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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a library account?

If you are a resident of Marin County you can register online. Then stop by the library circulation desk with a photo ID that has your current mailing address on it. If your ID doesn’t have your current address on it, you can bring a piece of recent mail, utility bill or lease.

If you live in California, but not in Marin County, you can register at the circulation desk. Don’t forget your photo ID and proof of address (if applicable).

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I lost my library card—how do I get a new one?

Stop by the library circulation desk with a photo ID. The replacement charge is $1 for the first card and $1 for subsequent cards.

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I returned an item, but it still shows as checked out on my account—what should I do?

If you returned the item to the Community Center drop box, it may take a few days to show as checked-in on your account—don’t worry, we will back date the check-in to reflect the actual return date.

If you returned an item more than a week ago and it is still showing as checked out, call the Circulation desk at 415-389-4292 ex 4723 during our open hours and we’ll be happy to a shelf check.

If that doesn’t solve the problem a Circulation staff person will advise you how to proceed.

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If I return materials to the Community Center or Library drop boxes what will the check-in date be?

We adjust check-in dates to reflect when items were placed in a drop box. Please note all materials are due before midnight on their due dates regardless of where they are returned.

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

All Mill Valley materials except Museum Passes may be returned to any public library in Marin County or their drop boxes. The check-in date will be the same as the date the item was returned, regardless of where it was returned.

Most materials from other libraries in Marin can be returned to any other library in Marin, as well. If there are any restrictions about where an item can be returned it will be clearly marked on the item itself.

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How can I renew something checked out to me?

You can renew online by logging into your account (you will need to know your library card number and your pin).

  • Click on the “Checked Out Items” box.
  • Check the “Renew” box next to the item(s) you would like to renew.
  • Click the “Renew Selected” box at the bottom of the page.
  • or...

  • You can call our 24 hour renewal line @ 415-389-4292 ex. 4745 and leave a message. Please include your name, library card number, phone number and what items you would like renewed. If an item can’t be renewed, someone will call you to let you know and explain why. If you don’t hear from us, you can assume your materials were renewed.
  • or...

  • You can call the Circulation desk at 415-389-4292 ex 4723 during our open hours to renew your materials over the phone.
  • or...

  • You can stop by the circulation desk—no need to have the item with you.

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What should I do if I can’t renew something online?

If you can’t log into your account, you can try one of the other three renewal options.

If you attempt to renew an item but receive the message “Not all renewals were successful. See details below”, look for the explanation in red next to the item that was unable to be renewed. For example: “TOO MANY RENEWALS”

If you’re still unsure, call the Circulation desk at 415-389-4292 ex 4723

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Can an item be renewed more than twice if it’s not on hold for someone else?

Unfortunately, no. In an effort to make materials as available as possible and to give patrons the opportunity to browse the shelves for items they may want to check out, we ask that materials be returned once they have reached their final due date.

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I’m going out of town. Do you have vacation check-outs?

You can check out Mill Valley books for a total of 6 weeks and forfeit their renewals. Just let the Circulation staff person know you would like a vacation check-out.

A vacation check-out can be used for any Mill Valley book which is not on hold and can include New books but not In-demand books. It does not cover Audio Books, Playaways, CDs, DVDs or other libraries’ materials.

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What should I do if my card is expired?

The next time you are in the library, stop by the Circulation desk and verify that we have your current contact information. A Circulation staff person will update and renew your account. Please bring a picture ID or your library card. Unfortunately, we cannot renew expired library accounts online or over the phone.

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I thought the Mill Valley Library waived their hold fees—why do I still see a $0.50 charge when I place a hold online?

The $0.50 fee is automatically added to all holds placed online. If you choose to pick up your hold at Mill Valley, we waive the fee from your account. It may take a day or two for hold fees to be removed since they are waived manually. The $0.50 charge still applies if you choose to pick up your hold at another library.

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Can I let someone else use my account?

We don’t recommend it, but if you would like someone else to use your account he or she must have your library card in hand. We consider having the card permission to use the account.

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Can someone else pick up a held item for me?

Yes, but he or she must have your library card to do so.

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What do I do if I or my child has lost library materials?

We don’t consider an item lost until it has been missing for 50 days, and most items are found by this time. If the item doesn’t show up within 50 days of the due date, the retail cost of the item plus a $6.00 processing fee will be added to your account—in this case you won’t be charged overdue fines.

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How old does my child have to be to get a library card?

Children who can sign their own name (printing is fine) are welcome and encouraged to get their own library accounts. If you live in Marin County, you can register for your child’s library account online. You and your child can then stop by the Circulation desk to pick up his or her new library card. If you live in California, but outside of Marin, you can fill out a paper registration at the Library. Children getting their first library cards may visit the Children’s room to get their picture taken and choose a welcome gift.

Note: The parent or guardian must have a picture ID or his or her library card in order for their child to get a new account.

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Still have questions about your library account, checking materials in and out or other circulation matters? Send your question to or call 415-389-4292 ex. 4723

Last updated: 9/5/2012 10:00:37 AM