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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Helium frequently asked questions

Your questions, answered.

Wondering how the Helium process works? We hope to answer all of your questions right here! But, if you have any questions not included here, don't hesitate to contact us.

Jump to:

General FAQs

Is Helium really, truly, absolutely, free?


Yes! Well...for now. So take advantage while you can! In the future, Helium will begin to implement a pricing structure that will require payment for our services. However, these payments will still be low and aim to give you the best value! The only way you pay anything at all is if you are found in violation of our fee policy.




My rented book(s) have been lost or stolen...am I responsible?


Per our fee policy: "If books rented through Helium are stolen from you or lost at any point during your rental term (i.e. after they were delivered and received and before they were set out to be picked up and returned), first thing you will want to do is to notify us immediately. Notify us immediately because this will effectively end your rental period for the stolen or lost books. This is important especially if the due date for these items has passed, as all late fee accruals will stop upon receipt of your notification. To replace the stolen or lost books (if stolen or lost at any point during your rental term), we will charge the debit/credit card you entered as part of the rental order process the exact amount the library charges our driver, who checked out the books and is ultimately responsible for what happens to them. Further, you will also pay the small processing fee charged by our payment processor. You will not pay an additional base fee of $3.00 as with late returns and renewals. Keep in mind, any applicable late fees will still be charged. Fees associated with stolen or lost books will be additive. We emphasize again the importance of notifying us as soon as possible about theft or loss." If you have any questions, contact us. We understand this is a tad complex.




Do I need a library card to rent through Helium?


Nope! Our drivers have library cards that they use to check out books, which they then deliver to you. Please be respectful of the books you obtain through Helium as our drivers take a great risk in checking out such a numerous amount of books and are responsible for what happens to them.




Do I have to live in Milwaukee County to rent through Helium?


At this time, yes. Right now, Helium only delivers to locations within Milwaukee County because it gives us the greatest possible confidence that we are performing our services solely for the county’s residents. It is these residents that provide the public tax dollars that help fund the Milwaukee County Federated Library System - comprised of the 25+ member libraries from which we source the books that are delivered to readers via our service. So, to ensure no abuse of resources and “fair play”, we only provide our services to the residents of Milwaukee County. We hope you can understand our reasoning and our commitment to the fair distribution of public materials. We hope to offer our services to surrounding areas soon! Stay in touch!




Do I need to be of a certain age to rent through Helium?


While we know people of all ages love to read...for legal and data privacy reasons, you must be 18 years of age or older to be able to rent books through Helium. Please see our privacy policy for further information.




If Helium is free, why must I enter my credit/debit card information when I want to rent books?


Helium is free. You enter credit/debit card information as a form of protection in the case we never receive the rented, library-owned books you've ordered back or we do not receive them back on time. Per our fee policy, we protect ourselves from these occurrences by charging late fees and replacement fees, hence the reason we collect your payment information up front. Rest assured, we will not abuse your private information in any way.





 
 

Renting-Related FAQs

How do I rent books through Helium?


Rent up to 3 books at a time by clicking here and completing steps 1 and 2! Please keep in mind, libraries own limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




Do I have to be at the delivery location when my delivery arrives?


No, you do not have to be at the delivery location when your book(s) are delivered. As long as our driver knows the address and specific drop-off point, they can handle the rest! However, we do warn against leaving books outside for extended periods of time due to threats of theft and damage due to inclement weather, so please plan accordingly and get those books inside ASAP! Please do not request for your books to be delivered to a public space. Our drivers will still make the delivery, but the likelihood of damage, theft, or loss of your rented books is high.




Can I have books delivered to an address that is not my home?


Certainly! However, Helium only delivers to locations within Milwaukee County because it gives us the greatest possible confidence that we are performing our services solely for the county’s residents. It is these residents that provide the public tax dollars that help fund the Milwaukee County Federated Library System - comprised of the 25+ member libraries from which we source the books that are delivered to readers via our service. So, to ensure no abuse of resources and “fair play”, we only provide our services to the residents of Milwaukee County. We hope you can understand our reasoning and our commitment to the fair distribution of public materials. Please do not request for your books to be delivered to a public space. Our drivers will still make the delivery, but the likelihood of damage, theft, or loss of your rented books is high. We hope to offer our services to surrounding areas soon! Stay in touch!




I placed my rental order, when can I expect my book(s) to arrive?


We know you're excited to get your book(s)! Assuming your desired book(s) are available from our sourcing libraries upon us receiving your rental request, due to rather unusual library operating hours, the best we can promise is that you will receive your book(s) in no more than 48 hours from the moment we receive your rental order. Typically, you will receive your book(s) in less time! Free books brought to you fast, what's not to love! Please keep in mind, libraries have limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Of course, once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




The book I received was not the book I wanted, what should I do?


Well, we're embarrassed. And we apologize. Unfortunately, you'll have to restart the process, if you feel so inclined. First, let us know you'd like to return the book you did receive here. Second, head to the Rent Books page and fill out the two forms once more. Please be specific when filling out the form in step 2 as well as it helps us best understand the exact book you'd like to rent.

We always do our absolute best to get our readers the book they want; but we do make mistakes sometimes, and for that we're sorry. We hope to hear from you again!

A friendly reminder to please keep in mind that libraries have limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Of course, once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




It has been over 48 hours and I have yet to receive the book I requested to rent, what should I do?


Well, one of two things may have occurred. Either, we have yet to deliver your rental...that's totally on us, or there's the possibility that your rented book(s) were taken before you had the chance to take possession of them. In either case, please notify us of our mistake as promptly as possible after this 48-hour period and we will get to the heart of the issue. We will be responsive to your needs and get the books you want into your hands as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.




My book was delivered damaged to the point where I cannot even read it, what should I do?


This is unacceptable on our part and we will do everything in our power to correct this mistake. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. First, please notify us of the damage as promptly as possible. We will be responsive to the issue and get the right, undamaged books into your hands as soon as possible provided copies are available at our sourcing libraries.




If Helium is free, why must I enter my credit/debit card information when I want to rent books?


Helium is free. You enter credit/debit card information as a form of protection in the case we never receive the rented, library-owned books you've ordered back or we do not receive them back on time. Per our fee policy, we protect ourselves from these occurrences by charging late fees and replacement fees, hence the reason we collect your payment information up front. Rest assured, we will not abuse your private information in any way.





 

Return-Related FAQs

How do I return books I rented through Helium?


To avoid any late fees, all you must do is notify Helium that your rental is ready to be picked up and returned on or before your due date (which is stated on one of the leaflets you received with your rental). Refer to our fee policy for more detail. Also, in an effort to prevent you from having to pay late fees, Helium will reach out to you two days before your rental's due date as a friendly reminder. Okay, so how do you notify us that your rental is ready to be picked up? Notify us online by clicking here. Please do your best to minimize the number of trips we must make to pick up books you will be returning. If multiple books can be picked up at once versus having us pick up one now and one a few days later, please take this into consideration. We're all about saving time and money - yours and ours - so thank you! Lastly, if leaving books outside for us to pick-up, please place them in a bag or another form of protective material to minimize the risk of damage in instances of inclement weather. You will be responsible for any associated damage, theft, or loss (refer to our fee policy for more detail).




Do the pick-up location and delivery location have to be the same?


Nope! The pick-up location does not have to be the same location as the delivery location. However, when placing a rental order through Helium, please keep in mind the likely eventual pick-up location, as we will not pick up books from a location more than 20 miles away from the nearest Milwaukee County Federated Library System (MCLFS) affiliated library. For a list of all MCFLS libraries and their locations, click here.




I notified Helium that my rental was ready for pick up before it was due, but it has yet to be picked up and the due date has passed...I'm not at fault, am I?


Not at all! As long we receive notification on or before your due date (which is stated on one of the leaflets you received with your rental) that your rental is ready to be returned, the responsibility shifts to us to pick up and return your books on time. If we fail to do so, we will be responsible for the reprecussions.




I didn't return my books before they were due...what should I expect?


Per our fee policy: "You have a due date for your rented books, which is detailed on a leaflet provided with your rental. If this date passes and neither of the following three action items have been completed, late fees will begin to accrue in your account. 1. Completion of the Return form, indicating that your rented books are ready to be picked up by one of our drivers. 2. Completion of the Renewal form, indicating that you wish to renew your rented books for another term AND you have received confirmation that your renewal request was successful. 3. Notification has been sent to us that your books were stolen or lost after they were delivered. As stated, if neither of the three action items above have been completed and your due date has passed, late fees will begin to accrue. The fees will accrue as follows: - Helium charges a base late fee of $3.00 (per overdue book), as compensation for the inconvenience imposed on the driver and the company. - A daily late fee of $0.15 (per overdue book), matching the average amount charged by libraries within your local library system, reimbursing our drivers for the costs that they must pay directly for the late books checked out under their name. Why must we do this? We will always protect our selfless drivers that facilitate our mission day in and day out. It is them that bear complete responsibility for the books they check out under their name and deliver to you. We trust you can understand our reasoning. ** Your late fees will be automatically charged to the debit/credit card you entered as part of the rental order process as soon as one of the three action items above are completed. Until then, your fees will continue to accrue and you will be unable to rent books via Helium. When accruals cease and fees are charged, you will also pay the small processing fee charged by our payment processor processor. Minimum charge restrictions imposed by our payment processor may apply. ** 27 Day Rule If one of the three action items above has not been completed after 27 days have elapsed following the due date of your rented books, we will automatically charge the debit/credit card you entered as part of the rental order process for three things: - The $3.00 base late fee (per overdue book) - Daily late fees of $0.15, times 27 days, so $4.05 (per overdue book) - The library-concluded cost to replace the books - The small processing fee charged by our payment processor ​​ Why 27 days? Good question...seems random, we know. This is current library policy. They charge those who have checked out books and have not returned or successfully renewed them within 27 days following their due date the full cost to replace said books, assuming the books will never make their way back to the library. After 27 days have surpassed and fees have been automatically paid, you will be once again able to rent books via Helium." If you have any questions, contact us. We understand this is a tad complex.




Can I return some books in my rental and request to renew others?


Indeed you can! You'll just have to be sure to take the proper steps for the set of books you'd like to return and the set you'd like to request to renew. In essence, treat the book(s) being returned and the book(s) being requested for renewal as two separate rentals and proceed with the appropriate steps. Remember, to carefully read the the renewal-related FAQs below for more detail on the renewal request process and/or the text above the renewal request form. Like it says, it is very important.




Do I have to be at the pick-up location for my books to be picked up?


No, you do not have to be at the pick-up location for your book(s) to be picked up and returned. As long as our driver knows the address and specific (accessible) pick-up point, they can handle the rest! However, we do warn against leaving books outside for extended periods of time due to threats of theft and inclement weather, so please plan accordingly. Also, please do not leave your books to be picked up in a public area as there is a high risk of theft.




Can I return books through Helium that I did not originally rent and have delivered through Helium?


At this time, no you cannot. This may change in the future as our capabilities expand; however, at the moment we will not return books to local libraries on your behalf unless rented and delivered via Helium originally. Our reasoning is that we do not wish to be responsible for returning books rented with a public library card over which we have no ownership. This could cause unintended late fees to be passed on to you directly if mistakes are made on our end during the return process. In any case, we want our mistakes to affect us and only us. We appreciate your understanding.





 

Renewal-Related FAQs

How do I rent books through Helium?


Rent up to 3 books at a time by clicking here and completing steps 1 and 2! Please keep in mind, libraries own limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




Do I have to be at the delivery location when my delivery arrives?


No, you do not have to be at the delivery location when your book(s) are delivered. As long as our driver knows the address and specific drop-off point, they can handle the rest! However, we do warn against leaving books outside for extended periods of time due to threats of theft and damage due to inclement weather, so please plan accordingly and get those books inside ASAP! Please do not request for your books to be delivered to a public space. Our drivers will still make the delivery, but the likelihood of damage, theft, or loss of your rented books is high.




Can I have books delivered to an address that is not my home?


Certainly! However, Helium only delivers to locations within Milwaukee County because it gives us the greatest possible confidence that we are performing our services solely for the county’s residents. It is these residents that provide the public tax dollars that help fund the Milwaukee County Federated Library System - comprised of the 25+ member libraries from which we source the books that are delivered to readers via our service. So, to ensure no abuse of resources and “fair play”, we only provide our services to the residents of Milwaukee County. We hope you can understand our reasoning and our commitment to the fair distribution of public materials. Please do not request for your books to be delivered to a public space. Our drivers will still make the delivery, but the likelihood of damage, theft, or loss of your rented books is high. We hope to offer our services to surrounding areas soon! Stay in touch!




I placed my rental order, when can I expect my book(s) to arrive?


We know you're excited to get your book(s)! Assuming your desired book(s) are available from our sourcing libraries upon us receiving your rental request, due to rather unusual library operating hours, the best we can promise is that you will receive your book(s) in no more than 48 hours from the moment we receive your rental order. Typically, you will receive your book(s) in less time! Free books brought to you fast, what's not to love! Please keep in mind, libraries have limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Of course, once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




The book I received was not the book I wanted, what should I do?


Well, we're embarrassed. And we apologize. Unfortunately, you'll have to restart the process, if you feel so inclined. First, let us know you'd like to return the book you did receive here. Second, head to the Rent Books page and fill out the two forms once more. Please be specific when filling out the form in step 2 as well as it helps us best understand the exact book you'd like to rent.

We always do our absolute best to get our readers the book they want; but we do make mistakes sometimes, and for that we're sorry. We hope to hear from you again!

A friendly reminder to please keep in mind that libraries have limited quantities of books. As such, we cannot guarantee that the book(s) you desire will be available to rent at a given time from our sourcing libraries. Of course, once we receive a rental inquiry from you, we will follow up with all of the information you need to know, including the availability of your desired book(s).




It has been over 48 hours and I have yet to receive the book I requested to rent, what should I do?


Well, one of two things may have occurred. Either, we have yet to deliver your rental...that's totally on us, or there's the possibility that your rented book(s) were taken before you had the chance to take possession of them. In either case, please notify us of our mistake as promptly as possible after this 48-hour period and we will get to the heart of the issue. We will be responsive to your needs and get the books you want into your hands as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.




My book was delivered damaged to the point where I cannot even read it, what should I do?


This is unacceptable on our part and we will do everything in our power to correct this mistake. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. First, please notify us of the damage as promptly as possible. We will be responsive to the issue and get the right, undamaged books into your hands as soon as possible provided copies are available at our sourcing libraries.




If Helium is free, why must I enter my credit/debit card information when I want to rent books?


Helium is free. You enter credit/debit card information as a form of protection in the case we never receive the rented, library-owned books you've ordered back or we do not receive them back on time. Per our fee policy, we protect ourselves from these occurrences by charging late fees and replacement fees, hence the reason we collect your payment information up front. Rest assured, we will not abuse your private information in any way.