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For immediate access to the catalog and to place a hold, you can register for a temporary online card by registering with our old catalog at Temporary card numbers will expire after 30 days. The Fletcher branch will make cards within 72 hours. To finish your registration and get your permanent library card, please come to the branch you designated in your registration. Be sure to bring a photo ID with your current address. If your address is not current on your ID, please bring in 2 pieces of mail with your ID showing correct address. For a permanent library account please follow the guidelines below:

  • Library cards are free to all residents of the state of Maryland.
  • Cards are issued at any Washington County Branch
  • Out-of-State Library cards are available to residents within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Viriginia) for a fee of $18/year (one card per household)

Adult Card

A state-issued photo ID and proof of address must be presented to receive a library card:

  • Maryland Drivers license with current address

If photo ID does not have the current address, please present the ID plus 2 forms of proof of current address. Acceptable forms of proof of address are:

  • Maryland voter's registration card
  • Rental receipt, lease or deed
  • Postmarked official mail (e.g. utility bill)
  • Vehicle registration
  • Checks imprinted with name and address
  • Washington County tax bill with correct address
  • Current pay stub

Juvenile Card

Children age 12 and under will be issued a Juvenile card. To receive a card the child must be accompanied by a parent/guardian with the required ID.

Student (RAIL) Cards - Raising Access to Improve Literacy

All Washington County Public School students have special Washington County Free Library accounts. RAIL cards works just like a regular library card, only there is no plastic card to carry.  It is a virtual card.  The Student RAIL number is made up of a prefix and their student ID number (Prefix + Student Number example: RAIL123456). RAIL cards are FINE FREE cards that allow students to:

  • Check out up to 6 printed items
  • Use most digital online resources and more

Young Adult(YA) Card

Minors between the ages of 13-17 will be issued a Young Adult (YA) card. To receive a card the teen must be accompanied by a parent/guardian with the required ID, or present:

  • Maryland Photo ID with current address
  • Rental receipt, lease or deed
  • Postmarked mail (must be accompanied by ID verifying name)
  • Vehicle registration
  • Checks imprinted with name and address
  • Learner’s Permit
  • If the teen already has a card, he or she may present the card to be upgraded to YA status when they turn 14. YA card holder privileges are limited to borrowing DVD's from the YA collection, but may borrow books from both the YA and Adult collections.

Lost Card

Please report lost or stolen card to library staff immediately. We can issue a new card immediately or you may use your ID to check out material if you think it was just misplaced. When your new card is issued, you will be charged a replacement fee of $1.00.

Expired Card

Library cards expire every three years in order to make sure that we have your current contact information. In order to renew your card, visit your nearest branch and have your Library card and proof of current address handy. There is no charge to renew your card for Maryland Residents.

Non-Maryland Residents within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) will have to update their cards yearly and pay the $18 renewal fee.

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The mission of the Circulation department is to give the community access to library materials in a courteous and timely manner. Circulation services include:

  • Loan Periods and Item Limits
  • Fines
  • Library Cards
  • Renewals
  • Returning Materials

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Telephone: 301-739-3250 or by calling your local branch

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Borrowing Materials

The library offers books, audiobooks on CD, DVD/BluRay movies, music CDs, and videogames for loan. You can borrow items at your local branch. If an item is checked out or unavailable at your local branch, you can place a request for the item to be delivered. You can also borrow materials for your eReader/Tablet/SmartPhone through our e-Library.

Loan periods and renewal limits on specific items are below:

  • Loan Periods, Renewal Limits
  • Books - 3 weeks, 3 renewals
  • Reading Express books/tapes - 3 weeks, no renewals
  • DVD/BluRay, feature film - 7 days, 3 renewals
  • DVD/BluRay TV series, instructional, anime and juvenile - 1 week, 3 renewals
  • Audio books - 3 weeks, 3 renewals
  • Music CD's - 3 weeks, 3 renewals
  • Videogames - 1 week, 3 renewals

Item Limits

Each card holder can borrow up to 100 total items per library card. Specific item limits are as follows:

  • Reading Express - 4 books, 4 audiobooks per card
  • DVD/BluRay all - 10 per card
  • Anime DVD/BluRay - 2 per card
  • Music CD's - 6 per card
  • Videogames - 2 per card

Borrowing - Renewals

You may renew your items online or through your local branch (in-person or over the phone).  Your library card number is required.

  • Books, Audiobooks and Music CDs may be renewed 3 times
  • DVD/BluRay and Videogames may be renewed 3 times
  • Interlibrary Loan and Reading Express items cannot be renewed

**If there is a hold on an item, it cannot be renewed even if there are renewals remaining.** To renew online:

    • go to the catalog
    • Click on Log in using your library card number and password
      Vega screen capture - Log inVega screen capture for Renew


  • You will see each item you have checked out, along with the due date and the amount of remaining renewals.
  • Select each item you would like to renew, and click "Renew"

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If the material you would like is checked out, or not available at your local branch, you may place a hold. Holds can be placed by visiting or calling your local branch, or online.

To place a hold online:


  • Find the item you would like to hold in our catalog. (for searching tips see our Basic and Advanced guides)
  • Click "Place Hold" under the item you would like to hold
    Vega screen capture - Hold
  • Enter your library card number and password then click "Log in"
  • On the next screen, select your pick-up library from the drop down menu, and your activation date, then click "Submit Request"

There is no charge to place a hold on an item. If you place a hold on an item that is listed as available, please note that holds are pulled from the shelf at 8am the following business day. You will receive notification that your hold is available for pick-up via email, text message or phone call. Please contact your local branch to change your notification options.

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You are encouraged to return library materials on time. Patrons cards issued to children and young adults under 18 will not be charged fines.  Children and YA items checked out on an Adult card will still accrue fines.   Patrons of all ages are charged for materials which are lost, damaged or never returned. The fines for overdue materials are:

  • Adult and YA books - .20¢ per day
  • Juvenile books - .10¢ per day (*applies only if item checked out under an Adult card)
  • Adult DVDs, audio books - .50¢ per day
  • Juvenile DVDs - .50¢ per day(*applies only if item checked out under an Adult card)
  • Instructional tapes and music CDs - .20¢ per day
  • Video Games - $1.00 per day
  • Anime DVDs - $1.00 per day

If your fines are $6 or more, your borrowing privileges will be suspended until the balance is below $6.  You may pay your fines online through our catalog. Click on Patron Account and log in using your library card and password. Once in your account, click Fines and Fees.


  • No card holder under the age of 18 (Juvenile and Young Adult card holders) will be charged overdue fines on materials checked out on their card.
  • Card holders under the age of 18 (Juvenile and Young Adult card holders) may be charged fees for lost or damaged materials.
  • Outreach services, which rely on a vehicle for service delivery, will not charge or collect overdue fines on materials checked out by and returned to the bookmobile. Outreach services include Bookmobile Service, homebound service to individuals and deposit collections to institutions.


Library materials may be returned to any Washington County branch.

There are after hours book drops located at all branches.

There is an audio/visual bookdrop at our Hagerstown location only. Please do not put any audio and video materials in the book drops at other locations.

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Fax services are offered at the following branches: Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Hancock, and Smithsburg. The service is offered for out-going faxes only; in-coming faxes cannot be received at library locations. The fees for this service are as follows:

In State:

  • 1st Page - $1.00 (this includes a mandatory cover sheet which is provided)
    Additional Pages - .50¢ per page

Out of State

  • 1st Page - $2.00 (this includes a mandatory cover sheet which is provided)
    Additional Pages - $1.00 per page

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