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Borrowing FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Please become familiar with the My Account feature so that you can monitor the due dates, fines and fees on the materials you have checked out.

  1. How can I get a library card?
  2. I had a library card several years ago. Is it still valid?
  3. May I register online?
  4. If I do not reside in Allegheny County, can I get a library card?
  5. My library does not participate in Access Pennsylvania. Can I still get a card?
  6. I am attending college in Allegheny County. How do I borrow materials?
  7. I am in town for a short time but reside in another state. Can I get a card to use while I am visiting?
  8. I want to obtain a library card for my children. Is there an age requirement? What kind of identification is needed?
  9. My teen needs a card. Do I need to be present?
  10. How many items may I borrow?
  11. How long may I keep an item?
  12. If I forget to bring my library card, may I still check items out?
  13. Can I access my library account through the Internet?
  14. How can I renew items?
  15. When I access the "My Account" feature to renew items, they will not renew. What is the problem?
  16. How can I renew books from other libraries borrowed through CLP?
  17. Where may I return items borrowed from CLP?
  18. I have a very overdue item. How high will my late fee be?
  19. Do I have to pay all my late fees at once?
  20. My child has several very overdue items. How much will I be charged?
  21. I recently paid for a lost book that I just found. Can I get my money back?
  22. When is your next fine amnesty?
  23. How can I suggest that CLP buy a book that they do not have?
  24. What is your Privacy Policy?
 

1. How can I get a library card?

A Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card may be obtained in person at our Main Library or any of our branches. To get a card, you must fill out an application and present current photo identification with proof of address indicating that one resides in Allegheny County. With proper identification, a card will be issued and valid the same day. We are pleased to offer two unique library card options. Now, you can choose from the traditional Classic Card and the new Donor Plus Card. See our page on Getting a Library Card for more information.

2. I had a library card several years ago. Is it still valid?

Most Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh cards expire after two years. To renew an expired card, you must fill out a renewal application and present in person current photo identification with proof of address. Once your card is verified, it may be used to borrow materials.

3. May I register online?

An online application is available. After submission of information, a card will be mailed to you that can be validated upon your first use of the card at any CLP location. Validation requires that you present current photo identification with proof of address. Please include a valid email address in your online registration so that we may email you if additional information is needed.

4. If I do not reside in Allegheny County, can I get a library card?

Any resident of Pennsylvania with a valid library card from a participating Access Pennsylvania Library may obtain a free library card. To get a card, you must fill out an application, present in person current photo identification with proof of address and a library card with a Pennsylvania Access sticker. With proper identification, a card will be issued and valid the same day. Valid for one year from date of issue. Please note that it is necessary to obtain a library card or to validate an online card by coming to the library if you wish to access CLP databases or downloadable e-books and e-music as our licenses restrict access to these resources to CLP library card holders.

5. My library does not participate in Access Pennsylvania. Can I still get a card?

If a library card with an Access sticker cannot be presented, a non-resident card can be issued at a cost of $10.00 per card for children, age 12 and younger, and $30 per card for those age 13 and older. To get a card, you must fill out an application and present current photo identification with proof of address. With proper identification and upon payment of the $10 or $30 fee, a library card will be issued and valid the same day. Valid for one year from date of issue.

6. I am attending college in Allegheny County. How do I borrow materials?

A student attending any school of higher education in the county is eligible for a library card. To obtain a card, you must fill out an application, present current photo identification with proof of local address and home address. In some cases, local address information provided by the school may be used to verify current address. Student cards are valid for one year from date of issue. More information for college students.

7. I am in town for a short time but reside in another state. Can I get a card to use while I am visiting?

Temporary cards may be issued on a case-by-case basis. If issued, a non-resident fee of $30.00 for adults and $10.00 for children will be charged. To get a card, you must fill out an application, present current photo identification with proof of out-of-state address, supply a local address and pay the non-resident fee. Temporary cards are valid for up to 3 months.

8. I want to obtain a library card for my children. Is there an age requirement? What kind of identification is needed?

There is no age requirement for children. Any child ages 17 and younger may be registered for a card by parent or guardian. The parent or legal guardian must fill out the application and present current photo identification with proof of address. With proper identification, a card will be issued and valid the same day. Children's cards have a two-year expiration date.

9. My teen needs a card. Do I need to be present?

A teenager who visits the library without a parent may obtain a card by filling out the application and presenting current identification with proof of address. If the teen does not have current identification with proof of address, a postcard will be mailed to the home. That card, on presentation, will become proof of address and a card will be issued and valid the same day. Cards issued to teenagers are adult cards with a two-year expiration date.

10. How many items may I borrow?

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh cardholders may borrow a total of fifty items. Only five videos and five DVDs may be borrowed at a time. For more information, see our Late Fees and Loan Periods.

11. How long may I keep an item?

Most items are loaned for three weeks. Upon check out, you will receive a printout with due dates for each of the items you are borrowing. Staff may also remind you about short-term due dates at checkout. For more information, see our Late Fees and Loan Periods.

12. If I forget to bring my library card, may I still check items out?

Items may be checked out by presenting photo identification in lieu of a library card. (ID can include, but is not limited to, driver's license, passport, work ID.) Customers who forget their library card and have no ID may have items held on the Reserve shelves for 2 days until they can return with card/proper ID.

13. Can I access my library account through the Internet?

Your account can be accessed through the Internet. You will be able to see the items you have checked out, note due dates and renew if the items are not overdue. Check out this feature in the Catalog at My Account Login. You will need your library card to access this information.

14. How can I renew items?

Items may be renewed in person, by telephone or online through My Account. To renew items in person, please bring the items to any circulation desk. To renew by telephone, please call our 24 hour, automated renewal service at one of the following phone numbers:

412.622.1895
412.622.1896
412.622.1897
412.622.1906

You will need your library code barcode number and the barcode numbers for all items you wish to renew.

If your items are overdue, please call 412.622.3114 to renew. Items that are less than seven days overdue may be renewed by telephone. If there are any late fees, they will be added to your record.

Check out our on-line renewal feature in My Account. You will be asked to select the items that you wish to renew and then to confirm YES on the next screen.

15. When I access "My Account" to renew items, they will not renew. What is the problem?

Items that are overdue or that have a waiting list for them cannot be renewed through the My Account feature. To check on the possibility of renewing overdue material, please call the telephone renewal number at 412.622.3114.

16. How can I renew books from other libraries borrowed through CLP?

Books borrowed from CLP that were obtained from other libraries may usually be renewed. However, a few libraries do not allow renewals on some of their items. Staff will tell you when an item cannot be renewed due to owning library policy.

17. Where may I return items borrowed from CLP?

Items borrowed from CLP may be returned to any of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations or to any local library within Allegheny County. Check out the list of locations at www.einetwork.net/ein/libraries.html.

18. I have a very overdue item. How high will my late fee be?

CLP charges late fees on overdue items. Late fees stop accruing once the price of each item is reached.

19. Do I have to pay all my late fees at once?

Late fees can be paid at the time the items are returned or later. You may continue to check out items if you have less than $10.00 in late fees.

20. My child has several very overdue items. How much will I be charged?

Overdue fees on all children's materials are .20 cents a day. If the replacement cost of the item is under $10.00, the overdue fees will never exceed that replacement cost. So, if the replacement cost is $3.99, and you return the item, $3.99 is the maximum you will be charged in late fees. Returning the items, so others may borrow them, is most important to the library. Please talk with your neighborhood branch manager or children's librarian to discuss a payment plan for overdue fees.

21. I recently paid for a lost book that I just found. Can I get my money back?

CLP refunds payments for lost items for up to one year of the original due date of the item. The late fees accrued on the item are deducted from that amount. All customer refunds are processed through our Finance Department. Refunds are not done in person but will be mailed by check 30-60 days after a request is processed.

22. When is your next fine amnesty?

CLP does not have an annual fine amnesty day. Please return your materials no matter how overdue. Since there is a cap on overdue late fees, the cost may not be as high as you imagine. Give us a call. Also, remember that while items are overdue on your record, no new items may be checked out.

23. How can I suggest that CLP buy a book that they do not have?

You may fill out the Suggest a Purchase form that is found on the Catalog website under "Search Tips?".