Why has the library contracted with a collection agency? The Charleston County Public Library has contracted with Unique Management Services, a collection agency, to help ensure the return of overdue library items and collect overdue fines. The majority of our customers return items on time and in good condition; however, there are a few who do not respond to overdue notices sent by the Library. The collection agency will be used to reclaim overdue materials such as books, music CDs, DVDs and more. It is important to have these items returned so they can be available for other customers to use and enjoy.
Who is Unique Management Services? Unique Management Services partners with hundreds of libraries around the country to recover overdue materials and monies. It works exclusively with libraries and understands their special needs.
Are overdue books and materials really a big problem? Yes. On average, there are more than 11,000 books and other materials overdue at any given time. This prevents those items from being checked out and enjoyed by others.
Doesn’t it cost the Library a lot more money to use a collection agency than to pursue overdue items itself? No. A $10 processing fee is assessed on accounts turned over to Unique, and that fee is added to the overdue bill and paid by the delinquent customer. No capital expenditure is required by the Library to use this service, and the company does not charge in advance.
Which accounts are sent to the collection agency? Charleston County Public Library first tries to collect any overdue fines or materials by sending postcards or e-mails directly to patrons. Once an account becomes 60 days overdue and has a balance of $25 or more, it will be sent to the collection agency. For overdue accounts belonging to children, the adults who sign for the card will be contacted and are responsible.
How do I prevent my account from going to collection? The best way to avoid collection activity is to keep your account in good standing. This can be done by:
Returning or renewing items before they become overdue. Items may be returned to any branch of the library.
Taking advantage of renewals. Most items can be renewed once, if there are no hold requests for that item from other patrons and your account is in good standing. You can renew items online by selecting My Account in the Library’s catalog system, by visiting a branch library or by calling 843-805-6833.
Take advantage of a new optional service from CCPL called Library Elf. It lets you easily organize and manage your library account, track outstanding items on multiple library cards and set reminders to let you know when items are due.
What will happen to library accounts that are sent to the collection agency? A processing fee of $10 will be added to accounts referred to the collection agency. The agency will contact patrons and encourage them to return their items and pay for overdue fines or missing items. The library account will be suspended until all fees, including the agency processing fee, have been paid.
How do I check the status or update my account? Contact CCPL at 843-805-6833, visit any branch library or login to My Account in the Library’s catalog system. To confirm or update a mailing address, stop by any branch library. Bring a current photo ID and, if available, the library card. Proof of address is required to update mailing address information.
What do I do if I find an item after I’ve paid for it? Customers can receive a refund for the amount of the lost item by bringing the item, in good condition, and the receipt to any branch library. Refund checks are mailed.