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return library materials

Convenient Ways to Return Library Materials

One of the more common questions we get asked at the library is where items can be returned. We offer a number of convenient ways to return your library materials!

1. When the Library is open

Feel free to bring your items inside to return them, or place them in one of the outside book drops (more on this latter option below). If you return items inside the library, it’s preferred that you slide most items into the automated return slot across from the media desk. Doing so will ensure prompt check-in of your materials, and will help us get your items re-shelved quickly for other patrons to borrow. You may also print a receipt, documenting the items you returned.

2. When the Library is closed

If you need to return items after the library is closed, we have book drops outside the library for your convenience. There are two book drop bins outside the library–one for books and another for audio-visual materials. Of course, you may also drop off materials in our outdoor bins when we are open if it’s more convenient for you to do so. The bins are normally emptied every 3-4 hours while we are open.

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3. Special items

There are some items that we circulate that must be returned to a service desk inside the building, rather than through the automated return slot or inside the outside bins. These are generally items that are larger than most items or that may be more fragile. These items have a label on the box, bag, or case providing instructions on where they should be returned.

4. Reciprocal borrowing

Many of our patrons take advantage of reciprocal borrowing: Some live in Deerfield, yet use another library near their workplace; some live in other suburbs or Chicago, yet borrow items from us. We thus often get asked if our items can be returned to other local libraries, or if items from other area public libraries can be returned here. The short answer is “yes” to both questions, but a few things need to be kept in mind: 

  • We do not have access to your account from any other library. So, while we will return materials to another public library for you, we cannot check in items from your account at another library. Likewise, if you return one of our items at another library, the item will not be checked in until we receive it here.
  • Please be aware that all items from other local libraries are taken to a sorting station before they are delivered to the library where they belong. This can take several days, and thus there may be a delay between the time you return the item and the time it is removed from your account.
  • We cannot print a receipt or provide proof that you returned items from another library here, because we cannot check them in for you. Therefore, we highly recommend that you return any items directly to the library where you checked them out if at all possible, so you can have a record of returning them.
  • We do not return books to public or private school libraries. 
  • All the above does not apply to items from other libraries checked out to you through the Deerfield Public Library, such as items received through LINKin or Interlibrary Loan. These items must be returned here.

We hope these options provide a convenient way for you to return your library materials. If you have any questions about returning items, please feel free to ask a staff member at one of our service desks, or give us a call.

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