Circulation Policy

Eligibility for a Library Card

Individual borrowers card

A library card for the Library System of Lancaster County will be issued without charge to any resident of Lancaster County who is five years old or more. For children under the age of 14, both the child and parent/guardian are to be present when applying for the library card.  A child under the age of 14 years must have the library card registration form signed by themselves as well as a parent or legal guardian who agrees to assume responsibility for monitoring the materials borrowed by the child, as well as the child’s fines and the cost of any lost or damaged materials. (See Confidentiality).

Applicants will need to produce proof of address from one of the following sources:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A current identification card
  • A bill from a utility company of retailer addressed to the person and dated in the last three months
  • A tax bill for a Lancaster County property
  • Working papers issued to a teenager
  • A copy of a current lease or deed for a Lancaster County property
  • Checks with a pre-printed Lancaster County address
  • Valid Lancaster County college /university ID

Individuals who are new to the area or reside in temporary or transitional housing within Lancaster County may be eligible for a library card after presenting photo ID or a letter on official letterhead from the housing manager. These accounts allow a limited checkout of 3 physical items and must be renewed every two months.

Non-residents of Lancaster County should see the librarian to obtain a card.

Institutional Card

An institutional library card is issued to a Lancaster County organization that assumes responsibility for all borrowed materials. The library card registration must be accompanied by a letter on the letterhead of the organization applying for the card, accepting responsibility for all borrowed materials, and signed by the director of the organization. Overdue fines will be incurred for any materials not returned by the due date. Special loan periods can be arranged upon request.

Use of the Library Card

A library card for the Library System of Lancaster County may be used at any public library that is a member of the Library System of Lancaster County. Borrowing privileges may be suspended for the failure to return overdue books, failure to pay overdue fines, or failure to pay for lost or damaged materials. Library patrons are responsible for notifying any member library about the change of address within 30 days. Lost or stolen library cards can be replaced for $1.00.

Patron Registration

The following information will be taken as part of patron registration:

  • Name, Address, Telephone Number
  • Municipality of Residence
  • Library of Registration
  • School District
  • Birthdate

The following will be requested at the time of registration, but will be optional on the part of the patron:

    • E-mail Address
    • Electronic photo ID for patron record

Circulation Periods

  • Videos, DVDs, High demand/Best Sellers circulate for 1 week
  • All other materials circulate for 2 weeks

Renewal of Library Materials

Renewal can be done at a member library circulation desk, by telephone, or online.

  • Renewal at a member library circulation desk requires the items or the library card on which the items were checked out
  • Internet Renewal is available from the Library System of Lancaster County Online Catalog. Just click on the My Account tab on any page of the Catalog and input your name, barcode, and PIN.
    • Note: Not all items can be renewed with the online renewal system. Some reasons an item may not be renewed are: another borrower has requested the item; that type of material is not eligible for renewal; you already renewed the item the maximum number of times; or, because of overdue fines on your record. If you are unable to renew your items, please call your local library.
  • Renewals cannot be done by email.

Fines and Fees

  • $.30 per day for Adult and YA (Young Adult) materials with a maximum fine of $5.10 per item.
  • $.20 per day for Children’s materials with a maximum fine of $3.00 per item
  • $1.00 per day for all Videos and DVDs with a maximum of $5.00 per item

Overdue Notices

  • First Notice at 2 Weeks
    • The first overdue notice will be sent to the most recent address listed in the library records for the patron account when the item is 2 weeks overdue. The notice will include a list of overdue materials.
    • Failure to return the items listed in this notice within fourteen (14) working days of the date of this notice will result in a suspension of a cardholder’s borrowing privileges in each library in Lancaster County until the account is cleared. Failure to return these items within 4 weeks after the original due date will result in a charge to the cardholder’s account for the replacement cost of the materials.
  • Second Notice: Bill for replacement at 4 weeks
    • The second notice is sent when the item is 4 weeks overdue. This is a bill for the replacement of the books. If the billed items are found, you need only pay the overdue fines.
    • When an item is two or more months overdue it must be paid for in full, even if the materials are returned.

Lost and Damaged Items

Lost item charges equal the price of the item. It is the responsibility of the library patron to contact the library to arrange for the payment of overdue fines. The library cannot accept replacement copies of an item (new or otherwise) in lieu of paying the replacement fee. Any questions about an account may be directed to the cardholder’s local library.

Enforcement of Overdue Fines

Library patrons or the parents of the juvenile library patron are expected to return library materials promptly and to pay any overdue fines incurred.

  • If an item is more than 28 days overdue, borrowing privileges are suspended until the materials are returned and the overdue fine is paid.
  • Fines or fees of $6 or more will result in a block of borrowing, computer, and other library privileges.
  • Fines must be paid and overdue materials returned before suspended borrowing privileges are restored.


Pennsylvania State Law States that:

“Records related the circulation of the library materials which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of the state Library or any local library which is established or maintained under any law of the Commonwealth or the library of a university, college or educational institution chartered by the Commonwealth or the library of any public school or branch reading room, deposit station or agency operated in connection therewith, shall be confidential and shall not be made available to anyone except by a court order in a criminal proceeding.” (PA State Law 24 P.S. Section 4428.)

The Library System of Lancaster County and member libraries will resist the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, library officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance. If the process, order, or subpoena is not in the proper form or if good cause has not been shown, they will insist that such defects be cured.

This confidentiality policy applies equally to adults and minors. When an adult requests the records of a child, the library will respond only if the child consents to the request.