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Register for a Library Card

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Photo of Washington County Free Library Card

 

A library card allows you to...

  • Check out, download, and stream library materials in person and online.
  • Access in-branch services, including meeting rooms and technology.
  • Manage your account in the library, at home, or on your smart device. Request items, place holds, renew materials, and more!

 


 


Library Cards for Different Library Users

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Young child poses with Librarian standing on knees in front of children's bookshelf
Children's Card

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

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Children sitting at blue tables making sign language letters with hands.
Student (RAIL) Cards - Raising Access to Improve Literacy

All Washington County Public School students have special WCFL accounts that work just like a regular library card, only there is no plastic card to carry.

Using a RAIL Card

Using your RAIL Card

All Washington County Public School students have special Washington County Free Library accounts! Students can check out up to six items and use most digital online resources.

What is RAIL?

RAIL(Raising Access to Improve Literacy) will put you on the right track to finding a world full of information and learning tools available from the public library. 

With the RAIL card, students can:

  • Check out books!
  • Access Digital Library services to check out ebooks, audiobooks, and more!
  • Access Washington County Free Library premium online resources including:
    • Literacy and curriculum resources
    • College and career resources
    • Language learning resources
    • Test prep resources
    • Free homework help
    • and MORE!

RAIL accounts are fine free, but you still need to return the books!

How does it work?

RAIL works just like a regular library card, only there is no plastic card you have to carry. It is a virtual card. Your RAIL number is made up of a prefix and your student ID number (see example below).

How do I use RAIL at the library?

It's easy! When you check out a book, just tell the WCFL staff that you are a WCPS student and tell them your student number. You can also show them your student ID card if you have one.

How do I use the library's catalog, digital library, and other online resources?

Your RAIL card works just like a regular library card. Any time the library's website asks for your library card number, just enter your RAIL number. The password is set to the student lunch card number.

Prefix + Student Number (Example: rail123456)

r a i l _ _ _ _ _ _

Is there a RAIL-type card for educators?

As part of WCFL's partnership with Washington County Public Schools, WCPS educators and administrators can show library staff their staff ID to set up fine free educator access on their library account. You can check out items for lesson planning, professional development, research, classroom examples, student books clubs, and more!

For more information, call your branch library or visit the WCPS Department of Library Media LibGuide.

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Three teens standing with arms extended like Spider Man.
Young Adult (YA) Cards

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 valid proof of current address.

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People sitting around a table in Western Maryland Room with a laptop.
Adult Library Card

For adults 18 years and older. A state-issued photo ID and proof of address must be presented to receive a library card.

 

Using Your Card

Borrow 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 (or any branch in the WCFL system!). You can also borrow materials for your smart device through our Digital Library services. Each cardholder can borrow up to 100 items per library card. 

Loan periods, renewal limits, and item limits on specific items are below:

Item

 Loan Period 

 Renewal Limit 

Item Limit per Card

Books

3 weeks

3 renewals

 

Reading Express Books & Audiobooks

3 weeks

No renewals

4 Books, 4 Audiobooks

DVD/Blu-rays

1 week

3 renewals

10 DVD/Blu-rays 

(Limit of 2 Anime DVD/Blu-rays)

Audiobooks

3 weeks

3 renewals

 

Music CDs

2 weeks

3 renewals

6 Music CDs

Videogames

2 weeks

3 renewals

2 Videogames

Interlibrary Loan

 

No renewals

 

 

Request Materials

If an item is checked out or unavailable at your branch, you can place a request for the item to be delivered to your local branch for pick up. 

 

Renew Materials

If there is an active hold on an item from another cardholder in the system, the item cannot be renewed. 

You can renew items but visiting the online catalog, logging in with your library card number and password. 

  • After logging in, you will see a summary of checkouts, holds, and fines on the account. Select your name again to see your Bookshelf. Under the My Bookshelf tab, you will see Checkouts, Holds, Fines and Fees, and Profile. Select the Checkouts tab for a listing of items currently checked out. Then, choose the items that you would like to renew and select "Renew."

You can renew items by visiting your branch library or calling your library. You will need your library card number.

 

Return Materials 

Borrowed items can be returned to any Washington County Free Library location or book drop. 

If you accrue fines or fees of $6.00 or more, borrowing privileges may be suspended. Information about fines and fees is available under Frequently Asked Questions. 

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can do so much with your library card! 

  • Read, listen, and watch all kinds of things with your card. The library catalog has a wide range of books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, movies, music, and more. 
  • Borrow and stream even more from anywhere and at any time with our Digital Library services. 
  • Use free public computers by signing in with your library card and password. 
  • Research using our premium digital resources to find answers from trusted informational sources. 

You do not need a library card to attend library programs or reserve rooms!

 

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

See Using Your RAIL Card for more information.      
 

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, the card may be presented at any branch library for the account to be upgraded to YA status when the cardholder turns 14. 

If you do not have proof of address currently available, call Circulation Services at the Fletcher Library for further assistance. 

 

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 https://catalog.wmrl.info/polaris/patronaccount/selfregister.aspx?ctx=8…;

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. For a permanent library account please follow the guidelines below:

  • Library cards are free to all residents of the state of Maryland.
  • Out-of-State Library cards are available to residents within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) for a fee of $18/year.

 

Out-of-State Library cards are available to residents within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) for a fee of $18/year. 

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 a new card is issued, you will be charged a replacement fee of $1.00.
 

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.

 

When you receive your library card, you selected a password. The password is typically 4 digits.

To reset your password, use the "Forgot your Password?" link from the account page and enter your library card number. An email will be sent to the email address on file for your account.

If you do not know your library card number or the email associated with your account has changed, please contact your local branch to assist you.

 

You are encouraged to return library materials on time. If your fines and fees are $6.00 or more, borrowing privileges may be suspended. Cardholders 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 on Adult card- .10¢ per day
  • Adult DVDs, audio books - .50¢ per day
  • Juvenile DVDs on an Adult card- .50¢ per day 
  • Instructional tapes and music CDs - .20¢ per day
  • Video Games - $1.00 per day
  • Anime DVDs - $1.00 per day

Cards issued to juveniles and young adults under 18 will not be charged late fines. Juvenile and YA items checked out on an Adult card will still accrue fines. 

Bookmobile and 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. This includes Bookmobile Service, homebound service to individuals, and deposit collections to institutions.

 


If the material you would like is checked out, or not available at your local branch, you may place a hold.  To place a hold online:

 

  • Find the item in the Catalog
  • Click "Place Hold" under the item you wish to request
  • 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 if you have a date that you will not need the request after, select it from here.  Then click "Confirm Location"
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Screen capture to place hold in Vega

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 yourlocal branch to change your notification options.

If you have forgotten your Password, first try the last 4 digits of your phone number.

If that doesn't work: click "forgot your password."

If we have your correct email address on file, you will receive an email within 30 minutes containing your password.

If you do not have an email address or you do not receive an email with your password within 30 minutes, please call your local branch to reset your password and update your record.

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Vega screen capture - Forgot Password

We want to make sure you are getting your email notifications in a timely manner.  If notifications are not coming through, please take the following steps to make sure your email program is set up to receive messages from us:

Step 1: Make sure your email address is correct in our system:

  • Call or visit your local branch  -or-
  • Update your contact information by going to https://www.washcolibrary.org and clicking on My Account > Log in with your library card number and password > Click on "Contact Information and Preferences" to update your contact information.

Step 2: Check your Spam Folder -- Sometimes our messages get filtered as Spam

  • If a message from donotreply@washcolibrary.org is in your Spam folder, click or check the message and choose the "not spam" option to send it back to your inbox and prevent similar messages from going to Spam in the future
  • Refer to your email service's help pages for specifics

Step 3: Add donotreply@washcolibrary.org to your contacts or safe senders list

  • In most cases, this will prevent messages from being blocked or sent to Spam
  • Refer to your email service's help pages for specifics

Your email provider may have more tips regarding not getting messages.  Here are some common providers and links to their relevant help sections:

AOL -- https://help.aol.com/articles/fFix-problems-reading-or-receiving-aol-mail
Yahoo! -- https://help.yahoo.com/kb/emails-arent-received-yahoo-mail-sln28074.html 
Gmail -- https://support.google.com/a/answer/55299?hl=en
MSN/Hotmail -- https://bit.ly/36MpjyH

 

Ask A Librarian!

Have a question? Chat with us, email, or call your preferred branch during business hours. Send us an email anytime.

Ask a Librarian