Loan Policy

Please see below for information on loan periods, fines & fees, and special categories of borrowers.  


Three weeks

General book collection
Browsing collection
Juvenile collection
Compact discs (CDs)
Curriculum materials
United Nations collection

Two weeks

DVDs (faculty only)

Seven days

VHS tapes, DVDs

Two days

Single issue periodicals


Some reserve materials
Video cassette recorder
DVD player

Two hours

Reserve materials (some in-library use only)
Headphones (in-library use only) 

In-library use only

Closed collection items
Archives items
Reference books
Atlas collection
Bound periodicals
Books marked “non-circulating”
Some reserves and some Interlibrary Loan items


  • Most books circulate for three weeks. (See above for exceptions.)
  • There is a two-day grace period before most overdue fines accrue.
  • You can see your fines for checked-out items through your Library Account. (See Login in top right corner.  Log-in with Alma College and password.)
Overdue items
  • The library attempts to notify borrowers of overdue materials. Failure to receive notification does not absolve borrowers of accrued obligations.

Fines are assessed at the following rates to encourage prompt return of overdue materials and equipment:

  • Books, periodicals, and videos: $0.25 per day
  • Reserve materials and equipment: $0.25 per hour

Fines accumulate until the item is returned, renewed, or declared lost.

Borrowing privileges are suspended if a student borrower owes more than $99.00 in fines, replacement costs, or billing fees. (Community user borrowing privileges are suspended if a borrower owes more than $1.00 in fines, replacement costs, or billing fees).

Students’ library fines are transferred to the Alma College Business Office at the end of each term. After a fine is transferred, it will appear on a student’s Alma College student account and bill. After a fine is transferred, students may pay the fine at the Business Office. Fines cannot be paid at the Library once they are transferred to the Business Office.

Lost status items
Books that are not returned or renewed within 29 days after their due date are automatically marked with a “lost” status and will be billed as follows:
  • Replacement cost: $100.00 or higher, depending on the replacement cost of the item, and
  • Fines and billing fees: $5.00
  • Alternatively, a patron may seek the approval of library staff to purchase an unused replacement copy of the material. The new copy must be identical to the original copy and have the same ISBN number or other standard identifying number as determined by library staff (in the case of audiovisual materials).
  • The replacement fee will be waived if the borrower replaces the material, but the processing fee will still be assessed.

If an item is returned in good condition within 30 days of the billing date, the replacement cost will be refunded. After that time, the replacement cost and billing fee will be refunded only if the item is returned in good condition and a replacement copy has not yet been ordered.

Damaged Items
  • Library staff make an effort to note damage before an item is allowed to circulate.
  • Damage can be classified as accidental or intentional. Patrons who return items damaged by intentional misuse (including highlighting & underlining in pencil or ink) may be assessed fees on those items according to the severity of the damage.
  • The patron is also responsible for any accidental damage (liquid, animal damage, etc.) that is determined to have occurred while the item was in their care. Damage, whether accidental or intentional, shortens the life of the book; in some cases the damage is so severe that the item must be replaced.
  • If an item is returned damaged, replacement fines and fees may apply. 

Fines and fees are payable by cash, check, or credit card at the Circulation Desk.

Payments may also be made by mailing a check (payable to Alma College Library) to:

Alma College Library
Circulation Department
614 W. Superior St.
Alma, MI 48801

Please call to verify the amount owed before sending any payment by mail


1. Alma College Students, Faculty and Staff may check items out of the library by using their Alma College ID card.

2. Community residents unaffiliated with the college are required to pay a one-time fee before being permitted to check materials out of the library. Students from the Alma, Ithaca, and St. Louis public school systems will not be charged a fee if they provide proof of current enrollment. Students with current IDs from Albion, Hope and Kalamazoo colleges are also exempted from the fee. Off-campus users may have a maximum of five items checked out at one time & must regularly renew their library cards.

3. Family members of Alma College employees may apply for and receive a library card without paying the fee, but are regarded as community patrons in all other respects.

4.  Alma College alumni have free library privileges, but must obtain a card to check out all items.  Alumni can register for a card at the Circulation Desk during normal business hours.  Alumni contact information must be updated at the library Circulation Desk regularly, or card will expire after several years.