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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I borrow materials

Borrowing Material

The library offers books, audiobooks on CD, DVD/BluRay movies, music CDs, and videogames for loan.  You can search for items in our catalog to borrow at your local branch.  If an item is unavailable at your local branch, you can place a request for the item to be delivered.

Click here to view item limits and loan periods for library materials.

You can also borrow materials for your eReader/Tablet/SmartPhone through our eLibrary.

How do I change my password?

From the Catalog > click on My Account > log in using your 14-digit library card number (with no spaces) and password (usually the 4 digits of your phone number)

After logging in, click "Change Logon" at the bottom of your account screen.  Check mark the "Change Password" box, then enter your old password, new password, then your new password again in the verification box.  Click "save" to update your new password.

If you do not know your password you can reset it by contacting your local branch.

Change Password

How do I get a password?

When you receive your library card, the default password is the last 4 digits of your phone number. If that doesn't work, please call your local branch to reset your password.

How do I place a hold?

If the material you would like is checked out, or not available at your local branch, you may place a hold.  To place a hold online:

  • Find the item in the Catalog
  • Click "Place Request" under the item you wish to request
  • Enter your library card number and password then click "Log in"
  • On the next screen, select your pick-up library from the drop down menu, and your activation date, then click "Submit Request"

There is no charge to place a hold on an item.  If you place a hold on an item that is listed as available, please note that holds are pulled from the shelf at 8am the following business day. You will receive notification that your hold is available for pick-up via email, text message or phone call. 

Please contact your local branch to change your notification options.

Place Request in Polaris

How do I renew my items?


  • Books, Audiobooks and Music CDs may be renewed 3 times
  • DVD/BluRay and Videogames may be renewed once
  • Interlibrary Loan and Reading Express items cannot be renewed

**If there is a hold on an item, it cannot be renewed even if there are renewals remaining.**

 Go to the Catalog > click on My Account  > Log in / Register > log in using your 14-digit library card number and password 

On the screen you will see each item you have checked out, along with the due date and the amount of remaining renewals.  Check mark each item you would like to renew, and click "Renew Selected Items."  If you would like to renew all checked out items, you can just click "Renew All Items." 

You may also contact your local branch to renew materials over the phone.

My Account - Log in
, My Account - Renewal

How many items can I get?

Each card holder can borrow up to 50 total items per library card.

Specific item limits are as follows:

  • Nonfiction books: 3 adult/2 juvenille of the same subject category.
  • DVDs/BluRays - 6 per card
  • Audiobooks - 8 per card
  • Music CDs - 6 per card
  • Anime DVD/BluRay: 2 per card
  • Videogames: 1 per card
  • Reading Express: 2 books and 2 audiobooks per card

eLibrary limits:

  • Maryland Digital eLibrary: 6 per card

How much are fines?


You are encouraged to return library materials on time. Patrons are charged for materials which are lost, damaged or never returned. The fines for overdue materials are:

  • Adult and YA books - .20¢ per day
  • Juvenile books - .10¢ per day
  • Adult DVDs, audio books - $1.00 per day
  • Juvenile DVDs - .50¢ per day
  • Instructional tapes and music CDs - .20¢ per day
  • Video Games - $1.00 per day
  • Anime DVDs - $1.00 per day

If your fines are $6.00 or more, your borrowing privileges will be suspended.

I forgot my password

If you have forgotten your Password, first try the last 4 digits of your phone number.

If that doesn't work: click "forgot your password."

If we have your correct email address on file, you will receive an email within 30 minutes containing your password.

If you do not have an email address or you do not receive an email with your password within 30 minutes, please call your local branch to reset your password and update your record.

Forgot my password

Not getting email notices?

We want to make sure you are getting your email notifications in a timely manner.  If notifications are not coming through, please take the following steps to make sure your email program is set up to receive messages from us:

Step 1: Make sure your email address is correct in our system:

  • Call or visit your local branch  -or-
  • Update your contact information by going to and clicking on My Account > Log in with your library card number and password > Click on "Contact Information and Preferences" to update your contact information.

Step 2: Check your Spam Folder -- Sometimes our messages get filtered as Spam

  • If a message from [email protected] is in your Spam folder, click or check the message and choose the "not spam" option to send it back to your inbox and prevent similar messages from going to Spam in the future
  • Refer to your email service's help pages for specifics

Step 3: Add [email protected] to your contacts or safe senders list

  • In most cases this will prevent messages from being blocked or sent to Spam
  • Refer to your email service's help pages for specifics

Your email provider may have more tips regarding not getting messages.  Here are some common providers and links to their relevant help sections:

AOL --
Yahoo! --
Gmail --

What if lose my item?

If an item is lost or damaged, you will be changed the full replacement cost for the item.  If you find the book within 1 year and return it, you can receive a refund minus the maximum late fine of $6.

What's my account number?

Your account number can be found on the back of your Library Card.  It is the 14-digit number found under the barcode.  Type in all 14-digits (without spaces) to log in to your Library Account.

Where can I return items?

Library materials may be returned to any branch in Washington County during business hours.

There are after hours book drops located at all branches except Sharpsburg.

An Audio-visual book drop is available at the Hagerstown location only.

Why does my card expire?

Library cards expire every three years in order to make sure that we have your current contact information.  In order to renew your card, visit your nearest branch and have your Library card and proof of current address handy.  There is no charge to renew your card for Maryland Residents!

Non-Maryland Residents will have to update their cards yearly and pay the $18 renewal fee.

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