Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question? You’re not alone! We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help. If you don’t find your specific question listed below, please feel free to contact the libraries.

Joining The Library

Library Cards

  • Applications can be filled out at the library or a form can be taken home and returned once completed. These applications can also be downloaded, filled out, and returned.
  • Adults ages 18 and older may fill out an online application.
  • All applicants must provide valid ID (e.g., 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.

  • 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.

You are eligible for a free library card if you live, work, own property, or attend school in Chester County. Out-of-County residents who are ACCESS PA cardholders qualify for a free library card under the ACCESS PA Statewide Library Card Program. For all others who wish to obtain a library card but do not meet the listed eligibility requirements, an Out-of-County fee of up to $20 may apply. Out-of-County residents must present their home county library cards to register in Chester County.

Borrowing From Our Collection

Checking Out Materials

As many as you feel comfortable being responsible for, up to 100 items at a time maximum.

The majority of our collection is free to borrow! From DVDs to Audiobooks to Video Games, there are no longer rental fees on most items. As of 2021, the only exception is that there is a fee to borrow Hot Spots.

Library materials are lent for a period of 21 days, with the following exceptions:

  • New Release Popular DVDs: 3 days
  • Special Best-Selling 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


  • 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.

You can have a total of 30 holds at one time.

You may place holds in person, by telephone, on the free mobile app, via your online catalog and using the Requests Form.

Interlibrary Loans

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.

  • Only items that are not owned by CCLS may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Newly released items (within a year) cannot be submitted for ILL and will be considered a request for purchase.

The time it takes for an ILL item to arrive at the library depends on many factors, including where the owning library is located.

The checkout period on an Interlibrary loan item is determined by the owning library.

Interlibrary loan renewals are at the discretion of the owning library, you must contact the ILL department:

Interlibrary loan items must be returned to the location that you checked them out from. Please do not place ILL items in the outside book drops.

Renewals & Fines

  • 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.

Library materials can be renewed in person, by phone, on our free mobile app, or through your account online.

Yes, you are responsible for any fines accrued before renewal.

Renewals for Interlibrary Loan materials can only be granted by the owning library. Requests to renew an ILL must go through:

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.)
  • Interlibrary Loan Materials – 25¢/day ($10 max.)
  • Video Games – 25¢/day ($20 max.)
  • Museum Passes – $25 per day

  • 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.

Problems With Your Account


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).

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 collections charge will be added.

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 agency is automatically notified.

Please contact the Customer Service Manager with further questions about collection.

Holds & Renewal Problems

  • 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.

  • There may be outstanding items or charges on your account.
  • Some materials cannot have holds placed on them, such as rental books or reference books, for example.
  • 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.
  • Your card may be expired.

Inactive Cards

You will need to re-apply for your library card if you haven’t used it in 3 years or more.

  • You must report lost or stolen cards.
  • We will replace your library card for a charge of $3.00.

  • 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

If you can’t find an item and have already renewed it twice, contact the Customer Service Manager:

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.

  • 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

  • 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.

Borrowing For Friends and Family

Sharing Library Cards

  • 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.

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.

Absolutely. Contact the Customer Service Manager if you’d like to revoke permission.

Getting Contacted By The Libraries

Event Notifications

Only if you’d like to! Sign up for AdLib, the eNewsletter to be notified about library events each week.

  • 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.

Overdue & Hold Notifications

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, then please contact the library.

  • 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 and save as a contact to ensure that you receive our emails in your inbox.

We will never disclose your contact information.