FAQs

 How can I get a library card?
 Does my library have free Internet or Wi-Fi access?
 How do I find a book, CD, or DVD online?
 How do I find a magazine or newspaper article online?
 Can I borrow from other libraries in Massachusetts?
 Can I return items at any library?
 Can I renew an item online?
 Does my library offer classes for new Americans or people learning English as a second language?
 What accessibility options are available to me?

How can I get a library card?

The public library in the town where you live, work, or study can help you get a library card. There is no charge for a library card, though some towns may ask a small fee for out-of-state residents or lost card replacements.

Each library has its own procedures for giving out cards. Most libraries will ask you for a form of identification or proof of residency, such a driver's license and a piece of mail showing your current address.

Does my library have free Internet or Wi-Fi access?

Almost all of the 370 public libraries in Massachusetts have public computers with Internet access. Over 250 public libraries and 50 branches offer Wi-Fi.

Find a library with free Internet access near you. Before your first visit, check the library's website for its computer use policies.

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

The first place you'll want to look is in your local library's catalog. You can find your library's catalog through its website or on public computers at the library building. If you're new to library services in Massachusetts, start by searching for a library near you.

You can also try searching the statewide Commonwealth Catalog for books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and more. If you have a library card, you can request that the item be delivered to your local public library for pickup.

If you're having trouble finding a specific item, you can ask your local librarians to help locate a copy for you.

How do I find a magazine or newspaper article online?

The Resources & Articles page provides quick links to full-text archives of The Boston Globe and The New York Times, plus other collections of popular magazines and academic journals. If you're in Massachusetts or logged in from afar with a Massachusetts library card, you can access it all instantly, free of charge.

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 (for instance, Minuteman or C/W MARS), you can use your library card to borrow materials at any other library in that network.

If your home library is not a member of a network, you may be required to register if you check out materials from a different library. Your local library can also borrow materials from other libraries on your behalf.

Can I return items at any library?

If you borrow items from one library, you usually can return them to another.

• If you haven't done this before, check with the library you're planning to return your items to.

• 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 might accrue while the material is in transit.

Can I renew an item online?

You can typically renew materials online through your network's catalog. You'll need to set up an account with your library card number and a PIN or password. Your library can help you do this, or you can find instructions on your catalog's website.

Alternatively, you can call your library and renew items over the phone. Be sure to have your library card at the ready.

Does my library offer classes for new Americans or people learning English as a second language?

Many libraries throughout Massachusetts offer classes and other resources for new Americans and people looking to build their English speaking, reading, and writing skills. Search for libraries offering adult literacy, English as a second language, and U.S. citizenship classes.

What accessibility options are available to me?

The Talking Books Program can provide you with information for the Perkins School for the Blind 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 specific resources and equipment (e.g., a Kurzweil 1000 Reader, wheelchair accessible meeting rooms).