Frequently Asked Questions

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An item I checked out was missing a disc or was damaged before I checked it out. What do I do?

As soon as you notice the problem, ask the Circulation staff of the branch library where you checked out the item for assistance.

Are there any materials on which I cannot place holds?

Reference books are not available for loan, except in special circumstances; they may not be placed on hold.

Can holds be placed on compact discs?


Can I access my borrowing history?

Yes. You can choose to save your reading history by logging into your account and changing your account preferences. A new reading history does not include items checked out in the past or items currently checked out. It begins with the next item checked out after your preferences have been changed. The reading history is updated during an overnight process. Please be aware that if you enable your reading history your data may be accessed by law enforcement personnel without your consent

Can I change the location of my hold pickup online?

No. Call your local library to see if you can change the pickup location of your hold.

Can I choose to pay only part of a fine?

If you have multiple fines and/or fees on your account, you can choose to select specific charges rather than the entire sum, however you must pay the entire amount of any single fine or fee.

Can I get a replacement library card?

Yes. Replacement library cards are free. Visit any branch library with Photo ID and Proof of Address.

Can I pay by credit card in the branch, or only from home?

You can pay online through any computer with an internet connection and a browser. It can be done at home, at work, or at the library. You can also pay by credit card in all the branches — either at the Express Check Out station or the Check Out desk.

Can I pay my fines and fees online?

Yes. We accept Visa and Mastercard payments submitted through our website (Login to My Account). Debit cards with Visa or Mastercard logos that can process the payment as a charge are accepted as well.

Can I place holds on DVDs?


Can I place holds online?

Yes. When you find the item that you want in our catalog, click the Place Request button on the right side and follow the steps.

Can I renew items if there are fines on my record?

You will not be able to renew items if you have fines of $20.00 or more.

Can I renew items that are late?

You may now renew items that are up to three days overdue. Any late fines will be charged to your account.

Can I renew videos and DVDs?

Video format materials may be renewed three times if there are no open holds on the title.

Can I use a MPower card or a library card from another county or city at PGCMLS?

Yes. We can reuse library card numbers from public library systems in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax , Falls Church, Loudon and Prince William Counties.) An application still must be completed. A state or federally issued Photo ID and Proof of Address will need to be shown.

Note: A few online library resources are restricted to use by library accounts with PGCMLS barcode numbers.

Can you help me to access the Overdrive downloadable materials?

Overdrive provides an excellent Quick Start Guide and detailed information on the different downloadable formats.

Does the Library save my credit card information?

No. The Library does not retain credit card information. In order for us to access online payment details to answer questions or resolve disputes, it will be necessary to provide the transaction ID number.

For how long can I borrow a downloaded eBook, Audio Book, Magazine or Music Album/Song?

We provide downloadable content through third party vendors. These are the lending period settings.

Vendor Lending Period Lending Period Customization Options
Freegal Forever – Songs
Overdrive 21 days – Audiobooks & eBooks In your Overdrive account settings, you can set your default lending period to 7, 14 or 21 days.
RBdigital Audiobooks (formerly OneClickDigital) 10 days At the time of checkout, you can use a drop down menu to select 1 to 10 days.
RBdigital Magazines (formerly Zinio) Forever

How can I access Freegal music downloads?

You can log into Freegal Music Downloads using you library card number and your password.

How can I avoid having overdue items?

  • Add email and/or text notification to your library account so you will receive a courtesy reminder three days before your materials are due.
  • Use the after-hours drop box at all branches for returning materials.
  • Renew By Telephone: You can renew items twice by telephone by calling your local branch or to the phone renewal line at 301-333-3111. You will be asked for your library card barcode number and PIN, (usually the last four digits of your phone as saved on your library account).
  • Renew Online: Go to My Account on the library’s website.
  • Renew via the PGCMLS Mobile App:  Manage your account with our app (iOS App Store | Google Play).

How can I be notified that my materials are due or that my materials are ready for pick up?

Customers are able to select their preferred method  of notification: email, phone or standard mail.

Depending on which option customers select, PGCMLS will attempt the following courtesy notifications:

Almost due (2-3 days before due date) = email only

Hold pick-up = email or phone

1st Overdue (14 days past due) = email, phone or standard mail

2nd Overdue (30 days past due) = email, phone or standard mail

Collection Warning (account balance $25 or more) = standard mail only

If selecting email contact, please be sure to set your email account to accept mail from and in order to receive our notifications. You may also, if you wish, opt to receive additional text notifications.

NOTE: All notifications are courtesy contacts and their receipt is not guaranteed.  Customers are strongly encouraged to retain their checkout and renewal receipts to confirm dates due.

How can I cancel a hold placed on an item?

Log into your patron record and go to the Holds list. You will see the option to cancel holds on that screen

How can I download an eBook from Overdrive?

We provide downloadable ebooks and audio books purchased from the third party vendors. You can download EPUB eBooks and PDF eBooks from Overdrive. To find out more information please visit the Overdrive Help pages.

How can I download an Overdrive Audiobook?

We provide downloadable ebooks and audio books purchased from the third party vendors. You can download WMA Audiobooks and MP3 Audiobooks from Overdrive. To find out more information please visit the Overdrive help pages.

How can I find out if my portable device is supported by Overdrive?

Overdrive provides us with detailed information on Supported Devices at their Device Resources Center pages.

How can I get an item that is not owned by PGCMLS?

If the item is recently released, call a branch to check on the order status of the item. For other items not owned by PGCMLS, try the Marina network. For items you cannot find in Marina, inquire at a branch library about interlibrary loan.

How can I pay for overdue fines and fees?

Cash will be accepted at:

  • Hyattsville
  • Greenbelt
  • Spauldings
  • South Bowie
  • Oxon Hill

You may pay online from any Library branch or from home using a credit or debit card with the Visa, MasterCard or Discover logo
You may deposit money in advance on your account using cash or a check at the five branches which will continue to take all forms of payment.

How do I apply for a library card?

To apply for a library card, visit any branch library, complete a library card application, show a state or federally issued Photo ID and show Proof of Address if your current address is not listed on your Photo ID.

Examples of acceptable Photo IDs include driver’s licenses, age of majority cards, US Military IDs, passports or permanent resident cards. The Photo ID must be numbered, unexpired and issued by the government.

If your current address is not listed on your Photo ID, bring a Proof of Address document such as a utility bill, lease agreement, pay stub or mail canceled by the US Postal Service with your name and current address listed.

Minors must be accompanied by a parent/guardian who will sign for the card and show appropriate Photo ID and Proof of Address.

You can start the application process online.

How do I download eBooks, Audio Books, Magazines or Music?

We provide downloadable content through third party vendors. Vendor help files will often include tutorials, information on how to use different features, and answers to technical questions, such as which devices and which browsers are compatible. Clicking on a vendor below will take you to their help files.

eBook Resources:

Audio Book Resources:

Magazine Resource:

Music Resources:

How do I get help to search the Collection?

For help on any page, click the Help button on the left of your screen. Review the Lists of Other Help Topics for additional help.

How do I get help to search the Collection?

With a temporary registration you can access most Online Library resources.

The following CANNOT be accessed with a temporary registration.



Transparent Language

How do I pay online?

It’s very easy:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Click the Fines & Fees button.
  3. Select the fines or fees you wish to pay.
  4. Click “Pay Fines Now”.

How do I renew items?

All items will automatically renew three days before they are overdue (up to three renewals if there are no reserves on the item). The new renewal due date will be the full loan period added to the original due date.

To renew online:

  • Log in to your Library Account.
  • Enter your library card number (no spaces) and your password.
  • Click on the Items Out tab.
  • Select Renew All Items or individually check the items you wish to renew and click on Renew Selected Items.
  • Wait for the renewal response screen to confirm that your renewal was successful. Then click on the Back link to view your new due date(s). You may wish to mark down or print your new due date(s). It is your responsibility to renew and return materials on time.

To renew by phone:

  • Call the automated renewal line 301-333-3111 and follow the prompts. You will need to enter your library card number and password during the process.
  • If the renewal is successful, a new due date will be indicated by the renewal operator. You may wish to mark down your new due date(s). It is your responsibility to renew and return materials on time.
  • The automated renewal line is available 24 hours a day, except between 7:00 am and 7:30 am.

To renew by mobile app:

Download the PGCMLS app to your mobile device for iOS and Android.

To renew at self-checkout stations:

  • Scan or enter your library card number and password.
  • Scan the items and follow the prompts.

To renew with staff assistance:

Call or visit a library branch. Please have your library card or Photo ID handy.

How do I request materials available at branches other than my local branch?

You can:

  • place a hold on an item that is available at another branch and have it delivered to the branch that is most convenient to you, or
  • ask Information staff at your library to reserve the item for you, or
  • have Information staff ask the other branch to hold the material for you (you still may have to place a hold on the item).

How do I suggest that PGCMLS buy something which is not currently owned?

Use the Recommend A Purchase form found on the Contact Us page.

Please check the Library’s catalog before you suggest that we purchase an item.

It is not necessary to suggest bestselling titles or authors.

For specialized, technical, or out of print titles, consider using Interlibrary Loan, a cooperative borrowing agreement among libraries.

If you need help using this service then please contact your local branch.

Due to high volume, we are unable to respond individually to each suggestion. Items selected for purchase usually appear in the catalog within four weeks.

How do I update my library card information?

Minor changes such as adding an e-mail address or updating contact information can be processed for customers via “Contact Us,” over the phone or in person at the branch. You will need to provide your library account number. Major changes such as name changes or replacing a card must be done in person at the branch and photo ID is required. A card may be reported lost or stolen via any of the above methods.

How long can I keep items?

Items Loan Period Renewal Limit
Books, Audio books, Magazines & Music CDs 21 days 3*
Entertainment DVDs 7 days 3*
Educational DVDs & Television Series 21 days 3*
Marina Interlibrary Loan Items 21 days 1
Interlibrary Loan Items (ILL) Special 0

How long does it take to get my holds?

The length of time depends on the number of copies available in the Library System and the length of the waiting list, i.e. the number of customers who have also placed a hold on the title. Titles which have copies available on the shelf at the time the hold is placed and no waiting list may fulfill the request as soon as the next day. Items with a limited number of copies and/or a long waiting list may take up to several months.

How many eBooks, Audio Books, Magazines or Music Albums/Songs can I borrow at one time?

We provide downloadable content through third party vendors. These are the borrowing limit settings.

Vendor Borrowing Limit Content
Freegal 5 songs per week, 3 hours of streaming per day Music
Overdrive 10 titles at a time eAudiobooks, eBooks
RBdigital Audiobooks (formerly OneClickDigital) 6 titles at a time eAudiobooks
RBdigital Magazines (formerly Zinio) Unlimited Magazines

How many items can I check out on my library card?

You can borrow up to 75 items.

How many songs can I download from Freegal Music Downloads?

Library users have a weekly download limit of 5 songs. You will be able to keep track of your downloads in the upper right corner of the site. Every song has a sample clip you can listen to before you download.

How many times can I renew an item?

Items Loan Period Renewal Limit
Books, Audio books, Magazines & Music CDs 21 days 3*
Entertainment DVDs 7 days 3*
Educational DVDs & Television Series 21 days 3*
Marina Interlibrary Loan Items 21 days 1
Interlibrary Loan Items (ILL) Special 0

*Items with an open hold request on the title cannot be renewed regardless of number of renewals normally allowed.

How much are overdue fines?

The Library is now fine free and will waive all existing overdue fines from customer accounts. The new “fine free” policy ensures that all Prince Georgians have equitable access to the Library’s resources and services, while eliminating the financial barrier of overdue fines. Customers who previously had outstanding account balances will be able to resume borrowing physical and digital materials and access online library resources.

How soon after payment is my fine or fee removed?

The transaction is instantaneous with your Library account and will post to credit cardholder accounts within two business days.

How will I be informed when my hold comes in?

You will be informed when to pick up your holds by telephone or e­mail. You have seven days to pick up your items. If you want email notification and do not currently get it, notify your local branch of your current email address and request that they turn off Phone Notification.

How will I know when my renewed items are due?

  • If your renewal is successful through the Phone ­In Renewal System, the new due date(s) will be indicated by the renewal operator.
  • When you renew materials online or with the mobile app, a confirmation will appear and the new date(s) will show on the items out screen (or My Bookshelf in the app).
  • Please be sure to mark down your new due date(s).
  • You can check the due date of items by logging into your Library Account.

How will my credit card statements reflect online payments for fees and fines?

Charges and credits will be identified on credit card statements as originating with PGCMLS. Specific information about the materials involved, such as the title of a book or audio device, will not appear.

I am a child. Can I borrow videos?

A child’s library card can be used to borrow videos from the Juvenile collection. It is blocked from borrowing Adult videos.

If a child has possession of an adult’s library card, it is assumed the adult card owner has given permission for their card to be used for any and all checkouts.

I am going on vacation. Can I inactivate my holds?

You can suspend your holds using My Account through the catalog, or with help from Library staff.

I don’t live in Prince George’s County. Can I get a library card?

Residents of Maryland, the District of Columbia, or some Virginia locations (Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Loudoun County or Prince William County) may obtain a Prince George’s County library card free of charge.

Anyone residing in Maryland on a temporary basis (e.g., students, military personnel, temporary employees) is eligible for a free temporary library card.

Anyone who does not meet the above criteria can pay $50.00 per year for a non-resident library card.

I have a very small fine. Do I have to pay it immediately?

It is possible to carry up to $20.00 on your library account with no impact. You may always pay a fine with a Visa, Master Card or Discover credit or debit card.

You can pay with cash at these branch libraries.

  • Hyattsville
  • Greenbelt
  • Spauldings
  • South Bowie
  • Oxon Hill

I have an overdue item. Can I still checkout?

If you only have one overdue item and it is less than 45 days overdue, you will not be blocked from checking out.

If you have two or more overdue items, you will be blocked from checking out.

If you have an item more than 45 days overdue, you will be blocked from checking out.

I have tried but I am not able to access my account online. What am I doing wrong?

The information you key in must exactly match the information in our computer record.

  • Type in your complete library card number with no spaces (number is on your card under the barcode).
  • Type in your password. (Initially your password will be set to the last four digits of the primary telephone number listed on the account when you applied for your card. )

Once you have logged in you may, if you wish, change your password to one of your choosing.  Please note; updating your phone number in our system will not update your password.

If you have forgotten your password or do not remember your original  phone number, please contact your local branch library and they can reset your password to the last four digits of the primary phone number currently on file.  They can also verify that the library has your current phone number and that you aren’t using an expired or renumbered card.

I lost a disc from an audio book set. What do I do?

Please contact your local library about lost component charges.

I lost an item. Can I buy a replacement in lieu of paying the replacement cost?

Replacements or Substitutions will not be accepted In Lieu of Payment. It is very costly and time consuming to add the purchased material to the collection. Adding material to the collection involves several departments and many different staff members.

I lost my library card. What do I do?

Report that your card is lost immediately. Call or visit any branch library. You are responsible for all materials and charges up to the time you report your card lost or stolen.

I owe money. Can I still checkout?

Yes, as long as your accumulated balance is below $20.00 and your account is not otherwise delinquent.

Delinquent accounts meet one or more of the following criteria and are blocked from borrowing until the delinquency is cleared.

  • Owe $20.00 or more in fines or fees.
  • Have two or more overdue items.
  • Have any items 45 days or more past due.
  • Have been referred to collections and a balance is still owed.

I returned an item, but it is still on my account. What should I do?

Ask the Circulation staff of the branch library where you returned the item for assistance.

If I have a problem with a credit card payment, who do I call in the Library?

The Library is responsible for all transaction activity including online payments and credits, assessment and reduction of fines and fees, direct customer service, dispute resolution and all corresponding terms and conditions. If your problem specifically relates to credit card payment, either call the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System Office of Finance & Budget at (301) 699-3500 (M-F, 9am to 5pm) or submit this email form. Branch staff will not be able to resolve credit card problems.

If I place a hold on an item that shows “on shelf,” will it go immediately to my pick up point so that I can pick it up the next day?

No. When you place a hold, you must wait to be notified that the material is available. If an item shows “on shelf,” you can telephone the owning branch to have staff check on the availability of the material. If available, the material can be sent to the library branch most convenient to you.

If PGCMLS does not have an item I need, what do I do next?

MARINA is a free, statewide interlibrary loan system for requesting items your library does not own; MARINA allows you to request and borrow materials from cooperating libraries throughout Maryland.

Materials from out-of-state libraries may be available for a fee via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). Please see your branch staff about arranging to borrow these materials.

Is my online transaction secure?

The Library is using an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate for all online transactions. This is a method of encryption which encodes data sent over the Internet and is designed to allow only the intended recipients to receive the information in a readable format. Most web browsers will show a small padlock image at the bottom of the screen to indicate you are using a secure site

The Library’s online payment system is managed by controls that conform to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Credit card transactions are secured through a third-party vendor, PayFlowPro, which is the same company that hosts PayPal.

Is there a fee for paying with a credit/debit card?

No, there is no additional charge to the customer for using a credit/debit card for payment. There is no minimum amount that will be accepted by the Library for online payments.

Is there a fee or additional cost to pay via credit card?


Is there a minimum transaction amount?


My library card is about to expire, how do I renew it?

To renew your library card, visit a branch with Photo ID and Proof of Address. Staff will verify your contact information, update the information in your record and renew the card for another three years.

My library card was stolen. What do I do?

Report that your card was stolen immediately. Call or visit any branch library. You are responsible for all materials and charges up to the time you report your card lost or stolen.

What about the privacy of my library account information?

View our Privacy Policy.

What if I need a refund?

Refunds for the replacement cost for lost materials that are paid for and then returned will be accepted for thirty days after payment.

All claims for refunds must be accompanied by this receipt. For amounts twenty five dollars (25) or over, a check will be mailed to the address we have on file. Credit card payments will be credited to your account within 3-5 business days. Cash payments below five (25) dollars will be refunded at the branch that conducted the original transaction.

Items that have been in a Billed status for one year or more may not be returned for refund.

What is my Library PIN/Password?

In most cases, your PIN is the last four digits of the phone number we have on file for you. If you have a PGCMLS virtual card (beginning with PACREG) or Library access with your PGCPS ID, your PIN is automatically set to the last four digits of your card number. If you’re having trouble, contact us with your library card number and we can reset it for you.

What is the charge to hold an item?

There is no charge to place a hold on an item that is in the PGCMLS collection or that is available from the Marina cooperative network.

For materials that are reserved from libraries outside the network through the interlibrary loan process, we will try first to borrow from free sources.  If there is a charge, we will contact you to confirm you are willing to pay the amount before requesting the item.

When is an overdue item considered lost?

When an item becomes 45 days past due, it is considered lost and the replacement cost of the material is billed to the account. If the customer returns this material in good condition within one year of the billing date, the replacement cost of this item will be waived. After one year, the replacement cost will not be waived upon return regardless of condition.

Where can I return borrowed items?

  • PGCMLS materials may be returned to any PGCMLS branch.
  • Book drops are available at all branches for when the library is closed.
  • Interlibrary Loan materials should be returned to the branch where they were borrowed.
  • Materials checked out from PGCMLS (except video and interlibrary loan materials) may be returned to public libraries in Maryland, DC and some Northern Virginia locations (Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Loudoun County or Prince William County). Materials returned to a different library system will remain on a customer’s record until they are checked in at the owning library.

Which devices can I play the music on that I download from Freegal Music Downloads?

The downloads on this site are all in the MP3 format with no DRM. This service will work with any MP3 player, including iPod, and can be loaded into iTunes. It works on both PCs and Macs.

Why are you changing Cash Procedures

  • The pressing need to improve the security of library branches and for delivery drivers.
  • Efficiency of operations. Reduced staffing requires streamlining operations.

Why can’t I renew?

The following conditions block renewals:

  • The item has reached its renewal limit.
  • Another customer has requested the title.
  • Your library card has expired.
  • More than $20 is owed on your library account.
  • Two or more items are overdue on your library account.
  • An item is over 45 days overdue on your library account.
  • Your library account is in Collections.
  • There is a block on the library account, which is often due to notifications being returned as undeliverable.

Why do library cards expire?

Library cards expire every three years. Expiration dates and the renewal process provide an opportunity to update contact information, stop fraudulent use of cards and eliminate accounts that are no longer active from the library’s database.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Why is it important to update my library card information?

It is important to update your library card information when you change your address, phone number, email address or name so that the Library can properly notify you about overdue materials and materials on hold.

Will I be able to use the Library if I have a fine on my account?

Yes, unless your account balance is $20.00 or more.

Will I get a receipt?

After submitting a payment you have the option to print the confirmation statement.

Also, a receipt will be automatically sent to your email account if you have one listed on your PGCMLS account.

Will library staff be able to help me pay with a credit card?

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System is strongly committed to protecting the confidentiality of both your personal information and your Library account information. Library staff will not enter your personal credit card information on any workstation. Staff will gladly help you navigate the website and show you where and how to make a credit card payment from any internet access point but they will not be able to conduct the transaction for you. Credit cards are accepted at the Express Check Out stations and at the branch Check Out desks.