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updated: 1/17/2014 10:19 AM

Vernon Area Library to ease some borrowing rules for non-residents

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  • Cynthia Fuerst

    Cynthia Fuerst

  • Vernon Area Public Library officials plan to further reduce the restrictions on borrowing by out-of-district residents.

    Vernon Area Public Library officials plan to further reduce the restrictions on borrowing by out-of-district residents.
    Courtesy of Vernon Area Public Library


Vernon Area Public Library officials are set to lift one of the last remaining restrictions for out-of-district patrons who check out materials at the Lincolnshire facility.

The limits were enacted in 2002 because customers who live in other library districts were responsible for nearly a third of the library's circulation.

Most of those customers were residents in the Libertyville-based Cook Memorial Public Library District or the Wheeling-based Indian Trails Public Library District. Both border Vernon Area.

Initially, such patrons were unable to check out DVDs and CDs, and they were allowed to check out fewer items per day than in-district residents.

But thanks primarily to the 2010 opening of the Cook Memorial Library branch on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills, checkouts by out-of-district residents -- formally called reciprocal borrowing -- is a fraction of what it once was.

"That isn't really a problem today," Vernon Area Director Cynthia Fuerst said in an email to the Daily Herald. "We believe the restrictions are no longer needed."

The Vernon Area board could vote Monday to amend the reciprocal borrowing policy. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the library, 300 Olde Half Day Road.

The rules have been eased gradually in recent years. The ban on checking out DVDs and other audiovisual material was lifted in 2006, for example.

Only two restrictions still stand.

One limits out-of-district patrons to having 30 items checked out at one time. The cap for Vernon Area residents is 75 items.

Additionally, nonresidents are not allowed to check out e-readers for digital books. Vernon Area residents can check out the devices.

Under the plan to be considered Monday, the 30-item limit would be eliminated. The ban on borrowing e-readers would remain.

"We would much rather tell people yes than no," Fuerst said.

Reciprocal borrowers checked out 60,214 items in 2013, about 7 percent of the library's total circulation for the year. That's down slightly from the previous year and is considerably lower than the rate from a decade ago.

The popularity of the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills is a big reason for the drop-off, Fuerst said.

"Enough time has passed since they opened that we are confident that our usage by out-of-district patrons is in line with what is happening at other suburban libraries," she said.

Vernon Area residents are responsible for roughly the same amount of reciprocal borrowing at other area libraries, Fuerst said.

Cook Memorial Executive Director Stephen Kershner said the drop-off in reciprocal borrowing at Vernon Area since his district's Aspen Drive library opened is yet another indicator of the need for a library in Vernon Hills.

"We're very pleased that the community has responded so well to that facility down there," Kershner said.

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