Circulation policies are necessary to enable the maximum use of available materials for the public at large. The Thomas Memorial Library staff recognizes that part of their role as stewards is to ensure the most responsible use of materials for everyone. As such, no special privileges will be granted to any individual or class of patron.

Residents Library services are free to all Cape Elizabeth residents, property owners, any student duly enrolled in the Cape Elizabeth school system, and all town employees, including school faculty and staff. Borrowing privileges will be granted to residents five (5) years old and older.

Non-residents Non-residents will pay a nonrefundable annual membership fee equal to the current per capita cost per resident as set by the Town Council. They will enjoy all the privileges and services provided by the library except for reserving library facilities. Non-resident proprietors of local businesses will be given a waiver of the annual membership fee upon request. Adult children of Cape Elizabeth residents who live in a neighboring town must adhere to the regular non-resident policy stated above. Temporary summer residents will pay a non-refundable quarterly fee equal to 25% of the regular nonresident fee, plus a refundable fifty dollar ($50.00) deposit. The Library Director reserves the right to waive a non-resident fee.

Circulating Collection

Registration at the Thomas Memorial library allows patrons in good standing to borrow, renew and reserve books, periodicals, and audio visual materials. Reference materials do not circulate, but photocopies of reference items may be made at the going copying rate as set by the Town. Copying costs for the first ten (10) pages are waived, and charged at a reduced rate per copy after that. The most current issue of adult periodicals does not circulate.

Registration and Library Cards

Patron registration must be done in person at the Library. Adult patrons are defined as any patron in ninth (9th) grade and older. Applicants will be expected to produce proof of identity and residency. Identity may be established using any of the following documents containing photographs and physical information: U.S. Passport, valid state driver’s license, state or federal ID card, school ID card, U.S Military IDs. For those under 18 who cannot present a document listed above, the following will be accepted: School record or report card, Clinic or Doctor Record, or a Day-care/Nursery School Record. Residency may be established using any of the above documents plus: Deeds, Rental Agreements or Utility bills addressed to the applicant at a local street address. All children between the ages of five (5) and through the completion of eighth (8th) grade must have a parent’s or guardian’s signature on his or her registration card. Parents should understand that while their signatures do not compromise the Library’s policy on confidentiality they remain fiscally responsible for all damages or losses incurred by the minor. Patrons are given a plastic library card that serves as their key to all library services:

  1. Adult patrons must present a library card or photo ID to proceed with all circulation transactions. Children must present a library card or one of the ID documents specified above.
  2. The library will assume that any person presenting a library card is authorized to use it, unless that card has been reported lost or stolen. Proper ID will be required in order to replace a card that has been reported lost or stolen.

Upon applying for a library card, all cardholders must sign the following statement: I agree:

  • To observe all rules and policies of the library, to be responsible for all materials borrowed with my card, and to pay all fines and fees associated with its use.
  • To report the loss, theft, or abuse of my card immediately. I understand that I am responsible for any items checked out on my card prior to it being reported lost.
  • To report changes in my account information in a timely manner.
  • That the library shall assume that any person presenting my library card is authorized to use it, unless I have reported the card lost or stolen.
  • That I waive my rights of confidentiality whenever I allow another person to use my card.

Book Drop

A book drop is available for most returns when the library is not open. Patrons are asked to return items to the circulation desk during the library’s open hours. Because they are easily damaged, audiovisual materials must be returned in person at the circulation desk and not in the book drop. Patrons will be held responsible for audiovisual items improperly returned via the book drop.

Thomas Memorial Library Materials Borrowing Limits

No limits will be placed on the number of items that may be borrowed at one time.

Borrowing Period

Most circulating materials are loaned for a period of three (3) weeks. Periodicals, music CDs, and most videocassettes and DVDs circulate for one (1) week . Videocassettes and DVDS owned by Thomas Memorial Library that run over five (5) hours circulate for three (3) weeks (if borrowed through interlibrary loan, these items only circulate for one (1) week.)


Renewals may be made by phone, or in person during regular Library hours, or online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Reserved items will not be renewed and will accrue overdue fines. All circulating material may be renewed once. Books and audiobooks may be renewed for one (1) two-week period. Videocassettes, DVDs, music CD, and magazines may be renewed for one (1) one-week period. A patron may renew another family member’s materials, subject to the library’s policy governing confidentiality of patron records.

Lost and Damaged Materials

When a patron damages material beyond repair, loses material, or does not return material, he or she must pay to replace the item(s). The Library reserves the right to purchase items in editions specific for library use. The charge will be the retail price of the material; all overdue fines on the material being paid for will be waived. The patron may keep the damaged material once it is paid for. As funds for lost items are immediately allocated for replacements to the collection, the library cannot refund monies paid for items found at a later date. If no price is recorded for an item, staff will consult a reliable Internet source for the most current price. If an item is out of print, the patron will be charged according to the schedule of replacement charges for out of print items (see Appendix E.)

Suspension of Library Privileges

Borrowing privileges are suspended when fines reach $6.00 for adult patrons, $3.00 for children, or when materials have been overdue for two (2) months or more. For the purpose of this policy, all items not returned at the time a Letter of Suspension is issued shall be construed as “lost” and subject to replacement charges Failure to pay for lost or damaged materials will result in the suspension of library privileges. Delinquent borrowers may not borrow, renew, or reserve items or request interlibrary loans until materials are either returned and fines are paid or compensation for the materials is made.

Claimed Returned

In good faith, the Library allows patrons to claim up to three (3) items returned before borrowing privileges are suspended. RESERVES Patrons in good standing may reserve materials that are not immediately available. As soon as an item is available, the patron will be notified. Reserved materials will be held no more than one (1) week during which the Library will contact the patron via email and/or by phone two (2) times. Failure to pick up an item or to respond to the notification will result in the patron being removed from the reserve list for that item. Patrons may initiate a request for the item again. There is a limit of fifteen (15) items that may be reserved at one time. Patrons who are away from Cape Elizabeth for an extended period will be removed from reserve lists. The Thomas Memorial Library will seek to facilitate the educational mission of the Cape Elizabeth schools by placing on in-house reserve topical materials related to a unit of study when specifically notified by a faculty member or librarian within the school system. Items on in-house reserve will be treated as reference materials. Requests for placing items on in-house reserve must be made a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance. Materials may be placed on in-house reserve for no more than one (1) school term.

Patron Requests for Materials

The Library will consider for purchase any material requested by a patron that is not currently owned or on order. All such requests will be subject to the Library’s Collection Development Policy

Interlibrary Loan Materials

For items outside the scope of the library’s collection, interlibrary loan is available. The library will make every reasonable effort to obtain these materials for all registered patrons in good standing. Patrons can place interlibrary loan requests directly online at the Library or on a home computer. Requests can also be made by phone or at the Library. The Thomas Memorial Library participates with numerous libraries around the state in the cooperative Maine Info Net Electronic Resources Via Automation project. The MINERVA consortium provides patrons with an easy-to-use catalog that is available over the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system makes it possible for a patron to directly access his or her borrower’s record to check on due dates and fines, or to renew materials. MINERVA also provides users with a gateway to library catalogs around the state. Items borrowed through the Maine Info Net (Minerva and INN-Reach) or from other libraries outside of the consortium are subject to policies set up by those institutions.

Borrowing Period

There is no limit on the number of interlibrary loans that may be borrowed at one time. However, only fifteen (15) items may be placed on reserve at one time. Minerva loans circulate for three (3) weeks, with the exception of video recordings, which circulate for one (1) week. INN-Reach loans circulate for four (4) weeks. All other loans circulate for a period predetermined by the lending institution.


Reserved items will not be renewed. Renewal periods are set according to the policies of the Minerva Consortium or by the lending institution.

Overdue Charges

Overdue fines for Minerva and Inn-Reach items are charged at the rate of ten (10) cents per day per item for all patrons. There is a one day grace period before fines begin to accrue. There are no overdue charges for items borrowed from institutions outside the consortium.

Lost and Damaged Materials

When a patron damages material beyond repair, loses material, or does not return material, he or she must pay to replace the item(s). For items in print, replacement costs are confirmed with the lending institution. For out of print items, replacement costs follow either follow a set schedule if they are loaned through Maine InfoNet (see Appendix E) or by the lending library, if loaned by a library outside of the consortium. All such items must be paid for by a check made out to the lending library and given to the Thomas Memorial Library. Failure to pay for lost or damaged materials will result in the suspension of library privileges. Delinquent borrowers may not borrow, renew, or reserve items or request interlibrary loans until materials are either returned or compensation for the materials is made. Return to top.