Using the Catalog

Browse or Search the Catalog

To find an item in the catalog, simply enter a term in the main search box on any page and select Enter. You’ll get a list of search results to choose from, with the ability to click on each item for a full display, to check availability or to place a hold request.

Just want to browse? Explore the new and soon-to-be-released titles or see what our staff is recommending on our blog.

Not finding what you need? Learn more about advanced searches and using the catalog. Or contact us via chat, text or email. 

Check Out

Once you’ve found what you need, check out using your library card. All branches have self-checkout stations as well as a Service Desk where staff can provide additional assistance. Downloadables can be checked out directly online through the catalog or the vendor’s website.

Customers may check out up to 100 items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) at a time, with the following exceptions:

  • Chromebook: One
  • Downloadable or Digital Titles
    • cloudLibrary: 10
    • OverDrive: 10 (e-magazines from OverDrive do not count against the limit)
    • Hoopla: 10 films per month
    • Kanopy: 15 films per month
  • Hotspot: One
  • Library of Things: One of each item
  • Video games: Up to six at a time

Library materials are loaned to you for 21 days, with the following exceptions:

Place a Hold Request

Want to get a copy of a popular new title or hard-to-find movie? Place a hold request and when the title becomes available, it will be sent to your branch for pickup. All you need is a Baltimore County Public Library card or e-card. You can place a hold:

  • In person at any branch
  • By phone
  • Online using the Place Request feature in the catalog

Holds are typically filled with the first available copy. You will be notified when your material is available at your pickup location. There is no fee for hold requests.

  1. Log in to My Account.
  2. Search for the title in the catalog.
  3. Select the Place Request button. You will receive a confirmation. If other holds have been placed on a title, you will receive a hold position number indicating where your request stands in the queue.

You may also call or visit your local branch’s Service Desk for assistance.

  1. Log in to My Account
  2. Select Requests on the left of the page to view a list of requested titles and the status of each:
    • Pending
    • Active
    • Held: In transit or ready to be picked up
    • Out: Item has been picked up
    • Canceled

The pickup location and current hold position number is also listed.

You may also call or visit your local branch’s Service Desk for assistance.

You may cancel, suspend, or change the pickup location of a hold request online, by phone or in person.

If the item has not yet arrived at your branch:

  1. Log in to My Account.
  2. Select Requests on the left of the page to view your reserves/holds.
  3. Select the request you want to change.
  4. Select desired action: Cancel, Suspend/Reactivate or Change Pickup Location.

If the item is ready for pick up or in transit (Held), call the branch you requested the item to be sent to. The Service Desk staff will help you with your requested items.

View and Renew Items Out

Need to check the due date or renew an item already checked out? Most items are eligible for renewal up to five times if there are no holds waiting. Items can be renewed by logging into your online account or through the automated phone system Shelf Help by calling 410-494-9063.

Keep in mind an item is not eligible for renewal if:

  • Another customer has placed a hold on the title
  • You have already renewed the item five times
  • You have fees over $25 on your library account
  • The item belongs to another library system
  • The item was interlibrary loaned through OCLC
  • The item was checked out through a Teacher Loan Card
  • The item is Reference and cannot be borrowed

  1. Log in to My Account.
  2. Select Items Out in the left menu. A list of items checked out will be displayed.
    • To sort the list, select a column heading. For example, select Due Date to sort the items in the order that they are due.
  3. Select the item(s) you want to renew or Select All.
  4. Select Renew Selected Items or Renew All Items. The new due date—calculated from the date the renewal is submitted—is displayed.

You may also call or visit any branch’s Service Desk for assistance.


All items can be returned to any Baltimore County Public Library branch or bookmobile stop regardless of which branch they were checked out.

All branches have book drops to return items during or after business hours. The Arbutus and Perry Hall branches have drive-up windows to pick up and return materials during regular business hours. Note: Chromebooks cannot be returned to a book drop; they must be returned to a library staff member at a Service Desk.

Items 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 the next business day will incur an extended loan fee.

Most materials may be returned to any public library system in Maryland. Ask for a receipt showing the date, what materials you returned and what fees were paid, if any. Due to shipping time back to the original library, your library account may reflect a delivery delay.

Any item borrowed through Marina or OCLC (WorldCat) Interlibrary Loan Services should be returned to a branch.

Downloaded e-books and audiobooks are automatically “returned” on the due date. To return before the due date, log in to My Account, find the item you want to return in the Items Out list and select the Check In button in the Renewals Left column. E-magazines can be returned via OverDrive or Libby. 

Notices from the Library

The library sends notices by phone, email or text. You can add or change notification preferences at any time by visiting My Account. Log in, select your name or My Record on the left menu, then select Contact Information and Preferences to add or change your notification preferences. 

  • Hold notices are sent by phone, email or text when holds are ready to be picked up. Exception: e-book hold notices are not sent by text or phone message and can only be sent by email. 
  • Reminder notices are sent by email or text three days before items become due. Reminder notices are not available by phone.
  • Overdue notices are delivered by email, phone or text when items are seven and 14 days past due.
  • Fee notices are sent by phone, email or text when items have been returned late and the extended loan fees are unpaid. Notices are sent by email 14 days after the fines have been assessed and only if the fines total $10 or more. If email is unavailable or unsuccessful, a notice is sent by U.S. mail.
  • Bill notices are sent by email, U.S. mail or text when an item is 32 days overdue.