Borrowing Library Materials
Renewing Items | Returning Items | Fines and Fees | Materials Recovery Program
With a standard Talbot County Free Library card in good standing, you may have up to 50 items checked out at a time, including no more than 10 DVDs, 10 CDs or audiobooks, 1 Playaway Launchpad, and 1 WiFi Hotspot. Teacher's Cards can be used for checking out up to 50 books. Other item types must be checked out on a standard personal library card. Please bring your library card with you when checking items out.
Library cards can become temporarily “blocked” under certain conditions. When this happens, the patron cannot check out additional items, renew current items, or use library computers, until the account problem is resolved. Situations in which a card will be blocked include an unpaid balance of more than five (5) dollars, an annual need to confirm or update current address, lost items, more than 20 overdue items, or more than 6 items overdue for longer than 51 days.
Patrons may also request Interlibrary loans from other libraries. Interlibrary loans from public libraries within Maryland are free of charge. Materials borrowed from other loaning institutions within Maryland or outside the state of Maryland may incur additional fees.
For more information on getting a library card, see our Library Card FAQ.
Loan Periods, Renewals and Fines
The following chart outlines the loan periods, renewals, and overdue fines applicable for the various types of library materials.
|Item Type||Loan Period||Maximum Renewals*||Daily Overdue Fines||Maximum Fines|
|Adult Books (except new)||28 days||2X for 28 days||$0.10||$10/item|
|Adult New Books||14 days||2X for 14 days||$0.10||$10/item|
|Children's & Teens' Books||28 days||2X for 28 days||$0.02||$5/item|
|CDs (music & audiobooks)||14 days||2X for 14 days||$0.10||$10/item|
|DVDs||7 days||No Renewals||$.50||$10/item|
|Playaway Launchpads||7 days||No Renewals||$0.02||$5/item|
|Electronic Downloads||Varies||Varies||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|Interlibrary Loan Items||Set by Lending Library||No Renewals||$1.00||$50/item|
|Teacher's Card Loans (Books)||56 days||No Renewals||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|WiFi Hotspot||7 days||No Renewals||$0.10||$5/item|
* Regardless of remaining renewals, an item can be renewed only if there is no outstanding hold request on it, and your account does not have an unpaid balance of more than five (5) dollars. As a courtesy, our system automatically renews expiring items that are eligible for renewal.
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Items eligible for renewal can be renewed through the My Account section of our online catalog, or by calling or visiting either of our library locations with your library card. If an item has not been renewed before its due date, and it is eligible for renewal, our system will attempt to automatically renew the item. Many items can be renewed twice, for the same length of time as the original checkout. However, there are exceptions.
DVDs, Playaway Launchpads, Interlibrary Loan materials, WiFi HotSpots and items borrowed on a special Teacher's Library Card cannot be renewed. Items that another patron has placed a hold request on are not eligible for renewal. Items that are long overdue (more than 51 days overdue) cannot be renewed. If your library account is “blocked” for any reason, your items cannot be renewed until the problem with your account has been addressed. Situations in which a card may be blocked include an unpaid balance of $5 or more, an annual need to confirm or update current address, lost items, more than 20 overdue items, or more than 6 items overdue for longer than 51 days.
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Talbot County Free Library is a member of the Eastern Shore Library Consortium, which is comprised of the eight county-based public library systems on Maryland's Eastern Shore. As a member of this Consortium, library materials borrowed from any Eastern Shore public library (Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties) can be received and marked as returned immediately during regular library hours at any other Eastern Shore public library, regardless of which library system the material was originally checked out from. Both TCFL locations have book drops available to accept returns when the library is closed.
Playaway Launchpads and WiFi Hotspots must be returned to the TCFL branch from which they were checked out and may not be placed in the bookdrop.
Public libraries throughout the state of Maryland have agreed to accept returns of each other's library materials. Because materials returned to a county library system other than the one where the item was checked out (except as noted above) may take some time to return to the owning library, these materials cannot be removed from your library account until they are received by the library who owns them.
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Fines and Fees
Overdue Fines - To encourage the prompt return of materials, the library charges a per day overdue fine based on the type of item. Items returned to the library after their due date will accrue fines according to the chart shown above (under Loan Periods, Renewals and Fines). In many cases, renewing an item before or after the due date may be possible, which will extend the loan period and prevent any additional fines from being applied until the new due date.
As of March 1, 2021, children's cards are fine-free. Children's cards are defined as those belonging to patrons under age 18. While overdue fines will not accrue on children's cards, charges may be incurred for lost or damaged materials.
Other fees the library charges include the following:
Library Cards - New cards are free for Maryland Residents, with a $1 charge for replacement cards. Out-of-state residents may obtain a Talbot County Free Library card for a one time fee of $30, which is good until the library card expires in 3 years. To renew the card, the cardholder pays another $30.00 fee.
Interlibrary Loans - Interlibrary loans from public libraries within Maryland are free of charge. Materials borrowed from outside the state of Maryland will incur a $5 fee to cover shipping charges. Non-public libraries within the state of Maryland and libraries outside the state of Maryland may charge additional interlibrary loan fees.
Damaged, Lost or Missing Items - Full replacement costs will be charged to patrons for each item lost. Fees will be charged for damage to materials and vary based on the extent of the damage up to and including the full replacement cost of the item. Fees will be charged for missing parts that accompany an item and vary depending on the type of material or part missing.
Items 51 days overdue are automatically assumed to have been lost, and a Lost status is added to the patron’s account. The library does not accept substitute materials to replace lost or damaged items.
Returned Checks - A $25 fee will be charged for returned checks.
Service Charge for Material Recovery - If an account is past due for long enough to be sent to Unique Management Services, Inc. for collections proceedings according to our Materials Recovery Program described below, a $15 service charge will be added to the balance.
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Materials Recovery Program
The Talbot County Free Library has established a materials recovery program to encourage library patrons to return books, DVDs, and other materials on time. Patrons who have long overdue materials and accumulated fines totaling $25.00 or more will be referred to Unique Management Services, Inc., a collection agency specializing in the recovery of outstanding library materials and funds.
When Items are 21 Days Past Due...
- The library sends you an overdue notice.
When Items are 55 Days Past Due...
- The library sends a final overdue notice that includes fines, fees and replacement charges.
When Items are 89 Days Past Due...
- If your account balance equals $25 or more, the library forwards your account to Unique Management Services, Inc., a library materials recovery agency.
- A service charge of $15 is added to your account.
- Unique Management Services will contact you to request the return of the overdue materials and payment of all outstanding charges.
- Over the next 120 days the collection agency will make multiple attempts to contact you.
Note: Activity on a patron's account can alter the timeline.
If you have questions about your library account related to the Materials Recovery Program, please contact the Information Services Librarian at 410-822-1626.
Thank you for helping us ensure that everyone has access to materials at the Talbot County Free Library.