Borrowing

Borrowing limits for members

Your membership allows you to borrow up to 30 items for 3 weeks. The following limits for each category apply:

  • books (30 a card)
  • magazines (30 a card)
  • CDs (30 a card)
  • audiobooks (30 a card)
  • DVDs (30 a card)
  • language kits (30 a card)
  • ebooks (5 a card)
  • eaudiobooks (5 a card)
  • ecomics (unlimited)
  • emagazines (unlimited)
  • enewspapers (unlimited)
  • emusic (download limit 3 songs a week and 5 hours streaming a day)
  • emovies on Beamafilm (unlimited)
  • emovies on Kanopy (5 plays a month)
  • makerspace kits (1 a card)
  • video game consoles (1 a card)
  • ukuleles (1 a card)
  • musical instruments at Green Square Library (with music room hire only)
  • toys (10 a card)
  • reservations (20 items at a time)
  • inter-library loans (5 items at a time).

Borrowing limits for temporary members

If you’re a temporary library member – an interstate or international visitor, or you have homeless or refugee status – your borrowing limit is 5 items over a 3-week period, with up to 2 renewals.

Reservations and inter-library loans are not available for this membership category.

Self-checkout

Self-service kiosks installed at our library branches help make borrowing faster and easier while improving services for our members.

All library items have electronic tags, so when checking out your items you can scan them all at once.

Library staff are on hand to help members with the self-service kiosks.

Returns

Find out about changes to returns while our branches are temporarily closed.

Borrowed items can be returned to any library branch during opening hours or in the after-hours return chute.

Items from any of the toy collections must be returned to the original branch.

Toys and makerspace kits are to be returned to a staff member during opening hours.

The new return chutes and shelves register returns immediately, so you'll be able to borrow straight away.

Online catalogue

Search our online catalogue to find the title/s you want to borrow. Our collection of books and ebooks, magazines, audio and eaudiobooks, music CDs, DVDS, language learning kits and makerspace kits are all searchable in the online catalogue.

You can also suggest items you want the library to purchase and review items you have borrowed.

Login using your member barcode number or alias and your password. Visit member recovery if you have forgotten your login details or visit one of our branches.

Loan renewals

Find out about changes to returns while our branches are temporarily closed.

Each item can only be renewed twice. If another library member has reserved it, you won't be able to renew that item.

To make the renewal process easier we've introduced automatic renewals. This means if you have an email address in your membership account, your loans will automatically renew on the day the item is due.

Automatic renewal will not occur if the item has been reserved by another borrower, or if it has already reached the maximum 2 renewals. You'll receive an email confirming if the loan has been renewed or not.

If you don't have an email address, you can renew your loan online or at any branch (in person or by telephone).

Overdue loans

We are waiving fines for overdue loans until 30 June 2021. As long as overdue items are returned, you won't be fined, no matter how overdue they are.  If you have an overdue item or outstanding fee, your library membership will be temporarily suspended.

Lost or damaged items

Fees remain for ‘lost or damaged items’. Members can pay their fees at any library branch.

How to reserve an item online

You can reserve up to 30 items at a time. To reserve an item follow the steps below:

  1. In the online catalogue, enter the title, author or keyword into the search box and click the magnifying glass icon
    Library search box
  2. In the search results, click the item’s title for more details
  3. The number of copies of the item available and the number of reserves is displayed. For example it might say ‘0 of 3 items available. 5 Reserves.
  4. To reserve the item, click the ‘Reserve’ tab or the ‘Thumbs up’ icon
  5. If you’re not already logged in, a pop-up box to login will appear. Enter your membership card barcode or alias and password. Then select ‘Login’
  6. Next to ‘Collect at’ select the branch you want to collect the item from
  7. Click the reserve ‘Thumbs up’ icon
  8. A message will appear to confirm that your reservation has been placed and your position in the reservation queue. Your position in the queue depends on how many other members have also reserved the item
  9. You will receive a notification by email or SMS when the item is ready for you to collect
  10. To cancel a reservation, login to your account and click on ‘Reserves’ from your account summary.  Tick the box next to the title and then click ‘Delete’.

How to reactivate a suspended reserve item

Due to library closures during Covid-19, all member reservations made prior to 1 June 2020 have been suspended. If you’d still like to borrow these items, you’ll need to reactivate them in your online account using the steps below:

  1. In the online catalogue click on ‘Login/Renew’. Enter your membership card barcode or alias and password. Then select ‘Login’
  2. Your membership summary will be displayed. Click ‘Reserves’
  3. In your list of reserved items, suspended items will show a ‘Locked’ icon. Tick the box next to the suspended item you want to reactive and click ‘Resume’
  4. A pop-up message will confirm that the item is now an active reservation and your position in the reservation queue will be displayed. Your position in the queue depends on how many other members have also reserved the item
  5. Under ‘Select new pick up location’ change the location to either Customs House Library or Green Square Library if this is not already displayed and click save. A message will confirm that the location has been updated
  6. You will receive a notification by email or SMS when the item is ready for you to collect
  7. If you no longer wish to borrow any of your reserved items, tick the box next to the title and then click ‘Delete’.

Other reserve options

You can also email library@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au to make a reservation, telephone us on 02 9265 9333, or visit one of the branches.

SMS and email alerts

To register to receive email or SMS alerts when your items are ready to be collected, please send a message with your details to library@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

Join the library

Membership is free for NSW residents. Complete the online application form and enjoy borrowing up to 30 items for 3 weeks.