Some PINES libraries choose to require deposits in order to check out certain high-value or high-loss materials such as test preparation (GED, ASVAB, etc.) books.
A library system that chooses to require deposits on select items will determine its own local procedures for handling deposits. This page consists of suggestions based on the existing practices of various PINES library systems, but while one approach may work for one library, it may not work for another depending on staffing structure and the way that funds are held and balanced. Please use the following information as suggestions only and be sure that whatever procedure you follow within your own library system is consistent, clearly documented, and follows all money-handling guidelines your system is required to follow.
Staff accepts the deposit (check or cash) and places it in a secure location. Libraries typically place the deposit in an envelope or bag (such as a pencil bag) labelled with the patron's name, library card number, date of checkout, book title, and barcode. Some libraries also keep a deposit log that patrons sign when they make a deposit and when they receive their returned deposit - this log is useful to have in case someone claims to have not received their returned deposit. It is good practice to have the library staff members that receive and return the deposits initial and date the log entry and/or envelope as well.
If the patron wishes to renew the item, any alert is overridden and the patron is not required to provide a second deposit.
When the patron returns the item, the staff will return the deposit that was being kept aside for the patron. If the item is labelled or has a copy alert on it, then the staff processing the returned item should notice that the patron is due the returned deposit. If the library is keeping a paper log, then the patron should sign that he or she received the returned deposit.
The patron is billed for the deposit amount. This can be set up to happen automatically or the staff member can add it manually by opening the patron's account then clicking Bills > Bill Patron. If adding manually, the staff member should choose “Deposit Fee” as the Billing Type and enter the item's title and barcode, as well as the staff member's initials, location, and date.
Staff accepts payment for the bill and records the payment to the account (select the appropriate billing line item, choose the Payment Type, enter the amount of Payment Received, then click Apply Payment). Doing this ensures that the bill does not go above $10 due to a deposit charge and that there is a record of the transaction on the account.
Staff places the deposit in a secure location (typically in an envelope labelled with the patron's name, library card number, date of checkout, book title, and barcode) and if necessary, records the amount in a paper log as well.
If the item is set up to the bill the patron automatically and the patron renews the item, the patron will be billed a second time. If this occurs, staff should Void that bill.
When the patron returns the item, go to Bills > History > select the appropriate Bill and click Full Details. You should see that the Deposit fee was charged and paid. Close the pop-up window.
On the Bills > History screen, click Add Billing. Choose Billing Type of “Refund: Deposit Item Returned” with an amount of zero (0) and enter an annotation with the staff initials, date, and location. (After saving, if you look at the Full Details, you will see that it added a line item to the bill indicating that the deposit had been returned.)
Staff returns the deposit that was being kept aside for the patron. If the library is also keeping a paper log, then the patron should sign that he or she received the returned deposit.
If the book is not returned and ends up marked Long Overdue or Lost, the library may credit the deposit against the price of the book. If a personal check was used as a deposit, the library may wish to resolve the issue sooner rather than later because the personal check may no longer be valid after several months.
If an item has been returned but the patron has not picked up the deposit, it is good practice to place an alert on the patron's account so that the deposit may be returned on the patron's next visit. If the deposit has not been picked up after a pre-determined amount of time, the library may consider it a donation (the library's policy on this should be clearly indicated in the documentation).