Borrowing FAQ Print


How do I access my account?

There are four ways to access your account. All you need is your library card.

How do I place a hold/make a request for library items?

Will I be charged for something I requested, but forgot to pick up?

Your requested items are kept on our branch hold shelves for one week.  If an adult requests an adult item and does not pick it up during that week, a $.50 fine (per item requested) will be charged to their account.

If you know you will not be able to pick up your requests that week, you can avoid the charge by cancelling your requests before they get to your library, or suspend your requests so they come in at a later date (great for vacations). See below for instructions on suspending requests online, or call your local library.

How many items can I check out?

We suggest you limit your total items to what you can keep track of, however certain types of items are limited so they can be available for all of our patrons:

Book club kits and Preschool Theme kits – limit of two requested at one time; only one may be checked out at a time

Video games – limit of three requested at one time; three checked out at one time

How long can I keep things?

Check the due date on your checkout receipt, check your account online, or call the library at 305-3600 to determine when an item is due. The due dates for any item can vary depending on the situation.

General guidelines:

Books, CDs, Audiobooks, Most Library Items
Most books and library items are due in three weeks. After a two-day grace period you will start accumulating overdue fines. If no one else has requested these items, they can be renewed for another three weeks through the online catalog, by calling us at 305-3600, or by visiting your local library.

High Demand Books and Audio
Some adult books, audiobooks and CDs that have a long waiting list will be due in two weeks. When you check out, the due date on your receipt will reflect the two-week loan. These items cannot be renewed.

Most DVDs are due in two weeks. After a two-day grace period you will start accumulating overdue fines.

High Demand DVDs
DVDs with a long wait list will be due in one week. When you check out, the due date on your receipt will reflect the one-week loan. These DVDs cannot be renewed.

Interlibrary Loan Items (ILL)
Interlibrary Loan Items are generally due in three weeks, but shorter loan periods may apply due to restrictions by the lending library. After a two-day grace period you will start accumulating overdue fines. To inquire about renewal of ILL items contact Interlibrary Loan before the due date at 305-3600 ext. 222 Monday thru Friday 8am to 5pm.

There are some exceptions to the above loan periods; please refer to your receipt for due dates.

I placed a hold on an item but I am going out of town and can't pick it up. What do I do?

You can "pause" your request. That means that you let the item pass on to someone else until you are ready to get back in line. You won't lose your place in line in the meantime. If you are first in line and pause your hold, you will be first in line when you "resume" your hold.

By pausing your requests you will avoid the $.50 fine charged when an adult requests an adult item and doesn't pick it up.

You can do this yourself, but if you want us to do it for you we would be happy to. Just give us a call: 305-3600.

How to Pause a Request

What are the library fines and fees?

Fines and Fees can be viewed on our Borrower's policy page under attachment A

You can see your fines by checking your account online:

Log in using your barcode or username and PIN. If you have any fines, the total will appear under My WCLS on the left hand side of the screen. Click on Late Fees to bring up a detailed list. 

How do I extend due dates/renew items?

Options to Extend Due Dates:

Your new due date will be three weeks (two weeks in the case of DVDs and videogames), from the date the item is renewed.

Using the Online Catalog to Extend Due Dates:

  • Login to your account using your barcode or username and PIN 
  • Click on Checked Out, under My WCLS on the left side of the screen
  • Click in the boxes beside the item(s) you wish to renew, and click the blue "Renew Selected" button, or renew individually using the "Renew" link in each item record.
  • Popup messages will tell you whether your renewals were successful or not, and why.

Where can I return materials close to home?

WCLS is a partner in the Whatcom Libraries Collaborate! One Card Program, which means your library materials can be dropped off at a location convenient to you:

If I damage an item, may I purchase a new copy and give it to the library as a replacement?

It depends on several factors. Check in with staff at your local library. They can contact or put you in touch with the selector to find out if a replacement book rather than a fee is acceptable.

How can I avoid overdue fines?

You can avoid fines by extending due dates (see instructions above), and returning materials.

Can I use a credit card to pay my fines?

Yes. From, click on Catalog, and login to your account. Click on My WCLS and then Late Fees. This will take you to the Late Fees page where you can pay online with most major credit and debit cards.

Can I get my hold and overdue notices by text message?

Library ElfYes! WCLS subscribes to Library Elf, which allows patrons to voluntarily sign up to receive their hold and overdue notices via cell phone text message or email. Families can even combine their cards and have all of their notices sent to a single phone number or multiple email addresses.
For more information, visit Library Elf home page or sign up for the first time.