Howard County Library System
Guide to Borrowing From the Library

You don't need a library card to visit the Library to read books or magazines, play games on a computer, or attend a class.

A library card gives you a special privilege. You may use it to borrow books, magazines, toys, compact discs, audiocassettes, and DVDs from any Howard County Library System branch.   It also gives you access to research databases and downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.

Library Card Application

You may register online or get a form at the Customer Service desk at any branch.

Be sure you have your parent's permission to apply for a library card.  We will ask you for your name, address, phone number, and date of birth. There's no charge to replace a lost card.

When you register in person, your card will be ready in about five minutes.
When you register online, your card will be ready in a couple of days.

What You Need To Know About Your Library Card

Keep your library card in a safe place. Let us know if you lose it. We will "block" your card to stop anyone else from using it. There's no charge to replace a lost card.

You may borrow 30 items each time you visit the Library.

Some branches may limit the amount you may borrow of a particular item. Please check with a librarian if you have any questions. Any book marked "Reference" may not be borrowed. We keep these books in the branches for everybody to use.

You may keep books, magazines, toys and audiocassettes for 21 days. You must be 13 to borrow fiction videos and DVDs. Fiction videos and DVDs may be kept for seven days.  Nonfiction videos and DVDs may be kept for 21 days.

You will receive a receipt when you borrow materials. The receipt lists the titles of everything you just checked out. It also tells you when you must bring the materials back. This is known as the "due date." Keep your receipt handy.

You may view your library card record online.  You will need your library card barcode number and PIN (personal identification number).

You may return materials to the Customer Service desk or the book drop of any Howard County Library branch.

The Library is free, but money or a "fine" is charged for each item returned late or "overdue."

Materials must be returned on or before the due date. We charge 20 cents each day an item is late. The maximum fine is $6 for books, audiocassettes, and toys and $2 for paperbacks or magazines.

Library materials belong to everyone. Whenever you borrow something, you agree to bring it back in the same condition you found it on the shelf. If you damage or lose an item, you will have to pay to replace it.

If you have not finished reading, viewing or listening to an item, you may ask to "renew" it for another three weeks. You may not renew anything that customers have reserved or if there are $10 of unpaid fines on your account.

You may renew at a branch or online.

Do you have any questions about your library card?

Ask a librarian

If you have questions when you visit the Library, please ask a librarian.