Bloomfield Township (Mich.) Public Library starting in February will turn over patron accounts with $25 or more in outstanding balances to Unique Management Services (UMS), a Jeffersonville, Ind.-based collection agency that specializes in recouping materials and fines for libraries.

A $15 nonrefundable fee will be assessed for each account referred to Unique Management Services. Any overdue account must be paid in full in order to resume borrowing privileges, according to library officials.

UMS is currently working with more than 1,400 libraries. The agency was formed in 1996 to focus on recovery work exclusively for libraries and has helped recover more than $250 million in value of materials, fines, and fees. The agency has partnered with many library-automation vendors, including SirsiDynix, TLC/CARL, Innovative Interfaces, Polaris, Infor, VTLS, Liblime, Talis, Civica and Axiell.

"We have worked with these and other vendors to develop solutions that allow our clients to compile and transmit account information automatically, with minimal day-to-day staff involvement," the company states. "We have developed and acquired technology to enable us to process the data in an efficient, patron-friendly manner, allowing us to offer libraries the best value in the business."

UMS also has offices in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to a statement from Bloomfield Township Public Library, “When applying for a library card, all applicants agree to be responsible for all material borrowed and agree to abide by library lending rules and all policies and regulations. Library materials are purchased with Bloomfield Township residents' tax dollars. As a community resource, the library needs its materials available to all. We rely on our patrons to return their borrowed materials in a timely manner so that these are available to others to borrow."

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