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FAQs

How can I get a library card?

The public library in the town where you live, work or study can provide you with a library card. Usually there is no charge for a library card. (Non-residents of Massachusetts and lost-card replacements may be exceptions.) Each library has its own procedures for giving out cards. Most libraries require you to provide some form of identification or proof of residency to obtain a card.

Does my library have free Internet or WiFi access?

Almost all of the 370 public libraries in Massachusetts have public computers with Internet access. Over 250 public libraries and 50 branches offer WiFi Internet access. Use the search tools on this Web site to find a library near you with WiFi Internet. It is a good idea to check the library’s Web site for its Internet use policies and procedures.

How do I find a book, CD or DVD online?

Use the Virtual Catalog to search for books, audio books, CDs, DVDs, E-Books and downloadable music in hundreds of Massachusetts libraries, including 90% of public libraries, the University of Massachusetts system, state and community colleges. If you have a library card, you may be able to request that the item be delivered to your local public library for pickup. Some libraries may also require a PIN. If you cannot find the item, ask your local library to locate a copy for you. Libraries regularly borrow from all over the country, and the world.

How do I find a magazine or newspaper articleonline?

It’s easy! From anywhere you have Internet access, search our Virtual Resources using your library card number.

In Massachusetts Newsstand you will find full-text articles from the most recent AND back issues of 12 Massachusetts newspapers including The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

In PowerSearch you will find full-text articles from your favorite magazines, scholarly journals, newsletters and reference books, including Time, Newsweek, Consumer Reports, Science News, Forbes, the Harvard Health Letter, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times and Fodor's Travel Guide, and National Public Radio transcripts to name a few.

If you can’t find the full text online and you have the article title, author and date, ask your local librarian to place an interlibrary loan request for the item.

Can I borrow from other libraries in Massachusetts?

Yes, in most cases, residents of Massachusetts can borrow from any public library in the state. If your library is a member of a larger library network (e.g., Minuteman, C/WMars, etc.), you can use your library card to borrow materials at any other library in that network. Otherwise, you may be required to register at the new library when you go to check out your material. Your local library can also borrow materials from other libraries for you.

Can I return items at any library?

If you borrow items from one library you may be able to return them to another. Please check with the library at which you intend to return the material. There is a statewide delivery system that moves materials between libraries, but it is the local library’s policy which determines whether they will accept the material from you. If the book is due within the next day or so, you may want to return it directly to the library that lent it to you. Overdue charges may be assessed while the material is in transit.

How can I renew a title I’ve borrowed online?

If you have taken out material from a particular library or network, you can often renew online through that network's online catalog. You will need your library card number, and a PIN. Your library can tell you how to obtain a PIN. Some libraries may not yet have this capability. In which case, you can usually call your library and renew over the phone.

How can I find a program which will help an adult or someone who does not speak English well learn to read and write better?

Check out Massachusetts Libraries Providing Literacy/ESOL Programs for a list of library literacy programs or contact the Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline at 1-800-447-8844.

What accessibility options are available to me?

The Talking Books Program can provide you with information for the Perkins School and Worcester Talking Books Library. Libraries throughout Massachusetts have a wide variety of resources which make the library and its collections and services available to people with disabilities. The Massachusetts Library Accessibility Search allows you to search for a specific accessibility solution (e.g., a Kurzweil 1000 Reader).