Theft and/or  Mutilation of Library Materials

Joyner Library has a major responsibility to the university community to provide appropriate protection and some assurance of the continued availability of its scholarly resources. As part of this important mission, Joyner Library is strongly committed to securing its collections against theft and misuse. Mutilation, damage and/or theft of library materials or equipment are serious offenses and should be discouraged by the active prosecution of individuals attempting such acts. This is in full accord with the content and tenor of North Carolina General Statute 14-398 (Criminal Law) and the ECU Student Government Association Judicial Rules and Procedures, Section II, Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Offenses for Students available at In keeping with the above, Joyner Library shall post signs in prominent places throughout the library. This policy applies to all library users. Procedures for reporting theft and mutilation of library materials are included with this policy.


Library staff will notify Security when staff observe an individual in the act of mutilating or attempting to steal library materials, or are aware of evidence tending to show possession of uncharged and/or mutilated library materials.

Disciplinary action will be initiated according to the following procedures.

  1. The individual shall be requested to identify himself/herself by current ECU ID or other official identification. 
  2. If the individual refuses to cooperate, the University Police shall be called for assistance.  Damaged material should be secured by the library employee.  In all cases where the attempted theft or mutilation involves an individual who is not a university student, or a member of the staff or faculty, the library staff shall have the option of calling the University Police without delay.
  3. The individual being detained will be given the opportunity to record his/her account of the incident (Attachment A). In addition, the individual will be informed that he/she must contact the Library Administrative Office by 5:00 PM of the next business day (Monday-Friday) to set up an interview with the Director or his/her designee.
  4. The mutilated items will be given to the person in charge of the unit that has responsibility for the item(s) within 24 hours if during the week or Monday morning if the incident occurs on a weekend.  This person shall assess any damage and determine the replacement cost, recording the cost on the report form.
  5. The completed report and attachments are then given to the Director or his/her designee for follow-up action.
  6. In the interview with the Director or his/her designee, the individual will be given the opportunity to review and respond to the report.  If damage/replacement costs are incurred, the individual will be informed of these costs and that:
    1. he/she will be responsible for paying these damage/replacement costs incurred; and
    2. a hold will be placed on his/her University student record and library check-out privileges will not be permitted until the damage/replacement costs incurred are paid.
    3. make decision on whether to forward to the University office designated to discipline students, currently the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
  7. The Director or his/her designee will inform the student that he/she may request a hearing before the Office of Student Conflict Resolution if there is an objection to the actions taken by the library.
  8. The Director or his/her designee will ask Circulation to do the following if damage/replacement costs are incurred:
    1. place a hold on the individual's University student record; and
    2. add any cost due from the individual to the library's patron record along with the message, "attempted theft/mutilation."
  9. If the individual is a university student, the final report shall be forwarded from the Director's office to the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Student Life/Director of Student Services, with a copy being retained in the Library Administrative Office.  If the individual is other than a university student, the University Attorney will be consulted on the appropriate manner in which to proceed.
  10. After damage/replacement costs are paid, the payment will be recorded on the library patron record for the individual AND the library hold on the individual's University student record will be removed.

Dates Revised: May 26, 1992, April 5, 2007

Theft and/or Mutilation of Library Materials - Joyner Library

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