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These guidelines cover services provided in the HCC libraries and electronic resource centers. Please contact the librarian or circulation staff on duty with questions or concerns. You may also use our online comment form.

  • 2.1 Circulation
  • 2.101 Scope
  • 2.102 Definition
  • 2.103 Goals
  • 2.104 Responsibilities
  • 2.105 Process and Implementation of Change in Circulation Policy and Procedures
  • 2.106 Borrower Eligibility
  • 2.107 Loan Guidelines (approved 12/18/00)
  • 2.108 Overdue Guidelines for Library Materials (approved 12/18/00, updated
  • 2.109 Intercampus Circulation and Patron Hold Requests (approved 12/13/00)
  • 2.110 Interlibrary Loan
  • 2.111 Reserves
  • 2.114 Statistics
  • 2.115 Security of the Collections

2.101 Scope


This policy establishes system-wide circulation Guidelines and procedures for HCCS libraries/LRC's.

2.102 Definition


Circulation may be defined as consisting of all activities connected with lending Library materials in all formats and retrieving the same.


The circulation process includes:

  • registering and verifying borrowers
  • checking materials out of the library
  • maintaining borrower records
  • notifying borrowers of overdue material
  • inputting holds on student records
  • checking materials in when returned
  • providing for limited circulation of library reserves
  • providing security for the collections
  • keeping statistics on use
  • providing for intercampus sharing of materials
  • providing for TexShare and interlibrary loan

2.103 Goals


Circulation is a primary responsibility of the public services sector of the libraries.


Circulation activities are designed to help fulfill the library's mission by making materials available throughout the system to all eligible borrowers as defined in section 2.106 below.


Under the terms of the TexShare and Interlibrary loan Guidelines, circulation activities are also extended to students and faculty of other institutions with whom we have borrowing agreements.


Under the guidelines of the Training and Development Library, circulation privileges are extended to registered organizations in the Houston area for an annual tax-deductible fee.

2.104 Responsibilities


The ultimate responsibility for library circulation guidelines rests with the Library Council.


Under the system-wide procedures and guidelines approved by the Library Council, each Library Director or his/her designee is responsible for overseeing and coordinating circulation activities at their respective College Libraries and ERC's.


All library staff are responsible for applying the system-wide Guidelines and procedures at their respective College Libraries and ERC's.


The Library/LRC Support Department is responsible for implementing, maintaining, and coordinating the Sierra circulation software, databases, and procedures.

2.105 Process and Implementation of Change in Circulation Policy and Procedures


The Circulation Users Group is responsible for developing and recommending guidelines and procedures to the Library Council based on system-wide input from all HCC Librarians and Staff.

2.106 Borrower Eligibility

2.106.1 HCC Borrower Eligibility

HCC full-time, part-time and dual credit students who have no library holds on their records are eligible to borrow books from the circulating collections at all HCC libraries.

HCC full-time faculty, staff and administrators whose library records are in good standing are eligible to borrow books, AV media, AV equipment, and, with special permission, computer software, for use on campus in classrooms. Off-campus use may be permitted upon request.

HCC part time faculty, staff and administrators are eligible to borrow the same items as full-time staff, subject to the discretion of the public services librarian.

Members of the HCC Alumni Association are eligible to check out books, to place hold requests and to use media in the libraries upon presentation of an HCCAA membership card and an additional form of identification. Lending Guidelines for alumni users will be the same as those for currently registered HCC students.

Students must have a current HCC Student ID card or a government issued ID card and their W-number.

All student library records expire on the last day of finals each semester and become active again with proof of current registration.

2.106.2 Eligible Borrowers Non-HCC

HISD Early College students and faculty may borrow items from the regular circulating collections of the HCC library located at the shared site. Community Use of HCC Libraries

Community users are welcome to use HCC libraries' facilities, services, and collections within limitations described in library policy statements.

Community users must follow all general HCC and library guidelines and procedures.

Community users may be permitted to check out materials from an HCC library on a one time basis, at the discretion of the librarian in charge, or the user may purchase a Community User Card, good for one year, for $60.

Community users must be at least 18 years old, have a current photo ID and proof of a local address, such as a city utility bill.

Lending Guidelines for community users will be the same as those for currently registered HCC students. Community users may renew their card for $40 after the first year.

2.106.3 Loss of Eligibility

The HCC Libraries reserve the right to deny service to any borrower, HCC or non-HCC, who fail to abide by the guidelines outlined in this document or who have unpaid library charges.

Suspension of borrowing privileges is subject to the procedures outlined by the library access policy, as approved by the college administration.

2.106.4 Library Patron Records

Library staff are prohibited from disclosing information from an HCC Library patron record by Section 552.124 of the Texas Government Code and by the American Library Association Code of Ethics. The HCC Libraries may not provide personal information about library patrons or lists of materials borrowed or requested by patrons except under the guidelines established in Section 552.124 of the Texas Government Code.

The HCC library staff maintains a database of patron records which includes the following:

  • Patron status (a list of patron status codes is available upon request)
  • Expiration date of record (all HCC student patron records expire at the end of the semester or when the student withdraws from HCC)
  • Patron name
  • Patron address(s)
  • Patron telephone number(s)
  • HCC ID number
  • Social Security or other national ID number
  • Library barcode number
  • Patron email address
  • Whether or not a TexShare card has been issued to the Patron
  • Items currently borrowed from the HCC Libraries
  • Number of items checked out and renewed by patron since original registration
  • Any notes or special instructions necessary for administration purposes.

HCC library staff access patron records only for the purpose of administering the circulation of HCC library materials.

Library staff have no means to verify a patron's identity when responding to a telephone request. In this instance library staff will enter a patron record only with the patron's library barcode number and only to renew a book on loan or to verify that a certain number of materials are overdue. No personal information contained in the library patron record will be given over the phone. The specific titles of materials on loan will not be given over the phone.

The HCC library automated circulation system maintains current checkout information only.

Inactive patron records (records with not checkout activity recorded) are deleted at the end of each semester.

HCCS library patron record information is obtained primarily from the HCC Student Information System, the HCC Human Resources system, directly by patron self-identifying updated information, and by library staff input for administrative purposes.

Online library services, such as online renewal, supply very limited information from the patron record via a secure login.

2.107 Loan Guidelines

2.107.1 Print materials

HCC books at each campus library and ERC are available to both HCC borrowers and school district borrowers at that location.

Books may be picked up and returned at any campus library or ERC location.

Circulating books are loaned for a period of three weeks.

Students may have no more than 10 circulating items system-wide checked out at one time. Some libraries may limit the number of books that patrons may check out on a given subject. Overrides should occur at the discretion of the library.

Students may check out only one copy of the same title system-wide.

No limit is placed on the number of circulating books that faculty/staff may have checked out.

Books may be renewed twice for additional three-week periods unless they have been placed on hold for another library patron.

Books are renewed for three weeks from the previous due date.

Faculty/staff may have unlimited renewals on an item unless a hold request has been placed on that item. Library staff may change the due date for materials that faculty may need to keep for a semester.

Patrons may renew in person, by telephone, or online.

HCC periodicals at each campus library are available for use in the library at that location only. Intercampus sharing of periodical articles is available through the periodical photocopy request procedure. Loan of periodicals may be made at the discretion of the public services librarian.

Vertical file materials such as pamphlets and other ephemeral items are available for use in the library. The public services librarian may grant special permission to circulate these on a limited basis if deemed necessary.

Reference books and materials at each campus location are available for use at that location only. Intercampus loan of reference books and materials may be made at the discretion of the public services librarian based on length of loan and frequency of use at the owning campus.

Print materials, including collections on a specific subject, may be borrowed at the request of an instructor, a public services librarian, or a subject specialist for use at a campus where high demand for such items is anticipated. Such requests are filled at the discretion of both lending and receiving librarians.

2.107.2 Audio-Visual Materials

HCC students may use AV materials in the library. Students may check AV materials out of the library only for use in a classroom presentation and only with the co- signature of their instructor.

Some HCC libraries allow students to check-out Developmental Math and Algebra tapes for overnight use. These videos will not be included in the 10-item limit for students, but students may have no more than 2 of these tapes checked out concurrently system-wide.

Audio-visual materials may be checked out by HCC faculty for a four-day checkout period, to allow adequate time for use and return.

Instructors needing AV media for more than four days may be given an appropriately longer checkout period, based on availability.

The materials may be sent to any campus library in the system and are tracked with the Sierra Materials Booking function.

Audio-visual media may be scheduled for viewing or for preview by faculty or students at any HCCS campus library.

Academic departments may schedule a media item through the library for successive use by one or more instructors at several different campuses. The library will set up a routing schedule for this type of use and deliver accordingly.

Semester loan of AV items to a campus library can be requested by faculty when a campus library cannot meet the long term media needs of a specific class.

Faculty/staff may have no more than 5 videos checked out at one time, although the owning library may authorize exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

2.107.3 Computer software

Faculty and staff may check out computer software for home use when the library is closed.

Software which is not heavily used in the library may be checked out when the library is open and kept for longer loan periods. The programs which are in daily use must always be available when the library is open.

2.107.4 Equipment

Library equipment includes all audio-visual devices or machinery such as film and overhead projectors, audio-cassette players, videocassette players and recorders, as well as computers.

Equipment is provided primarily to assist faculty in supplementing classroom instruction.

Campus library equipment is available for classroom use by all HCC faculty.

With special permission and/or the approval of the public services librarian, equipment may be checked out overnight or over a weekend for uses other than those required on campus.

Equipment may be loaned to individual instructors for a semester by approval of a public services librarian.

Students are permitted to use campus library equipment to view or listen to library reserve videotapes, slides, audio cassettes, etc. that supplement course work. However, the equipment must be used within the library itself as space and availability of requested items permit and with staff supervision.

Students may check AV equipment out of the library only for use in a classroom presentation only with the co-signature of the instructor.

The library intends its AV equipment to be used by as many faculty members as possible in the campus environment. Requests for exclusive use of equipment by one instructor will be considered since many unique situations arise within the college, but departments designing programs around exclusive and continuous use of equipment should purchase the equipment through their own budgets.

2.107.5 Special requests

The public services librarians have the discretionary authority to consider special requests for library materials and/or services from their campus library subject to the intent of the library mission statement. Requests for library materials and/or services involving more than one campus should be referred to the Library Council.

2.107.6 Library Devices

For detailed guidelines on using HCC Library devices please see:

2.108 Overdue Guidelines for Library Materials

2.108.1 Book overdues

Regular circulating books have a loan period of three weeks. All books become overdue if not returned or renewed by the due date.

Overdue notices will be emailed on the fourth day following the due date and again one week following the due date if material is still not either returned or renewed.

Books may be renewed twice. Each renewal must occur within 3 days of the due date for a total of 21 days from the previous due date. Books can be renewed online via the HCCS library catalog, in person, or by phone.

Penalties for books overdue and 2.108.6 Lost or Damaged Materials:

  • actual purchase or replacement costs if this cost is available in the catalog item record.
  • $40.00 per book if purchase or replacement cost is not noted in the item record.
  • uncataloged paperback--$8.00 per book.

HCCS student records will receive negative service indicators for any items overdue after the second overdue notice has been sent.


2.108.2 Audio-Visual Media Overdues

Media is loaned for a 4 day period to instructors and Training and Development members. Media becomes overdue if not returned or extended by the date due.

If not returned on the date due, the patron will be contacted immediately, followed by a written overdue letter.

The library reserves the right to suspend borrowing privileges for anyone who abuses the system and deprives others of their access to audio-visual materials.

Penalties for media materials overdue at the end of the semester will be assessed as follows:

  • media – actual cost of each item

2.108.3 Equipment Overdues

If library equipment is not returned on time, a phone call must be made to check up on the return of the equipment. If still overdue a week following the telephone call, an overdue letter should be sent. If the equipment is not returned within two weeks following the letter, the circulation supervisor should make sure that a second letter is sent, with a copy to the person's immediate supervisor. If the equipment is not returned within one week of this second letter, the matter should be referred to the appropriate library director.

The library reserves the right to suspend privileges for anyone who abuses the system and deprives others of their access to audio-visual equipment.

2.108.4 Reserve Materials Overdues

If library reserve material is not returned on time, a phone call must be made to check up on the return of the item(s).

An overdue notice will be sent the day after material becomes overdue.

If material is not returned after 5 days a second overdue notice will be sent and the student will be blocked from further library checkouts and will receive a negative service indicator on their student record.

2.108.5 Lost or Damaged Materials

The library system charges a flat fee for books damaged beyond usability. This fee is set by a committee of system-wide circulation staff and approved by the appropriate library director. The same fee is charged for books lost.

  • actual purchase or replacement costs if this cost is available in the catalog item record
  • $40.00 per book if purchase or replacement cost is not noted in the item record
  • uncataloged paperback--$8.00 per book

For periodical issues damaged or lost a fee equal to the replacement cost is charged.

The library attempts to collect replacement costs for audio-visual materials lost. If the materials are damaged in the course of normal use, a fee is not charged unless the damage has resulted from negligence or willful damage.

If computer software is damaged under normal use conditions in the library, a fee is not charged unless the damage has resulted from willfulness. However both faculty and staff who borrow computer software for personal use off campus are responsible for any loss or damage of the diskettes and the accompanying manuals.

Under normal use conditions on campus the library does not hold faculty responsible for paying for damage to equipment unless that damage resulted from willful negligence. However, both faculty and staff are responsible for equipment borrowed for personal use off campus.

2.108.6 Penalties, Payments and Reimbursements

Within one week of the end of each semester negative service indicators will be placed on student records for items overdue at the final semester due date.

Negative service indicators on student records will be removed if the material is paid for in full or returned within one year. After one year, items may not be returned (unless at the discretion of the Library Director or designee), but must instead be paid for in full in order for the negative service indicators to be removed from student records.

In the event a student claims to have returned an item that cannot be located and has not been checked in, a "Claims returned" message will be applied to the Library patron record.

Penalties will not be forgiven for more than two "Claims returned" items that cannot be located within the HCCS Library collections system-wide.

A patron may receive a refund of the lost item fee if he/she returns it no later than one year from the item's original due date and presents the original receipt of payment. Library Staff reserves the right to refuse reimbursement based on the item's physical condition and/or obsolescence. The Library Director or his/her designee makes decisions about when to accept or reject a returned book that is missing for over a year. Material missing for over a year must be returned to the owning library.

2.108.7 Library Devices

For detailed guidelines on lost or damaged HCC Library devices please see:


2.109 Intercampus Circulation and Patron Hold Requests


Circulating print materials at any HCCS campus Library/LRC can be borrowed by any faculty member, staff member, or currently enrolled student through the Innopac Request function or with assistance from an HCCS library staff member.


Media at any HCCS campus Library/LRC can be borrowed by any faculty member or viewed by a currently enrolled student by requesting that any authorized staff member at any Library/LRC book the material through the Innopac Booking Module. Requests for media booking may be made in person, by telephone, fax, or email.


A student may request no more than 5 items at one time. Current checkouts are limited according to Section


Materials will be delivered from the owning library to the library designated by the patron as the desired pickup location.


Please allow 3 days for the request and transfer of available materials among libraries.


Items will remain on the hold shelf for 3 days. After 3 days they will be made available to the next person in the hold queue or they will be returned to the owning library.


Materials currently booked or checked out will not be available until they are returned.


Requests are placed on a first-come-first-served basis and will be queued in the order they are received.


In the event a patron attempts to check out a book that has been requested by another patron but not yet pulled from the circulating collection and placed on the holdshelf, the patron checking out the book will be given first priority. Library staff will verify that the original requestor remains first in the hold queue. No renewals will be available to the patron checking out the book.


Currently checked-out materials will not be available for renewal if hold requests are queued for those items.


Patrons may not place hold requests for items they currently have checked out.


Hold requests may not be placed for items not yet received and on order for the libraries.


Hold requests for missing items will be cancelled. Patrons will be notified that the item is missing and that the hold request has been cancelled.

2.110 Interlibrary Loan


HCCS faculty, staff, and currently-enrolled students may request materials not owned by the HCCS libraries via the HCCS Interlibrary loan service. Patrons must present a current valid library card in order to check out ILL materials.

2.110.2 Interlibrary Loan

  • All requests must be submitted on a HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE INTERLIBRARY LOAN REQUEST FORM which will be obtained by clicking "I agree" at the bottom of this page.
  • This form will be submitted electronically.
  • If you need help with your request please Ask a Librarian for assistance.


Each Interlibrary Loan request will be reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and availability. If items are requested and then discovered to be available within the HCCS system the requesting patron will be notified.


Books, chapters, magazine articles, dissertations, and scores may be requested.


All Interlibrary Loan requests are subject to the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purposes other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. HCCS reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.


Faculty, staff, and students may have no more than 5 checked out and/or pending Interlibrary loan requests at any given time. Interlibrary loan staff will notify patrons who have placed requests in excess of this limit and will hold them for filling after outstanding requests have been returned.


Allow 1-3 weeks for certain materials to arrive, although materials regionally available may arrive within days. If your request has not been received within three weeks you will be contacted with a status report.


Occasionally a lending library may charge to loan materials. If a loan is not provided free of charge the ILL staff will contact the requestor for approval prior to requesting the item. Any charges for use of the material must be paid at the time the material is picked up.


All interlibrary loans may be picked up at the library where the request originated. HCCS library staff will notify requestors by telephone when their material has arrived and is ready for checkout.


Due dates for Interlibrary loans are determined by the lending (owning) library. HCCS patrons must abide by the lending libraries due date even though the loan period may differ from HCCS loan periods.


Renewals must be requested 4 days prior to the due date, and may or may not be granted by the lending (owning) library. Renewals may be requested directly by contacting Library/LRC Support Services at 713-718-6153. ILL staff will transmit the renewal request and phone the borrower to let them know if the material has been renewed.


All materials must be returned in the same condition as they were loaned. The requestor must pay for damaged or lost materials according to the charges assessed by the lending (owning) library. Materials not returned by the due date will be subject to overdue fines as assessed by the lending (owning) library.

2.111 Reserves


Reserve materials are a collection of items kept apart from the general collection and assigned restrictive loan periods in order to assure greatest availability to certain user groups, such as students in a particular course who will have need of the materials within a limited time period.


Materials may be put on reserve by any instructor at any campus library or by a librarian serving as a subject specialist or liaison with the faculty.


Each campus library shall maintain the online catalog records for course reserve materials.


Materials that may be put on reserve include books, AV media, computer software, or periodicals owned by the library as well as items from other departments in the college such as telecourse tapes, skeletal bones, rocks, etc.


Reserve materials are not included in the 5-book check-out limit for students and are not limited to any number of concurrent checkouts.


If reserve material is checked out and not returned: the student will be called; the professor will be notified; a block will be placed on the student's library and academic records.

2.114 Statistics


In an effort to monitor the use of HCCS Library resources and to be able to predict future requirements, the libraries record and maintain a variety of statistical data related to the use of materials, services, equipment, space, and online resources by library patrons. Although some statistics may be maintained manually, most are created and updated automatically by the Sierra system.


Statistics do not provide information on specific items checked out or requested by specific patrons. No lists of items borrowed or requested by specific library patrons or groups of patrons are maintained.

2.115 Security of the Collections


All HCCS Library/LRC staff are responsible for monitoring the proper return and inventory of library materials and equipment.


All HCCS Library/LRC staff are responsible for observing the library vandalism and theft policy.


All HCCS Library/LRC staff will monitor and guard against the improper removal of library materials, equipment, or furniture.


All HCCS Library/LRC staff will provide for the confidentiality of circulation records.

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