Active Reader Policy

Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library, Daytona Beach, Florida

  1. Policy. Individual readers and institutions that maintain deposit collections are considered active in the program if they borrow at least one book from the cooperating network library during a twelve-month period or if they have a subscription to a network- or NLS-produced magazine. NLS publications such as catalogs, bibliographies, and Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review are not considered magazines. Therefore, subscriptions to Talking Book Topics or Braille Book Review, alone, do not constitute active readership. If readers or institutions with deposit collections do not meet the criterion for an active reader, they are considered inactive and are no longer eligible to retain NLS playback equipment on loan.
  2. Retrieval of Loaned Equipment. When an individual reader or deposit collection becomes inactive, the library must attempt to retrieve the playback equipment and accessories loaned.
  3. Six-Month Contact. The library must review reader records regularly (at least quarterly) and attempt to contact readers and deposit collections that have not been served in the previous six months. It is important to act before the twelve-month period has expired to identify readers who are no longer interested in using the program but have not yet told their library.

    Three outcomes from an attempted contact are possible:

    1. The response indicates interest in the program. The library should encourage the interested party to borrow materials, but need take no further action until the end of twelve months of reader inactivity.
    2. The response indicates that there is no interest in the program. The library should suspend the reader or deposit collection, and should retrieve the assigned equipment.
    3. The library receives no response. The library should begin the retrieval process. When the machine is returned or the third retrieval attempt is made, the library should change the patron's status to "suspended."
  4. Suspension. Patrons who have been declared inactive should remain in a "suspended" status until the end of the NLS fiscal year, September 30, so that they are counted in the annual statistical report for NLS.
  5. Retention of Records. The original certified application must be kept for five years following the determination that the reader or deposit collection agency has become inactive. Where the issuing Machine Lending Agency (MLA) is separate from the network library serving an inactive patron, the MLA must send the application, if on file there, to the library after retrieving the equipment or after having made three attempts at retrieval.

    The library should keep the patron's reading records with the application for the first year after inactivity. After that, the reading records may be discarded, but the original certified application must be kept by the library for four more years. The reason for keeping full records for at least one year is that readers frequently ask to resume service within the first twelve months of cancellation. Retaining the records makes resuming service easier. Retaining only the original certified application for an additional four years reduces the file space required by the library, while still allowing the library to resume service easily. The application may be retained in paper files or properly organized, secure, and retrievable electronic files.

    In the case of a deceased reader, the application and reading records need not be retained beyond the current NLS fiscal year. Records should be changed as soon as assigned equipment is returned or after three attempts at retrieval have been made.

    As of 2013, network libraries may accept faxed or scanned signatures of certifying authorities in lieu of hard copy originals. The requirement to retain a signed/certified copy of the application remains. The copy may be retained.

    An electronic signature on an application may be accepted in lieu of a handwritten signature. The complete contact information for the certifying authority can be transmitted electronically, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered to the appropriate network library. If needed, the network library can verify the contact information for the certifying authority.
-from NLS Network Library Manual; 9. Administrative Procedures, 9.7 Active Reader Policy, last updated 2021

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