Borrowing

Person posing with book in first floor reading area of CLP-Main in Oakland

The Library offers you thousands of items to borrow, from books, DVDs, CDs, music scores and magazines to downloadable books, music, movies and more. All you need is your library card for access!

For the most current services and return time information, please visit carnegielibrary.org/reopening. 

How many items may I borrow and for how long?

For most materials, you may borrow up to 999 physical items at a time for a three week period. If you need more time, you can renew the item(s) up to six times as long as no one else is waiting for them. Don’t worry about missing a due date – eligible items will automatically renew on or shortly before their due date.

Your library card also gives you access to streaming and downloadable items, which you can access from anywhere with an internet connection.

A few item types have specific limits.

Bestsellers: Bestseller books have a 3 week loan period. Bestseller DVDs have a 1 week loan period. All materials marked as Bestsellers are not renewable.

Video games: All Video games have a 3 week loan period. Video games not renewable.


Returning Items

Items may be returned to any public library (not school or university libraries) within Allegheny County and will be checked in from your account on the day received. Items returned to book drops will be checked in the day received. Items returned to outdoor book drops after the Library is closed will be back-dated to the previous day’s date as long as they are in the first collection of materials prior to 8 AM.

Renewing Materials

Need more time to finish that book? We understand. You can extend the time you have on most of our items by renewing them. Many items will even renew automatically!

As of February 9th, 2020, all eligible items you have checked out will renew automatically on or shortly before its due date. You are able to extend your loan period up to 6 times as long as there are no other holds on the material.

If you’d prefer to do this manually, there are several ways to renew materials:

  • Online through My Account in the library catalog
  • Through our automated telephone renewal service: 412.622.1895
  • By calling or visiting your local library during business hours

What you’ll need to renew materials:

  • Your Library Card Number
  • Your Library PIN
  • The barcodes of any items you wish to renew (if you’re renewing over the phone)

Renewal limits:

  • Most items may be renewed up to 6 times as long as no one is waiting for that item (someone has placed a hold on that item).
  • Interlibrary Loans (items borrowed from outside the county libraries) may be renewed once only.
  • You cannot renew items if the item is designated a Bestseller.

Late Fees

If an item is overdue, a late fee of 30 cents per day, per item will apply. Late fees on all children’s materials are 20 cents per day, per item. Certain specialized items may have different overdue fees. Examples of this include musical instruments or wireless hotspots, which carry overdue fees of $1/day.

Late fees stop accruing once the replacement cost of each item is reached. You can continue to check out items if you owe $10.00 or less. There are no late fees for streaming and downloadable materials.

Lost or Damaged Materials

Library materials that are lost or remain unreturned after six weeks from the due date are automatically billed to your account.

You may also be charged for items that are damaged during your loan period.

Bills include a $5 processing fee to cover re-cataloging, processing, labels, barcodes, etc. If you find a lost item after you pay for it, you may be entitled to a refund. The Library does not accept replacement items. You may arrange a payment plan or make partial payments on lost Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh items.


We promise to:

  • Protect the confidentiality of your records in accordance with the law and our policies.
  • Provide equal and fair access to all cardholders.
  • Work with you to resolve account issues in a fair manner.
  • Provide and maintain a collection of materials to meet our customers’ needs.
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