Materials Recovery Frequently Asked Questions
What is Materials Recovery?
Materials Recovery is the process of retrieving overdue Library materials and collecting fines. On January 1, 2006, Clermont County Public Library (CCPL) began using the services of Unique Management Services (UMS) to handle customer accounts with overdues or fines exceeding $25 for over 35 days.
Who is Unique Management Services?
Unique Management is not a traditional collection agency because its customer base consists strictly of libraries. UMS partners with over 650 libraries across the United States and Canada to recover overdue materials and monies. UMS understands the special needs for a polite yet effective approach that does not alienate customers.
What happens when I have an overdue item?
- When a customer checks out materials from the library, they receive a printed notice of their entire account.
- Seven days past the due date, CCPL sends a notification via U.S. mail, email, or telephone.
- Fourteen days past due, CCPL sends a second overdue notice.
- Twenty-one days past the due date, the account is billed the replacement cost of the unreturned material.
- Thirty-five days past the due date, the account is turned over to Unique Management if fines or value of the materials if $25 or more and arrangements have not been made with the library to pay the amount billed.
- A $10 processing fee is added to the account.
How does Unique Management Services handle an account.
Unique Management Services contact the customer using the following process:
- Day 36 past due date: 1st letter
- Day 52 past due date: 2nd letter
- Day 70-93: Initial placement phone calls
- Day 100: Secondary placement 3rd letter
- Day 114-126: Secondary placement phone calls
- Day 155-186: Credit reported
Isn't the Library spending more money using a collection agency than by try to collect overdues itself?
No. Unique Management Service's costs are defrayed by the $10 process fee added to the accounts. Unique Management does not charge in advance and no capital expenditure is required by the Library.
What is the average rate of return for overdue items or fines turned over to Unique Management?
The average rate of return is $4 for every dollar invested. However, many libraries realize much more than that. Unique Management has found that about 66% of library customers respond by clearing up the past due portions of their accounts.
Why is the Library so concerned about overdue items?
In this time of uncertain funding it is very necessary that the Library make every effort to use our resources to benefit the entire community. When material is not returned, it's not just the Library that loses. Everyone in the community loses those resources, too.
What action can I take to avoid overdues?
- Mark down the dates your items are due in a prominent place at home
- Sign up for email notification by visiting your local library
- Items can be renewed as long as there are no holds and your account is in good standing. You can renew items via the catalog or by calling or stopping into your local branch.
- After-hours return boxes are conveniently located at all ten branches. If your library is closed and your materials are due, you can place them in the drop off boxes.
- A drive-through return is available at the Bethel Branch.