Borrowing

Alert: Upcoming policy change for overdue fines

The Board of Trustees for Loudoun County Public Library voted to eliminate overdue fines at its monthly meeting Wednesday, June 19, 2019. The effective date of the change will be announced in the coming months. Until then, the current fines and fees policy remains in place (see below for complete information). 

"I'm pleased the Library Board of Trustees voted to eliminate overdue fines. The mission of Loudoun County Public Library is to provide free and equal access to library resources for the entire community," said Library Director Chang Liu. "Eliminating overdue fines, while continuing to encourage customers to return items in a timely manner, will bring more people into their library."

What customers need to know:

  • When overdue fines are eliminated, all existing customer accounts will be cleared of all overdue fines. Fees for lost or damaged items will remain on customer accounts unless the items are returned.
  • Until overdue fines are eliminated, customers' library cards will continue to be blocked once $10 or more in fines and/or fees is accrued.
  • The new policy does not eliminate fees charged for lost or damaged items. Customers' cards will be blocked until all lost/damaged fees are paid or the items are returned.
  • The rules for borrowing materials (loan periods, renewals, etc.) will be revised.
  • Educator Cards will be retired.

FAQ

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Fines are 10-cent, per-day charges for each item that is overdue. The maximum charge for each overdue item is $5.

Fees are the replacement costs charged for lost or damaged items. The library does not accept replacement copies for lost or damaged items.

My library card is currently blocked. When can I start using the library again?

Customers with overdue fines on their account may check out items once they pay down their balance to $9.99 or less. Once fines are eliminated, cards that are blocked solely as a result of overdue fines will automatically return to active status. 

Cards with lost/damaged fees will be unblocked once customers pay the replacement cost of all outstanding lost/damaged items or when the items are returned.

What is happening to the Educator Card?

The Educator Card will be retired. For now, Educator Card customers can continue using their Educator Card and will be provided information regarding their accounts in the future. 

Why aren't fines being eliminated immediately?

To implement the new policy, there is a significant amount of work that must be done on the systems that the library uses to manage its collection and customer accounts. 

Will there be any changes to loan periods, the number of renewals and the total number of checkouts allowed?

Yes. LCPL will modify both the borrowing rules and the schedule of reminder notices for customers. Those changes will be announced in the coming months.

How do I get a Loudoun County library card?

Loudoun County Public Library cards are available without charge to individuals of any age who:

  • live in Loudoun County
  • work in Loudoun County
  • own property in Loudoun County
  • own a business in Loudoun County
  • attend school in Loudoun County
  • live in any one of the jurisdictions who participate in the regional reciprocal borrowing program

Cards may be obtained by visiting any one of the library branches in person or by applying online. If you applied for a card online, please bring your driver’s license or other form of identification during your first visit. You may also sign up for free Internet access at that time. Customers registering for the first time will fill out a registration form, sign a responsibility statement, and provide a photo ID and proof of current address, plus other documents that may be used to establish eligibility. You are asked to present your Library card whenever you check out Library materials.

Where may I use my Loudoun County library card?

You may use your card at any Loudoun County Public Library branch. You may check out and return materials, as well as request materials and pick them up at any branch location.

I don't live in Loudoun, but does my county/city participate in the regional reciprocal borrowing program?

If you are a resident of any one of the following jurisdictions, you are eligible to borrow items from Loudoun County Public Library: the cities of Falls Church, Alexandria, Winchester, District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke and Frederick Counties in Virginia; and Montgomery, Prince George, Frederick and Charles counties in Maryland; and card holders of the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg.

You still need to complete LCPL's Library card application process. You must provide identification (photo ID and proof of current address showing your residency in any one of the reciprocal jurisdictions).

What are some of the examples of acceptable documents that may be used to establish my eligibility for a Loudoun County Public Library card?

To establish eligibility, you must provide a picture ID with a current address. If the current address does not appear on the photo ID, one of the following is required:

  • Proof of residency in Loudoun County — Piece of mail with name and current address OR checkbook with printed checks showing name and address
  • Proof of property ownership in Loudoun County — Deed of property OR real estate tax bill
  • Proof of business ownership in Loudoun County — Business license OR tax bill
  • Proof of employment in Loudoun County — Work ID OR pay stub
  • Proof of attending school in Loudoun County — Student ID

When logging into the online catalog for the first time, current patrons must enter a personal identification number (PIN) in addition to their library card number (the number listed with the barcode). The "Log In" button is in the upper right corner of the catalog home page.

Your PIN is your birthdate in MMDDYY format. For example, July 4, 1976 would be 070476. If the Library does not have your birthdate on file, your PIN has been set to 999999.

  • Enter your card number in the row below "Library Card Number or EZ Username."
  • Then enter your PIN in the second row under "PIN or EZ Password."
  • Once you've successfully logged in, you can manage your account by clicking on the "Account" button in the upper right-hand corner of your browser.
  • You can change your PIN by clicking on the "Library PIN" button in the column on the left. Your PIN can be any combination of 4-6 numbers.
  • You can also create an EZ Login by clicking on the "EZ Login" button on the left. Your username must be unique. Your password can be whatever you wish.
  • After you've created an EZ Login, you can access your account with either your library card number and PIN or your EZ Login.
  • Please take a moment to make sure your information is up-to-date by clicking on the "Contact Information" link.

If you have any problems logging in, please contact us through email or ask a librarian. Please DO NOT register for a new library card. You can also call your local branch if you need further assistance.

What are the loan periods?

All Library materials have a circulation period of three weeks and can be renewed up to seven times (unless another patron is waiting), with the following exceptions: 7-Day Hot Picks books (one week, no renewals) OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks (three weeks, no renewals), Freading eBooks (two weeks, one renewal).

May I renew my items?

Yes, in person, online, or by calling the automated telephone renewal service at 703-771-5626. Please note that seven-day loan period items and items that have holds on them cannot be renewed.

What are your fines on overdue items?

The fine is 10 cents per day, per item. The maximum fine per item is $5.00. An unpaid fine of $10 or more will block the Library card so that no more items can be checked out or renewed.

I've lost an item. What is the fee I have to pay?

You will be charged the replacement cost for items not returned. Please note that LCPL does not accept replacement copies for lost items, and only accepts cash or credit cards for the payment.

May I check out or renew books without my library card?

Yes, but only if you can provide a photo ID.

May I obtain my library card number to access the internet or wireless service in the library?

Yes, but only if you can provide a photo ID. However, Library staff will provide you with a temporary number to access these services if you can not provide the information during your current visit.

May I obtain my library card number remotely via phone, email inquiry or the Ask A Librarian online chat service?

You can obtain this information remotely from Library staff if your driver’s license number has been added to your borrower record and you can provide this number.

May I inquire or manage my account remotely via phone, email inquiry or the Ask A Librarian online chat service?

You can obtain this information remotely from Library staff if your driver’s license number has been added to your borrower record and you can provide this number.

What if I want access to the Online Databases and I cannot provide the necessary information to obtain my library card number?

Library staff will provide you with a temporary number to access this service for 24 hours.

How do I put a book on hold and have it sent to my branch?

Is the material you want checked out, but you’d like to be placed on a waiting list so you can check it out once it’s available? Simply place a hold on an item through the catalog. When you see an item you want in the catalog, click “request item”, enter your Library card number, and select your preferred pickup location. When your requested item becomes available you will be notified by either phone or email. Requested items are kept for you to pickup at the branch for seven (7) days.

May I pick up holds without my library card?

Yes, but only if you can provide a photo ID. Library staff will be glad to hold your books for an additional day if necessary.

May I place a request in the Library if I do not have my Library card?

Yes, staff will be happy to assist you with this service when you visit the Library or via the phone.

May my spouse pick up my holds or other family member?

Your spouse or other family member can only pick up your holds if they have possession of your library card.

May I check out, renew, or pick up my child’s holds?

Yes, parents have full access to their child's record if the child is younger than 18.

What is an email notification?

If you have an account with Loudoun County Public Library, you can receive notices sent to your email address to inform you of any holds waiting for pickup, when items are lost, when items are coming due, and when items are overdue. You can also opt in to receiving emailed receipts when items are checked in or checked out. If you’d prefer to not receive emails, you can update your account to receive notifications by phone instead.

How do I change my notification information?

To update your email and phone number, login to your account at catalog.library.loudoun.gov and click the account link a top right corner, click the Account Summary tab, and select the Contact Information link.

How do I change my notification information?

To update your email and phone number, login to your account at catalog.library.loudoun.gov and click the account link a top right corner, click the Account Summary tab, and select the Contact Information link.

How do I change my notification preferences?

Please contact staff at your local branch for assistance changing your notification preferences between phone and email.

How can I ensure I get my emails?

The email you receive for notifications will be sent from Loudoun County Public Library. The subject line will be “This is a message from the Loudoun County Public Library.” Please be sure that this user/address is listed as acceptable in any spam-blocking software that you or your email provider uses.

If an email notification bounces back to our system, it will automatically attempt to contact you via the phone number on your account.

How long will you hold items on the shelf?

The hold shelf period is seven (7) days from the time it changes to “Hold Shelf” status.

What should I do if I no longer need an item?

You can cancel holds by logging in to your account, clicking the "Account Activity" tab, and selecting the "Holds" link. You can select any holds in your queue to cancel.

What is the number for phone renewal?

703-771-LOAN (5626)

What services are available if I call the number?

  • Renewal of items
  • Hear a list of items checked out and their due dates
  • Hear a list of items on hold
  • Find out what fees you owe

When is it available?

7 days a week, 24 hours a day

When will it call me?

You will receive phone notifications if you have opted out of email notifications or if your email notifications bounced back from your mailbox.

What notifications will I receive via phone?

You will receive automated messages to inform you of any holds waiting for pickup, when items are lost, when items are coming due, and when items are overdue.

How do I change my notification information?

To update your email and phone number, login to your account at catalog.library.loudoun.gov and click the "Account" link a top right corner, click the Account Summary tab, and select the Contact Information link.

How do I change my notification preferences?

Please contact staff at your local branch for assistance changing your notification preferences between phone and email.

What if I don't see what I want in your catalog?

After staff determines that the item you would like is not available locally, you may obtain it through Interlibrary Loan. The fee for this service is $3.00 for each item requested, collected at the branch when you pick up your item (there is a fee of $3.00 for each item requested. The fee is payable when you pick up the item. You will be notified in advance if there are other fees charged by the lending library).

You may also consider making a purchase suggestion using the Suggest A Title service for titles not in the Library's catalog.

What if I lose my card?

Please let your branch know if you lose your card so we can prevent use of the card by someone else. Please come into the branch to get a free replacement card.

How long before my card expires?

As a Loudoun County resident, your Loudoun County Library Card has no expiration date. However, cards that have been inactive (i.e. no items checked out) for five (5) years will be purged by the system. The Library also asks that you update your Library account information every two (2) years. In the meantime, if your address or phone number changes, please let Library staff know so that your account information can be kept up-to-date.

If you do not live in Loudoun or a jurisdiction that participates in reciprocal borrowing, but have a Loudoun County Library Card because you work, go to school, or own property/business in Loudoun, your Library card does expire every year. Please bring proof of eligibility (such as a work ID) to any one of the branch locations and Library staff will renew the card for you.

May I use my Loudoun County library card in other area libraries?

As a Loudoun County resident, you are eligible for library cards from any public libraries in the jurisdictions who participate in the regional reciprocal borrowing program. Please consult each individual library policy on how to obtain a library card from any one of the public libraries in the program. Please note that LCPL does not share library patron information or catalog information with any other libraries in the reciprocal program; therefore, you will have to go through the library card application process required by the other library.

The following jurisdictions participate in the regional reciprocal borrowing program: The cities of Falls Church, Alexandria, Winchester, District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke and Frederick Counties in Virginia; and Montgomery, Prince George, Frederick and Charles counties in Maryland; and card holders of the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg.

The Educator Card offers expanded access to Library resources to educators living and/or working in Loudoun County. This card is intended for professional use only, offers more privileges than a personal card, and should not be used in place of a personal library card.

Educator cardholders enjoy these unique privileges:

  • Borrow up to 50 items
  • No fines for overdue items
  • Four-week loan period

Who qualifies?

Public and private school K-12 teachers, homeschool teachers, childcare providers, and preschool teachers who either work and/or live in Loudoun County. Please note these qualifications are different than those for obtaining a personal LCPL card.

How do I get an Educator Card?

Visit your local branch. You must show proof of your status as an educator: letter on school letterhead or other proof of current employment as an educator, daycare provider certification, current homeschool status certification, or similar documentation. You must also show proof that you live and/or work in Loudoun County. LCPL staff will make the final decision about the validity of documentation provided.

Will the card expire?

Educator cards are valid for one year only and will expire on October 1 each year. The card can be renewed upon expiration by presenting the same documentation provided when you first received your card.

Are there any exclusions?

LCPL's 7-Day Hot Picks collection and Interlibrary Loan services are excluded. Items checked out on this card should be for educational purposes. This card is intended for professional use and should not be used to check out personal use items.

What about my students?

Library staff is happy to help you get personal library cards for your students. Please contact your local branch to make arrangements for a class visit to the library or a librarian to visit your classroom.

Are there any fees associated with the Educator Card?

There are no fines or fees for overdue items. However, card holders will be responsible for replacement costs of any lost or damaged items. All overdue items must be returned before other materials may be checked out.