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Withdrawn library materials and donations are for sale 24/7 online through Better World Books.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.
 

 

Playaway Devices

 

BCPL provides self contained devices called Playaways, Playaway Launchpads and Playaway Views for your listening and viewing convenience. Playaways, Playaway Launchpads and Playaway Views cannot be borrowed on a Teacher Loan card. Borrowing policies for these devices are listed below.
 

Playaways are battery operated listening devices that come conveniently pre-loaded with an audio book. Policies for these devices include...

  • Twenty-one day check out / loan period

  • No checkout fee

  • Extended loan fee (overdue fee) is same as books ($ .25 per day, per item)

  • Eligible for up to two renewals

  • Holds can be requested through the catalog. You will be notified when the Playaway arrives at your branch

  • Can be returned to any branch

  • The library does not provide earbuds or batteries with Playaways but those supplies are available for purchase in our branches

 

Playaway Launchpads are tablets for children that are preloaded with high quality, ad-free learning apps grouped by age and grade level. Playaway Launchpads are currently held at the Owings Mills, Rosedale and Towson branches. You can place a hold request for any title to have it delivered to the branch most convenient for you. Policies for these devices include...

  • Seven day check out / loan period

  • No checkout fee

  • Extended loan fee (overdue fee) is $1.00 per day

  • Eligible for up to two renewals

  • Holds can be requested through the catalog. You will be notified when the Playaway arrives at your branch

  • Can be returned to any branch

  • Replacement costs are $149 for a lost or damaged device and $20 for a lost or damaged charger. Replacement costs are clearly labeled on Playaway Launchpad packaging

 

Playaway Views are rechargeable video devices that come conveniently pre-loaded with a movie. Currently this collection is geared towards young children only. Policies for these devices include...

  • Seven day check out / loan period

  • No checkout fee

  • Extended loan fee (overdue fee) is $1.00 per day

  • Eligible for up to two renewals

  • Holds can be requested through the catalog. You will be notified when the Playaway arrives at your branch

  • Can be returned to any branch

  • Replacement costs are $100 for a lost or damaged viewer and $20 for a lost or damaged charger.  Replacement costs are clearly labeled on Playaway View packaging.

 

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 and Overdues

 

Basic Services | Fees | Replacement Costs | Payment

 

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.  Customers with outstanding balances may be denied use of library services and may be referred to a collection agency

 


BASIC SERVICES
 

The following services are considered basic and are provided free of charge for our customers:

  • Checkout and renew materials,

  • Hold requests

  • Reference services

  • Reader's Advisory recommendations

  • Database access

  • Children's and family programming

  • Basic Internet instruction

  • Access to the Internet and MSOffice in our branches

  • Access to BCPL's wireless network in our branches

     


FEES

 

Extended Loan Fees for "Overdue" or Late Library Materials
 

Library materials must be returned or renewed by their due date. All items can be returned to any Baltimore County Public Library branch or BCPL bookmobile stop. All branches have book drops so items can be returned after business hours.  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 will accrue an extended loan (overdue) fee which will be automatically attached to a customer’s library account.
 

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

Customers are notified by email or by phone (additional text message is available) when items are 7 and 14 days past due. You can set the type of notification you want in the Contact Information and Preferences section of your library account. Customers are responsible for any fees regardless of whether or not they receive notification.
 

Customers who gave us a current email address can receive Reminder Notices 3 days before items become overdue. Reminders notices are sent by email and optional text message only. Phone or mail notification is not available.
 

Fees, borrowing and loan details for most materials may be 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

21 days

 

$ 8.00 

Yes

Baby Booster Kits

$ .25

21 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

Book Club Kits

$ .25

42 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

CDs: Music and Audio Books

$ .25

21 days

 

$ 8.00

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

7 days

20

$ 12.00

Yes

DVDs: Entertainment Movies

$ 1.00

1 day

20

$ 12.00

Yes

DVDs: Non-fiction

$ 1.00

21 days

20

$ 12.00

Yes

Magazines and Comic Books

$ .25

21 days

 

Magazine:  $ 2.00 

Comic:  $ 2.00 

Yes

Playaways

$ .25

21 days

 

$ 8.00 

Yes

Playaway Launchpads

$ 1.00

7 days

 

$ 12.00

Yes

Playaway Views

$ 1.00

7 days

 

$ 12.00

Yes

Storyville Collection

$ .25

21 days

 

$ 8.00

Yes

Video Games

$ 1.00

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.

 


Other Fees
 

Damaged Materials / Damaged Library Cards
 

For general damage to materials: fees will vary based on the extent of the damage up to and including the full cost of the material. Staff at the Circulation or Borrower Services Desk at any of our branches will determine the amount of damage to the item. The library does not accept substitute materials to replace damaged items. A processing fee of $4.00 is charged for each damaged item, in addition to each item's replacement cost. Replacement costs for most damaged materials vary and depend on the purchase price of the item. Some items, such as CD cases or library cards, do not vary in their replacement cost. Standard replacement costs for these types of items are listed below.
 

  • Damaged or lost library card: $2.00

  • Damaged or missing barcode or radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag: $1.00

  • Damaged cases such as CD, DVD, Playaway or video game case, bag or binder: $2.00

  • Damaged booklets or printed materials accompanying a CD, DVD, Playaway or video game: $2.00

  • Damaged Playaway View: $100 for damaged viewer, $20 for damaged charger or power cord, $2.00 for damaged case or damaged printed materials or booklets. Damaged and replacement costs are clearly labeled on Playaway View packaging.
     

 


REPLACEMENT COSTS AND FEES FOR “LOST” LIBRARY MATERIALS

 

Material which is thirty-two (32) days overdue is automatically assumed by the library to have been lost by the customer. At that point, a “Lost” status will be reflected in the customer’s account.

 

  • For material that is returned to the library, customers are charged only overdue fees.

  • For material that is not returned to the library, customers are charged the replacement cost of the material, overdue fees, and a $4.00 processing fee.

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

  • Replacement cost refunds cannot be given for items that were borrowed for the customer from another library system.

 

The library does not accept substitute materials to replace lost items. Most materials vary in replacement cost, depending on the purchase price of the item. Standard replacement costs are charged for the following items:

 

  • Cases and containers: CD, DVD, Playaway or video game case, bag or binder: $2.00

  • Comic book: $3.00 (excluding graphic novels)

  • Engraver: $10.00

  • Magazine: $5.00

  • Playaway View: $100 for a lost viewer, $20 for a lost charger or power cord, $2.00 for lost case or lost printed materials.

  • Printed materials or booklets accompanying items such as a CD, DVD, Playaway or video game: $2.00

  • Material borrowed for the customer from another library system: cost is established by the owning system.

 

"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.

 

Additional Services That Are Available for a Small Service Fee Include:

 

                                  


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

A group at study

 

Welcome to the Baltimore County Public Library. We value our customers and strive to treat them with courtesy and respect. Libraries reflect communities and people use them for many different reasons. We hope you find the library a comfortable and welcoming place. Please be considerate of the rights of others as you use this public facility.

 

You are welcome to...

 

  • Use our materials gently. Take them home to enjoy by using your library card.

  • Speak in conversational tones. Use cell phones in designated areas. Set cell phones to vibrate.

  • Use tables and chairs during your library visit, limiting groups to four people per table. Personal items must be attended at all times.

  • Use free library computers after registering.

  • Food and drinks are allowed. Beverages must be covered, snacks should consist of finger food. Eating at or near a computer is not allowed.

  • Children of all ages are welcome to use library materials and participate in library activities. Children under 8 must be with an adult.

  • Be comfortable during your visit. Dispose of trash as you leave.

  • Shirts and shoes must be worn at all times.

  • Ask the library staff if you have any questions or need any assistance.

 

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:
 

  • Engaging in any activity prohibited by law.

  • Disruptive or unsafe behavior including any conduct that interferes with the use of the library by others or with the functioning of the library staff.

  • Use of loud, abusive, threatening or insulting language.

  • Use of obscene or pornographic Internet sites.

  • Sexual harassment or misconduct.

  • Activities that may result in damage to library property.

  • Sleeping, smoking and offensive bodily hygiene.

  • Animals, except for assistance dogs.

  • Rollerblading or skateboarding.

  • Petitioning, soliciting or selling merchandise.

 

The Baltimore County Public Library reserves the right to restrict the use of its facilities and premises to persons who do not abide by the library's Rules of Conduct. Library personnel 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.

 

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: November 14, 2016