Your Library Card

You can get a library card in just minutes! Library cards are required to borrow materials from the library and may be required to utilize certain library services. To ensure accuracy, please bring your card with you when you want to check out materials.

The library guarantees your right to privacy and will not disclose circulation or registration records except by court order. The library reserves the right to disclose circulation and registration records necessary for the purpose of debt collection or materials recovery. Please see the library’s Confidentiality of Library Records policy for further information.

Any person who lives in Wisconsin may apply for and receive a free library card after completing and signing a library card application and presenting proper current identification. A driver’s license number or state ID number is a required form of verification.

A parent/legal guardian must show identification and sign the library card application for anyone under 18 years of age. Parents are legally responsible for all fines and fees associated with the use of their children’s cards. Parents are also responsible for monitoring their children’s choice of materials.

No one under 18 years of age may check out DVDs unless he/she has a video agreement signed by a parent/guardian on file at the Library.

Your library card is much like a credit card and should be treated as such since you are financially responsible for everything checked out on it. If you should lose your card or have it stolen, please notify us immediately. If your name or address changes, please report the change to us as soon as possible.

Replacement cards will be issued with proper identification and/or verification and a $1.00 charge.

All borrowers are strongly encouraged to select a PIN/password upon registering for a library card. A PIN may be any combination of numbers or letters (or both) and should be something that you’ll find easy to remember. You will be unable to access some library services if you do not have a PIN/password attached to your library account.

The library is a member of the Café consortium. Café consists of the public libraries in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties. Your library card is honored in any of the libraries in the Café consortium. However, please be aware that policies, fines, and fees vary from library to library.

Managing Your Library Account

The library now offers many tools to help you manage your library account. You can go to the library’s catalog online at any time to see what it checked out on your account and to check the status of your holds. If you provide your email address, the library will send you email notices of items coming due prior to their due date. If you have texting service on your cell phone, you can sign up for text message notifications. The library staff will be glad to sign you up for these services. Just ask!

Anyone who does keep library materials overdue is subject to fines on a per item basis (see below). Please remember that fines keep accruing until the item is returned. If you cannot pay the fine that you have accumulated, please don’t let that stop you from returning the overdue item. Some people think that they must pay the fine when they return the item. That’s not the case; you can pay your fine at a later date. Our interest is in getting the item back so it is available for other patrons.

Fines are as follows:

  • $0.15 per day, per item – books, audiobooks, magazines (with 4 day grace period), DVDs, CDs
  • $0.25 per day, per item – interlibrary loan items – from outside the Bridges Library System (no grace period)
  • $1.00 per day – Wifi hotspots

There are no overdue fines on children and young adult  materials checked out at Dwight Foster Public Library as of May 1, 2019.

The grace period (on items with a grace period) is only good for four days from due date. If an item is over the 4 day grace period (5 days or more overdue), the fine is calculated from the original due date. In other words, the grace period expires after the fourth day.

All items returned in the outside drop before the library opens will be checked in as if returned the previous open day.

If you have a fine of $10.00 or more, you will not be allowed to check out or renew until the fine is paid and/or the item is returned.

If you need to pay for a lost or damaged Dwight Foster owned item, you will be charged a standard replacement charge. If you need to pay for a lost or damaged item owned by another library in Café you will be charged their replacement charge. There are no refunds of payment for a lost item.

Fees for damages to library materials are on a case-by-case basis.

The library strives to offer materials that are cleaned and free from defects. However, the library assumes no responsibility for damage to patrons’ equipment that may occur as a result of use of library materials.

Long overdue items may need to be replaced in a timely manner if they are in demand and/or deemed essential to the library collection.  It is possible, then, that if you return a long overdue item we may have already purchased a replacement copy of that item.  If this is the case, you may still be responsible for the cost of the item rather than a fine.

Also, on items that are long overdue, the library utilizes the services of either the police department or a collection agency to retrieve materials or get payment for their replacement. Once a patron account is sent to the collection agency, the items may no longer be returned for credit as they may already have been replaced. At that point, the patron is responsible for paying for the item(s) through the collection agency. Please see the library’s Policy on Unreturned Library Materials for more information.

Checks returned will be assessed a service fee determined by city of Fort Atkinson policy.

A set of DVDs, a book with a pamphlet, a kit, etc. is not considered returned until all pieces are back. Please make sure that everything is returned at the same time. The item will not be checked in until the set is complete. Any missing pieces are subject to replacement charges up to the full value of the item.


If an item you are looking for is owned by us but checked out, you may reserve it (place a hold on it) and we will notify you when it is ready for pick up. We will hold an item for you a maximum of 7 days so be sure to pick up your item promptly. The library reserves the right to suspend a patron’s “holds” privilege if items are consistently not picked up.

Interlibrary Loan

If the Café system does not own an item, please ask about Interlibrary Loan. We may be able to get the item from another library. Materials borrowed from other libraries are subject to the rules and regulation of the loaning library. The library reserves the right to refuse Interlibrary Loan service to patrons who have kept Interlibrary loan materials overdue or who have repeatedly requested items and not picked them up.


All items except Interlibrary Loan items may be renewed two times unless there is a hold on it for someone else. Remember, the renewal period begins on the day of the renewal. Also, if an item is overdue, you may not be able to renew it.

You may renew items by bringing them in or calling the library during regular library hours. You may also renew items yourself on the catalog computers in the library or by accessing the library’s online catalog. You may renew items via the online catalog even during hours the library is closed. Also be aware that the library’s computer has a clock and calendar and will renew items using that clock and calendar. (For example, if your DVD is due on Tuesday and you access the online catalog to renew it early Wednesday morning at 1 a.m., it will post a $1.00 fine on your card since the item is being renewed a day late.)


Materials may be returned either to the drop slot in the lobby or the return built into the front of the building which is accessible from the outside. A few items will not fit into the drop slots and must be returned to the front desk. Additionally, the return bins have limited capacity so we ask that you not overload them at any one time. You may also return our library materials to other libraries in our Café library system (Jefferson and Waukesha Counties) and several other library systems as well. Ask about current libraries with which we have van delivery contracts. Please note that all Interlibrary Loan items that were ordered for you by our library must be returned directly to our library so you get proper credit for return.

Lending Periods and Limits

1 week

  • Feature Films (DVDs)
  • Wifi Hotspots (no renewals)

2 weeks

  • New regular print adult fiction and nonfiction books
  • Magazines (current issue does not circulate)
  • TV Series and Nonfiction DVDs
  • Music CDs
  • Toys & puzzles
  • Interlibrary loan items

3 weeks

  • Most books (except for new adult fiction and nonfiction books)
  • All audio books
  • All large print books

4 hours

  • Library laptop for use inside the library only (See separate policy)

Reference books do not circulate. As such, they are always available for use by library users during open hours.

The library reserves the right to set additional checkout limits based on the library director’s discretion.

Approved by the Dwight Foster Public Library Board of Trustees 10/4/99.
Revised December 2017.