How do I ... ?
Click on the links below for the answers to our most asked questions:
- How do I get library membership?
- How do I get a PIN for my library card?
- How do I change my PIN?
- How do I change my address/email/phone number?
- How do I place a request for an item?
- How do I know when my request is ready to be picked up?
- How do I cancel a request?
- How do I renew an item?
- How do I suggest an item to be bought for the library collection?
- How can I avoid library fees?
For the answers to other frequently asked questions, please use the index below.
Where can I use my library card?
Your library card can be used at any of the ACT's public libraries.
How many items can I borrow?
You can borrow a maximum of 50 items per membership.
How long can I borrow items?
The borrowing period is up to four weeks (28 days). Some limits apply, for example all items with three or more requests are considered to be in high demand and may be borrowed for a maximum of two weeks (14 days).
To renew an item you will need your library membership card.
Renewals can be made in any of the following ways:
- Go to My Account on the library catalogue
- Log into My Account using your library membership number and PIN
- Go to the Checked Out tab, select the items you want to renew and follow the instructions on the screen to renew them
- Check the due date for each of the items is correct and log out of your membership record
Note: If your items are more than 7 days overdue, you will need to phone or visit the library, rather than renew online
- Phone the library and request the item be renewed
- Visit a library and use one of the automatic check outs to renew
- Place your membership card in the area indicated to retrieve your membership record
- Select the items you want to renew and follow the instructions on the screen to renew them
- Print a receipt to get a list of the items with their due date and to exit your membership record
How many times can I renew?
An item can be renewed up to three times, unless it has been requested by another person.
Can I let someone else use my library card?
You are advised not to lend your library card to anyone else, and to keep it in a safe place.
You are responsible for all items borrowed on your card.
Can I borrow my wife's/husband's/son's/daughter's requests on my library card?
No. Items must be borrowed on the card they were requested on.
Can I pick up items for someone else if I have their library card?
Can I transfer an item from my library card to someone else's?
Items must be returned first in case they have been requested. If an item is not requested, it can then be borrowed on a different library card.
I've lost lost / damaged an item I borrowed. What happens next?
If you lose an item, contact the library to have it marked as lost. You will need to pay for the item and an administration fee.
When joining the library, members agree to pay for lost, damaged or stolen items. Charges for these items are based on the actual cost of replacement. In addition to the replacement cost, an administration fee is also charged to cover the cost of ordering and processing the item.
If you find the item after payment has been made, a refund will not be given, however you are entitled to keep the item.
I received an overdue notice from the library, but I have already returned/never borrowed this item. What should I do?
If you believe you have already returned an item which still shows as being on loan to you, please contact the library so we can look for it.
If the item cannot be located, it will be marked as claimed returned. This is part of the process for accounting for all items which are government assets.
Catalogue / My Account
What is the URL for the library catalogue?
The library catalogue can be accessed by clicking on the search button in the top right hand corner of the library website.
You can also access the catalogue at: www.librarycatalogue.act.gov.au
If you want to access our library catalogue from your mobile phone, we have a mobile-friendly catalogue.
What is My Account?
My Account is a section of the library catalogue that allows you to log in to your library account. To access My Account, you will need your library membership number and PIN.
When you log into My Account, you can:
- View a list of currently checked out items
- Renew currently checked out items
- Request items for pick up at your local library
- View a list of items ready to be picked up and items you have request but which are not yet available
- View fines and account messages
- Change your PIN
- Change your email address
You can change the address/email/phone number for your library card by completing the online change of address notification form.
What does "checked in" / "checked out" mean?
Checked in means the item is available in the library. Checked out means the item has been borrowed.
The library shouldn't have ... in its collection / Why does the library have ... ?
The library protects the public’s right to know, and plays no censorship role in its choice of the resources that form the library collection.
The library exercises no limitation on access to publications, videos, DVDs, CDROMs or CDs, except where material is classified as restricted under the Classification (Publications, Films, and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth), or as set out in the library loans policy.
The library does not monitor or control the content of materials offered through the Internet. Filtering software is used to restrict access to some content (e.g. websites categorised as promoting violence or pornography). Library staff are available to assist customers in the use of the Internet, and to recommend websites on particular subjects. A number of appropriate databases and websites have been selected for inclusion in the library’s electronic collections.
Parents/carers are responsible for their child’s use of the Internet, in line with the Conditions of Use for Public Library Internet Access Services.
What kind of material does the library have for me to borrow?
The library has a range of different formats available to library members. They include:
- Audio books on CD
- Playaways - preloaded digital audio books
- Material in languages other than English
- eBooks and eAudio books
Can I make a suggestion for the library to buy a particular item?
Yes. The library welcomes suggestions for purchase for items to be included in our collections. Suggestions for purchase can be made online.
We receive many suggestions and although we endeavour to fulfil everyone's expectations, we are responsible for providing a balanced and relevant collection for all community members. Suggestions are considered by professionals within the context of broad appeal, community profile, budgetary considerations and policy guidelines.
How do I know what new items have been added to the collection?
Can I donate books and other material to the library?
The library does not usually accept donations, except in the case of:
- Authors or illustrators donating copies of their own work
- Material for the ACT Heritage Library
Any such donations are subject to the library's collection development policy. Please contact the library to discuss these kinds of donations.
Embassies, consulates or high commissions wishing to donate to the library's multicultural collections are asked to contact the library to discuss these donations.
If you have books you no longer want, we encourage you to donate your books to Lifeline who hold regular fundraising book fairs.
Can you save a particular withdrawn item for me?
No. Withdrawn items are donated to Lifeline, condition permitting.
How does the library choose books / DVDs / CDs etc?
The library seeks to have a balance of material that caters for the ACT community's lifelong learning, recreation, cultural, and information needs. It is impossible for the library to hold all material that is published, so selection usually considers broad appeal and budgetary considerations.
The library also uses profiles and standing orders to automatically purchase popular authors, and series, as well as items reviewed in the newspaper.
In addition, the library often receives suggestions for purchase for items to be included in our collections. Suggestions for purchase can be made online.
What newspapers does the library have?
The library has a range of newspapers for reading in the library, including newspapers in community languages. You can browse a list of newspapers online.
The library also provides access to electronic newspaper resources.
Can I watch a DVD at the library?
No, the library doesn't have facilities for watching DVDs. Library members are welcome to borrow DVDs and watch them at home at their leisure.
My child borrowed a book from the library that I don't want them to read. Please don't issue them with books about ...
Placement of material in the children's collections is carried out on the basis of professional knowledge and evaluation. The inclusion of material in these collections is a guide only.
It is not the responsibility of the library or its staff to exercise a supervisory or restrictive role in determining which library resources young people may use or access.
The library encourages parents/carers to set their own family rules (in consultation with their child). It is the responsibility of parents/carers to monitor young people’s selection and use of library resources.
Yes. Large print collections are available at each of our libraries and include fiction and non-fiction books.
What resources does the library have for people with vision impairment?
Resources available for people with a vision impairment include large print books, audio books, and Playaways.
The Home Library Service provides services to help those people unable to select material for themselves.
Can the library display brochures / posters about my community event / service?
Yes. Please read the answers to the questions below for details of how to do this.
If you wish to send community information posters and/or brochures for display or distribution through the library, you do not need to make a booking.
Once received by the library, such items will be displayed, space and suitability permitting. We are unable to guarantee display of material. The period of time information is displayed will be determined by the library and will depend on other information for display.
How do I make my information available?
Package your information in a bundle for each library. Clearly label each of the bundles, for example: Belconnen Library – Community information for display. It is helpful to include a covering letter including details for further information.
Mail the information directly to the library branches, or deliver the bundles to any of the library branches so they can be distributed via the library’s inter-branch courier.
A list of libraries and their locations is available online.
How much information should I send?
The quantity of information will depend on what you are distributing, how far in advance you are distributing it, and the expected level of interest from the community.
The recommended quantity for most information is one or two posters per branch and approximately 20-50 brochures per branch, depending on anticipated demand for the information. Note: Kingston Library has very limited space for information, so please conserve resources and send only minimal quantities for that library.
If you want to know if extra brochures are needed, it is your responsibility to visit each location, check demand, and provide additional information.
Where else can I find information about services and events in Canberra?
The Citizens Advice Bureau ACT is a great starting point for locating information about the Canberra community. Their website includes a database you can search or browse by subject or keyword.
Computer services and facilities
Do I need to be a library member to use computers?
To make a computer booking you must be a library member and will need your library membership number and PIN. Remember to bring this with you when you visit for your allocated time too as you will need it to log onto the computer.
If you are an ACT resident and not a library member, you will need to join the library.
If you are not an ACT resident, when you visit the library you will need to ask for a single-use guest pass when making a booking (and show identification as proof of non-residency).
You will need to arrive within 10 minutes of the start of your booking or it will expire (e.g. if your session is due to start at 10am, you need to start it by 10.10am).
Can I use / plug in in my laptop at the library?
Yes. You can use your laptop at the library, and where powerpoints are available, you are welcome to plug it in.
Does the library have wireless internet access?
Can I use my USB / memory card on library computers?
Yes. You can connect a USB / memory card to all library computers.
Can I use a scanner?
Yes. All of the libraries, except Kingston, have a scanner available. Bookings are essential.
Can I burn CDs at the library?
Yes. All library computers with access to the Internet are capable of burning CDs. You will need to provide your own blank CDs. You are subject to copyright when burning CDs.
Bookings are essential.
Is there a Playstation / XBox at the library?
Civic and Gungahlin Libraries have either a Playstation or XBox.
Bookings may be required.
Why does the library have a Playstation / XBox?
Computer games support literacy (visit the Library Gaming Toolkit to learn more). They also encourage use of the library by children and adults who may not usually visit, and while there, those people can discover the range of other available resources and services.
Electronic resources and services
Does the library have MP3 audio books? What about eBooks and eAudio books?
Many audio books on CD are now in MP3 format, so please check the format when borrowing audio books.
The library provides an eBook and eAudio book service for its members. eBooks and eAudio can be used at home, at work, even when travelling. They can be read or listened to on mobile technologies like laptops, smart phones, and MP3 players. A range of popular titles are available to download for loan.
More information about eBooks and eAudio books is available on the library website.
The library also has a collection of digital audio books called Playaways. These are physical items, rather than downloadable. They are a bit smaller than a pack of playing cards, and are just like an MP3 player. You will need batteries and a set of headphones to listen to them, or with appropriate connections, they can be plugged into your car or home stereo.
Does the library give free computer lessons?
Internet and computer training is available at library branches. Some training sessions are reserved for seniors while others are open to all members of the community. Bookings are essential for all training sessions.
The ACT Digital Hub, located at Gungahlin Library, provided free, easy computer training one-to-one and in groups, and showcases the broadband network.
Can I download music at/through the library?
Yes. The library subscribes to Freegal Music on behalf of library members.
What is Freegal Music?
It's a service which enables Libraries ACT members to download music from the Sony Music catalogue, which includes hundreds of thousands of tracks. This is made possible due to a deal between Library Ideas, LLC and Sony Music Entertainment - and a subscription paid by the library - under which library members are entitled to download up to three (3) tracks or one (1) video per week for free. A video counts for two of your weekly downloads. Music includes both Australian artists (e.g. Pete Murray, AC/DC, and Guy Sebastian) and international artists (e.g. Il Divo, Beyonce, P!nk, Bob Dylan, and Usher).
You will need a valid library membership number and PIN to download music tracks or videos from Freegal.
- There is a weekly download limit of three (3) tracks or a video which count for two of the weekly downloads.
- Keep track of your downloads in the upper right corner of the site.
- Every song has a sample clip you can listen to before you download.
- Downloads are all in the MP3 format with no Digital Rights Management (DRM).
- This service will work with any MP3 player, including iPod, and can be loaded into iTunes. It works on both PCs and Macs.
- Be sure to check out the browsing areas, especially Artists A to Z (bottom of page) and the genre lists (menu bar).
- Click on see all genres to view dozens of categories.
Checked in - The item is on the shelf and available.
Checked out - The item has been borrowed.
Dewey - The system used to identify library materials and allocate them a subject classification.
eAudio book - A digital version of a traditional print book in audio format.
eBook - A digital version of a traditional print book, which may come in many formats.
Inter Library Loan (ILL) - The name of the process for borrowing an item from another library service in Australia.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) - A form of technology that uses radio waves to identify items.
Request - Another name for a reserve, which enables members to place their name on a waiting list to borrow an item which is part of the Libraries ACT collection.
Trove - An online search engine developed by the National Library of Australia, to search the collections of the National, State and Territory libraries, and over 1000 other libraries around Australia.
Zone - An area intended for a particular use or to highlight a specific subject.
Jobs at the library
Working in a library is a dynamic and rewarding experience best suited to people who have a strong cutomer focus and who enjoy engaging with the community. Employees need to be enthusiastic, proactive, and innovative, and relish a busy and changing environment.
Vacancies for permanent jobs with the library are advertised on the ACT Government Jobs website and are listed under Territory and Municipal Services.
For casual or temporary employment at the library, we hire via an employment agency. Please contact the agency (Manpower) directly if you are seeking casual or temporary employment.
For more information about a career in libraries, contact the Australian Library and Information Association.
Justice of the Peace
Can I find a Justice of the Peace in the Library?
A Justice of the Peace is generally available at the five libraries listed below.
Please check availability during holiday periods as times and dates may change.
- Woden Library
Every Wednesday from 11.30 am - 1.30 pm (not 28 Dec)
- Kippax Library
Every Wednesday from 1 pm - 3 pm (not 28 Dec or 4 Jan)
- Belconnen Library
Every Thursday from 11 am - 1 pm (not 29 Dec)
- Dickson Library
Every Friday from 11 am - 1 pm (not 30 Dec)
- Erindale Library
Every Saturday from 11 am - 1 pm (not 25 or 31 Dec, or 7 or 14 Jan)
- administering of oaths or affidavits, witnessing statutory declarations and taking affirmations;
- witnessing of signatures; and,
- attesting and certifying of documents.
- My Account on the library catalogue to check your details, renew and request items
- A range of electronic resources including databases and eBooks
- Log into My Account
- Click in the check box adjacent to the request you want to suspend / reactivate
- Click the Change Status button
- Log into My Account
- Click in the check box adjacent to the request you want to cancel
- Click the Cancel button
- Secondary or college students
- CIT or university students - must be studying to attain a qualification in library and information studies or a related field
- Students with overseas qualifications seeking accreditation through CIT or university - applicants must have a qualification in library and information studies or a related field
They are available to assist with the following:
This is a free service for ACT residents. No appointment necessary.
Where else can I find a Justice of the Peace?
Browse a full list of ACT Justices of the Peace.
Lost cards and lost / found property
I've left some personal items in the library. What can I do?
Contact the library to check whether your items have been found.
My library card is lost / stolen. What should I do?
It is essential to contact the library immediately if your library card is lost or stolen, or if you think someone else is using it. Until the loss or theft is reported, the library cannot prevent unauthorised use of the card, and members will be held responsible for items borrowed and fees accrued.
Contact the library by phone or in person to notify us that your library card has been lost or stolen.
How do I get a replacement for my lost / stolen library card?
To get a replacement library card, visit the library with identification. There is a fee for replacement cards.
Can I use EFTPOS or credit card facilities at the library?
EFTPOS and credit card facilties are not available at the library. You can use your credit card to pay fees online.
Cash payments may be made at any library location.
How can I avoid library fees?
Library fees are charged for a number of reasons including material which is overdue, lost, damaged or not returned.
We recommend you make a note of due dates (e.g. you can use a traditional calendar, or computer or smart phone reminders to remind yourself of due dates) and return or renew items on or before they are due. If you are unable to visit the library to return material, you can also phone, email or access your account online to check the due date and renew items.
To avoid lost and damaged items, identify a place in your house to keep library material and easily locate it when it is time to be returned. It's also advisable to keep library items out of reach of pets.
Why it the library so noisy? That group of children is too loud. Please tell them to be quiet.
Public libraries have evolved from purely quiet facilities, to be vibrant community spaces. The library doesn't encourage or support unruly behaviour. We do encourage customers of all ages to be aware and respectful of others.
Visits by groups of children, and indeed people of all ages, are crucial to developing literacy skills, and encouraging and supporting lifelong learning. We welcome such groups at all our libraries, and facilitate a range of programs for them, e.g. Giggle & Wiggle, story time, workshops, performances, and guest speakers. At certain times of the year, e.g. Children's Book Week, the number of programs is greater than at other times. Programs do often result in a different sound level due to their content and the enjoyment of participants.
We encourage customers who prefer a quieter environment to plan their visit/s for outside times when group visits or programs take place. Information about programs is available in the library and on this website. Staff may also be able to advise you about the quietest time to visit your library of choice.
Will the library host my book launch?
The library is happy to discuss being the venue for book launches. However, it does not usually organise them. Please contact the library well in advance (e.g. 4-8 weeks) to allow time to negotiate the necessary arrangements, and be aware the library reserves the right to decline hosting events.
Is it true there is a cafe at the library?
Yes. There is a cafe at Gungahlin Library and Woden Library. They sell hot and cold drinks, snacks and light meals. Food and drink may be consumed in the library.
Can I fundraise at the library?
No. The library cannot support fundraising on the premises.
Can I leave a petition at the library?
No. The library cannot endorse petitions.
I'm an author/illustrator/entertainer. Are there any opportunities for me at your library?
The library welcomes contact from authors/illustrators/entertainers. Please provide details of your skills and experience when making a proposal which will then be considered.
Will the library pay for damage to my equipment caused by using library CDs/DVDs/audio books?
The library cannot pay for damage to your equipment. The library is not responsible for damage done while using our material, and each library displays disclaimer notices to this effect.
Is it true that I can eat and drink in the library?
Yes. The library is food and drink friendly. Please feel free to eat your lunch or a snack while you enjoy the library. We do, however, ask that you not consume food which is highly aromatic or may cause an allergic reaction. Please take care to dispose of rubbish thoughtfully.
Why is the library food and drink friendly?
We encourage responsible use of the library and its resources.
Some people can only visit the library during their lunch hour, while others spend the whole day studying in the library.
Allowing people to eat or drink while using the library facilitates ease of access. It's also not very different from people borrowing items and taking them home where they can eat and drink while using them.
Photocopying, printing and faxes
Are there photocopiers at the library?
Yes. Coin operated photocopiers are available at all libraries, except Kingston. All photocopiers are black and white.
Can I print from library computers?
Yes. Printing is available from all library computers. All printers are black and white.
Can I print while logged on to the library's wireless network?
No. Printing is not available through the wireless network.
Can I send a fax from the library?
No. Please try a local newsagent or post office for fax services.
PIN (Personal Identification Number)
What is a PIN?
Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is six alphanumeric digits that enables you to access:
Make sure you choose a strong PIN (don't use a sequential number, numbers from your membership card, a birthday or easily guessed number or name.
How do I get a PIN for my library card? What if I've forgotten my PIN? How do I change my PIN?
Visit the library to request, change or be reminded of your PIN. You can also change your PIN by logging into My Account on the library catalogue. Note: For security reasons PINs cannot be changed by phone or email.
What is a request?
A request is placing a reserve on a title within our library service. It is like putting your name on a waiting list for the item. You will be notified when the item becomes available for you to borrow.
How do I make a request?
To request an item, please do so using the library catalogue. Search for the item you want to request, then click on the Request Item button.
You will need your library membership number and PIN to place a request.
This service is free.
How will I know when my request is available?
You will be notified when your request is ready to pick up. You will be notified by text message, email, or standard mail. If you have a mobile phone number registered with your library membership, that will be the default method of notification. Should you wish to change the way you are notified, please contact the library.
I'm going on holidays and my request might come in while I'm away. What should I do?
If you are going on holidays and don't want to miss out on your requests, you should suspend them before you leave and then reactivate them when you return.
You won't lose your place in the queue, so you won't miss out.
Suspending requests is also useful if you have made a large number of requests and don't want them all to arrive at the same time, or you want to borrow items in series order.
To suspend / reactivate requests:
How do I cancel a request?
To cancel a request that you no longer want:
Is an Inter Library Loan the same as a request?
No. An Inter Library Loan (ILL)is borrowing an item from another library service in Australia. A fee is payable for all Inter Library Loans.
How do I request items from other Australian libraries?
Can I return items to any library?
Yes. You can return items to any of the libraries, regardless of which branch you borrowed them from.
How will I know when my items are due to be returned?
When you borrow items, you will receive a printed receipt which lists the items and the dates they need to be returned by. Please read the receipt carefully, as items may not all have the same due date.
If you choose to receive notifications from the library by email, you may also be sent a courtesy email reminder a couple of days before an item becomes due. This is not to be relied upon, and you are required to know the due dates and return items on time.
You can check the due date for any item you have borrowed by logging into My Account, or contacting the library by phone or in person.
I didn't get my email notice from the library. Why not?
Make sure you check your spam filter for messages from the library, as sometimes they end up in the spam folder.
If you have changed your email address recently, please notify the library so this can be updated for your membership.
Please note that courtesy email reminders about items becoming due are a value-added service and should not be relied upon.
I've returned a book to the library that belongs to my school / a different library. What do I do?
If you accidentally return an item and realise straight away, you can contact the library and arrange to pick it up.
Items which the library identifies as belonging to a different library are sent back to the library concerned at some time. Please allow time for postal delivery. The library cannot guarantee the return of mistakenly returnd items.
I lent an item I borrowed to a friend who still has it, but it's now overdue.
You are responsible for ensuring any items borrowed on your card are returned. Please contact your friend and make sure the item is returned as soon as possible. Providing the item is not requested, you may be able to renew it for a further period of time. Overdue fines are charged for items which are not returned or renewed by the due date.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
What is RFID
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It is the use of invisible radio waves to identify items.
RFID had been used in various industries, including retail, records management, health, shipping and libraries, for a number of years.
You've probably encountered RFID if you have an e-passport, used an e-tag on a toll way, microchipped your pet, or bought something from a department store or bookstore.
How does RFID work?
An RFID tag, which is like a small sticker, is attached to all the library items. The tag has basic information - essentially a unique number - to identify the item when it communicates with the library catalogue via special equipment which reads radio waves.
RFID enables equipment like the self checkers to automatically check out the items to you. Line of sight is not required for the equipment to identify items and as a result, there is improved stock management, reduced manual handling, and streamlined processes.
Does RFID let you track items outside the library?
No. The information stored on the RFID tags does not allow this to happen. In addition, the range in which the tags on the items can be read is very short.
Is RFID safe to use?
RFID technology is designed to meet standards set by the Australian government body ARPANSA. More information about RFID and public health is available on the FE Technologies website.
Why doesn't the library lend toys?
Toy libraries require intensive resources and commitment to checking the safety of toys and ongoing cleaning to address the hygiene requirements of such a service.
Rather than compete with existing services, we encourage the community to use those dedicated to providing them by accessing the local toy libraries.
Are there toy libraries in Canberra?
Yes, there are two long-standing toy libraries located in Canberra:
Work experience is an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of what is involved in delivering library services, and the diversity of those services.
The library accepts applications from students seeking work experience, providing students belong to one of the following categories:
Work experience aims to provide students with an introduction to all areas of the library including collections, Home Library Service, ACT Heritage Library and at least one other library location. Please note that for insurance reasons, work experience students cannot help with the courier service.
Applications may be accepted at the discretion of the senior librarian of the library concerned.
What is a zone?
A zone in the library is an area where related materials are available.
A number of libraries in Australia, including some in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, use zones as a way of helping people find information on similar or related subjects. This supports customers who want to browse and select items from these areas. Within a zone, items are shelved by Dewey.
Why are there zones at Gungahlin Library?
Public libraries play an important role in providing accessible information resources to whole communities, regardless of an individual's level of literacy or knowledge of library classification systems, such as the Dewey Decimal Classification System.
Collection zones bring together resources which might otherwise be far apart on the shelves, but which are often of common interest. Libraries ACT has been providing the Parenting Collection (PAR) across its locations for approximately ten years, and this is an early example of zones in practice in public libraries.
The collection zones aim to support library customers to browse resources based on their own needs, and the choice of zones reflects observed customer preferences. For example, the Travel and Language zone (TRA) includes travel guides (Dewey subject areas in the 900s) and language learning resources (Dewey subject areas in the 400s).
- Kippax Library
Every Wednesday from 1 pm - 3 pm
This is a free service for ACT residents. No appointment necessary.