There has been discussion around the profession about library cards being issued to teens.
Does your library have a special policy for teens? Do you think you need one? You can always contact us at CMLE Headquarters to help you write policies for this, or any other issue in your library!The initial question:
“I am looking for more information on libraries who issue library cards to teens without requiring a parent’s permission. At my library, anyone 17 or under is required to have a parent or guardian come to the library and sign a permission form before a library card can be issued. I know many libraries don’t require a parental signature for teens to get a library card, and I was hoping to get some more information on this.
Here are the responses from a few different libraries:
Here is what we do:
1. They must be 13 yrs or older & have a picture ID of some sort. Parents are sent a letter notifying them of their child’s application.
- Limit of 6 items checkout
- Limit of 3 holds
- Limit of 1 overdue item
- Card restricted if fees reach $5 or more
My library system doesn’t restrict cards based on age at all, and requires no parental signature or consent to get a library card. We also treat cards as separate and individual, with no parental responsibility for anything a child’s card might accumulate in fines and fees.
So long as someone knows their address, we can mail their card to them and then they can bring it back it to fully activate their card (all mailed cards are restricted to one item checkout until they come back in the possession of the person we mailed them to.)
The restrictions on the card is that under-17s have their Internet access filtered, but otherwise can check out any type or rating of material up to the regular item limit.
Our teens and children are sometimes good and sometimes not good at returning things on time (or at all), but, to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have massive problems with lost or late items with our child and teen cards. And we’re pretty forgiving of a lot of things while they’re still young and learning.
The last wrinkle is that parents can ask that we cancel a child’s card, and we’ll take care of it, but the kid can then ask us to make them a new one right afterward, and we’ll do it.
I haven’t had complaints about the way things are set up here. A couple of surprised people that our cards are that wide open, but no complaints.
Our library system allows any age to get a regular library card. Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign. However, we did just create new Student Cards last year. Kids between 8 and 17 can get them without a parent signature, but they do have to show something from their school. That could be a report card, a student ID card, or a note on school letterhead, to name a few. It has really made it possible for more kids who come to the library (but never with a parent) to get a card. There are NO FINES on student cards, but they can only check out three items at a time. They do get access to all of the online databases, ebooks, and Freegal. So they really get a lot with that student card. If they lose a book, their card does get blocked though. I’m not sure how many cards we have had to block thus far.
1. Our teen cards are for patrons 13-17 and do not require a parent signature. If they are 16 or older, they must provide a state-issued ID or driver’s license. First cards are mailed, replacement cards are given at the time. Children’s cards are for 0-12 and do require a parent’s signature.