Using the Library

Here's what you need to know whether you're in a library or using digital services online.

Beginning January 1, 2020, the library will be updating its countywide borrowing policy to expand access for out-of-county Pennsylvania residents. This change will guarantee any person who lives in the state of Pennsylvania the ability to access physical materials from any Berks County Public Library.

 

Borrowing Policies (through December 31, 2019)

Borrowing Policies (beginning January 1, 2020)

 

Who does this affect?

The changes to the borrowing policy will provide Pennsylvania residents with access to physical materials from system libraries. If you have a current Berks County Public Libraries card and live outside of Berks County, some services may no longer be accessible. If you live outside of Berks County but work or go to school within the county, you will be eligible to receive full card services. You may need to provide proof of your current work location or school status to switch your card to a full-service card. Click here for more information about the new changes.

 

I work/go to school in Berks County. How do I get a full-service card?

You will need to bring proof of your current place of employment or school to reactivate your card to a full-service library card. This could include a pay stub with your work location's address or a student ID. If you have a question about another form of verification, please reach out to your registered library.

Material Loan Periods

  • 21 days - audio materials, books, some DVD sets, e-Book Readers, and magazines

  • 7 days - DVDs, VHS tapes, and Museum passes

 

Renewals

Most materials, unless on reserve for another patron, may be renewed for an additional loan period. Renewals for longer loan periods are granted on an exception basis. Nonrenewable items may include DVD sets, e-Book Readers and NEW materials. For more information, contact your local library. Items may be renewed at the library, online through the library website, or by phone. The cardholder’s barcode number is required for telephone renewals.

 

Renewing Items

Log into your My Account at the top of any page, then click on 'Items Out' on the left, and follow the prompts to renew the item.

Returns and Book Drop Policy

Most items belonging to any Berks County public library may be returned at any Berks County public library. Exceptions include museum passes, e-book readers, video games, and items borrowed from outside the BCPL system. Book drops are available at each library for the return of materials when the library is closed.

 

Returning Items

You may return items inside the library when it is open or in the library’s bookdrop when the library is closed. Items put in the bookdrop are checked in the next business day using the previous business day’s date. Therefore, an item that is due one day but checked in from the bookdrop the next morning is not considered overdue and will not be assessed a fine.

Generally, you may return items checked out from a Berks County Public Libraries (BCPL) member library at that library, or at any other member library (See libraries and locations). All public libraries in Berks County are members of BCPL except the Wyomissing Public Library and Oley Valley Community Library. Standard items checked out at any Berks County Public Library may be returned either to the Wyomissing Public Library or Oley Valley Community Library. Deliveries to and from the Oley Valley Community Library will occur on a weekly basis every Wednesday.

The following types of items are exceptions to that general rule and must be returned to the library from which they were checked out:

  • Museum passes

  • Video games

  • Interlibrary loan items obtained from outside the Berks County Public Libraries system

 

Overdue Notices

Cardholders are notified when items checked out become delinquent. This applies for all adult and juvenile materials. A billing invoice is sent if, after 2 overdue notices, the items have not been returned. Section 6708 of Title 18, Pennsylvania Code makes it a summary offense to retain library property after being notified to return it.
 

10 Days After Due Date—the first overdue notice will be issued in the form of a phone call, email, text, or letter.

20 Days After Due Date—the second and final overdue notice will be issued in the form of a letter.

30 Days After Due Date—items will be marked LOST and a bill will be sent to the responsible cardholder to cover the cost of the item and a $5.00 Administrative Fee per item.

If an item is not available at the time and place that it is sought, cardholders can place a hold (request) on the item at any member library, by phone, or online. Cardholders will be notified when the item is available.

Items placed on hold (requested/reserved) may be picked up at the Berks County Public Library that was specified at the time the hold was placed. Member libraries may restrict or limit pick-up options for certain items. Held items must be picked up within 7 days of notification. This time limit varies for some libraries.

When requesting an item, please use the following instructions to complete your request.

  • Search the Library Catalog for materials available throughout Berks County Public Libraries.

  • Select Place Request to login and complete the request.

  • Can’t find it in the BCPL libraries?

  • Go to Power Library to Find books, movies, and eresources.

  • Directly contact the staff at any library to make a request.

  • Can’t find it in Power Library? Search Worldcat. WorldCat is a catalog of the holdings and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.

  • Directly contact the staff at any library to make a request.

Cardholders are responsible for returning library materials on time. Overdue fines are charged as an incentive to return materials promptly. Fines are calculated by calendar day and vary by material type. There are no fines on juvenile audio, books, magazines, Playaways, or VHS tapes; however, cardholders are responsible for Replacement Costs and Administrative Fees for all items. For 2020, teen/YA books will not receive fines.

The current fine table is posted at the Circulation Desk and online.

 

Fines for each card type. All fines are calculated by calendar day.

 

Adult Materials:

  • Audio and books—$.25/day ($5.00 max) *For 2020, teen/YA books will not receive fines.
  • DVDs, DVD sets, eBook Readers—$.25/day ($5.00 max)
  • Magazines—$.25/day ($2.00 max)
  • Museum passes, ILLs—$1.00/day
  • Hotspots, tablets, eBook readers, VHS tapes, special materials—Determined by carrying library

 

Juvenile Materials:

  • Audio, books & VHS—none
  • DVDs, DVD sets, CD's—$.25/day ($5.00 max)
  • Magazines—none
  • Playaways—none

 

Fees

  • For lost/damaged card: $2.00 (both adult and juvenile)
  • For lost/damaged museum pass: $15.00
  • For all other lost/damaged items: Replacement value plus a $5.00 Administrative Fee

 

Refunds for lost items

Some libraries may offer a refund or a credit for lost materials that were previously paid for, if the materials are returned in good condition to the library within 60 days from the original due date. Maximum fines (if applicable) and Administrative Fees will be deducted from the refunded or credited amount.