Frequently Asked Questions
Check here for answers for questions about applying for a library card, how to figure out your due date, each item’s check out length (which you may think of as their load period or how long items circulate), overdue fees or fines, reserving titles, requesting items for purchase, and what to do when you discover an item is lost.
Please use one of the following forms to apply for a Minuteman Library Network borrower card, if you do not have one already. You should print it, fill it out, and bring it with you, along with positive identification and proof of current address, to the circulation desk in one of our libraries.
- Application form in English (most fields can be filled out online before printing)
- Application form in English (must be printed and then filled out)
- Application form in Spanish (aplicación de Registro)
- Application form in Portuguese (aplicación de Registro)
- Application form in Russian (Единаярегистрационная форма )
- Application form in Chinese ()
In the Minuteman Library Network (MLN)
You may place a hold on any materials in the MLN. Holds can be placed online, in person, or over the phone. When your item comes in, you will receive an email notification, and the item will be held for you for 7 days. If you do not have email access at home, you will receive notification by phone.
You can use your online account to check the status of your holds and get up-to-the-minute information on what is being held for you.
Please remember to cancel requests for items that you no longer need or want. If you receive a notice to pickup an item that you no longer want, please call us right away to tell us so that we can cancel the request, free up the space on our hold shelf, and get the item into the hands of the next patron who wants it.
Commonwealth Catalog (ComCat)
If an item you want is not in the Minuteman catalog, your next step is to check ComCat. ComCat is comprised of multiple library networks in Massachusetts, and may have the item you are looking for.
InterLibrary Loan (ILL)
If an item is not available through MLN or ComCat, we can get almost any publication or magazine article for you through our InterLibrary Loan (ILL) program. (Unfortunately, videos and sound recordings are sometimes not available through ILL.) ILL requests can be placed online, in person, or over the phone.
|Type of Material||Loan Period (days)||Fine per day overdue||Number of Renewals||Maximum Items**|
|Adult & Teen|
|Books, Quick Picks (may not be reserved or held)||14||15¢||0||–|
|Books, Coloring (may not be reserved or held)||14||15¢||0||–|
|Magazines (latest issue does not circulate)||14||15¢||2||–|
|Books on CD, Playaways||28||15¢||2||–|
|CDs (all other)||28 (new:14)||15¢||2||–|
|DVDs and Blu-rays, Feature films & TV shows||14||50¢||2||–|
|DVDs and Blu-rays, Quick Picks (may not be reserved or held)||14||50¢||0||–|
|Cake Pans (may not be reserved or held, local pick-up/return only)||14||15¢||0||–|
|Commonwealth Catalog Interlibrary Loan||28||$2.00||0||–|
|Games, Board (no reserves/local pick-up/return only)||28||15¢||0||–|
|Games, Console/Video (local reserve, local pick-up/return only)||14||50¢||2||2|
|Personal Electronics, iPads & Rokus||14||50¢||2||1 (of each type)|
|Personal Electronics, iPads & Rokus, Quick Picks (may not be reserved or held)||14||50¢||0||1 (of each type)|
|Telescopes (local reserve/pick-up/return only)||28||15¢||2||1|
|Vinyl Records (local reserve/pick-up/return only)||28||15¢||2||–|
|Wi-Fi Hotspots (local reserve/pick-up/return only)||14||15¢||2||1|
|Wi-Fi Hotspots, Quick Picks (may not be reserved or held, local pick-up/return only)||14||15¢||0||1|
|Worldcat Interlibrary Loan||28||$1.00||0||–|
|CDs (music and spoken word)||28||5¢||2||5|
|Book and CD packages||28||5¢||0||5|
|DVDs and Blu-rays||14||50¢||2||5|
** Additional limits may be imposed because of temporary high demand, especially for school assignments, at the discretion of the librarian.
Summer Specials/Vacation Loans
Starting June 15, the Library allows patrons to borrow most Brookline-owned materials for the entire summer, with a due date of September 15. Just ask at checkout for the items as “Summer Specials.” Because we have to change the due date manually on these items, all “summer-specials” checkouts must be handled by staff and cannot be done at our self-check stations.
The following materials are not available for summer loan:
- Items added to the collection in the current or prior year
- Books on school reading lists
- Books on CD may be borrowed, but multi-part sets may not be split
- Check with the Children’s room for restrictions on Children’s materials
We encourage patrons to renew any Brookline items they cannot locate and take the time to search thoroughly for missing items before paying for them.
Library staff will check the shelves in the hope that the item can be found before payment is made.
No refunds will be issued for lost Brookline items after payment is made.
Payment may be made in person with cash or check or you may pay using a credit card in the My Account section of the Minuteman library catalog.
In lieu of payment, new replacement copies of the same format are authorized at the discretion of the Department Head or designee.
If you returned the item late in the previous day or in the book drop, give us a few hours after opening time to process the returns. If it is still on your account the next day, give us a call or send an email, explaining the situation. Our staff processes more than 1,000,000 returns per year and occasionally misses an item. It is our policy to accept your word that up to two items were returned but failed to get checked in properly.
We give the item in question a status of “Claims Returned”. This allows us to generate a report of such items and search our shelves for them. If the item is found, you will not be charged overdue fines. In any case, you will not be billed for your first two “Claims Returned” items.
After you have had two “Claims Returned” items, we advise that you not return items in our book drops, but bring them into the library and return them directly to a staff member instead. You may want to ask for a receipt so that there is no question that all of your items were checked in properly.
If you have more than two “Claims Returned” items, you will be billed for the third item and any subsequent “claims returned” items.
Please be aware that we can only mark Brookline-owned items “Claims Returned.” It is Minuteman Library Network (MLN) policy that patrons must ask the owning library for a claims returned, even though you borrowed the item from Brookline. Please see About Member Libraries for contact information for other MLN libraries.
Please do not leave returned items on top of a bookdrop, sticking out of a bookdrop, or on the ground if the bookdrop is overflowing. It is better that you keep the item and return it late than leave it where someone could easily steal it. When returning items inside the library, we recommend that you do not just leave items on top of a busy circulation desk, but stick them into the slots provided, if you do not have time to wait for a staff member to process the checkin in front of you.
In addition to viewing your account online at My Account, you can sign up for email or text alerts.
Email notification setup:
You can add your email address to your account over the phone, in person, or online.
To set up email notification online:
- Go to My Account
- Enter your barcode number and your PIN
- If your account does not already have a PIN assigned, see PIN instructions here
- To add or change your e-mail address, click “Modify Personal Information”
- Fill in your email address
- Click submit and close the window
Text message notification setup:
The Minuteman Library Network uses Shoutbomb text services to allow patrons to:
- Receive notices about holds ready for pickup, renewal reminders, and overdue items
- Send a text to renew items or check your fine balance
- Get reminders about your account status before hitting fine limits or expiration date
To set up text message notification, text SIGNUP to 508-507-2560, then reply to the Shoutbomb messages with your library card number. Within an hour, you will receive several introductory messages.
To learn more about the Shoutbomb service, visit the Minuteman Library Network site.
Troubleshooting email notices
In rare cases, you may find that you are not getting your email notices, even if you used to. This is probably because your email provider has changed its algorithm for determining whether messages are junk or spam. If so, see troubleshooting tips here.
- Museum passes are only available to Brookline residents and Town of Brookline employees with valid library cards and less than $10 in fines.
- Only one pass may be reserved per library card per day. Passes for the same museum may not be borrowed on the same library card on consecutive days. You may have up to four passes reserved at any one time.
- Reservations may be made up to eight weeks in advance.
- All passes must be picked up from the Brookline Village library at 361 Washington Street.
- Paper “ticket” passes are available UP TO SEVEN DAYS prior to your scheduled visit or by noon on the day of the reservation (2pm on Sunday for Sunday passes). All passes may be given away on a first come/first served basis if not picked up by the times listed above. Please call us at 617-730-2370 if you are running late. These passes do not need to be returned. The library cannot reissue a pass once it has been picked up.
- The JFK Library & Musuem pass is a hard-copy pass that must be returned after use and is available ONE DAY prior to your scheduled visit, or by noon on the day of the reservation (2pm on Sunday for Sunday passes). All passes may be given away on a first come/first served basis if not picked up by the times listed above. Please call us at 617-730-2370 if you are running late. These passes must be returned by opening hour the day after use. Passes may be returned in the Brookline Village book drop when the library is closed. Passes returned late are subject to a $10 fine and lost passes to a $25 fee.
- You must cancel your reservation if you will not be able to use the pass. This will help our community maximize the use of this service. You can cancel it online yourself until the day before. After that, call us at 617-730-2370 and we will cancel it for you.
How do I get on the Internet in the Library?
You are welcome to use computers and other devices in the Public Library of Brookline. Most library-owned computers are loaded with standard software similar to the programs found in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and provide access to the Internet. You may also use our free WiFi service to access the Internet from your own computer or other device.
When you use a computer or other device, whether your own or library-owned, in the library you agree to adhere to the library’s Acceptable Use Policy.
WiFi is turned off 10 minutes before the library closes.
Don’t lose your work: please send your messages, save your files, and start getting ready to leave the building 10 minutes before closing.
Network ID: LibraryWiFi
WiFi connection provided to the library free of charge by RCN. It is a 50 mbps download/10 mbps upload connection.
Cost: Black and white printing costs 15 cents per page. Color printing (available at Brookline Village or Coolidge Corner) costs 40 cents per page.
To print wirelessly from a personal laptop or other device, please register here. You will then receive an email detailing your printing options.
To print from a library-owned computer, click the print command in any program. In a browser, we recommend that you print preview the web page first and then use the print command to print only the pages you want. This can save you a lot of money. Confirm that you want to print, and then proceed to a print release station.
If you used your library card to access the computer you printed from, you will use that card number to release your print job. If you used an express station, you will need to type in the station number you were on. If you used the wireless printing service, you need to type in the code you received in the confirmation email.
The Brookline Council on Aging (COA), in cooperation with the Public Library of Brookline, can set up delivery and return of library items for homebound seniors.
- The first step is to contact the volunteer coordinator of COA at 617-730-2777 and say that you wish to set up Homebound Library Delivery Services for yourself or an elderly relative or friend.
- The COA Volunteer Coordinator will interview and try to find a Delivery Volunteer* to work with the homebound client.
- Then, the COA Volunteer Coordinator will contact the Library Liaison responsible for pulling the items.
- The Library Liaison will call the Client and discuss his or her reading preferences, and then try to find materials that fit the profile. The homebound person can always specify specific titles and authors, as well, and the library staff member will reserve items from our own collection and from other Minuteman libraries as appropriate.
- When a batch of library materials is ready for delivery, the Library Liaison will call the Delivery Volunteer and arrange for delivery. Most homebound clients work out a regular (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) schedule with their delivery volunteers, and the Library Liaison works within that framework.
- All circulating library materials are available for home delivery: books, large print books, books on CD, DVDs, music CDs, magazines, etc.
- Homebound clients are never fined and will never receive an overdue notice.
* If you would like to be a Delivery Volunteer, please contact the Council on Aging (617-730-2777) and ask for the Volunteer Coordinator.
Please click here for the Minuteman Library Network-wide policy concerning new and high demand feature films.
First, make sure that the item is not already in the library catalog. If you’re not sure, please feel free to ask at any of our branches, or call the reference desk of the Brookline Village at (617) 730-2369.
If the item is not new, consider asking us to get it via inter-library loan; it is likely to be available in another library, and is less likely to be in print. Again, contact any of the branches.
Then, fill out our purchase request form.