Borrowing Library Items

You need a library card to check out materials from the library and online.

More information about checking out, renewing, requesting, returning, and fines and fees.

Checking Out Items

Loan Periods

Most library materials can be checked out for 3 weeks.

DVDs can be checked out for 1 week.

Fines and fees are charged for items renewed late, returned late, or never returned.

Email Reminders
You can get courtesy notices emailed to you, reminding you of items coming due 3 days before the due date. To add your email address and manage your notification preferences online, log in to your account and click "Modify Personal Information".

Courtesy notices are not a replacement for keeping track of your borrowing.You can check your items' due dates and account status by logging in to your account.

Check Out Limits

  • Books: 100
  • Books on CD: 25
  • Music CDs: 25
  • DVDs: 25
  • Lucky Day items: 2
  • E-readers: 1
  • Total items per card: 100

Download Limits

  • Cloud Library e-books: 25
  • OverDrive e-books: 25
  • RBigital audiobooks: 10
  • Freegal music: 5 songs per week

Renewing Items

  • Most items can be renewed for 3 additional loan periods, unless another person has requested the item.
  • Downloads, e-readers, and Lucky Day items cannot be renewed.

To renew your items:

Requesting / Placing Holds

Most items can be requested and sent to any Saint Paul Public Library location.

Use interlibrary loan to request items that are not owned by the Saint Paul Public Library.


  • All items: 20 requests
  • Interlibrary loan requests: 10 (including held items waiting to be picked up)

E-books and E-audiobooks

  • Cloud Library e-books: 10
  • OverDrive e-books: 10
  • RBdigital audiobooks: 10

Requests cannot be placed for:

  • board books, comic books, and readers
  • non-circulating (reference) items and some special collections
  • e-readers
  • all items from the West 7th library
  • large print book club sets from the Rondo Library

You will be notified by e-mail or telephone when your requested items arrive. You can manage your notification preference online (log in to your account and click "Modify Personal Information").

Items are held at the library for 5 days.

Freezing Hold Requests

If you have requested an item, but you want to delay when it is ready to be picked up, you can freeze the hold on that item. Freezing a request means that the your position in the hold queue is skipped over until the hold is unfrozen.

More information ...

Returning Items

Items can be returned to any Saint Paul Public Library location.

When a library is closed, please return items to after-hours book returns.

Returning to Libraries Outside of Saint Paul

You can return most items to any Twin Cities metropolitan area public library. The library will note the return date and send the items back to the Saint Paul Public Library. When they are received in Saint Paul, we will back-date the check-in to date noted by the other library. The items will still appear on your card until they are checked in at the Saint Paul Public Library.


  • "Lucky Day" collection books and DVDs must be returned to the library from which they were checked out.
  • Items borrowed through Interlibrary Loan must be returned to a Saint Paul Public Library.
  • E-readers must be returned to the library from which they were checked out.

Fines and Fees

Fees and fines can be paid in person by cash or check or online with a credit card. To pay online, log in to your account. Do not put cash or checks in book drops.

Overdue Fines

  • Adult Items - 30 cents per day; $10.20 maximum per item
  • DVDs - $1 per day; $10 maximum per item
  • E-readers - $1 per day; $10 maximum per item
  • Juvenile Items - no charge
  • Lucky Day items - $1 per day, including juvenile items

Borrowing privileges, including e-book and smARTpass checkout, are suspended for accounts owing more than $10 in fines.

Accounts that owe over $30 are automatically sent to a collection agency.

Lost Items

Bills are sent for the replacement cost of items that are long overdue.

  • Books, magazines, CDs: 42 days
  • DVDs: 18 days
  • E-readers: 18 days

The replacement fee is non-refundable. The Saint Paul Public Library does not accept customer-purchased replacements.