Policies and Procedures Banner

 

Left Top Rounded Corner

 

The Baltimore County Public Library provides access to information and materials for our users but must observe certain policies and procedures in order to protect our materials and to help provide equal access to all.  Click below to read the most frequently asked questions about our rules and policies.

 

Right Top Rounded Corner

    

   
Left Bottom Rounded Corner     Right Bottom Rounded Corner

 

 

Buy or Donate Used Materials

 

Better World Books LogoDonations of gently used items in good condition and odor- and mold-free are accepted at all BCPL branches. Branches cannot accept textbooks, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, directories or maps. Branches reserve the right to evaluate, sell through Better World Books or recycle donated materials using the same criteria applied to our purchased material. The library cannot ascribe or provide a receipt of cash value for your donation but can initial and date statements that confirm and/or describe the contents of a donation for your tax records.
 

Withdrawn library materials and donations are for sale 24/7 online through Better World Books. Better World Books funds literacy initiatives. A percentage of the sale price is returned to the library to purchase additional materials and to fund library services.
 

 

DVDs

 

All branches have adult and children's DVDs available for check out. Use the Limit by drop down arrow to find specific types of DVDs. Customers can place a hold on a particular title. The policies for DVDs are:

  • No check out fee.

  • Customers may check out up to 20 DVDs at a time.

  • Extended Loan (overdue) Fee: $1 per item, per day.

  • Renewals: Eligible for up to two renewals through your BCPL library card account or through SHELF HELP.

  • Holds: Can be requested through the catalog and you will be notified when the DVD is at your branch and ready to check out.

  • Not Picked Up Fee: A “not picked up fee” of $1 per item applies if a request is delivered to a branch but not picked up.

  • DVDs cannot be borrowed on a Teacher Loan Card.
     

Loan periods vary according to the type of DVD:

  • Adult and Children's Entertainment / Feature Length DVDs (1 DAY DVD Movie)-- one day

  • Adult and Children's TV Series, Classic and Foreign Films on DVD (7 DAY DVD Movie) -- seven days

  • Adult and Children's Nonfiction / Instructional DVDs -- twenty-one days

 

DVDs must be returned or renewed by their due date to avoid accruing extended loan (overdue) fees. All branches have book drops so items can be returned after business hours. Returns can be made at any BCPL branch or BCPL bookmobile stop.  DVDs put in a book drop by their due date are considered on time if returned before the branch opens the next business day. Items returned in the book drop after the branch opens will accrue an extended loan (overdue) fee which will be automatically attached to a customer’s library account. 
 

Customers under the age of 18: Parental permission is needed to check out DVDs that are not rated for children. At library card registration parents or guardians must sign and authorize permission for a child to use his or her library card to borrow all DVDs or only DVDs for children. If the parent or guardian does not sign and authorize permission, only DVDs for children may be borrowed.  Parental permission includes any signature that we currently accept for obtaining a library card, for example grandparents, caregivers, etc.  Parents or guardians can change parental permission at the customer service desk at any Baltimore County Public Library branch.
 

 

Video Games

 

All our branches have adult, teen and children's video games for game systems including Sony Playstation 3 and 4, Wii, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One and some Kinect games as a part of the Xbox collection.  The customer service desk can help you find and check out the branch’s video games.
 

Customers can browse our collection by game system or through our catalog using the Limit by drop down arrow to find games for a specific game system.
 

The policies for video games are:

  • No checkout fee.

  • Video games are checked out for 21 days.

  • Customers may check out up to three video games at a time.

  • Extended Loan (overdue) Fee: $1 per item, per day.

  • Renewals: Eligible for up to two renewals through your BCPL library card account or through SHELF HELP

  • Holds: Can be requested through the catalog and you will be notified when the game is at your branch and ready to check out.

  • Not Picked Up Fee: A “not picked up fee” of $1 per item applies if a request is delivered to a branch but not picked up.

  • Video games cannot be borrowed on a Teacher Loan Card.
     

All video games must be returned or renewed by their due date to avoid accruing extended loan (overdue) fees. All branches have book drops so items can be returned after business hours. Returns can be made at any BCPL branch or BCPL bookmobile stop. Video games put in a book drop by their due date are considered on time if returned before the branch opens the next business day. Items returned in the book drop after the branch opens will accrue an extended loan (overdue) fee which will be automatically attached to a customer’s library account.
 

Customers under the age of 18:  Parental permission is needed to check out video games that are not rated for children.  At the time of library card registration parents or guardians must sign and authorize permission for a child to use his or her library card to borrow all video games or only games for children.  If the parent or guardian does not sign and authorize permission, only video games for children may be borrowed.  Parental permission includes any signature that we currently accept for obtaining a library card, for example grandparents, caregivers, etc.  Parents or guardians can change parental permission at the customer service desk at any Baltimore County Public Library branch.
 

Video Game Ratings: the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) provides rating symbols. Baltimore County Public Library purchases video games that are rated EC (Early Childhood) through T (Teen - may be suitable for ages thirteen and older).
 

 

Fees, Loan Periods, Limits on Items

 

Free Services | Fees, Loan Periods, Limits on Items Overview | Damaged, Lost or Missing Items or Library Cards | Other Services Available for an Additional Fee  | Notices Sent | Payment | Returning Borrowed Items

 

The majority of the library's services are free but customers need to be aware of the fees below.  The status of your library account, including items checked out and any fees attached to your account, is available online or by calling Shelf Help, our automated phone service. Customers with outstanding balances may be denied use of library services and may be referred to a collection agency

 


FREE SERVICES
 

The following are a few of our free basic services. A Baltimore County library card may be required for some services.
 

 


FEES, LOAN PERIODS AND LIMITS ON ITEMS OVERVIEW

 

Extended Loan Fees for "Overdue" or Late Library Materials
 

Extended loan fees, up to a maximum extended loan fee, normally accrue daily until overdue items are returned. Fee never exceeds the purchase price of the item.

 

Fees, borrowing and loan details for most materials are found below.

 

Type of Material

Daily Extended Loan Fee / Late Fee

Loan Period

Borrowing

Limit

Maximum Extended

Loan / Late Fee

Eligible for Renewal?

Books

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

$ 8.00 

Yes

Baby Booster Kits

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

Book Club Kits

$ .25 per day

42 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

CDs: Music and Audio Books

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

Chromebook

$3.00 per day

7 days

1

$12.00

Yes

Downloadable eBooks & Audio Books from OverDrive
 

none

Choice of 7, 14 or 21 days, default is 14 days

6

none

Yes (one time)

Downloadable eBooks from cloudLibrary

none

21 days

6

none

no

DVDs: Classic, TV Series, and Foreign Films

$ 1.00 per day

7 days

20

$ 12.00

Yes

DVDs: Entertainment Movies

$ 1.00 per day

1 day

20

$ 12.00

Yes

DVDs: Non-fiction

$ 1.00 per day

21 days

20

$ 12.00

Yes

Magazines and Comic Books

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

Magazine:  $ 2.00 

Comic:  $ 2.00 

Yes

Playaways

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

$ 8.00 

Yes

Playaway Launchpads

$ 1.00 per day

7 days

 

$ 12.00

Yes

Playaway Locks

$1.00 per day

21 days

1

$12.00

Yes

Playaway Views

$ 1.00 per day

7 days

 

$ 12.00

Yes

Storyville Collection

$ .25 per day

21 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

Video Games

$ 1.00 per day

21 days

3

$ 12.00

Yes

 

Official Holidays, Weather and Special Closings.
 

Information about branch closings for holidays, weather concerns, or other issues is posted on the home page.  If branches are open for a partial day, all applicable fees are charged. 

Extended loan (overdue) fees are not assessed...
 

  • On Baltimore County Public Library's official holidays.
     
  • When all BCPL branches unexpectedly close for an entire day due to weather concerns or other special circumstances. BCPL hours are not tied to the openings or closings of the County government or schools.

 

 


DAMAGED, LOST OR MISSING ITEMS AND LIBRARY CARDS
 

Damaged or Lost Library Cards

 

If your library card has been lost or stolen you should report it immediately in-person or by phone (press 3 for Library Accounts) to any Baltimore County Public Library branch. You are responsible for any items checked out on your library card before the card is reported lost or stolen.

 

To get a replacement card, you will need to show current photo ID at the Accounts Desk of any of our branches. Replacement cost for a lost library card is $2.

 

Damaged, Lost or Missing Items

 

Fees for damage to materials will vary based on the extent of the damage up to and including the full replacement cost of the item. Staff at the Accounts Desk at any of our branches will determine the amount of damage to the item.

 

Items which are 32 days overdue are automatically assumed by the library to have been lost by the customer. At that point, a “Lost” status will be added in the customer’s account. For items declared lost but later found and returned to the library, customers are charged accrued overdue fees and the processing fee of $4.

 

The library does not accept substitute materials to replace damaged or lost items.

 

When paying for a lost/missing or damaged item, customer will need to pay for accrued late fees, replacement cost of damaged, lost or missing item and a processing fee of $4.
 

Replacement costs for most damaged/lost or missing materials vary and depend on the purchase price of the item. Some items, such as cases or dust jackets, do not vary in their replacement cost. Standard replacement costs for these types of items are listed below.
 

  • Baby Booster Kits: damaged or lost book $5, damaged or lost adult resource book, DVD or CD $15, damaged or lost knapsack $10; entire kit $115
     

  • Barcode: lost or damaged: $1
     

  • Book Club Kits: damaged or lost book $5, damaged or lost carry bag $40, entire large (12 book) kit $100, entire small (8 book) kit $80
     

  • Booklets or printed materials accompanying a CD, DVD, Playaway, Playaway Views or video game: $2
     

  • Cases, bags, or  binders such as CD, DVD, ILLs, Playaway, Playaway View, Playaway Launchpad or video game: $2
     

  • Chromebooks:- damaged or missing charger $30; damaged or missing device $386; damaged or missing case $17; All damaged or lost (device, charger and case): $433
     

  • Comic Book (excluding graphic novels): $3 replacement charge, $2 processing fee, accrued late fee
     

  • Dust jacket: $4
     

  • Engraver: $10
     

  • Magazines: replacement cost of issue, $2 processing fee, accrued late fee
     

  • Marina Interlibrary Loan items: $25 plus accrued late fees and $4 processing fee
     

  • OCLC Interlibrary Loan from Maryland academic and out-of-state libraries are set by the owning library. The $4 processing fee and accrued late fees apply
     

  • Playaway Launchpads: $149 for a damaged or lost device and $20 for a damaged or lost charger
     

  • Playaway Locks: damaged or lost charger $20; damaged or lost device $179; damaged or lost sleeve: $17; All damaged or lost (device, charger, sleeve): $216
     

  • Playaway Views: $100 for a damaged or lost viewer and $20 for a damaged or lost charger or power cord
     

  • RFID (radio-frequency identification tag) lost or damaged: $1
     

 

Refunds on Returned Lost or Missing Items

 

The replacement cost for lost material will be refunded if the item is found and returned to the library within 6 months of the date of payment. The item must be accompanied by the payment receipt. If an item is found and returned the processing fee and accrued overdue fees up to the maximum charge are not refunded.

 

No refunds are given on damaged materials.

 

No refunds are given for damaged or lost material that were borrowed for the customer from another Maryland academic or out-of-state library, (OCLC Interlibrary Loan).

 


 

OTHER SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE

 

  • "Not Picked Up" Fee for Hold Requests: If items are requested but not picked up by the customer, a $1.00 per item restocking fee is attached to the customer's library account.
     

  • Dog and Cat Licenses: All Baltimore County branches have animal licenses for new pets only available (May through mid-April). A $2 library convenience fee per license is applied.
     

  • Meeting Room Rental: Meeting rooms at Baltimore County Public Library branches can be reserved by for profit as well as non-profits community interest groups.
     

  • OCLC Interlibrary Loan Service: BCPL can request materials from academic and out-of-state library systems for use by our customers.
     

  • Passport Applications: A few of our branches accept applications for passports. Baltimore County Public Library does not accept or process passport renewal applications.  Department of State fees and BCPL convenience fees apply.
     

  • Photocopying, Faxing, and Printing: Photocopying is available at all but our Loch Raven Branch. All branches offer computer printing. Faxing is available at three locations.
     

                                  


PAYMENT

 

  • Payment of Fees: there are three ways to pay your library fees...
     

  • Online: You can pay your fees online using your Visa or MasterCard in just a few easy steps. Please note that there is a $.25 convenience fee added to the total in these transactions. Just follow these simple steps...

    • Step 1: Click the My Account (opens in new window) area of our home page.

    • Step 2: Login to your account using your library card number without spaces and your password.

    • Step 3: Click the "Fees" link in the My Account area on the left of the screen.

    • Step 4: Select the fees you want to pay by clicking the check boxes on the left side of the screen

    • Step 5: Click the "Pay Fines Now" link at the bottom of the screen and then just follow the onscreen instructions. Each transaction is secure and the library does NOT retain any charge card information
       

  • In Person: Customers can pay fees with a Visa or MasterCard at any self-service check out station or stop by the circulation or borrower services desk at any BCPL branch and pay fees with cash, personal checks (with valid identification), Visa or MasterCard.
     

  • By Telephone: Call any BCPL branch and pay your fees with Visa or MasterCard.

 

  • Partial Payments: Arrangements for partial payments can be made at the Accounts Desk of any Baltimore County Public Library branch. If total fees are $25 or more, customers must pay 10 percent of the fees in order to use a public computer or to borrow materials. The customer may check out or renew a maximum of two items including DVDs and videogames while making partial payments. All fees must be paid within 6 months of the initial payment.

 

  • Returned Check Fee: Each returned check will result in an additional $25.00 fee.

 

Rules of Conduct

 

We value our customers and strive to treat them with courtesy and respect in our comfortable and welcoming spaces. Our branches reflect our communities and the people who use them. Please be considerate of the rights of others as you use this public facility. The Board of Library Trustees for Baltimore County has established Rules of Conduct so that library users and staff have a clean, pleasant and safe environment. We need your cooperation to reach this goal.

 

The following are prohibited at all branches of the Baltimore County Public Library:

 

  1. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law

  2. Disruptive or unsafe behavior, including any conduct that interferes with the use or operations of the library by customers or staff

  3. Theft

  4. Use of loud, abusive, threatening or insulting language, either in person or via electronic devices

  5. Harassment of any kind

  6. Leaving a child, under the age of 8, unattended or unsupervised

  7. Viewing obscene or pornographic images

  8. Public intoxication

  9. Activities that may result in damage to library property

  10. Sleeping

  11. Smoking (including e-cigarettes and vapes)

  12. Offensive body odor

  13. Unauthorized use of a library card

  14. Using restrooms for bathing, laundering or extended personal hygiene care

  15. Beverages without lids and foods other than snacks (no snacks allowed at the public computer stations)

  16. Leaving personal items unattended

  17. Entering the library barefoot or without a shirt, or removing footwear or shirt while in a branch

  18. Unauthorized solicitation

  19. Loitering, which means to remain in a library without conducting any lawful business on the property

  20. Animals, other than service animals

 

The Baltimore County Public Library reserves the right to deny use of its facilities and premises to persons who do not abide by the Rules of Conduct. Baltimore County Public Library staff may ask persons who are exhibiting inappropriate behavior to modify their behavior. Noncompliance may result in the individual being banned from the library premises, or in arrest and prosecution.

 


The Annotated Code of Maryland gives the Board of Library Trustees the authority to establish rules for reasonable library use and conduct. The Rules of Conduct policy was updated and approved by the BCPL Board on December 13, 2016:

 

Use of Library Materials and Personal Equipment

 

Laptop Customers are welcome to use laptops and tablets at the library. The Library assumes no responsibility for damage, theft, or loss of a customer’s equipment from use of library materials. In addition, the Library assumes no responsibility for damage, theft, or loss of a customer’s equipment, software, data or other personal property brought into or used within Baltimore County Public Library facilities. Please note that the library does provide free wireless  access to the Internet and to public printers for our customers while in our branches. Learn more about these services on our Public Computers and Wireless Access webpage.


Revised: June 1, 2017