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Library Card Policies

Information about applying for a library card, policies, and fines and fees is below.

View our Borrowers Rights & Responsibilities Pamphlet (PDF)

Get a Library Card

Registration Requirements

The first library card is free and available to all Maryland residents. There is no age limit. Identification (photo ID) is needed showing a current mailing address. A legal guardian’s signature is required if the cardholder is under age 18. Customers who live outside the state of Maryland may obtain a library card for an annual fee of $10.00 for children up to age 18 and $30.00 for adults. Some exceptions apply.

The borrower or his/her guardian is responsible for the security and condition of the materials checked out on the borrower’s card. HCPL cards can be used at any branch in the county system and at other Maryland public libraries subject to their current policies and procedures. You may download the Application Form (pdf), complete it, and return to any HCPL library.

The Library Card Application

Application Form (PDF)
Formulario de Solicitud (PDF)

Digital Library Card

Customers may request a digital library card. This card provides access to Harford County Public Library e-resources and digital library materials. Apply online to get your card. In compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection act, you must be 13 or older to complete this registration.

Lost or Stolen Card

Customers must immediately report a lost or stolen card and are responsible for all items checked out on the lost or stolen library card.

Borrowing Policies

Cards Blocked From Use

A customer’s full borrowing privileges are blocked if accumulated fines and fees reach $10 or more. Full borrowing privileges may be regained with 100% payment. Customers who pay 50% or more may check out two books. Less than 50% payment results in suspension of borrowing privileges until the charges are reduced by 50%.

Customer Borrowing Age Requirements

A customer must be 14 years or older to borrow DVDs cataloged as Adult.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)

A PIN (personal identification number) enables customers to review their library card account online, view a list of items borrowed and due date, request books and other items, and renew most items. Customers may also access their library account by telephone by calling QuikChek at 410-638-3151. The default PIN is the last four digits of the customer’s telephone number on the library account. Contact us if you have forgotten your PIN or need assistance.

Loan Period

Books and most other items are loaned for 21 days. Exceptions are listed below.

Pickleball Kits7 days
Book Groups to Go & Jr. Book Groups to Go60 days

Borrowing Maximums (number of items)

Customers may generally borrow items in unlimited quantities. Exceptions are listed below.

Binge Boxes1 per adult or YA card
Board games1 per all cards
Blu-Ray10 per adult or J-Approved cards
Carly's Bikes2 per adult card
Doll Kits (American Girl & Superhero)2 per adult card
DVDs10 per adult or J-Approved cards
Fishing Rods1 per adult card
Hot Spots1 per adult card
Leap Kits (Little Leapers, Music,Science)2 per all cards
Nature Backpack Kits1 per all cards
Pickelball Kits1 per adult card
Playaway Views4 per all cards
Reginald F. Lewis Museum Passes1 per adult card


Starting January 29, 2021, we will automatically renew your eligible checked out materials. All customers are automatically enrolled; there is no need to sign up for this new service.

How do Automatic Renewals work?

  • Any items on your account that are eligible for renewal will now auto-renew the day before their due date.
  • Auto-renewal sets the new due date from the original due date. For example, items due December 9 will be renewed on December 8, and the new due date will be December 30 (for books and other 21-day materials)
  • Courtesy notices will reflect which items in your account did or didn't auto-renew, and the corresponding due dates.
  • You can still renew eligible items at any time through your account.

Items may not Auto-Renew if:

  • The item does not allow renewals
  • The item is part of the digital collection (ebooks, digital audio, streaming movies and music)
  • The item has a hold (another customer is waiting for it)
  • The item is from MARINA or Interlibrary Loan
  • The item has reached its renewal limit (3 renewals)
  • Your card is expired
  • You have at least 1 lost item
  • You have 4 current or total claim items

If items on your account cannot be renewed, you will receive a courtesy notice with due dates one day before those items are due.

Reserve/Request Service

Reserves (or requests) can be placed on most circulating materials. Customers may place their own reserves from a computer while using the catalog. The customer will receive a computer-generated telephone notification or e-mail when the material becomes available. A customer can sign-up for e-mail notification by accessing My Account and clicking on My Record.

Where To Return Materials

Items may be returned to any Harford County Public Library or to any public library in Maryland regardless of where they were originally checked out.

The library does not assume responsibility for items left in mailboxes; outside or on top of book drops; or at the door.

Fines and Fees

At this time, HCPL does not charge fines. Please return your materials on time so the next customer may also enjoy them.

Lost Materials

The charge is the cost of the item plus $5.00 processing fee.

Damaged Materials

Any item damaged beyond repair is handled as a lost item. If the item is repairable, $5.00 is charged. Damage to non-print material is assessed on an item-by-item basis. The library is not responsible for personal equipment damaged by library materials.

Lost or Damaged Barcode Label or RFID Tag

$1.00 fee per label or tag on library materials

Returned Checks

$25.00 fee for returned checks

Photocopies and Printing

$0.25 per page

Faxing Service

The library faxes answers to information questions for $0.25 per page. The fee is added to the borrower’s record.

Faxing service is also available to the public. The fee is $1.50 for each page plus $1.00 for the cover sheet for local calls (includes toll free numbers), and $2.00 per page plus $2.00 for the cover sheet for long distance calls (numbers requiring a 1 in front of the 10-digit number).


Earbuds, flash drives and book bags are available for purchase

Overdue Notification System

Customers receive a computer-generated email regarding materials that are 7 days overdue. A customer can sign-up online to receive email notification by going to My Account and clicking on My Record.

For materials which remain 21 days overdue, the library will send a second overdue notice and after 34 days, the cost of the items will be added to the customer's account. If materials are returned, associated fees will be waived.

NOTE: Pre-overdue e-mail notices are a courtesy and should not be solely relied upon as reminders of item due dates. We have no control over e-mail once it leaves our system. Please add the domain to your safe list so that our notices do not go into your junk folder. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Library Policy

It is the policy of the Harford County Public Library Board of Trustees that library users may expect a high quality of service. This includes:

  • Reliable Information
  • Courtesy
  • Access to materials and information in other libraries and agencies
  • Consideration of suggestions, complaints, and praise
  • Confidentiality of individual records of materials used
  • An atmosphere conducive to use of the library

To facilitate the appropriate use of the library by the public, the Harford County Public Library Board of Trustees expects library users to observe these basic rules of behavior:

  • Be considerate of others
  • Demonstrate conduct appropriate to the library
  • Use library materials and property responsibly
  • Leave pets outside
  • Appropriate attire is required

We reserve the right to inspect packages and bags before they leave the building.