Borrowing from the Library

Library Cards

  • Anyone who lives in or owns property in Scotch Plains is entitled to a free library card, which must be renewed every three years. 
  • To obtain a card, visit the Library with proof of residence in Scotch Plains and a photo ID (such as a current drivers license, utility bill, or bank statement).
  • Lost cards can be replaced in-person at the circulation desk. There is a $1.00 replacement fee per card.
  • A non-resident who does not live in a reciprocal borrowing (MURAL) area and who works in Scotch Plains is entitled (with proof of employment) to a “Courtesy Card”. This card may be renewed annually as long as the cardholder maintains their employment in Scotch Plains.
  • A non-resident who wishes to purchase a one year membership at the Scotch Plains Public Library may do so–the fee is $90.00 per card.

Once your Scotch Plains Library card is issued, please bring it with you each time you visit the library. This will allow you to check out materials, use our convenient self-checkout stations, and access public computers and printers. If you don’t have your card, we can look up your information with valid I.D. such as a driver’s license. If you don’t have your library card or valid I.D. you will not be able to check out materials.

Lending Policies & Lengths

  • Items eligible for renewal will renew automatically one time. No items may be renewed if there have been holds (reservations) placed on them.
  • Holds may be placed on all items, except for magazines, Chromebooks, mobile hotspots, and the telescope.
  • The Library is no longer charging overdue fines for most items. See below for details.
  • You may borrow 2 new (adult) DVDs, plus 4 DVDs from the adult collection, plus 4 DVDs from the juvenile collection.
ItemLimitLoan LengthRenewal?Fine per Day
New Books3Two WeeksYes
High Demand Books3Two WeeksNo$1
Adult & YA Books25Four WeeksYes
Childrens’ Books40Four WeeksYes
Magazines4Two WeeksNo
New Adult DVDs2One WeekNo
Adult DVDs4Two WeeksNo
Childrens’ DVDs4Two Weeks No
Books on CD: Adult6Four WeeksYes
Books on CD: Child3Four WeeksYes
Early Literacy Kits1Two WeeksNo$5
S.T.E.A.M. Kits1Two WeeksNo$5
Health Literacy Totes1Two WeeksNo$5
Mobile Hotspot1Two WeeksNo$10
Chromebook1Two WeeksNo$10
Telescope1One WeekNo$10

New Fine-Free Policy

The Library is no longer charging overdue fines for most items. Removing this barrier to equitable access will allow more people to enjoy our materials for education, enrichment and inspiration. This policy was approved by the Board of Trustees in October of 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Items Will Still Have Fines?

Fines will be charged if the following items are returned after their due date:

  • Books that are in High Demand by the community ($1 per day)
  • Interlibrary loan items ($1 per day)
  • Kits — these currently include Health Literacy Kits, Early Literacy Kits, STEM and STEAM kits ($5 per day)
  • Technology items — these currently include Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots ($10 per day)
  • Our telescope ($10 per day)

What Happens If I Have Overdue Items?

Once you have two or more overdue items, you will not be able to borrow any additional items until the overdue materials are returned. Overdue notices will be issued to you seven, fourteen, and twenty-one days after the due date.

What Happens If I Have *Really* Overdue Items?

Once any item is twenty-one days overdue, it will be considered lost and you will be mailed a bill for the unreturned item. The bill will represent the value of the item plus a processing fee. You will not have to pay the bill if you return the item to the Library in good condition.

What About My Existing Fines?

Existing fines will be forgiven, and we encourage anyone with overdue items to return them and clear their account. Fees for lost or damaged items will remain until paid.

What If I Am Having Trouble Returning Items?

If you are experiencing unusual difficulties in returning library materials, or paying fines or fees, please contact the Library Director.

Why Have We Changed the Fine Policy?

Fines can create a barrier to equitable use of the Library, and they have not been shown to be effective in encouraging users to return items. Libraries across the country have joined the movement to eliminate them, and are finding no adverse effects.

Will There Still Be Due Dates?

There will still be a due date for each item that is checked out. Library materials are for the shared use of the whole community, and we expect the return of items on or before this date.

MURAL Reciprocal Borrowing

MURAL patrons may borrow all materials, with the exception of Great Courses DVDS, kits, test prep books, technology items, and electronic materials. All services, including reserves, are available to out-of-town members. Interlibrary loans or purchase requests must be originated through a cardholder’s home library.

MURAL membership is issued for a one-year period. Each year MURAL cardholders must renew their membership by providing proof of valid membership in their home library.