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Reciprocal Borrowing



  • Book with open pages beside a stack of books

Services | June 29, 2021

Under Idea Exchange’s reciprocal borrowing program, residents from Hamilton, Waterloo, Kitchener, Guelph, Wellington County, Brant County (excluding the City of Brantford), and the Region of Waterloo can get an Idea Exchange membership free of charge. Cambridge residents can also obtain free library cards and borrow materials from these area libraries at no cost. Cards must be renewed annually.

  • What is reciprocal borrowing?
    Reciprocal borrowing allows residents from participating communities to receive borrowing privileges at Idea Exchange. It also allows Cambridge residents to borrow from the collections in those participating communities.
  • Why do I have to register for reciprocal borrowing privileges?
    Each library system has a different computer system; the systems are compatible but not integrated. Therefore, we need to register you in our database and you will need to register separately at each of the other participating library systems you plan to use. If your name, address or phone number changes, please report these changes to us and to the other library systems where you are registered.
  • What do I need to register at Idea Exchange?
    To register, we require identification showing your name and current address (e.g. driver's licence).
  • What if I have a library card from my home library which I already use as my Idea Exchange membership card?
    If you reside outside the City of Cambridge and have previously used your home library card at Idea Exchange, you will be given the option to keep using your home library card, or to get a new Idea Exchange card.  Using the Idea Exchange card will give you access to all of the library’s databases, something not accessible with a card from another library system.
  • What can I borrow?
    You will be able to borrow any circulating material at participating libraries but will be subject to the lending library's borrowing, renewal and holding rules. These vary from system to system so be sure to confirm the rules at the time of registration. You will not be able to access certain electronic resources at other libraries with your home library card due to licencing agreement restrictions that individual libraries have with the product vendors.
  • Can I return books to any other library?
    No. Please return materials to the library system from which you borrowed them. This will help keep delivery costs to a minimum and make them more quickly available to other patrons. If you do return materials to another library system, you should be aware that fines continue to accumulate until the items are returned to the owning library. Unfortunately we cannot assume any liability for books returned to another system.
  • Can I pay for lost or damaged items owing at another library system?
    No. Lost or damaged items must be paid at the library system where they were incurred.
  • How do overdue materials affect my library card?
    You will be notified by the library system where you borrowed the materials if these materials are overdue. Overdue materials must be returned where the items were borrowed. If you have substantial outstanding replacement costs owing at one library in the reciprocal arrangement, your borrowing privileges may be suspended at all participating libraries until the amount owing is paid.
  • Who will see my borrowing record?
    Only the library you borrow from will see your borrowing record. If you have overdue material or outstanding fines the participating libraries may exchange this information, as permitted under the Municipal Freedom of Information Act, for follow-up.
  • What should I do if my card is lost or stolen?
    You must report lost and stolen cards to all library systems at which you are registered to ensure that no one else uses your card.

Acceptance of the Reciprocal Borrowing Privilege acknowledges consent for the participating libraries to share registration and borrowing information from your record.