Fair Use Policy for Library Customers


You can download this Fair Use Policy as a PDF here.



It is important to the South Australian Public Library Network (SAPLN) that all eligible customers are able to access our Services. Accordingly, we have devised a Fair Use Policy to provide guidelines to library customers that continue to allow reasonable, fair, and equitable access, to a free public asset.

This policy outlines what is and is not acceptable when using our service and any facility we provide, and to help you get the best out of the South Australian Public Library Network. Complying with this Fair Use Policy is a requirement of the Network and you must ensure you read this policy and understand how it affects you. We may change the Fair Use Policy from time to time and will promote these changes when we do so.


What is the One Card Network?

The SA Public Library Network (SAPLN) established its 'One Card' Network in 2012 and all public libraries in South Australia now use the shared system to provide the South Australian community with access to the entire borrowable holdings of the State.


The One Card Network is a single platform driving the success of the South Australian Public Library Network into the future. It provides customers and staff with convenient access to a greatly expanded range of materials via an integrated online catalogue, enhancing the customer service experience and promoting future innovation in public library service delivery to better meet the changing needs of the community.


Libraries participating in the One Card Network acknowledge their responsibility to work cooperatively within the Network to deliver the intended benefits to the South Australian community. It is expected that all participating libraries will follow this Fair Use Policy and adhere to Network procedures.


Why Fair Use?

The ALIA Statement on Public Libraries states “Freedom of access to public library and information services is essential. A public library services its community through the provision of access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services. It does this through access to materials in all formats in order to meet the needs of individuals and groups for education, information and personal development through learning, including recreation and leisure” (refer https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/statement-public-library-services)


To ensure fair and equitable access to our resources and services for all library users, we need to have some basic rules about library membership and borrowing. These rules are set out in this document. As a customer of the One Card Network you are agreeing to abide by this policy.


What this means for you…

Compliance with this Fair Use Policy is a requirement for use of the services. A One Card Network library may apply this policy, if use of services or entitlements by any customer is considered by the library to be unreasonable and in breach of this Fair Use Policy. If you fail to comply, library staff may suspend access to the services in question. All SAPLN libraries will cooperate with each other to identify any customers in breach of the Fair Use Policy.


Our Fair Use policy requires you …

  • To have just one borrowing card that is attached to a nominated “home” library (this card is used for carrying out loan and hold transactions for borrowable resources across the One Card Network)


The One Card Network shares a customer database so that library users in South Australia now need only one library card to access the borrowable collections in any One Card Network library across South Australia. Customers with current multiple borrowing cards will be asked to choose a “home” library service and reduce to one borrowing card. This ‘home’ library governs some of the rules and privileges that apply to that customer. The use of a single card for each library customer delivers simplicity for the customer as loan and hold activity can be maintained on the one card.


It is recognised that some South Australian public library customers will have existing membership records with more than one library service ( as some customers accessed multiple library services with separate memberships prior to the One Card Network) and that this will need to be managed in order to achieve the goal of a ‘one card’ system. A de-duplication process to identify customers that are maintaining more than one library membership within the One Card Network will be run regularly and shared with SAPLN libraries so that these customers can be approached to merge their accounts, nominate their ‘home library’, and resolve any outstanding debts with the council owed.



While the intention of the One Card Network is that customers will require only 1 library card for borrowing at any participating library, in some circumstances, it may be necessary for customers to maintain more than one card if they regularly access specific services at the libraries they use. For example, a customer wanting to access local online resources, internet, printing or photocopying at more than one library will need to maintain their customer barcode at each library so they can authenticate to these resources. There may also be instances where a separate customer card is required to access special collections (e.g. toy library).  The second and subsequent cards will only allow access to the additional specified services. This will depend on the service requirements for each library and will be managed locally.


  • To return or renew items (if renewals are applicable) by their due date  

You can help the library network work well for everyone by returning or renewing items by their due date. This improves access to material, especially popular and high demand items. The system has been configured to provide for a maximum of two renewals per item where there are no current holds on the item. A renewal can be done online or by any participating library but only if the customer is not blocked due to outstanding items or fees (blocked customers are those with outstanding item cost or fees totalling more than $30)


  • To follow the local rules of the library from which you borrow/visit

A fundamental and agreed rule of the Network is that the rules of the checking out library will apply to the transaction. The checking out library is the library that conducts the transaction with the customer. This approach ensures that a customer has a consistent experience at the library they most frequently use. Where a customer borrows from a library that is not their ‘home’ library, the customer should be aware that local loan rules may apply, including a different fines regime


By being a customer of the One Card Network and agreeing to abide by our Fair Use Policy your 'One Card' gives you access to:

  • Loans - 100 items, including a maximum of 20 audio visual items at a time

A maximum loan limit has been set to encourage borrowing and make provision for customers who use multiple library services. The Network has agreed to apply a maximum of 100 items per customer card including a maximum of 20 audio visual items, although lower local limits at the “home” library may apply.


  • Holds - maximum of 30 holds

A maximum of 30 holds per customer has been set. Some material is restricted to specific users (i.e. joint use items/express items/toys).


  • Renewals - two renewals per item where there are no holds on the item

The system has been configured to provide for a maximum of two renewals per item where there are no current holds on the item.


  • Local Priority - priority given to ‘home’ library customers for stock owned by that library

The Network has agreed that holds for new items may be quarantined to the purchasing library service for a period of time (initially 90 days). Then as items become available for reservation across the Network, the ‘home’ library customer will always be prioritized in the hold queue. This means that regardless of when a reservation is placed, if the customer’s “home library” owns a copy the customer will be the first in the queue for that item.


  • Use any Library - borrow or return items at any library across the state - note rules of the checking out library will apply (these may be different from your ‘home’ library, and may include late fines or fees associated with notice administration).


  • Access to resources across the One Card Network - a fundamental principle of the One Card Network is that any item available for loan to a library customer in the ‘home’ library should also be available for loan by customers of other library services across the One Card Network. This principle is supported by the all libraries participating in the One Card Network. Some collections are exempt, and therefore are not loaned outside of the “home” library (e.g. local history items, fragile materials, equipment, item purchased under special funding sources, and “school use only materials” in joint use school libraries).  The One Card Network has agreed to use consistent loan rules across the Network wherever possible to ensure an equitable and consistent service for library customers


  • Wireless Internet - Daily 1 GB download limit via wireless internet accessed within a One Card Network library (note this requires agreement to separate terms and conditions regarding internet usage at the point of internet access)   



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