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Borrowing Policies

Any Maryland resident can apply for a free statewide library card in any of our branches. Bring an ID that shows your valid Maryland address and be prepared to provide some basic information and sign your agreement to our borrowing policy or have a parent sign if you are under 18.

Your library card allows you to borrow books, audiobooks, movies, music and more, free of charge. See our borrowing chart to learn more about the various loan periods, renewal options, overdue fines, and other details on borrowing materials.


If there is an item you would like to borrow that is in our catalog but not currently available, you can place a request on that item. This means that when the item is returned, you will be notified and it will be held at the circulation desk for you for 5 days. You can place your own requests for materials in the online catalog by clicking the "Place Hold " link in the item's record or by calling or visiting the library and asking a staff member to place a hold for you. If we do not own an item or you cannot find it in the catalog, let us know by phone or email and we can try to get it for you.


If the due date for returning an item is fast approaching and you haven't finished with it, we may be able to renew that item (extend the due date) for you. As long as no one else has requested the item be held, and you have not already renewed the item twice, we should be able to help. You can renew materials from home by logging into your account on the library's Web site, or by calling us at the library.

Just be sure to request a renewal before your items are overdue, as you will be still be responsible for any fines that have accrued before your renewal. Note, renewing an item changes the due date to a certain number of days from the date of renewal, not from the current due date, so it is not advantageous to renew an item immediately after checking it out.

Interlibrary Loan

If you would like to borrow an item that we do not own in any of our branches, we may be able to get it for you from another library in the state. Or, failing that, we can sometimes get copies from out of state for a nominal shipping charge of $5. Call the library or visit our reference desk if there is a book you would like to try to get through interlibrary loan. Items usually arrive more quickly, but bear in mind that it can take up to a few weeks. You will be called when your item arrives here. More information about Maryland's statewide Interlibrary Loan system can be found on the Marina web page.

Mailbox Library

Developed to serve those who are homebound, disabled, ill, institutionalized, or find it difficult to get to the library during regular hours, Mailbox Library mails books to borrowers. The library pays one-way postage for Kent County residents, and borrowers may return the books either in the bookdrops around the county, or pay the return postage.

Patrons may request any books they want, paperback editions being the first choice for sending, keeping postage costs in mind. However, hardbacks and large print editions are also available. If a requested book is on reserve, the borrower’s name is added to the waiting list, and the book is sent as soon as it becomes available. In addition, if the borrower requests a book the library does not own, an interlibrary loan (ILL) request will be placed and the book sent when available.

Contact Chris Roseberry at the Chestertown branch for more information or to request this service.

Book Discussion Kits

For Book Discussion Groups, we offer the use of Book Discussion Kits containing 10 or more copies of a paperback book. For details on borrowing these kits or to find out what titles we have available at any given time, call the Chestertown Branch at 410-778-3636 and speak with Karin Cowperthwait. Click here for a list of titles available as kits. We can also let you know if there are any groups accepting new members or give you tips on starting another group.


Research Databases

In the library world, "research databases" are online sources of high quality information for which libraries pay vast sums of money to publishers in order to offer free access to this information for their patrons. Many of these databases contain full text articles and chapters from magazines, journals, newspapers and books that you can't get free anywhere else.

Many teachers accept information from databases as reliable sources for papers, even when they will not accept "Internet Sources." Even among researchers and University faculty, this type of database is becoming an important source of information, so it's no wonder that professors and secondary school teachers are making sure their students know how to use them. Check with your teacher for more information on his or her expectations regarding research databases.

As a Kent County Public Library patron, you can access the databases we subscribe to in the library or from home with your 14 digit library card number, through our Web site. We subscribe to databases for students and databases for general use. You may also be interested in seeing an alphabetical list of all our databases.

Reference Services

Our professional reference librarians have extensive training in customer service, information sources, and searching for information. Plus they know our collection and can help you find things you may not have thought to look for, or get hard to find items from other libraries in the state. Their job is to help you find the information you need and get answers to your questions, so don't hesitate to ask. Try the reference desk first, or if you don't see anyone there, let any staff member know that you would like to speak with a reference librarian.

Bulletin Board

We have bulletin boards in our branches with information on library and community events. If you have information you would like to have posted on our bulletin boards, please bring it to the circulation desk.


Library information is regularly posted to our online newsletter. Visit our homepage for the most recent articles or subscribe for regular updates. During the winter, any snow- or other weather-related closings will be posted in the newsletter.


Online Catalog

Our online catalog lets you search or browse for books, audiobooks, movies, music, and more. From within the catalog you can also request items be held for you by clicking the "Request Item" button, or access your account by clicking on the "My Account" tab and logging in. Within "My Account" you can see what items you have out, find out when items are due and if you have any fines, or renew items to extend their due dates. For help using the online catalog, feel free to ask any staffmember.


Each of our branches offers free high speed wireless access to which you can connect your wireless-enabled laptop or other device. For details on how to connect, consult the documentation that came with your laptop, wireless network card, or operating system. These are unsecured, password-free connections that you use at your own risk. For more tips about public wifi, see this site. The Chestertown branch also has encrypted public wifi available. Please ask a staff member for the password.

Free Public Access Computers

We have a number of computers available for the public to use free of charge to browse the Internet and edit documents. Time and usage restrictions apply, so please see our Internet Policy for details.

Printing & Photocopying

Black and white and color printouts and photocopies are 20 cents per page. Please pay at the circulation desk.


The library offers a number of options in downloadable and streaming media content including e-books, audiobooks, music, and video. For more details see our downloadables page.

Google Gadgets

For those who have personalized the way Google's search page looks using iGoogle, we've made it easy for you to add some gadgets to your iGoogle page that will help you access library resources.

Add to Google - Click to add our newsletter content to Google Reader or to your iGoogle page.

Add to Google - Click to add a library catalog search box to your iGoogle page.

Other Services

Programs & Events

Our Children's and Adult Programming departments offer a number of exciting opportunities throughout the year for people of all ages. These include storytimes, films, computer classes, workshops, guest speakers and more. And of course, our annual summer reading program is immensely popular. See our calendar to see what events are happening soon, or watch the Library News section of our home page for featured events.

Meeting Rooms

The Kent County Public Library has two meeting rooms at its Chestertown branch, for use by non-profit groups for non-commercial, cultural, informational, educational, intellectual and civic purposes on an as available basis for a nominal fee. Please contact Karin Cowperthwait at 410-778-3636 to check availability or for more information on policies and procedures. Or see our library documents page for documents relating to the use of the meeting rooms, including a list of alternate options in the area.

Online Tutoring

Through Brainfuse, the library offers live homework help online, from real tutors. Click to get started with online tutoring.

Display Case

The Chestertown Branch has a display case where we showcase collections and information on a monthly basis. If you have something you would like to display, please take a look at our exhibit policy and contact Karin Cowperthwait at 410-778-3636.

Special Collections

The Kent County Public Library has a Maryland Collection, featuring local history, genealogy resources, books by local authors & poets, and other books specializing in Maryland & Eastern Shore. Please ask a reference librarian to point you to this special collection.

Tax Forms

During the tax season (approximately January to April) the library has copies of the most widely federal tax forms and publications available in its branches, as well as circulating books on tax preparation. Beginning for tax year 2011, the state of Maryland is no longer sending us tax forms. Circulating copies of the state tax booklet will be available at all three branches. For other tax forms that are not available in hard copy, official copies should be available online for printing. Please note, library staff are not able to offer advice on which forms to use or how to fill them out. You will need to see a tax professional. For official tax forms, publications, and local sources of assistance, see the following Web sites.

Ask Us Now

Librarians throughout Maryland offer a live 24x7 chat service called Ask Us Now for answering your information questions. Please note that this service cannot answer questions about your library account or anything specific to Kent County Public Library. For this type of question, please contact us directly.

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