Keep Your Books Longer!

Starting October 3, Harris County Public Library doubles maximum loan period. 

[HOUSTON, TX. October 3, 2023] – For many library users, especially those with busy work, school, and family schedules, the amount of time they can devote to reading has been steadily declining over the years. On most nights, the average working parent is lucky to get in a handful of pages before drifting off to sleep. Harris County Public Library (HCPL) staff has been hearing this complaint more and more lately and a recent survey seems to verify it as a national trend. In response, HCPL has now taken steps to give readers a little relief. People are dealing with enough pressure in their lives. Reading for pleasure should not add to it. 

HCPL is excited to announce improvements to its renewal policy aimed at enriching the library experience for its patrons. Starting October 3, 2023, HCPL will initiate the transition to a new, SirsiDynix hosted Symphony server, accompanied by several significant enhancements to its circulation policy: 

  • More Renewals: Patrons will now be allowed up to 5 renewals on checked-out items, which effectively doubles the possible time readers can hold onto the books they have borrowed, from six weeks to twelve. 
  • Holds Still Apply: The extended renewal policy only affects books without holds placed by other library users. This ensures that high-demand books circulate more rapidly.  
  • Fair is Fair: To make sure that the broadest array of materials is available to patrons, renewals will only become available 5 days before the due date which prevents users from using the maximum hold limit at time of checkout. 
  • Automatic Renewals: Automatic renewals will continue to be processed 3 days before the due date. 

Key Benefits of the Change: 

  • Extended Borrowing: Patrons will enjoy longer borrowing periods for items not on hold without the need to contact the library. 
  • Fewer Staff Overrides: Library staff will be called upon less frequently to override renewal blocks and allow staff to concentrate their energies on more critical tasks. 

These changes reflect the library’s commitment to continually evaluate and improve library services for its patrons and to respond to their ever-changing needs. HCPL is confident that the updated renewal policy will contribute to an even more user-friendly library experience. 

FAQs - New Renewal Policy

  • The policy update is meant to ensure consistency throughout the library system. In other words,  it is a recommitment to a longstanding policy that at times was bent as a courtesy to patrons.  We believe that making renewals only available five days before due date is fairer to all library users. It keeps books that suddenly become high-demand available to more patrons. 

  • The new renewal policy will take effect on October 3, 2023 

  • The changes aim to enhance the library experience by offering extended borrowing periods, reducing staff intervention, and ensuring fair access to all patrons. 

  • No, the existing automatic renewal process will continue to renew eligible items automatically 3 days before the due date. 

  • No, renewals will still be blocked on items with outstanding holds, just as they are currently. 

  • These changes provide patrons with more flexibility in renewing and keeping materials, reduce the need for manual intervention, and ensure fair access to library resources. 


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