Card and Lending Guidelines

Card and Lending Guidelines

Getting a Library Card

Library cards are free! Anyone who lives or works in Tompkins County is eligible for a library card. Library accounts are active for three years and information is verified at three years to keep cards active. Two things are required to get a card:

  1. Photo ID
  2. Proof of current address (piece of mail, digital receipt on phone, et al)

Register in person or online at
Homebound patrons may also call the library at 607 272 4557 to register and receive their card and books by mail. Patrons without photo ID and/or proof of address may speak with staff about card options.

Children ages birth to 12 must have a parent/responsible adult present to verify their
information. Caregivers may opt their children out of Internet access at time of registration.

Using Your Library Card

Please bring your card with you to the library and present it at time of checkout. Replacement cards are free. You may check out a total of 50 items at a time.


  Limit Holds Loan Period Renewals
Total per card 50 20 3 weeks 6, if no holds
Books 50 20 3 weeks 6, if no holds
Media (CDs, DVDs, et al) 50 20 3 weeks 6, if no holds
Magazines 20 NA 3 weeks 6, if no holds
Library of Things 5 NA Varies NA
Finger Lakes Library System Items 20 20 Varies Varies

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)*

*subject to fines and fees

20 5 Varies Varies
Libby (digital) 5 5 3 weeks NA
Hoopla (digital) 5/month Instant

Books 3 weeks

Videos 72 hours

Music 1 week

Kanopy (digital) unlimited Instant 48 to 72 hours NA

Cardholders have unrestricted access to the collections. The library does not act in loco parentis and caregivers are responsible for children’s access oversight.


Material drops are located on the external side of the building along Green Street and inside at the Circulation Desk. You may return TCPL items to any FLLS member library. Member libraries are any public library within our five-county service area consisting of Tompkins, Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga.


You may borrow items that are currently checked out or from other FLLS libraries by placing a hold. You may place a hold via our online catalog or call for assistance. You will receive notification when it is available for pickup.

Hold pickups are now self-serve! Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by borrower surname and are located next to the New Books.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Out of System Interlibrary Loans are available. If you would like to renew an ILL, please make your
request at least 3 days prior to the due date. Late fees are $1.00 per day.


Self-Checkout stations are available with your library card and PIN. Your account must be in good
standing to use self-check service.

Fines and Fees

TCPL is Fine Free!

Items are considered lost when they are 30 days overdue. Lost items may incur replacement fees. Borrowing privileges may be suspended once an account balance reaches $25.00 dollars in fees or ten overdue items. TCPL accepts replacement copies if they are new and the same edition or newer than the item it is replacing. Media replacements should be in the original sealed packaging.

  • Tompkins County Public Library accepts cash, check, debit card, and credit card as payment.
  • Checks can be made payable to "Tompkins County Public Library."
  • We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover for fees over $5. If you pay online, we also accept PayPal. We do not accept American Express and Diners' Club.
  • The replacement cost and processing fees are non-refundable once an item is paid for or replaced

*Interlibrary loan materials from outside the Finger Lakes Library System are subject to fines and fees at the discretion of the lending/owning library and cannot be waived.

Originally published 10/26/16. Revised and approved by Board of Trustees 01/22/19, 2023.