Borrowing Library Materials

  • You may check out up to 100 items on your card.
  • Please bring your library card when checking out materials. Without it, you must show a photo ID.
  • If an item you want is not on the shelf, you can place a hold through our catalog. If MCPL doesn't own an item you need, you can request it from another library system through interlibrary loan.
  • If you owe $25.00 or more on your library account, you will not be able to check out or renew items or place holds.  See paying fees.
  • Library cards that are used regularly will not expire. However, library cards do expire if not used for one year or more. If your card needs to be renewed, you will not be able to check out materials, place holds, or renew items beyond the card's expiration date. Read about card expiration and renewal.
  • Download "Borrowing Basics" guide in Spanish [PDF]

Renewing

MCPL will automatically renew most items 3 times. Each renewal period is 3 weeks. MCPL will not renew items if you owe $25.00 or more on your library account. See paying fees.

Customer materials are renewed automatically with some exceptions.

Materials not eligible for automatic renewal are:

  • Express Books (bestsellers identified by a red Baker & Taylor or “B&T” spine label)
  • Go! Kits
  • Mobile hotspots
  • Online Computer Library Center (also known as OCLC) interlibrary loan items
  • eBooks
  • e-Audiobooks
  • Library of Things instruments
  • Materials for which holds have been placed by other customers

Eligible materials will be automatically renewed a maximum of three times, with the exception of interlibrary loan materials borrowed through Marina, which can only be renewed twice.

Returning

  • Return materials to any MCPL library. All branches have 24-hour book drops.  Please bring materials inside to the circulation desk if possible, since they can be damaged in book drops.
  • Materials can also be returned to any public library with which MCPL has reciprocal borrowing privileges, including libraries throughout the state of Maryland, and the District of Columbia Public Library. You may return materials belonging to these library systems to any MCPL library. It may take several weeks for items returned outside their owning system to be cleared from your account.

Loan Periods, Renewal Limits

Item Type Loan Period Renewals
Adult Materials
Books, audiobooks, and CDs 3 weeks 3
Mass-market paperbacks and periodicals 3 weeks 3
Express books - current bestsellers identified by red B&T spine labels 3 weeks 0
Express DVDs 1 week 3
Express DVDs–TV Series 3 weeks 3
Non-express DVDs and Videotapes 3 weeks 3
Large print books 6 weeks 3
Vacation loans 6 weeks 0
Teen materials
Books, audiobooks, and CDs 3 weeks 3
Mass-market paperbacks and periodicals 3 weeks 3
Non-express DVDs and videotapes 3 weeks 3
Vacation loans 6 weeks 0
Children's materials
Books, audiobooks, and CDs 3 weeks 3
Mass-market paperbacks and periodicals 3 weeks 3
Non-express DVDs and videotapes 3 weeks 3
Vacation loans 6 weeks 0
Educator loans 9 weeks 0
Technology loans and Go! Kits
Go! Kits 2 weeks 0
Internet to Go mobile hotspots 2 weeks 0
Laptops (In-branch only) 3 hours 0
Reference materials
Any reference books, adult or children's Overnight 0
Interlibrary loans
Marina items 3 weeks 2
OCLC items Determined by the lending library 0
E-Library downloadables
E-books and audiobooks up to 3 weeks Depends On Platform

Fees

Reason for Fee Fee
Lost or damaged items Full replacement cost
Interlibrary loan items Any fees charged by the lending library including photocopy fees
Nonresident card $10.00; non-refundable
Printing $.15 per page side for Black and White and $1.00 per page side for Color

Notification Timeline

Timeline MCPL/Unique Action Taken
3 Days prior to Due Date MCPL Auto renew eligible items and email Reminder of Due Date for non-eligible items.
3 days after Due Date MCPL Overdue Email Notice
10 Days after Due Date Unique Overdue Mailed Notice with Titles
21 Days after Due Date Unique 1st Overdue Mailed Notice with Titles, Cost of Items, and $10 Referral Fee
35 Days after Due Date Unique Phone Call
50 Days after Due Date Unique Final Overdue Mailed Notice
UNIQUE   Follow-up as needed