Check Out Policies

How many items can I check out?

You may have up to 100 items on your card at any time. There is a daily limit of 10 videos, 10 DVDs, and 20 CDs per card.  There is a maximum limit of 20 DVDs per card.

How long can I have items checked out?

28 days - most books, audiobooks, playaways
14 days - music CDs, CD-ROMs, magazines, new fiction, auto manuals, new travel guides, new resume books, toys
7 days - rental books & DVDs, DVDs and VHS
OverDrive downloadable book titles vary by format

How can I renew items?

Most items may be renewed two times unless the item has holds. Items may be renewed in person, via phone, or online via LINKcat. Items may also be renewed through our automated telephone renewal system (242-4700). Items must be renewed by 10 p.m. to avoid overdue charges. See managing your account.

Rental items may only be renewed in person.

To use the automated telephone renewal system, enter your 14-digit library card followed by the hash (or pound) sign - #, then enter your PIN/password followed by the # sign, then follow menu prompts.

Can I place items on hold?

Yes, you may place holds, or reserve, most items in our library catalog. Holds will be shipped to you at your library of choice. You may have up to 75 items on hold at any time. You may cancel holds in person, via phone, or online via LINKcat. Some materials may not be held, including items in the reference collection and rental materials. See managing your holds.

To request an item NOT in our catalog, you may request an outerlibrary loan. There is a limit of five interlibrary loan requests per day, and 50 requests per year.

For more information about placing holds in OverDrive visit the Wisconsin Digital Book Center FAQ

I placed a hold - when will I get it?

Our shared library system makes deliveries daily. Generally, if the item is in a library at the time you place a hold, you can expect delivery to your location within three working days. If an item is checked out or is on a hold list, we can not guarantee when that item will be delivered. If you need an item within 48 hours, it is generally best to call the owning library to verify that the item is there and arrange to pick it up yourself.

How do I know when items I placed on hold are available?

You can receive notification one of three ways - by telephone, by email, or by U.S. mail. If you do not specify which you prefer, you will receive email notification if you have an email address in your library card record or telephone notification if you do not. Sign up for email notifications to help us cut down on telephone and mailing costs.

What is email notification?

With email notification, people may choose to be notified about Holds Available or Overdues via email instead of by phone or paper notices. If you check your email frequently and are interested in receiving email notification, you may ask staff to add your email address to your library card record.

I requested email notification but am not getting any notices.

Some people use free, web-based email accounts to receive their messages. These email providers sometimes employ sophisticated filtering technology to separate "spam" email from other email. Depending on the service you use, and the filtering you've specified, our messages to you may be automatically deleted before you ever see them. For more information and troubleshooting ideas, call the Web Librarian at 266-4953 or email madtech@scls.lib.wi.us.

It’s overdue -- how much do I owe?

Overdue Charges
Material Type Fine Per Open Day
adult material
25¢
children’s material no fines

Fines are based on material type, not on the type of card used for checking out. If fines of $20 or more have accrued, checkout privileges will be suspended until the balance is paid in full.

Where do I return items after hours?

There are "book drops" at all Madison Public Library locations for after-hours returns. Items returned in the drop before the library opens in the morning are considered returned the previous open day. Materials returned in the book drop while the library is open are checked in the same day.

If I check something out at one public library location, can I return it to another?

Yes, you may return your items to any library in the SCLS delivery service area (Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk, and Wood counties) on or before the date that they are due.

What are checkout periods for OverDrive downloadable books?

The default lending period for all formats is 7 days.  You may set your own default lending period on a format-by-format basis, from the following options:

  • Lending period options for Adobe EPUB eBooks, Adobe PDF eBooks, OverDrive WMA Audiobooks, OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks: 7 days or 14 days
  • Lending period options for OverDrive WMA Music, OverDrive WMV Video: 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or 14 days

Additionally, at the time of checkout, you can select a lending period on a title-by-title basis.

Titles expire roughly around the time of day that they were checked out (within 15 minutes). For more information about loan policies in OverDrive visit the Wisconsin Digital Book Center FAQ