Lost and Damaged Items
You may borrow up to 30 items at one time. You may borrow any material the Library lends.
If you forget your card, any identification with your name and address is an acceptable substitute.
You must be at least 13 years of age to borrow videos and DVDs.
We rely on parents or legal guardians to restrict videos or DVDs borrowed by minors (13-17 years of age). Howard County Library System is not responsible for the use and viewing of videos and DVDs by minor children.
When you borrow materials, we will give you a receipt that lists each title and its due date. Please use this receipt to remind yourself when the materials are due.
You may also check your borrowing account by phone using TelAccount or from a personal computer using the online catalog.
Lost and Damaged Items
Materials are to be returned in the condition in which they were borrowed. The full replacement cost and a processing fee will be charged for each item lost, damaged, or stolen.
We accept replacement copies of lost or damaged materials that meet specific standards. Please consult staff before you obtain a replacement copy to ensure it will comply with our standards.
If materials are not returned or renewed by the due date, fines are charged for each day an item is late.
Fines are charged for each day that the Library is open. If all branches close early, fines will not be charged for that day.
While we make every effort to clear materials within hours of receipt, during peak times, weekends and after holidays it may take longer to clear items from your account. We encourage customers to give items to staff at the Customer Service Desk for immediate removal from your account. If you need immediate assistance during hours the Library is open, call your branch.
You may pay fines when you return or borrow materials. Unpaid fines will be added to your account.
If you owe $10 or more in fines, you cannot borrow or renew materials until the fines have been cleared from your account.
Daily Fines (charge per day per item)
$1 Fiction DVDs and Nooks
.20 all other materials
Seniors (65+) pay half the fines on all overdue materials.
Maximum Fines (charge per item)
$10 videos and DVDs
$6 books, CDs, audiocassettes, toys, Easy Access materials
$2 paperbacks or magazines
If you have not finished enjoying the materials, it may be possible to extend the due date for an additional loan period, calculated from the date of renewal.
An item may be renewed twice unless another borrower has reserved it or your account has an unpaid balance of $10.00 or more.
Renew materials in person at any Howard County Library System location, by phone using TelAccount (410.313.7810) or online. When using TelAccount or the catalog, please have your library card and PIN available in order to complete the transaction.
The fines on overdue materials renewed through TelAccount or the catalog will be added to your account.
Videos and DVDs must be returned to Howard County Library System. Other materials may be returned to any public library in Maryland.
You may ask Howard County Library System staff to check your borrowing record after you return materials to determine if your account is clear. Staff will provide receipts for returned materials or a list of materials still on your account at your request.
Bookdrops, located at each branch, are open 24 hours.
If a bookdrop is jammed or full, please do not force the materials into it or leave them unattended. You will not be charged fines if you return the materials to the Customer Service Desk as soon as possible and inform staff of the problem. Customers will be charged $5 for each item left outside book drops or library buildings.
All materials may be returned to a bookdrop, but videos, audiocassettes, CDs and DVDs may be easily damaged. Please use care when putting fragile materials into a bookdrop.
21-day items available at any Howard County Library System branch may be transferred between branches for free. To request this service, please call or visit staff at the Information Desk.
Holds and Reserves
Many titles are very popular and all copies may be borrowed simultaneously. In that case, your name can be placed on a "hold/reserve" list so that when copies are returned, one will be held for you at your local branch. Items can be reserved by calling or visiting your local branch or by finding the title in the catalog and then clicking on the "Place Request" button within the item's catalog record. If we have your email address on record, we will notify you by email at no charge. Otherwise, we will mail a printed notice and charge a $0.50 per item fee, which is payable when the item is picked up. To add your email address to your record, please call or visit the staff at any service desk.
If we do not own a specific item, customers can usually find it via Marina (a statewide method of requesting items from other Maryland public libraries). Our Interlibrary Services staff can request materials from Maryland academic libraries as well out-of-state libraries. There may be additional fees from out-of-state loaning library. Fees are payable at the time of pickup.
Access Marina through our web site, ask for assistance at the Information Desk, or call Interlibrary Services at 410.313.7733 Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.