Circulation Policies

Getting a Library Card

Town of Chester Residents may request a library card at our Circulation Desk. You must apply in person and provide photo identification with your name and current street address (not a P.O. Box) to receive a library card. If your identification does not have your current address on it, please bring a piece of mail with your current address. Children from ages 5 to 17 must have a parent (with a valid Chester Library card) sign the application card before a card can be issued. You will not be able to check out materials without your card.

Applicants who do not live within the library’s district may be able to obtain cards from their own local libraries. If those local libraries are members of the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS), library cards from those libraries can be used at the Chester Library and vice versa.

Finding Items in the Library Catalog

The Chester Public Library maintains a computerized catalog system to assist you in locating materials within the library and the larger Ramapo Catskill Library System . The catalog is available on dedicated computers within the library as well as at home or from anywhere outside of the library by clicking here. If you have not used the catalog before or simply want some help locating information, please speak with a reference librarian by calling 845-469-4252.

Late Fines

Fees for Items Returned Late:
Books= $0.20 a day
Magazines= $0.20 a day
DVDs= $1.00 a day
Audio Books= $0.20 a day
Music CDs= $0.20 a day

Fines may be paid at the Circulation Desk. We will accept cash or checks.  Checks should be made payable to the Chester Public Library. You can also pay on-line through PayPal by accessing your library account.

Because we are part of a larger library system, you should be aware that items requested from other libraries may have different due dates and overdue fees. Consult your date due slip to determine when each item is due to be returned to the library.

Fine Free for Senior Citizens

Chester Public Library patrons over the age of 62 do not accrue fines on overdue items.

You must have a Chester Public Library card and check out your items at the Chester Public Library. Items checked out at other RCLS libraries may still accrue late fees if applicable. Give us a call at 845-469-4252 if you have any questions.

Veteran Discount Program

The Chester Library is part of a program that offers discounts to Veterans. Show us your veteran identification and we will waive any overdue fines.

Lost Items

Any item that is overdue for an extended period of time will automatically be marked as lost by the computer system. This prompts the computer to bill the account for an amount equal to the replacement cost of the item. If the item is returned, the bill will revert back to the overdue fine. Any item that is not returned must be paid for by the responsible party so that a replacement may be purchased. Refunds will not be given. The Chester Public Library will not accept a replacement copy of an item due to binding and packaging requirements of the library.

All library accounts that have fines or fees above $10.00 for lost or damaged items will be blocked from further use until the fine is paid in full. We accept cash or checks as payment in person. Patrons may also log onto their account to pay by credit card.

Damaged Items

Damage to items must be assessed by a Librarian and associated fees will be determined. Non-reversible damage may result in a bill for the replacement of the item (i.e. water damage, stained or torn books, scratched CDs, DVDs). Reversible damage may incur a minimal fee that covers the labor, processing, or materials needed to repair the item. In order to maintain a collection of items in good repair and working condition for all patrons, library staff assesses the condition of all items upon checking them in. Damage is noted immediately upon discovery and responsibility for the damage is established.

Hold Requests

You can request to be placed on a waiting list to receive a book currently not available at the library.

If you have been placed on a waiting list for a book, or if you have requested an item from another library within RCLS, your request will be maintained on your account until that request has been filled or until the reserve naturally expires if left unfilled for an extended period of time. Once an item you have requested has arrived, you will be notified by telephone, text or e-mail if you request your account be set up that way.

Items that are owned by libraries other than the Chester Public Library may incur fees and fines that are determined by the owning library’s policies. The Chester Public Library cannot interfere with the fees and fines associated with materials that belong to other libraries.

Loan Periods and Renewals

Most books owned by the Chester Library may be borrowed for a 21 day loan period. Newer titles, as well as Audio Books and music CDs may be borrowed for up to 14 days. Magazines and DVDs may be kept for 7 days – the newer DVDs have a 3 day loan period. These newer DVDs have a limit of 4 that can be borrowed at one time.

We are now offering courtesy renewals for most items. If an item is eligible for renewal and does not have holds waiting for the items, the item will automatically renew on the due date. If you have signed up for email notifications, you will receive an email detailing the items that did renew.

You may request renewals for borrowed library items in person at the library, over the telephone by calling 469-4252, or through the online library catalog by logging into your library account, checking the items you wish to renew, and clicking the Renew button. Please note – if you have any blocks (fines, fees, etc.) on your card, online renewal will not be permitted.

If there are no pending patron requests for a particular book, it usually can be renewed for two additional loan periods.

Non-Circulating Items

Items available within the Reference area are not available for borrowing. Most of these non-circulating items are marked with an “R” or “Reference” sticker. If in doubt of what can or cannot be borrowed, bring your items to the Circulation Desk and a staff member will advise you.

Lost Cards: Reporting and Replacing

If you lose your card or it is stolen, notify the Circulation Desk immediately so that we can put a note on that card. Replacement cards cost $2.50. Please be prepared to provide identification with your name and current address when you are ready to reapply for a card.


Chester Public Library is part of the Anser network which connects almost fifty libraries within the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS). Our library catalog permits you to search the entire library system for items. If you locate an item not owned by the Chester Library, you may attempt to request it. For assistance on requesting items from other libraries, please contact our Reference Librarian at 469-4252.

When you borrow items from any library within the Ramapo Catskill Library System you may return the items to any one of the RCLS member libraries. For example, if you borrow an item from Goshen Library, you may return it at Chester and vice versa.

If any item you return is overdue, your account will be charged according to the fees established by the library that owns the item in question.

Using the Bookdrop

For your convenience, a book drop is available when the library is closed. It is located to the left of the main entrance to the library. The book drop is only to be used when the library is closed. If the library is open, please return your items at the Circulation Desk. Using the book drop when we are open may cause damage to the items.

Your Library Account

When you register for a library card at the Chester Library, or any library within the Ramapo Catskill Library System, an electronic account is established in your name. This account is used to maintain a list of items currently checked out to you as well as any applicable fees that may be charged to your account.

Maintaining a Problem Free Account

To ensure a problem-free account, you must do two things:

  • Make sure we have your current mailing address and telephone number. If you have requested notifications mail via e-mail, you must provide your current e-mail address.
  • Return all items borrowed on or before the respective dates they are due. To determine when you items are due, refer to your date due slips or check your online account.

Failure to return items on time will result in your account being charged fines based on the types of items overdue and how long you have kept them past their respective due dates. Fines should be paid immediately, as you may not be able to borrow materials if you have fines above $10.00.

Accessing Your Account Online

You can access your account at home, or wherever internet access is available, by going to My Account which allows you to access your account as well as to search for items within the library system. To access your account online (at home or on the library’s catalog computers) click the “My Account” within the online Catalog.

At this screen you will be prompted to enter you library card number and pin. Your library card number can be found on the back of your library card. Enter this 14 digit long number into the appropriate field with no spaces. You pin number is automatically set as the last four digits of your phone number.

Once you successfully log into your account you will see a menu with several options: Patron Overview, Items Out, Local Holds, Blocks and Fines, Profile:
Patron Overview – A summary of items out, overdue, and lost, as well as links to other options.
Items Out – A list of items currently checked out to you.
Blocks and Fines – A list of fines, if any, along with any special messages posted by the library.
Profile – Here you can review and update your contact, PIN, and e-mail address.

Contacting Circulation

If you have any questions concerning the Chester Library’s Circulation Department policies or simply wish to speak with the Circulation Supervisor, you may:

  • Come to the library and request to speak with either the Circulation Supervisor or the Library Director.
  • Call the Circulation Supervisor or Library Director at 469-4252.

If you have any concerns involving late fees or fees of any other kind, please first return the items in question as soon as possible and then speak with staff members at the Circulation Desk, who will inform you of whatever fees you may owe. If you have lost an item borrowed from the library, please contact our Circulation Department immediately at 469-4252.