The Policies of Our Library


The Allendale Township Library supports the rights of all individuals to free and equal access to information and use of the Library without discrimination, intimidation, threat of harm or invasion of privacy. The Allendale Library is dedicated to providing friendly, courteous, and respectful service. The goal of the Library is to provide an enjoyable, clean, and comfortable environment for all Library users.



Protect Library Property
The role of the Allendale Township Library is to protect collections, equipment and property for present and future users. Intentionally damaging, destroying or stealing any materials, equipment or property belonging to the Library, another customer or staff member is prohibited. Library users are advised to keep personal belongings with them at all times.

Ensure a Safe and Secure Environment
The role of the Allendale Township Library is to ensure a safe and secure environment. Committing or attempting to commit any activity that would constitute a violation of any federal, state or local criminal law or ordinance is prohibited on Allendale Township Library property. Examples of prohibited activities include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual, physical, or other harassment

  • Bringing unauthorized weapons on Library premises‚Äč

  • Possessing, selling, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

  • Engaging in peeping, stalking, or indecent exposure

  • Soliciting, panhandling, or gambling on Library property

  • Trespassing or entering Library property when banned

Provide a Comfortable and Welcoming Environment
The role of the Allendale Township Library is to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment. Mutual respect makes it possible for everyone to enjoy Library materials and services. We ask Library users to be respectful of each other and behave in a manner that does not disrupt other Library users or interfere with normal operation of the Library. Examples of disruptive behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual, physical, or other harassment

  • Using profane, obscene or abusive language, including racial, ethnic or other epithets

  • Creating unreasonable noise and engaging in boisterous activity

  • Using audible devices without headphones or using headphones set at a volume that disturbs others. Using any communication devices in a manner that disturbs others

  • Running, pushing, fighting, or shoving

  • Operating roller skates, cycles, skateboards, scooters, or other similar devices inside the Library

  • Failing to comply with a reasonable staff request or failure to leave the Library during emergencies and at closing time

Maintain a Healthy and Clean Environment
The role of the Allendale Township Library is to maintain a healthy and clean environment for all Library users. Considerate consumption of a covered beverage is allowed in public areas of the Library unless otherwise noted. Examples of behaviors that are not conducive to providing a clean and hygienic environment include but are not limited to:

  • Smoking, chewing tobacco, or other tobacco use

  • Consuming food or beverages in a manner that creates an unclean environment, attracts insects or vermin, disrupts other customers, or is harmful to Library resources

  • Improper dress including not wearing shoes or a shirt

  • Personal hygiene that poses a health risk or disturbance to patrons

  • Bringing animals inside Library buildings, with the exception of service animals and those allowed during special Library programs

Enforcement of the Library Use Policy
Enforcement of the Library Use Policy will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Library staff and/or Ottawa County Police Department will intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors. Individuals who fail to observe the Library Use Policy may be asked to leave the Library building and property, be banned from the Library for a period of time, be subject to arrest, or be subject to other lawful action.



Library computers are provided for public access to the Internet, Library catalog, reference databases, games, and word processing software.  To use a public computer, patrons are asked to log in with a current Library card in good standing (with fines under $5). Since it is the goal of the Library to provide computer access to as many patrons as possible, the Library can only guarantee one 30 minute session.  However, extension of this time may be granted if the computer does not need to be accessed by other patrons or Library staff. 

Computers must be used in a responsible manner, respecting the rights of others, and taking care with the use of the equipment. Unacceptable uses include but are not limited to:
  1. Access by minors to material that is obscene, child pornography, sexually explicit materials harmful to minors, or inappropriate material for minors
  2. Access by adults to materials which is child pornography or otherwise obscene as defined by federal and state law including, but not limited to, 18 USC 2256(8). 
  3. Uses that involve unauthorized access and other unlawful uses such as “hacking”, credit card or retail fraud, and any other unlawful uses or activities online.
  4. Uses which may cause harm to the Library or another computer systems including damaging/modifying the Library’s equipment, settings, or software.
  5. Uses that violate confidentiality, trade secret, or copyrights.
  6. Failing to respect the privacy of other Library computer users or library patrons.

Visitors living outside the boundaries of the Lakeland Library Cooperative will be provided computer use but will be asked to show a valid driver’s license or state ID.

Staff will provide limited assistance to patrons for basic start-up procedures but may not be able to provide more in-depth technology training.  The Library cannot guarantee that Library staff will be available at all times to assist patrons.

Saving and downloading to the computer hard drive is not allowed.  Patrons wishing to save documents must bring a flash drive.

Patrons may print documents from public computers. Print costs are currently $.15 per page for black & white and $.25 per page for color. 


The Allendale Township Library provides access to the Internet as part of its commitment to meet the community’s information needs. The Library is committed to preventing minors from viewing obscene matter, sexually explicit matter harmful to minors, and matter inappropriate for minors.  To this end, all Internet access public computers provide filtered Internet access.  Filters may be disabled upon request for those 18 and older.

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is the federal law that requires all computers in a public library to be filters if that library accepts any federal funds for Internet access or computers used for Internet access. The Allendale Township Library complies with the requirements of CIPA.

The Library provides filtered access to the Internet but reminds parents and guardians that the Library does not take responsibility for what their children view on the Internet.  The Library makes every effort to provide a safe Internet environment for children that complies with existing state and federal law.  Because no filter technology exists that is 100% effective, parents and legal guardians are encouraged to accompany their children at all times during Internet use, regardless of the protections in place.  

To the extent practical, steps have also been taken to promote the safety and security of users of public computers when using electronic mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms of direct electronic communications. Specifically, as required by CIPA, prevention of inappropriate network usage includes: unauthorized access, including 'hacking', and other unlawful activities; and unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors.

The Allendale Library is pleased to offer filtered Wireless access to the Internet throughout the building for those who bring their own laptops or mobile devices. 

Library employees are authorized to terminate any patron’s computer use session if the user has failed to comply with the Library’s Computer and Internet Use Policy and/or rules.  The Library Director may impose longer or more permanent restrictions for violations of the Library’s Internet Policy.  Computer users whose session has been terminated or prohibited may request that the decision be reviewed by the Library Board.

Those utilizing Library computer access to perpetrate illegal acts will also be subject to prosecution by local, state, and federal authorities.  Users will be held financially responsible for any damage to Library computer equipment or software.

U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted material, except as permitted by the principles of fair use.  Additionally, individuals may not copy or distribute electronic materials including e-mail, text, images, programs, or data without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.  Any responsibility for the consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user.  The Allendale Township Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from use of its equipment or technology including use of information obtained through its electronic information systems.

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  • A library card gets you access to not only the Allendale Library but also to 70+ libraries in West Michigan.
  • Gives you access to online databases and digital collection
  • Allows you to take part in all of our services and programs

  • Library cards area free and available to residents of Allendale and Tallmadge Townships. 
  • Valid piece of identification with current address must be presented.
  • Parents or legal guardians must co-sign for children under 18 and are responsible for any items and charges on the child’s library card.
  • Allendale Library cards can be used at any Lakeland Library Cooperative library as well as any libraries throughout Michigan that participate in the MelCat Visiting Patrons program.
  • Lost or stolen cards must be reported to the library immediately to avoid use of your card by unauthorized users and resulting fees from illegally borrowed items.  Replacement cards are $2.

Students and temporary residents may obtain Allendale Library cards.  Applicants must present a valid picture ID.  If the address does not match the applicant’s current address, you must also show proof of residence (this can be in the form of a utility bill, lease agreement, or U.S. Postal Service change of address form).  Currently-enrolled GVSU students may also use their school ID to check out materials but are encouraged to apply for a library card to take full advantage of online and reciprocal library services.

If an agency, institution, or business within Allendale or Tallmadge Townships requests a library card for use by its staff, a card may be issued after an application is applied for by the institution's director.  Doing so, the institution assumes responsibility for any materials lost or damaged as well as any fines incurred through the use of the card. The card MUST be presented to be used; the Allendale Library cannot accept personal identification in lieu of the institutional card.  

Residents within the Lakeland Library Cooperative geographical boundary who do not qualify for a library card at any Lakeland Library Cooperative member library may purchase an Allendale Library non-resident card for a fee of $25. Non-resident cards are valid for a period of one (1) year and will only be honored at the Allendale Township Library. Non-resident cardholders may place holds on Allendale Library items only.  These cards do not allow access to the Allendale Library digital content.

To access your online account for item renewals, placing holds, or online payment of fees, you will need your library card number and your personal identification number (PIN).  The PIN you are originally assigned is the last 4 digits of your telephone number on your account.  If you no longer know your PIN number, please contact the library or use the “Forget Your PIN?” feature ( feature only available if you have signed up for e-mail notifications).


The Allendale Township Library may charge a fine for overdue materials.  The Library is not required to send notices for overdue or lost materials and failure to receive a notice does not relieve the borrower of responsibility to return materials when due.  The Library will suspend a patron's borrowing privileges and deny access to the Internet when the fines and/or fees on a patron's account exceed $5.00.

When fines and fees exceed $80.00, the Library will refer the unresolved charges to a materials recovery service which may ultimately turn the charges to a collection agency.  The patron will be assessed a recovery fee of $9.85 and the Library will suspend the borrowing privileges of a patron referred to a collection agency until the charges are resolved. A payment plan may be established to pay fees.  Learn more about materials recovery/collection agency.

The Allendale Township Library may charge for replacement of materials missing, lost, or damaged. Reimbursement is required to repair or replace damaged or lost materials and will not exceed the item's original purchase price.  Patrons may replace a lost/damaged item with a new copy of the exact same item but will be charged a $3.00 processing fee.

For a complete list of loan rules/fees, click here.


The Allendale Township Library collects materials, in a variety of formats, which support its function as a major information source for the Allendale population.  The collection also serves the popular and recreational needs of the general public, and reflects the diverse interests and ideas represented within our community.

Customer use is the most powerful influence on the Library’s collection. Circulation, customer purchase request, and hold levels are all closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items.
In addition to customer demand, selections are made to provide depth and diversity of viewpoints in different areas of study and reference.  Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each customer of the Allendale Township Library. The library strives to provide materials that cover many viewpoints and beliefs so as not to hold one customer’s opinions above another’s.

Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision, support recreational reading, encourage and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, and lead to recognition and appreciation of literature.  The reading and view activity is ultimately the responsibility of parents, who guide and oversee their own children’s development. Parents are encouraged to research and be active participants in their child’s reading journey.

  • Library staff use their training, knowledge, and expertise along with the following criteria to select materials for the library collection:
  • Relevance to interests and needs of the community
  • Extent of publicity, critical review, and current or anticipated demand
  • Current or historical significance of the author and/or subject
  • Local significance of the author and/or subject
  • Relevance to the existing collection’s strength and weaknesses
  • Suitability of format to library circulation and use
  • Date of publication
  • Price, availability, and library materials budget 
  • Availability of title from other Lakeland Cooperative libraries

Customers may request items the library does not by submitting a request slip at the circulation desk or via the library website.  Each request is reviewed for inclusion in the collection using the above listed selection criteria.

The Allendale Township Library selects materials using established criteria and full consideration of the varying age groups and backgrounds of its customers.  Library customers requesting reconsideration and removal of items in the collection may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form, which is available by contacting the Library Director.  Staff will review the request in relation to the library’s mission and selection criteria.  The Library Director reviews the request and will reply within thirty days of receipt of the request.  The item in question will not be removed from the shelf during the reconsideration process.

Just like the Allendale community, the library’s collection is a living, changing entity. As items are added, others are reviewed for their ongoing value and sometimes withdrawn from the collection.  The following criteria are used in selecting materials for withdrawal:
  • Damage or poor condition
  • Number of copies in the collection
  • Availability for loan from other Lakeland Cooperative libraries
  • Relevance to the needs and interest of the community
  • Current demand and frequent use
  • Accuracy and timeliness
  • Local interest

The Allendale Township Library accepts donations of books and other materials on a limited basis due to spatial constraints. The library retains the authority to accept or reject gifts. Library staff make all decisions as to the use, housing, and final disposition of donations.  The library does not evaluate or appraise gift materials for tax purposes.


The Allendale Township Library strives to provide programs to the community that are fun and educational. Library programs may utilize staff and volunteers and may be developed cooperatively with local organizations, businesses, and individuals.  Library programs are funded in part by the library operating budget but are also often supplement or sponsored by local businesses, grants, endowment funds, and organizations.  Anyone wishing to sponsor a program may contact the Library Director for more details.

Pre-registration for some programs may be required due to limited space, materials, or performer limitations.  No individual or organization who presents a program at the library will be permitted to sell their product or services during their presentation or during their time at the library without prior approval from the Library Director.  Organizations or business affiliation of presenters or co-sponsoring agencies will be used by the Library in promoting programs. This does not constitute endorsement. The Allendale Library requires a contract to be executed by program presenters.

The Allendale Township Library reserves the right to take photos and videos at library programs. Photos may be used on the library Facebook page or for future promotion of library activities.  If a patron does not wish to be photographed, they can let the Library Director or program facilitator know prior to the program.  Full names or any personal identifying information of photographed individuals will not be used to ensure the privacy of all individuals without express written approval. Media photography is permitted provided it does not interfere with the operations of the Library or capture any identifiable likenesses of individuals without their permission.


The Allendale Township Library provides an array of service for children from birth to high school and the library welcomes and encourages frequent visits by children and their caregivers.  However, library staff cannot provide child care or assume responsibility for children’s safety.  Parent, guardians, caregivers, and teachers, not library staff, are responsible for the behavior and safety of children visiting the library. Staff cannot be placed in the position of supervising unattended children.
Children are expected to behave in a manner conducive to maintaining an appropriate atmosphere in the building for all patrons.  Children must know how to reach an adult in case of an emergency and both children and adults need to be aware of library hours.

An unattended child is a child of any age who is apparently unaccompanied by a responsible adult.  Parents, guardians, teachers, and caregivers may not leave children alone or in the care of other children who are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care.  Supervising adults must be close at hand.  As in any public place, strangers are a valid concern. Library staff cannot prevent children from interacting with or leaving with persons who are not their appropriate chaperone.  If the library is closing, at a regular time or in an emergency situation, and a parent or guardian f a child cannot be located in the building or parking lot, the Ottawa County Police Department will be contacted to take the child.
The Allendale Library is not responsible for any consequences of parents forfeiting their responsibilities.


It is the policy of the Allendale Township Library to preserve the privacy of the records of its patrons to the fullest extent permitted by law.  To that end, the patron records shall be released or disclosed by the Library, an employee or agent of the Library, only as provided herein.

The Michigan Library Privacy Act provides that library records may not be disclosed to third parties unless the library has received written permission of the patron or a properly obtained court order (MCL 397.603). A "library record" is defined in the statute as "a document, record, or other method of storing information retained by a library that contains information which personally identifies a library patron, including the patron’s name, address, or telephone number or that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials from a library. "Library record" does not include non-identifying material that may be retained for the purpose of studying or evaluating the circulation of library materials in general.

Any employee of the Allendale Township Library who receives a request, or who is served with a subpoena, court order, or other legal process, to release or disclose any library circulation records shall promptly notify the Library Director.

The Library Director, in a timely manner, shall review all requests and orders, consult with the Library's attorney as necessary, and respond in an appropriate manner to each such request and order in accordance with this policy.

The Library Director shall deny, in writing, all requests for the release or disclosure of library records as defined under the Michigan Library Privacy Act, unless the Library Director has received the named patron's written consent for such release or disclosure.

The Library Director shall comply fully with a court order to release or disclose library records if that court order was properly obtained under Section 3(2) of the Library Privacy Act (MCL 397.603). The court may issue an order for disclosure only "after giving the affected library notice of the request and an opportunity to be heard thereon."

The authority for this policy is the Michigan Library Privacy Act, 1982 Public Act 455, MCL 397.601 - 397.605 and the 1998 Public Act 7, which amends the Michigan Library Privacy Act. Library records protected by the Michigan Library Privacy Act are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (MCL 397.603 and MCL 15.243[d]).



To expedite library payments and for the convenience of Library patrons, the Allendale Township Library accepts Mastercard, Visa, Discover, or American Express credit card payments or Mastercard, Visa, or Discover debit cards run as credit card transactions, by adults age 18 and older, in amounts of $5.00 or more. The Library will not accept debit card transactions.

The Allendale Township Library allows the use of credit card payments through its website and in the library by adults age 18 and older. The library requires full payment of any outstanding bills when a customer uses a credit card payment in the library. The patron will be given a paper receipt from the transaction and the Library will keep a copy of the receipt.

The Library will not process transactions resulting in cash advances or cash back.
Library staff members have the right to refuse or cancel a credit card. In the event that a credit card payment is unable to be processed, the Library will attempt to notify the customer using the contact information provided. In any event, the credit card customer remains solely responsible for the payments due.

When a fine or fee has been paid using a credit card and a refund is necessary, the refund must be credited by check only and will be mailed to the patron. Refunds may take up to 30 days to process.

We respect your privacy! Credit card payment details are encrypted using secure server technology. At no time does the Library store credit card information. This information is only made accessible to authorized credit card vendors and financial institutions to complete your transaction.



The Allendale Township Library maintains a regular schedule of open hours and makes every effort to keep facilities open to serve the public as scheduled.  In some instances, it may become necessary to close the library, shorten hours, or cancel programs when conditions or circumstances prevent basic library operations.  All closings will be approved by the Library Director and Library Board (if time allows).  The decision to close the library or cancel scheduled programs is based upon, but not limited, to the following factors:

  • Severe weather and/or road conditions that cause hazardous travelling.
  • Availability to staff or operate the library (due to illnesses, family emergencies, staff funeral, etc.)
  • Building maintenance/upkeep scheduled or unscheduled (power failure, equipment replacement)
  • General health/safety emergency in the community or area surrounding the library
  • Requests for closure by local or state agencies

Items due during any unscheduled closing of the library will not be subject to fines.