Ask-a-Librarian

Our librarians are here to help you by phone or email! Find answers to brief informational questions, explore library services, and get friendly assistance with our website, catalog, or electronic resources. Not sure where to start? Call or email us, and we'll be delighted to help you out. Phone service hours are 10AM - 6PM (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat) and 12PM - 8PM (Tue, Thu).

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What are acceptable forms of identification and proof of residency to apply for a library card?

A photo ID and proof of residency are required to open a library account: 

Identification supplied by an accompanying adult is sufficient for a child under 18. For 13 to 18 year olds, photo identification is required if a parent is not present.

Identification that satisfies both requirements

  • Maryland Driver’s License
  • Maryland Identification card

Examples of Photo ID

  • Valid US passport
  • Valid US military identification card or discharge record (DD-214)
  • Out-of-State driver’s license, with translation into English, if required
  • Valid Out-of-Country passport
  • School ID
  • Employee or contractor photo ID card issued by a local, state or US government agency

Examples of Proof of Residency

  • Selective service card
  • Vehicle registration card or title
  • Voter registration card
  • Utility or telephone bill
  • Checking or savings account statement
  • Property tax bill or receipt
  • Mortgage account or proof of home ownership
  • Residential rental contract (apartment lease or other rental of real property)
  • Check with printed name and address

How do I renew my library card account?

If your account is still active and in good standing and your contact information has not changed, you can renew your card online in My Account.

You can also renew by phone by calling either Ask-a-librarian at 240-777-0001 or your local library.

If you owe money, pay all fees. If you pay online, please wait a day or two to renew your account, because we must manually post your credit card payment to your library account.

Update contact information on your library account as follows:

For help, call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 or ask your branch.  We do not renew library card privileges via chat or email.

Why am I unable to renew a checked-out item?

Some materials cannot be renewed, including:

  • Items for which others have placed hold requests.
  • Items that have already been renewed three times (twice for MARINA items).
  • Express books. These current bestsellers are not eligible for renewal after the 3-week borrowing period.
  • Interlibrary loan items from OCLC are not eligible for renewal.
  • Items borrowed on an Educator account.

Interlibrary loan materials from Marina may be renewed 2 times.

You can renew items by:

  • Bringing them to any MCPL library check-out desk; or
  • By logging in to your account on our catalog.

You will not be able to renew items if you owe $25.00 or more in outstanding fees or lost charges. See Paying Fees and the interlibrary loan page.

I have lost a library book. What should I do?

If you have lost a book or other library item, or if the item is damaged, the library will charge you the original retail price of the item.

A staff member can tell you how much the item costs. If you prefer to provide a replacement copy yourself, you may, but it must be an identical item in new condition. The replacement copy must be the same edition of the title as the lost book, and it must be the same format (hardback for hardback, for example).

Please note, you cannot provide a replacement copy for books with red B & T label, sometimes referred to as express books. If this type of book is lost, you must pay the original retail price of the item.

You can pay for a lost item by cash or check in any branch. If you want to pay online by credit card, you may not see charges for the lost item until you let a circulation staff member know that an item has been lost.

Save the receipt for the payment of a lost item. Then, if the item turns up later, you can return it to any branch within six months and receive the difference between what you paid and the maximum fee.

Troubleshooting Access to Online Resources

  • EZproxy Authentication - We use EZproxy to authenticate our cardholders to our subscription services. If you are outside the libraries and follow a link to one of our online resources, you should see a log-in page that asks for your library card number and PIN.
  • Some customers on work and government networks will not connect to this page; their firewalls may be blocking access. Please ask your network administrator to allow access to https://proxy.montgomerylibrary.org. Ports 2048 through 2248 must be open. Your network administrator may wish to read more about EZproxy. Similarly, if your computer's firewall is blocking access to our proxy server, please make https://proxy.montgomerylibrary.org a safe site on your firewall.
  • You must have a library card registered with Montgomery County Public Libraries to use online resources from home or work. Enter your 14-digit library card number without any spaces. Read about registering for a library card.
  • You will also need the PIN associated with your card. The default PIN the library sets is the 4 digits of your birth year. We encourage you to customize your PIN, which can be 4 to 10 characters long, to protect your library account. If you don't know your PIN and the default does not work, call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 to have it reset. Any staff member at our branches can also reset your PIN.
  • We recommend you use a current version of your web browser. Some features may not be available with older browsers.
  • Cookies and Javascript must be enabled in your web browser settings.
  • Security settings in your web browser should be set no higher than Medium.
  • If you experience a problem, please delete your browser's Temporary Internet Files (also called "cache") before trying again.