely for security purposes that do not include images of any activity or any other document or record that identifies a person as having requested or lawfully obtained specific services, materials, or information resources from a library are not considered a “Library Record” and may be disclosed.  The Library Director will determine whether the images can be disclosed without a court order or written consent.  The surveillance videos shall be kept according to the Library’s Record Retention Policy.

VII.      Authorization
The Director, Assistant Director, and President of the Board of Trustees have sole authorization to view recorded video surveillance. Other members of Library staff and Board may view recorded video surveillance if directly requested to do so by the Director, Assistant Director, or President of the Board of Trustees.

Policy No. 24


Adopted by Library Board of Trustees: July 15, 2021

I.    Policy; Library Records

It is the policy of the Ransom District Library (“Library”) to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of Library Records (“Library Records” or “Library Record”) to the fullest extent permitted by law.  

II.    Definitions of Library Record

A.     Agent or Employee.  An agent or employee includes an employee of the Library, a member of the governing body of the Library, an individual who is specifically designated as a volunteer and who is acting solely on behalf of the Library, and any other person who is lawfully performing services on behalf of the Library under a written contract, including a collection agency.

B.    Crime.  A crime means that term as defined in section 5 of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.5

C.    Law Enforcement Officer.  A law enforcement officer means an individual licensed under the Michigan commission on law enforcement standards act, 1965 PA 203, MCL 28.601 to 28.615.

D.      Library Record.  

1.    Definition.  As defined by the Michigan Library Privacy Act, for the purpose of this policy means:

        “a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that contains information that personally identifies a library patron, including the patron’s name, address, or telephone number, or that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials from a library.”  

For example, a Library Record would include, but not be limited to patron circulation records, internet browsing history, and program attendance records.

2.    Excluded from Definition.  The following are specifically excluded from the definition of Library Record.

a.    Non-Identifying Material.  Library Record does not include non-identifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general.  

b.    Certain Video Surveillance.  A Library Record also does not include recorded video surveillance images made solely for security purposes that do not include images of any activity or any other document or record that identifies a person as having requested or lawfully obtained specific services, materials, or information resources from the Library.  

3.    Library Director Determination of “Library Record.”  The Library Director, or his/her designee, shall be responsible for determining whether a particular document meets the definition of Library Record or whether the video surveillance footage contains any images that would require it to be considered a “library record.”

III.    Disclosure of Library Records

The Library takes seriously its obligation to protect the privacy of every patron, as required by law, even if this commitment to patron’s privacy may appear to cause inconvenience on occasion.  To that end, Library Records or other confidential information shall be released or disclosed only as provided for herein or otherwise provided by Michigan or federal law.

A.    Freedom of Information Act Requests.  All requests for public records that are not subpoenas, court orders or other legal process must be processed according to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and the Library’s FOIA Procedures and Guidelines.  See Procedures and Guidelines and Written Summary for additional information.  Library Records are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.

B.    Subpoenas, Court Orders or other Legal Process. Any employee of the Library who is served with a subpoena, court order, or other legal process to release or disclose any Library Record or other Library document from (1) a state or local law enforcement agency or (2) a federal law enforcement agency shall promptly notify the Library Director, or his/her designee.  If neither is available, the Library Board President shall be contacted.

1.    Consultation with Attorney.  The Library Director, his/her designee, or the Board President has the authority to consult with the Library Attorney regarding the sufficiency, scope or any other matter related to the subpoena, court order or other legal process.

2.    Action by Library Director.  After review of the subpoena, court order or other legal process, the Library Director, his/her designee, or the Board President shall take appropriate action to respond.

3.    Opportunity to be Heard.  Depending upon the type of subpoena, court order or other legal process, the Library may appear and be represented by counsel at a hearing on the request for records.  

4.    Confidentiality.  If a subpoena, court order or other legal process is submitted to the Library, the Library shall keep the subpoena, court order or other legal process confidential if required by court order, Michigan law or federal law. To that end, the Library may not be able to inform the patron that his/her records were sought.  The Library Board acknowledges that the Library Director, if required by a non-disclosure order or law, may not be permitted to inform the Board or its individual members that a local, state or federal agency has sought or obtained requested records.

C.    Consent.  In compliance with the Michigan Library Privacy Act, a person who is liable for the payment or return of the materials identified in a Library Record or portion of a Library Record may provide written consent for the release of that Library Record.  Further, a parent or legal guardian who signs to accept legal responsibility for return of his/her child’s (under the age of 18) library materials and accepts financial liability for that child’s library fines and other charges, may authorize the disclosure of the minor’s Library Records by signing the disclosure and release statement granting consent on behalf of the minor.

D.    Voluntary Disclosure without Court Order and Consent.  A library or an employee or agent of the Library may disclose Library Records without a court order or written consent under either of the following circumstances:  

1.    Collection Agency.  The library or an employee or agent of the Library may report information about the delinquent account of a patron who obtains materials from the library to a collection agency under contract with the library. The Library or an employee or agent of the Library shall provide the collection agency with only the library records necessary to seek the return of overdue or stolen materials or to collect fines from the patron.

2.     Interlibrary Loan.  The Library or an employee or agent of the Library may disclose library records to another library or library cooperative for the purpose of conducting interlibrary loans. The Library Records must be limited to those required for providing interlibrary loans.

IV.    Disclosures Regarding Alleged Crimes in this Library.  The Library Privacy Act does not prohibit an employee or agent of a library from providing a sworn statement or testimony to a law enforcement officer based solely on the personal knowledge of the employee or agent of the Library regarding a crime alleged to have occurred at the Library.


Please see the following files:
FOIA Policies and Procedures
Ransom District Library FOIA Policies and Guidelines
Ransom District Library FOIA Detailed Itemization


Quick Links & Resources

Contact Us

Contact Us

Under Construction





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

Return to TopSitemap
©2014. All Rights Reserved.