[Michlib-l] Temporary Housing Patrons and Library Cards

Miriam Andrus mandrus at bigrapids.lib.mi.us
Wed Feb 11 14:30:10 EST 2015

Hello All,
     Last month my library board decided to update our library circulation policy to exclude individuals who are living in shelters from getting library cards, due to not having a permanent address and/or not paying taxes (they are also our biggest offenders for fines and not returning materials). They can however use the computers within the library and use any materials within the library just not check them out. This is not to say that the shelters themselves cannot get cards but the individuals living there cannot until they obtain a permanent address.
This morning one of my board members was at a meeting where the matter of not issuing library cards to individuals living in shelters was brought up and it was mentioned that it is "just a lawsuit waiting to happen". I have looked through the Library of Michigan Law Handbook 2013 and cannot find anything specific about refusing this type of individual a library card. They are still able to use the library facility and our resources while in the library, just not get a card to check anything out.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom or know of a specific place I can look to see if what we are doing is legal or not? Maybe you have faced this at your own library.
Any help would be appreciated.

Miriam Andrus, Director
Big Rapids Community Library
426 S. Michigan Ave.
Big Rapids, MI 49307
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