FAQ

Joining the Library

Library Cards

Borrowing from Our Collection

Checking Out Materials • Renewals & Fines • Holds • Inter Library Loan (ILL)

Problems with Your Account: Missing or Lost Items, etc.

Inactive Cards • Lost or Damaged Items • Returned Items Still on Account

Holds & Renewal Problems • Collection Agency

Borrowing for Friends & Family

Sharing Library Cards

Getting Contacted from the Libraries

Overdue & Hold Notifications • Event Notifications

Contact Us

Staff Directory


JOINING THE LIBRARY

Library Cards

  • How do I get a library card?
    • Applications can be filled out at the library or a form can be brought home and returned once completed.
    • All applicants must provide valid ID (i.e., driver’s license) that verifies name and current address.
    • Anyone under the age of 18 must have parent or legal guardian present to sign the application.
  • Can I check out items using someone one else’s card?
    • Yes, if you have their card.
    • You may check out items on someone else’s card with only your ID if they have authorized you to do so by filling out a holds-pickup form.

BORROWING FROM OUR COLLECTION 

Checking Out Materials

  • How many items can I check out?
    • As many as you feel comfortable being responsible for, up to 100 items at a time maximum.
  • What does it cost to checkout items?
    • Most of our collection is free to borrow.  Rental items are notated, usually by a yellow rental sticker.
      • Feature Film DVD/Blu Ray, Television Series & Foreign Feature Films: $1.50
      • Rental Books: $1.50
      • Video Games: $1.50
      • Most Audiobooks: $2.00
  • How long can I keep out library materials?
    • Library materials are lent for a period of 21 days, with the following exceptions:
      • New Release Popular DVDs: 3 days
      • Rental Books, New Release TV series, video games, and DVDs: 7 days
      • Other TV Series: 14 days
      • Back issue Magazines: 1 week
      • Inter library Loan (non-CCLS item): due date set by the lending institution

Renewals & Fines

  • How many times can I renew an item?
    • Twice, as long as no one else has a hold in it. Second renewal is dependent on material type.
    • New dates are calculated from the date of renewal, not from original due date.
  • How can I renew an item?
    • Library materials can be renewed in person, by phone, on our free mobile app, or through your account online.
  • My book was overdue but I renewed it, do I still owe fines on it?
    • Yes, you are responsible for any fines accrued before renewal.
  • Can I renew an Inter Library Loan (ILL) item?
    • Renewals for Inter library Loan materials can only be granted by the owning library. Requests to renew an ILL must go through:
  • How much will my account be charged if items are returned late?
    • Items not returned by the due date will be charged overdue fines as follows:
      • Adult Materials (Books, Rental Books, Audiobooks, Music CDs, DVDs/Blu-rays) – 25¢/day ($10 max.)
      • Children’s Materials (Books, Audiobooks, Music CDs, DVDs/Blu-rays) – 15¢/day ($10 max.)
      • Inter Library Loan Materials – 25¢/day ($10 max.)
      • Video Games – 25¢/day ($20 max.)
      • Nooks – $5/day ($35 max.)
  • How can I pay for fines and library materials?
    • Fines for materials can be paid at any of the Chester County Library System (CCLS) member libraries.
    • Fines may also be paid through your online account. CCLS accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card.

Holds

  • What does it mean to place a hold on an item?
    • A hold is a request for an item from the Chester County Library System (CCLS) collection.
    • You can place holds on CCLS items and have them held at your preferred library location for pick-up.
    • Some items, like Rental Books and Reference Books, cannot have holds placed on them.
  • How many holds can I place at a time?
    • You can have a total of 30 holds at one time.
  • How can I place a hold on an item?
  • How long do I have to pick up my held item(s)?
    • Holds are held for seven library business days after they are placed on the holds shelf.

Inter Library Loan (ILL)

  • Just what is an Inter Library Loan?
    • If you’re interested in borrowing an item that is not owned by the Chester County Library System (CCLS), you can fill out a yellow request/reserve yellow in the library or use the online Requests Form.
    • Once a request is received, the library will attempt to locate the item from libraries outside of Chester County.
  • Can I request anything as an ILL?
    • Only items that are not owned by CCLS may be requested through Inter Library Loan.
    • Newly released items (within a year) cannot be submitted for ILL and will be considered a request for purchase.
  • How long will I have to wait for an item?
    • The time it takes for an ILL item to arrive at the library depends on many factors, including where the owning library is located.
  • How long can I have an ILL item?
    • The checkout period on an Inter library loan item is determined by the owning library.
    • Inter library loan renewals are at the discretion of the owning library, you must contact the ILL department:
  • How do I return an ILL item?
    • Inter library loan items must be returned to the location you checked them out from. Please do not place ILL items in book drops.

 PROBLEMS ON YOUR ACCOUNT: MISSING OR LOST ITEMS, ETC.

Inactive Cards

  • I haven’t used my card in a while, can I still use it?
    • You will need to re-apply for your library card if you haven’t used it in 3 years or more.
  • I can’t find my library card, what should I do now?
    • You must report lost or stolen cards.
    • We will replace your library card for a charge of $3.00.
  • Why can’t I check out an item?
    • You may have too many items currently checked out (100 maximum).
    • You may have an outstanding balance of $10 or more.
    • You may be 28 days or more overdue on an item.
    • Or your account has been sent to our collection agency and has not been paid in full.

Lost or Damaged Items

  • I can’t find an item I checked out. Can the library give me more time to look for it?
    • If you can’t find an item and have already renewed it twice, contact the Customer Service manager:
  • What do I do if I can’t find or have damaged an item?
    • You may address unreturned, lost or damaged items on their accounts by contacting the Customer Service Manager:

Please do not purchase replacement items without approval from the Customer Service Manager.

  • What else do I need to know?
    • Payments for unreturned, lost or damaged materials are non-refundable.
    • You may keep any damaged items for which you have paid.

Returned Items Still on Account

  • What do I do if I returned an item, but it is still on my account?
    • Contact the library you returned the item to and ask them to do a shelf check.
    • If the items in question are not found on the library’s shelves, you will be asked to fill out a “Claims Returned” form.

Holds & Renewal Problems

  • Why can’t I renew an item?
    • Other people may have holds on the item.
    • It may have already been renewed twice.
    • There may be outstanding items or charges on your account.
  • Why can’t I place a hold on an item?
    • There may be outstanding items or charges on your account.
    • Some materials cannot have holds placed on them, for example rental books or reference books.
    • You may not place a hold on more than one copy of a specific title online. If additional copies are needed, please contact your library.

Collection Agency

  • What is a collection agency?
    • A collection agency is a third-party company that specializes in resource recovery. The collection agency contacts patrons and informs them of outstanding accounts (materials or monies owed), and, if necessary, reports unpaid accounts to the credit bureau(s).
  • Why is my account being sent to collection?
    • Accounts that have unpaid bills totaling $35.00 or more will be referred to the collection agency within a 2-4 week period of meeting that dollar amount. In the case of a minor’s account, the parent or guardian who has signed as the responsible party for the account will be referred to the collection agency.
      • Please note: when an account is reported to the collection agency, an additional non-refundable $10.00 charge will be added.
  • How do I get out of collection?
    • Your account will remain blocked until all money owed has been paid.
      • Please note: once the account balance is $0 at the library, the collection agent is automatically notified.
    • Please contact the Customer Service manager with further questions about collection.

BORROWING FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY

Sharing Library Cards

  • Can I check out items using someone one else’s card?
    • Yes, if you have their card.
    • You may check out items on someone else’s card with only your ID if they have authorized you to do so by filling out a holds-pickup form.
  • How do I give permission for someone else to pick up items on my account?
    • Another person may pick up holds on your account if they physically have your library card, no extra documentation is required.
    • The library has holds-pickup request forms that may be filled out to allow other people to pick up holds on your account, providing they show their ID.
  • Can I revoke permission from someone?
    • Absolutely. Contact the Customer Service manager if you’d like to revoke permission.

GETTING CONTACTED FROM THE LIBRARIES 

Overdue & Hold Notifications

  • Will the library notify me when an item is due back?
    • You should receive a courtesy 2 day warning if you have a valid email address on your account or have opted to receive text messages.
      • Please note: the courtesy notice system is automated and therefore can have glitches. You are responsible for knowing when your items are due back. If you’re not sure about a due date, please call the library.
  • How will I be notified when a Hold is ready for pick up?
    • You tell us! We can contact you via email, text message, or telephone, depending on the preference set in your account.
    • Remember, you can always check your account online or with the free mobile app. Still not sure about the status of your hold?  Call the library and staff will be happy to help you.
    • Email notices: Please be sure to check your spam or junk folder & save notices@ccls.org to ensure that you receive your emails in your inbox.
  • Will the library sell or disclose my email address or phone number?
    • Never.

Event Notifications

  • How often will you email me?
    • AdLib is a weekly online newsletter. Most weeks, you’ll only hear from us once.
    • For special or unexpected programs, you may receive a separate email.
    • By signing up for AdLib, you will receive extra email if the libraries are closing for inclement weather or other emergencies.