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Indiana State Library

Library > Services for Libraries > Additional LDO Resources > PLAC Rules and Guidelines PLAC Rules and Guidelines

Indiana Public Library Access Card (PLAC)

PLAC Working Guidelines

PLAC Procedures for Issuance

PLAC Questions and Answers

Law and Guidelines Governing PLAC Cards Sold To Nonresidents of Library District

The Public Library Access Card (PLAC) is the name for the statewide library card, enacted by (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.1). The PLAC program allows an individual to borrow materials directly from any public library in Indiana. Books and non-book materials are eligible for loan through the PLAC program, but at least books that normally circulate must be available for loan. An individual who holds a valid public library card may obtain a PLAC. The fee for a PLAC  2014 is $50.00

PLAC Working Guidelines

Issuance of Card

1. Availability of Cards. The Indiana State Library will provide a supply of numbered Public Library Access Cards to each public library in the State. Public libraries will not be charged for the cards when they are distributed from State Library. An order for a new supply of Public Library Access Cards may be placed on the PLAC Quarterly Report Form.

2. Appearance of Card. The Public Library Access Card (PLAC) will show on its face the following information: name of cardholder, address of cardholder, home public library of cardholder and expiration date of card. This information will be made part of the PLAC at the issuing library. The card is issued as an individual card to one specific person.

Definition of home public library (590 IAC 3): Home Library means the public library where an individual is a resident or real property taxpayer in the taxing district of the library or library from which a nonresident purchased a card.

The issuing library may be any public library in the state, not just the home library. The PLAC will show on its face the HOME library, not the issuing library if that library is different from the home library.

Guideline (a): Eligibility for PLAC. An individual who is in "good standing" and eligible to obtain a valid resident or nonresident library card from one of the 238 public libraries in Indiana qualifies to obtain a PLAC. A law passed in 1996 allows an individual to obtain a PLAC at any public library in Indiana. To receive a Public Library Access Card you must have a “resident” or a non-resident library card, I.C. 4-23-7.1-5.1.  The fee for a nonresident card is at least the sum of $25.00 or the library’s operating fund expenditure per capita if that amount is greater than $25.00 plus the PLAC fee. A nonresident fee may be set higher than the library's operating fund expenditure per capita. The amounts of the operating fund expenditure per capita for public libraries are found in "Statistics of Indiana Libraries."

Guideline (b): "Good Standing" is defined at the local library level. Rules or guidelines used at the local library to determine eligibility for a local library card should also be applied when an individual requests to purchase a PLAC.

Guideline (c): A family PLAC will not be issued. The local library's guidelines regarding use of a library card by a person other than the actual cardholder should be followed if a family member wishes to borrow on a PLAC.

Guideline (d): A public library may choose to issue its own library card to an individual holding a PLAC to enable that library to properly check out materials to the patron. This determination is to be made at the local library level. Any local card that is issued to a PLAC cardholder should be marked clearly with the PLAC expiration date. Libraries that have registration files computerized should be certain to mark the expiration date of the PLAC cardholder's record in the database. PLAC cardholders may be required to show both the PLAC and the local library card to check out materials according to the lending library's rules.

3. College/University Student PLAC. Resident students are not required to have a PLAC to use the local public library in the college/university community.

If a college student wants to borrow materials from a public library other than his/her home library or the library in the college/university community where he/she resides, then the student will need to be issued a PLAC.

Guideline: Local libraries should follow established guidelines already in place for issuance of student cards to local college/university or other post secondary school students.

4. Refunds. No refunds of fees paid for a PLAC will be made under any circumstance.

5. Replacement Card. When a cardholder's PLAC is lost or stolen, the cardholder will be issued a replacement card at the library where the PLAC was issued. The fee for the replacement card will be $1.00 (subject to annual review by the Indiana Library and Historical Board) and will be remitted to the Indiana State Library. Names, addresses, and card numbers of individuals who are issued replacement cards must appear on the PLAC Quarterly Report Form.

Fee Collection for Card

6. Payment for PLAC. An individual may pay either by cash or by check when obtaining a PLAC. If payment is made by check, the check should be made out to the public library issuing the PLAC. Collection and deposit of fees should be recorded by the issuing library according to the prescribed method of the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

7. Submitting Fees to Indiana State Library. Collected fees on the PLAC should be remitted to the Indiana State Library on a quarterly basis using the PLAC Quarterly Report Form.

Types of Materials Eligible for Loan to PLAC Patrons

8. Books.

Definitions of books: hardbound print books, paperback print books, large print format books and lap or board books.

Books that normally circulate must be available for loan to PLAC cardholders.

9. Non-book Materials.

Definition of non-book materials: videotapes, audiocassettes, CDs, records, art prints, slides, microfiche, pamphlets, periodicals (single or bound issues), etc.

At the discretion of the individual library, non-book materials may be loaned to PLAC cardholders.

10. Annual Determination of Eligible Materials. Each local library will be required to annually determine what types of materials will be loaned to PLAC cardholders.

Statistics & Recordkeeping

11. Required Statistics. Each library will be required by State Library to keep statistics recording the home library of each PLAC cardholder who borrows materials as well as the number of items borrowed by a PLAC cardholder.

Overdues & Lost Materials

12. Fees. Each individual library will determine the daily overdue fee for library materials loaned to PLAC cardholders by policy set by the Board of Trustees of that library.

Guideline (a): It is recommended that this daily fee be the same that is charged to local residents and a separate fee scale for PLAC users not be established by libraries.

Guideline (b): In the spirit of cooperation, when feasible, libraries should alert other libraries to problem borrowers having PLAC privileges that have accrued sizable overdue fines or have lost an inordinate number of items borrowed through the program.

13. Replacement Cost. Reimbursement for lost library material borrowed on a PLAC is the responsibility of the borrower not the borrower's home library. The replacement cost of an item will be determined by the lending library.

14. Materials Returned to the Wrong Library. The library to which the PLAC cardholder returns borrowed materials may determine if a fee will be charged to the PLAC cardholder if that library is not the lending library. If a fee is charged, the library to which the materials are returned is responsible for collecting the fee.

Guideline: PLAC users should be informed that they are expected to return materials borrowed using a PLAC to the lending library.

Library Reporting Responsibilities

15. Statistics. Each public library is expected to report all required borrowing statistics that have been kept on the Public Library Access Card Program as a part of the Annual Report. The Board President shall attest to the accuracy of the report submitted on PLAC.

16. Eligible Materials for Loan. Each public library will be required to annually file with the State Library a report detailing what library materials will be loaned to PLAC cardholders.

17. Failure to Report. Failure to submit a complete statistical report to the Indiana State Library by the deadline established will result in the following action taken: 1. withholding of funds due to the library as a result of loans made in the program; 2. determination that the library is in non-compliance with Minimum Standards for Public Libraries; 3. withholding of state and federal funds to the library by the Indiana State Library.

Local Agreements

Definition of a local agreement: a local or regional agreement made between two or more libraries that residents of each library district may borrow items from a public library in the other library district(s). (Another type of local agreement: a resolution by a local library board that the library will allow anyone with a public library card from another library in the state to borrow materials.)

18. Library Requirements. All local agreements must be in writing and approved by the participating libraries' boards of trustees. (These are only required to be placed on file at the State Library if you want your library on the statewide list of reciprocal borrowing participants.)

19. Loans Made. Loans to individuals whose libraries have local agreements may not be counted and submitted as statistics for reimbursement as part of the statewide PLAC program.

Payment to Libraries

20. Net Loans. Payment of funds for this program will be paid out on the basis of net loans (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.2(d)). Money paid into the PLAC program fund to the Indiana State Library plus the interest earned on this fund during a calendar year will be divided by the number of net loans made to PLAC cardholders and the resulting figure will be the per net loan figure paid to libraries. By August 1 of each year, each eligible public library will receive payment for its net loans made during the previous calendar year.

Definition of PLAC net loans : a greater number of loans made by a library to PLAC cardholders from outside its district than loans made by PLAC cardholders from within its district at other libraries.

21. Requirements to Receive Payment. Public libraries with net PLAC loans must meet Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in order to be eligible for reimbursement through the Public Library Access Card Program. A voucher will need to be completed and signed by each library to complete the reimbursement process.

22. Appeal Procedure. A public library determined to be in non-compliance with the terms of the Public Library Access Card Program will have the option to appeal the decision at the first Indiana Library and Historical Board meeting following the notification to the public library of the judgment. The Indiana Library and Historical Board will render a final decision after hearing the library's appeal.

PLAC Procedures for Issuance

1. Determine that the individual holds a valid public library card either from your library or from another public library in Indiana.

Individuals who live in unserved areas may obtain a PLAC if they have purchased a non-resident card that costs a minimum of $25.00 or the library's operating fund expenditure per capita (if greater than $25.00) in the most recent publication of "Statistics of Indiana Libraries." This fee would be paid in addition to the PLAC fee.

2. Determine that the individual is in "good standing" (determined locally).

3. Issue the PLAC to an individual who meets the above criteria.

Charge the PLAC fee (if your library has decided to charge the total fee to the individual). Individuals may pay by cash or check made out to the issuing public library.

or

Charge the portion of the fee that the individual will pay (with the library paying the remaining fee). Individuals may pay by cash or check made out to the issuing public library.
or
Issue the PLAC with the library paying the total fee for individuals.

Type or write in ink on the face of the PLAC:

  • Name, address, expiration date (one year from date of issue of the PLAC), and home library. Keep records locally of name, address, PLAC number and expiration date. Keep track of voided card numbers (to be reported on the PLAC Quarterly Report Form). Keep voided cards on file at your library. Mark them VOID. The PLAC may be issued by mail if the library chooses to do so. Deposit collected fees on PLAC daily in the library's Public Library Access Card Fund. No refunds of fees paid for a PLAC will be made under any circumstance.
  • Replacement Card. Issue replacement card if a PLAC is reported lost or stolen or if there is a change of name or address.

    • Verify PLAC number that was originally issued to the individual.
    • Determine again if the PLAC cardholder is in good standing.
    • Charge $1.00 and deposit fees daily in the library's Public Library Access Card Fund.
    • Issue replacement PLAC. Keep records of name, address, previous PLAC number, and new PLAC number (to be reported on the PLAC Quarterly Report Form).

    College/University Student PLAC.

    • Resident students are not required to have a PLAC to use the local public library in the college/university community. Local public libraries should follow established guidelines already in place for issuance of student cards to local college/university or other post secondary school students.
    • If a college student wants to borrow materials from a public library other than his/her home library in the college/university community where he/she resides, then the student will need to be issued a PLAC.

    Procedure when an individual brings a PLAC to your library:

    • Issue your local library card to the person with a PLAC if that is your practice. The issuing library has validated that the individual is in good standing at the home library; therefore, no further identification should be required. Put PLAC expiration date on the local card or put this information in your database.
    • Within the parameters of what your library board has decided to loan in the PLAC Program, treat a PLAC cardholder as you would one of your own cardholders.
    • The PLAC is an individual card issued to one specific person. The local library's guidelines regarding use of a library card by a person other than the actual cardholder should be followed if a family member wishes to borrow on a PLAC.

    Procedures for Recordkeeping:

    • Keep data on file at your library with the following information on each individual who obtains a PLAC: Name, address, phone (if available), cash/check#, PLAC #, expiration date (one year from date of issue).
    • When a PLAC cardholder uses the PLAC to borrow materials at your library, keep the usual information that you would need to issue one of your local cards. Keep a record of the name, address, PLAC #, and expiration date.
    • For each use by a PLAC borrower, record the home library of the PLAC cardholder and the number of items borrowed. (This information is VERY IMPORTANT and will be used to figure the reimbursement to libraries in the PLAC Program.)

    Overdues & Lost Materials

    • Overdue fines on the PLAC will be set by the Board of Trustees of your library. It is recommended that this daily fee be the same that is charged to local residents.
    • The replacement cost of an item will be determined by the lending library. Reimbursement for lost library material borrowed on a PLAC is the responsibility of the borrower not the borrower's home library.
    • PLAC users should be informed that they are expected to return materials borrowed using a PLAC to the lending library. If materials are returned to the wrong library, the library to which the materials were returned may determine a fee to be charged to the PLAC user for return of the materials to the library where they belong.

    Local Agreements:

    • Do not issue the PLAC to residents of your library district who wish only to use libraries that have local agreements with your library. (However, you would issue the PLAC if one of your residents wants to borrow materials from a library that does not have a local agreement with your library.) The definition of a local agreement is a local or regional agreement made between two or more libraries that residents of each library district may borrow items from a public library in the other library district(s). (Another type of local agreement: a resolution by a local library board that the library will allow anyone with a public library card from another library in the state to borrow materials.)
    • Do not count loans made to individuals whose libraries have local agreements as part of the PLAC Program. The only loans that will be reimbursed in the PLAC Program are those made to PLAC cardholders.

     

    PLAC Questions and Answers

    1. What is the Public Library Access Card?

    The name for the statewide library card, enacted by law (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.1).

    2. When did the Public Library Access Card (PLAC) program go into effect?

    January 1, 1993.

    3. Must all public libraries participate in the statewide library card (PLAC) program?

    Yes. According to Indiana Code 36-12-3-2 and Indiana Code 36-12-7-2 (Class 2 public libraries), library boards "shall comply with and participate in the statewide library card program."

    4. What types of materials are eligible for loan in the PLAC program?

    Books and non-book materials. Each public library will annually determine what types of materials will be loaned to PLAC cardholders, but at least books that normally circulate must be available for loan.

    5. Who is eligible for a PLAC?

    Anyone who holds a valid library card issued by a public library in the state.  To receive a Public Library Access Card you must have a “resident” or a non-resident library card, I.C. 4-23-7.1-5.1.  The fee for a nonresident card is at least the sum of $25.00 or the library’s operating fund expenditure per capita if that amount is greater than $25.00 plus the PLAC fee.

    6. How does an individual qualify for a PLAC?

    He/she must be in "good standing" at his or her home library. Libraries that issue PLACs must verify that an individual is in "good standing" at his/her home library (where the individual has been issued a local library card).

    7. Is there a fee for the PLAC?

    Yes. According to the formula established in the law, the fee for an individual card is listed above. The amount is based on forty percent (40%) of the current average operating fund expenditure per borrower by all eligible public libraries as reported annually by the State Library in the State Library's annual "Statistics of Indiana Libraries". (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.10)

    8. Who pays the fee for the PLAC?

    Public libraries will pay the fee. By the local public library board's decision, the library may charge the individual the fee or part of the fee.

    9. If individuals write a check when they are charged the fee for the PLAC, should they make out the check to the issuing library?

    Yes. According to the State Board of Accounts, the check must be made out to the issuing library (not the Indiana State Library) and deposited daily. If cash is paid, it must also be deposited daily.

    10. How would the public library deposit the collected fees?

    Public libraries need to set up a separate fund, not an appropriated fund, if individuals have been charged the fee. It is not necessary to set up a separate bank account. The fund needs to be accounted for separately on the financial and appropriation form (Library Form Nos. 1, 1A, and 1B). All libraries will call this fund the Public Library Access Card (PLAC) fund.

    11. If a library elects to pay the fee for individuals, what should be done at budget time?

    If the library elects to pay the fee for individuals, it must appropriate in the operating fund any portion the library pays. This needs to be appropriated at the regular budget time or through the additional appropriation process if not done at the regular budget time.

    12. Where does the money go?

    Public libraries will send the money quarterly to the Indiana State Library to be placed in a designated fund account for the PLAC program (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.2). After the calendar year, the money plus interest will be distributed back to libraries on the basis of net loans. Loans made to individuals from libraries on local agreements will not be counted for reimbursement in the PLAC program.

    13. How will the PLAC be used?

    An individual may use the PLAC to borrow materials at another library. In order to use it, an individual needs to present the PLAC on his/her initial visit to the library and go through the registration process for that particular library.

    14. When does the PLAC expire?

    The PLAC expires one year from the date of application for the card. At that time, the PLAC cardholder would need to reapply for a PLAC.

    15. May a library issue its own library card to a PLAC card holder?

    Yes. Libraries may issue their library cards to PLAC cardholders.

    16. Will interlibrary loan still exist?

    Yes. The PLAC program does not prevent libraries from offering interlibrary loan as a service.

    17. What does the PLAC fee pay for?

    It helps cover the cost of borrowing books owned by another library.

    18. Who wrote the guidelines for PLAC?

    The Indiana General Assembly enacted the law, but the Public Library Services Committee of the Indiana State Library Advisory Council drafted guidelines for the PLAC.

    19. How will public libraries receive the PLACs?

    The Indiana State Library will provide libraries with the cards at no cost to the public libraries.

    20. What kind of statistics will public libraries be required to keep for the PLAC program?

    Each public library will record the home library of each PLAC cardholder who used their library as well as the number of items borrowed by a PLAC cardholder.

    21. May the PLAC be used as a family card?

    The PLAC is an individual card. The local library's guidelines regarding use of a library card by a person other than the actual cardholder should be followed if a family member wishes to borrow on a PLAC.

    22. What does the PLAC look like?

    The PLAC will show on its face the name, address, and home library of the card holder. It will also show the expiration date of the card. This information will be placed on the PLAC by the issuing library.

    23. How will student cards be handled?

    Local public libraries should follow established guidelines already in place for issuance of student cards to local college/university or other post secondary school students. However, resident students are not required to have a PLAC to use the local public library in the college/university community.

    24. What if a student wants to use public libraries other than his or her home library or the library in the college/university community where he or she resides?

    The student will need to be issued a PLAC.

    25. Must materials borrowed on a PLAC be returned to the lending library?

    Yes. PLAC cardholders should be informed that they are expected to return materials borrowed using a PLAC to the lending library.

    26. May residents of other states buy a PLAC?

    No. The PLAC is only for residents of Indiana (Indiana Code 4-23-7.1-5.1(b)(1)).

    27. May a PLAC be issued to a child?

    Yes. However, local libraries may have additional restrictions on materials that children may borrow.

     

    Law and Guidelines Governing PLAC Cards Sold to Nonresidents of Library Districts

    Law. By request, you must sell a PLAC to any resident of Indiana who has a valid library card issued by any public library in the state. No longer do individuals have to return to their "home" library to get a PLAC.

    Guideline. It is a local decision whether or not you contact the "home" library to verify the PLAC applicant's status on fines, etc.

    Guideline. If you find that a person does not have a valid library card with him on the day he applies for a PLAC, you may verify that he has such a card by calling his home library.

    Law. If you sell a PLAC to a nonresident of any public library district, you must charge the individual the PLAC fee plus your library's nonresident fee (see below).

    Law. By a law beginning on July 1, 1996, your library's nonresident fee must be at least $25.00 or your library's operating fund expenditure per capita if that amount is higher. Libraries that have operating fund expenditures per capita that are above $25.00 must charge a nonresident fee that is at least as much as the actual operating fund expenditure. They may also charge more than that amount.

    Guideline. It is a local decision on whether or not to charge an extra fee to an individual from a township that pays on contract for library service if that person wants to buy a PLAC. Your library may contact the "home" library of the individual to determine a per capita amount that the township pays, then subtract that amount from your nonresident fee to get an amount to charge the individual. For example, you call Library X and find out that the PLAC applicant is from a township on contract that pays $10.00 per person to the library for service. Your nonresident fee is $40.00. Subtract the $10.00 from the $40.00. Then charge the individual the $30.00 nonresident fee plus PLAC fee.

    As a courtesy to other libraries in the state and to make the PLAC program run well, the following are recommended:

    • Mark local library cards clearly with appropriate information. (Name, address, expiration date)
    • In areas where there are townships on contract, work locally to remove the inequities that exist in the amount the residents of the townships pay when compared to the amount the residents in the library district pay.

    e-mail: ldo@statelib.lib.in.us

    LDO JC 12-13-2013