Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How do I get a library card? Bring a photo ID with current address (if ID address isn’t current, bring an additional item showing your name and current address such as a utility bill, rent receipt, or mail) to any branch and complete an application form. Parents or legal guardians must co-sign for minors under 16.
  2. I had a library card several years ago. Is it still valid?Cards expire after three years. To renew or replace an expired card, present it and/or current ID with proof of address at the customer service desk.
  3. I lost/can’t find my card. What should I do? Call the library immediately to block your card from being used by someone else. You can get a replacement card for free with proof of ID or, if you find your card, reactivate it by showing proof of ID and the card at the customer service desk.
  4. How do I check the status of my card? You can view your account online 24/7 by logging into our Catalog and entering your account number and some identifying information. Here you can check your library card activity such as items currently checked out to you, status of items on hold, overdue or lost items, and fines or other charges on your record. You can also renew items online. You may also call the Library for information about your account. Please have your account number ready when you call. Staff cannot read out titles over the phone, but can answer specific questions about items on your account and renew items for you.
  5. How do I find a particular book, movie or CD? You can search for items in the Library Catalog several ways:
    • By KEYWORD – Use Keyword if you aren’t sure of the title or want several items about a subject. Use significant or unique words from the title or words identifying the subject you want. Omit “a”, “an”, “the” or “and”.
    • By TITLE – Use Title to find a specific item when you know the title. Omit the words “a”, “an”, or “the” used at the start of the title. You don’t need to enter the complete title, just enough of it to narrow the resulting list. For example, to find “Delivering knock your socks off service”, entering just “Delivering k” locates the title in an alphabetic list.
    • By AUTHOR/NAME – Use Author/Name to locate items by or about someone. Use “last name, first name” format.
  6. How do I place a hold/request an item?You can place holds/request items yourself through the catalog on this website. Library staff can also place holds for you by phone or at the desk. To place a hold online:
    • Search for the desired item in the Library Catalog by Title, Author/Name or Keyword
    • Click the “hold” button in the short record or, if viewing the long record, below the cover image
    • Follow instructions on the screen to enter your library card number, last name, and last four digits of your phone number then click on Enter
    • Select a pickup location using the drop down menu
    • Click on Place Hold. A box will appear to show the hold was placed or notify you if it was not.
    • If you have trouble placing a hold, call library staff 963-5244, ext 2
  7. How do I find out if my holds are ready to pick up or where I am on the waiting list? The Library’s automated notification system will contact you one of two ways: first by email then by telephone message. Items stay on the hold shelf for 7 days. Call the Library to update your record when your address, email or telephone number changes.You can also check the status of your holds online through the Catalog. Enter your library card number, last name, and last four digits of your telephone number. Click on Holds. A Status of “Ready for pickup” and a “Pickup by” date displays if the item is ready for you. A Status of “Intransit sent” displays when the item is on it’s way to your branch. To find where you are in the holds list for a “Request pending” item, click on the title, the information will be just below the item information.
  8. How do I get an item not in the catalog?There are several ways:
    • If you didn’t find the item in the catalog and it was published more than six months ago, they  may be available through our Interlibrary Loan program. We can borrow books for you from other libraries throughout the country. This process can take three or more weeks. Staff at the Information Desk or by telephone can submit a request for you.
    • You can suggest the Library purchase new/recently published items by telephone or in person at the library.
  9. Can I renew items online?Yes. Go to the Library Catalog and enter the requested information to access your account. Click Checked Out and sort the list by Due Date. Click the box next to each item you wish to renew then click on Renew Selected Items. Note the new due date for each item. Some items may not renew due to:
    • outstanding holds [requests] by other people
    • item already renewed two times
    • item is in the STARS collection
    • item is an Interlibrary Loan or SuperSearch item
    • fines/fees of $10 or more
    • library card expired/about to expire.

    Call the Library for further assistance. We may be able to renew the items or can tell you why they aren’t renewable.

  10. Can I renew items by telephone? Yes, when the Library is open. Call 963-5244, ext 2 during library hours. Have your library card number ready and a staff member will assist you.
  11. How much is the fine/late fee for overdue items?
    • Adult material .25 cents per day
    • Young Adult material .25 cents per day
    • Children’s material no charge
    • Maximum fine $10.00
    • Lost material Cost of item plus a $10.00 processing fee

    Late fees begin the day after the item was due. Late items can sometimes be renewed, call the Library for assistance. Late fees apply for the time between the due date and the day the item is renewed.

  12. How do I pay fines/late fees? You can pay by cash or check at the Library’s service desk. You always get a receipt showing the amount paid by item. You can also pay by mail. Send a check for the amount owed payable to St. Helena Public Library. Write your library card number on the check so the correct account is credited.
  13. An item I checked out is lost or damaged. What do I do? To replace lost items, the Library charges the cost of the item plus a non-refundable $10 processing fee. A receipt is issued when you pay for a lost item. If you find a lost item within one year of paying for it, bring it to the Library along with the receipt and the cost of the item can be refunded. If an item is damaged beyond repair we will charge the total cost of replacement. Bring damaged items to the service desk to determine if there is a damage fee. If you would like to donate a book rather than pay for the cost of replacement, please ask staff for suggestions. We will accept new or like new books of titles that are needed in our collection in lieu of the replacement cost. The $10 processing fee still applies.
  14. How do I volunteer at the Library? See volunteer information page
  15. Does the Library accept donations of books, DVD’s, etc.? See donations page
  16. What time is Storytime? See Kids page or events link above.