Frequently Asked Questions
Please check with staff for current information about computer-related topics.
|General Information||Borrowing Items/Library Account||Reference and Research|
|Get answers to questions about your library card and other general information questions.||Find out how what type of materials you can borrow and get answers about library card privileges and your library account.||Questions on how to find materials and other resources.|
|Computers and the Internet||Programs and Services||Contact Us|
|Learn about wireless access, printing and downloading.||Get information about outreach and other services.||For further assistance, please email or call 305.375.2665.|
How do I get a Library card? Visit the Library Card information page for instructions on how to apply for a Library card.
Will my Library card ever expire? Library cards expire every year. Borrowers are required to show ID and proof of address to renew their cards. Borrowers also have to pay any outstanding balances on their accounts before renewal.
What if my Library card is lost or stolen? You must immediately report a lost or stolen card in order for us to deactivate the card and to prevent unauthorized use. You may visit or call your local branch to report the card lost or stolen. First time card replacement is free, additional replacements are $1.00 each.
How do I make a payment on my account? You may either visit a branch in person or send a check. For a list of branches, click on “Find a Library” on the top bar of the home page. At the present time, we do not accept online payments or credit cards. The Library accepts cash or checks only. Please make checks payable to the Miami-Dade Public Library, include the 14-digit Library card number of the account you're paying and mail to: Miami-Dade Public Library *Main Library *Attn: Access Services *101 W. Flagler St, Miami FL 33130
How do I volunteer at the Library? Visit the Volunteer Opportunities page.
How do I get a job at the Library? Visit the Employment Opportunities page.
Can I make copies at the Library? Yes - all branches have photocopy machines available for black and white copies. Black and white copies are 25 cents per page. Photocopying in color is available by scanning color documents and printing them in color at selected branches through the Internet stations. Color printing is $1.25 per page. View the Library's photocopying and faxing policies.
Can I use a fax machine to send or receive a document at the Library? The Library does not have fax machines available for use by the public.
Does the Library accept book donations? Yes. Please see the Guide to Donating Books to the Library.
Does the Library conduct book sales? Each year, the Friends of the Library conducts an annual book sale at the Main Library. The Book Sale date is posted on the Events Calendar and promoted at all branches.
Is there a notary public available at the Library? The Library does not provide notary services. Please check the phone book for notary publics in your area or you may call your local branch for assistance in finding a notary. If you have a Library card, you can also go to the databases page and search the Reference USA database for notary publics in your area.
Can I register to vote at the Library? Voter's registration forms are available at all branches. After completing a form, you may choose to mail it yourself or leave it with Library staff who will forward it to the Miami-Dade Elections Department.
Why did I receive a letter from a company called “Unique National Collections” saying that I owe money to the Library? Unique National Collections is the collection agency the Library uses to collect outstanding balances. If you owe more than $30.00 on your Library account for more than 30 days, your account may be referred to a collection agency. You can visit any of our branches to pay your balance, which must be paid down to zero once it has been referred to the collection agency. An additional $10.00 fee is charged to any account that is sent to the collection agency. The Library accepts cash or personal checks. A valid driver’s license must be presented if paying with a personal check.
What type of materials can I borrow from the Library? Cardholders can borrow books, videos, DVDs, audiobooks, CDs cassettes, paperbacks, and graphic novels. We have materials for adults, children and young adults. We have large print and Braille materials for persons with visual disabilities. In addition, patrons accessing the Library's web page remotely can download audiobooks and eBooks available through the e-Media page.
How long can I keep the items I borrow from the Library? Most books, CDs, cassettes and audiobooks can be borrowed for 28 days. DVDs and VHS tapes can be borrowed for 7 days. High-demand titles, in any format, and those with a large number of patron requests can be checked out for 14 days. Laptops and DVD drives can be borrowed for use in the Library for up to 60 minutes. Jumpstart kits are available to daycare centers and preschools for up to 14 days. Reading Ready kits may be borrowed for 7 days. Items obtained for patrons through the Interlibrary Loan system can be borrowed for the period of time indicated by the lending Library. The checkout receipt shows the due date for each item.
How many items can I borrow? Patrons can borrow up to 50 items. There is a limit of 10 items each for videos, DVDs, CDs and videogames. Only 1 laptop can be checked out per Library card. There are no limits by subject.
What does it cost to borrow items? There is no charge for borrowing materials returned by the due date. This does not include Interlibrary Loan items, which will incur a $2.00 charge for each filled item as of December 1, 2010. Interlibrary loan items may have additional charges associated with them if the lending library system requires this.
What are the fines for overdue items? Adult titles (books, CDs, cassettes, audiobooks) - $.20/day, Juvenile and Young Adult titles (books, CDs, cassettes, audiobooks) - $.10/day,DVDs and Videos - $.1.00/day, Jump Start and Reading Ready Kits - $.15/day, Laptops - $20.00, Laptop Accessories (DVD drive) - $20.00.
Can I borrow items if I owe money on my account? You will be able to borrow items as long as the balance on your account does not exceed $30.00. However, when your Library card comes up for renewal once a year, any balance on the account must be paid down to zero in order for you to continue borrowing materials.
If I find a lost item I already paid for can I get my money back? You will need to bring the item to your branch along with the receipt showing your payment. The refund for the item, minus the overdue fines, will first be credited to your account to offset any outstanding balances. If there is a remaining balance owed to you, you can choose to receive this as a check in the mail or leave the amount in your account to offset any future fines or fees.
Instead of paying for a lost item can I purchase a replacement and give it to the Library? The Library accepts replacements that are an exact match for the item lost. A lost hardcover book can only be replaced with another hardcover copy of the same title and same edition. A lost DVD consisting of a two-disk edition of a movie can only be replaced by the same two-disk edition DVD.
I borrowed an item at one branch. Can I return it at another branch? Yes. Materials borrowed at any branch can be returned to any Miami-Dade Public Library System location. Please be advised that the City of Hialeah Public Library, the North Miami Public Library and the North Miami Beach Public Library are not part of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. Residents of these cities can obtain Library cards from the Miami-Dade Public Library and borrow materials through a reciprocal borrowing agreement, but Miami-Dade Public Library items cannot be returned at these libraries and items belonging to these libraries should not be returned to Miami-Dade Public Library System branches. The Brockway Memorial Library in the Village of Miami Shores is not part of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. Items borrowed from the Miami-Dade Public Library System branches should not be returned to the Brockway Library, and items owned by Brockway Library should not be returned to Miami-Dade Public Library System branches. Residents of Miami Shores, Surfside, Bal Harbour, and Bay Harbor Islands can obtain a Miami-Dade Public Library card for an annual fee of $100.00.
Can I look at my account information online? Yes. From the Library's web page click on the "My Account" tab. You will be asked to enter your borrower barcode number, which is the 14-digit number on the back of your card. Because many people find the 14-digit Library card number cumbersome, we also provide the option of creating a user name that you can use to access your online Library account instead of using the barcode.
After entering your user name or barcode number, you will also have to enter your password which is the 4-digit number you selected when you applied for your library card. Once you log in, select the “Patron Account” tab at the top of the page and you will see an account overview where you'll be able to see how many items you have checked out, what items you have requested, if anything is waiting for pickup, and what, if any, fines and fees you may owe the Library. You will also be able to see your profile information and make changes to this. You will also be able to see when your card expires.
I'm being asked for a password when I try to access my account online - what is that? Your password (formerly known as the PIN) is the 4-digit number you selected at the time that you registered for your Library card.
I don't remember my password - how can I get it? If you have forgotten your password, you can have the password emailed to the email address in your Library account that you provided to the Library when you registered for your Library card or when you updated your account. You can do this by entering your barcode number or user name on the login screen and clicking the link to “Forgot your password?” If you do not have an email account, you can request a new password by going to your local branch and presenting your Library card and a picture ID.
Why am I getting a message saying that the “login failed” when I try to access my account? When you see this message, make sure that you are typing in the correct Library card barcode number and the correct password. If you continue to see this message, your card may have expired. You can call your local branch to check the expiration date on your card. If your card has expired and you wish to renew an item, you can call your local branch to renew the item for you, but you will need to visit a Library branch and present ID and proof of address before items can be renewed or checked out again after that.
How can I cancel a request? You can cancel requests online by logging into your account, clicking on the “Requests” tab, putting a checkmark by the title you want to cancel and then clicking on the “Cancel Selected” button.
Alternatively, you can use the Interactive Phone Service to cancel requests by calling 305-416-4880 and following the voice prompts. You can also call or visit any of the branches to have a request cancelled.
I'm going on vacation. Can I suspend my requests until I return so the items don't come in while I'm away? You can suspend requests online by logging into your account, clicking on the "Requests" tab, putting a check mark by the title you want to suspend, and then clicking on the “Suspend/Reactivate Selected” button. Then select the date you want the items suspended until and press “Submit.”
You can also call or visit any branch to suspend a request until a certain date.
How do I renew items? Items can be renewed up to six times if no other patrons have requested the item. Patrons can renew online by 1) logging into My Account, 2) selecting the "Patron Account" tab, 3) selecting the “Items Out” tab, and 4) putting a check mark by the titles they wish to renew 5) and clicking the Renew Selected Items button.
Electronic phone renewal is available by calling 305-416-4880 and following the voice prompts. You will need to provide your password. You can also renew by calling or visiting any branch.
Why am I sometimes unable to renew an item? If you try to renew a title online or through the electronic phone system and are unable to do so, it is probably because either the item has been requested by another patron or the item has been renewed six times already—the maximum number of times an item can be renewed. If the item has been requested by someone else, it will not renew. You will need to return the item and place a new request for it to get the item again at a later date. You cannot renew or check out new items if the balance on your account is over $30.00.
How can I check on the status of my request? To check the status of your request, click on the My Account tab in the gray menu bar at the top of the screen. Your Library card number and password are required. Once you enter these numbers, select the “Patron Account” tab, and then click on “Requests.” It will give you the items that are ready for pick-up and those still pending.
How long are requested items held for patrons? 10 days.
Can a member of my family or a friend pick up items that are on hold for me? If you send someone to the Library to pick up an item that is being held for you he/she must have your Library card in order to check out the item.
Can I change the way the Library notifies me when titles I have requested are available or when I have overdue items? Users can choose to receive their library notifications through the telephone, U.S. mail, via e-mail or through text messages. To select one of these options, a user must log in to “Patron Account” in the online catalog, click on the “Contact Information and Preferences” tab, and scroll down to the section reading “Preferences.” To receive notifications by e-mail, select the “by e-mail” option and enter a valid e-mail address above in the “Email address” box. To receive notifications as text messages, select the option reading “Text Message,” enter a valid cell phone number, and select your carrier from the drop-down list of carriers. Click on the “Submit change request” button. Note that billing notifications sent for lost items are always sent as printed bills through the U.S. mail.
Can Library staff recommend a good book to read? Yes. Librarians can work with you to find new items of interest. You can search the online catalog by subject, author, or title and read reviews if available. The title page for items will include links to other items by the same author, and other subject headings for you to explore. It will also allow you to search the web for additional information on the author, subject or title. The website includes staff recommendations for children, young adults and adults. In the literature section of the Databases page you will find two databases, What Do I Read Next? and NoveList, which can assist patrons in selecting new titles of interest. Many branches have book clubs that meet regularly to read and discuss books. You can join one of these to get recommendations and have the opportunity to discuss titles after reading them. For a schedule, check out the Events Calendar.
How do I find a book at the Library? Most of the items the Library lends to the public (including books, videos, and sound recordings) can be found by searching the online catalog. Branches all have computer stations with access to the online catalog, and it can be accessed remotely through the website. Through the online catalog, you can see which branches own a title and whether it is currently available or checked out. You can request a title and have it sent to your local branch for pickup.
How can I search just for specific types of items like DVDs or titles in a specific language? The online catalog allows you to limit your search to specific types of items. To do so click on the “Search” tab and then select the Advanced tab option. You'll see the screen below where you can search by title, author, subject or general keyword and also limit your search by type of material, audience, language, location and user-defined limits like publication date. You can select a limit by clicking on it.
A title I want is not available at my local branch but there is a copy at another branch - how can I get it? Search for the item in the online catalog. When you bring up the title page showing the information about the title and the copies click on the button reading "Place Request" located at the bottom of the item description. If you haven't already logged in, the system will ask you at this point to enter your Library card number (or user name) and password. Next you will see a window where you'll be able to indicate the branch location to which the item will be sent. The branch listed on your Library account as the location you registered at will be the default branch requested items will go to unless you specify another branch. You will also have the option of requesting that the title be mailed to you through the Borrow-by-Mail program for a $2.00 per-item charge.
I need a title but I don't see it in your online catalog. What can I do? You can visit the Suggestion for Purchase page to recommend that the title be purchased. Many suggested items are purchased, however due to budget considerations and collection policies, the Library may not be able to purchase every title requested. If the title you suggested is purchased, a request for it will be entered in your account so you receive the item when it arrives at the Library.
If the Library cannot purchase the item or if it's an older publication, you can request that we try to obtain it for you through Interlibrary Loan, a service which allows us to obtain materials for patrons from other Library systems.
How can I get a question answered if I can't go to the Library? All branches offer telephone reference which is meant to assist you with short, factual questions. The telephone number of your local branch will be listed on the branch page. For questions in specific subject areas you can call the special departments at the Main Library. The Business and Science Department (305-375-5231) can answer questions on topics such as business, science and technology, home repair, cooking, employment, consumer concerns and directory assistance. The Florida Department (305-375-5023) can answer questions on topics concerning the Sunshine State. The Social Science, Humanities and Young Adult Department (305-375-5575) can assist with questions on topics such as philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, biography, travel, history, literature, education, grants, foundations and political science. The Fine Arts Department (305-375-5015) can answer questions about music, art, sports, theatre, dance, and film. The Language Department (305-375-5579) can answer questions related to English and other languages. This department houses the Cuban Collection, which has materials about Cuba and Cuban immigrants in the United States. The Genealogy Department (305-375-5580) can help with questions related to tracing family histories. The Urban Affairs Department (305-375-5487) can answer questions about local governments, public administration, urban planning, transportation, and law enforcement. You can also use the Ask A Librarian service to chat with a librarian live or e-mail your question.
Do you have phone directories from other cities and countries? The Business and Science Department at the Main Library maintains a small collection of phone directories. Staff can assist you in obtaining directory information. If you have a Library card, you can access the Reference USA database which lists residential and business addresses in the USA.
Do you have materials in languages other than English? The Library's collection includes materials in many different languages. All branches have materials in Spanish. The Language Department at the Main Library and the Hispanic Branch include large Spanish language collections. There are large collections as well, of items in Chinese, Creole, French, Portuguese and Russian. The Main Library collects materials in 27 different languages.
What online research options do you offer? Check out the Library's Databases page for a comprehensive list of all the online databases and reference eBooks available to patrons. The databases and reference eBooks on this page are grouped into categories such as art, biography, current events, health, history, etc. Patrons can search individual databases from this page or they can search multiple databases at once from the Library's online catalog.
My teacher told me I need to include books in my bibliography so I can't use the Library's online databases right? The Library's online databases and reference eBooks offer electronic versions which may replicate what the pages looked like in the printed editions. The electronic versions of an eBook or a magazine article will often give you the page information from the printed editions so you can cite the article in a bibliography. Check out this example from the eBook Contemporary Hispanic Biography featuring a biographical article about opera singer Jose Carreras:
Always check with your teacher to make sure you can use eBooks.
Can the Library fax or mail me the information I've requested? Check out the photocopying and faxing policies.
Can I access the Internet at the Library? All branches, with the exception of the Civic Center Branch, offer free Internet access to the public. Branches have computers the public can sign up to use for up to two hours a day. You must have a Library card in order to reserve a computer. Non-residents can obtain a Guest Card to use the computers by visiting a branch and showing a photo ID and proof of address. Branches have available laptops that can be checked out for one hour sessions and used in the Library for up to two hours a day if you have a regular Library card and photo ID. Patrons with Guest cards cannot check out laptops. Please see the Internet/Workstation Policy for additional information.
Does the Library offer wireless access? Yes, every branch except the temporary Shenandoah Branch offers wireless access. If you have an Internet-ready wireless device you can bring it to the branch to connect to the Internet. For instructions on how to set up your wireless device to connect to the Library's network see the Wireless Access page.
How can I make a reservation to use the Library's public computer stations? Reservations must be made in person. You cannot reserve time for the next day or a future date.
Can I call a branch to reserve time on one of the public computer stations? No. Reservations must be made in person.
Can I use the Library's computers to work on a Microsoft Word document or a PowerPoint presentation? All of the Library's computer stations have the 2003 version of the Microsoft programs Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Excel and Access. If you want to save a file you've created or edited using these programs on a Library computer you must bring either a floppy disk or a USB flash drive. You also have the option of e-mailing the file to yourself if you have an Internet e-mail account which allows you access via the web. You cannot save a file to a CD or DVD disk on the Library's computers. The DVD drives on Library computers are read-only.
Can I play a CD-ROMor DVD on the Library's computers? If you have a regular Library card (not a Guest card) you can borrow a laptop and view the contents of a CD or DVD disk. You can also use the laptops to listen to audio files on a CD or DVD. You cannot, however, install software contained on a CD or DVD.
Can I use my USB flash drive with the Library's computers? Yes. All the public Internet stations and laptops allow patrons to connect their USB flash drives in order to read and save files.
Can I print a document at the Library? All public computers, including laptops, can print to printers located at every branch except the Civic Center and Shenandoah branches. Black and white printing is 25 cents per page. Color printing (available in select branches) is $1.25 per page. Print jobs are retained in the system for 24 hours.
Can I scan a document at the Library? Yes. All branches, except the Civic Center, Northeast, and Shenandoah Branches, have at least one public computer station where you can scan a document. You must bring a floppy disk or USB drive in order to save the file and take it with you. You also have the option of e-mailing the file to yourself or someone else if you have an e-mail account that is accessible via the web.
Does the Library offer computer classes? Computer classes are offered at Library branches throughout the Library System. To see a list, go to the Events Calendar and select “Computer Instruction..
Whom do I contact if I'm having trouble accessing the Library's web page, the online catalog or the databases? Contact your local branch staff.
How do I download audios and videos from the Library's website? Instructions for downloading audio and video will be different depending on the database you're accessing. Databases such as OverDrive are available through the Digital Library page and include a HELP link on their main page with instructions on how to download audio and/or video from their web page.
Can I download music at the Library? The Library has available a number of databases that allow you to listen to music online. You can check those out on the Digital Library page. These databases will not allow you to download music and transfer them to a portable device. You will be able to download music and save it to a USB flash drive or a floppy disk if you pay for the downloaded music or find it available for free on an Internet site and the site does not require you to install software in order to pay and/or download the music. You cannot download music or videos from sites like Itunes at the Library since these require you to install software.
Does the Library offer RSS feeds? Yes. The Library has a number of RSS feeds the public can subscribe to. For a list of these and more information about RSS feeds go to our RSS page.
What adult programs and services does the Library offer? The Library offers a variety of adult programs and services including book discussion groups, computer classes, tax assistance, ESOL English classes, citizenship classes, exhibits, holiday themed events, and health and exercise classes. Please visit the Events Calendar for more information and schedules.
What teen programs and services does the Library offer? The Library offers a variety of teen programs and services including Chess, Scrabble and Anime clubs; specialized classes; game nights; book discussion groups; College and Career resources; Financial Aid information; tutoring in science, math and reading; contests; and holiday themed events. Please visit the Teen Page for more information and schedules.
What children's programs and services does the Library offer? The Library offers a variety of children's programs including storytime; arts and crafts; puppet shows; chess and Scrabble clubs; specialized classes; tutoring in science, math and reading; contests; and holiday themed events. Please visit our Kid's Page for more information and schedules.
What type of assistive technologies do you have available for individuals with disabilities? Assistive Technology refers to the special services and assistive devices the Library offers to help make it possible for a person with a visual, hearing or speech impairment to access materials, equipment and services. Devices available in the Library System range from simple hand-held magnifying glasses to complex computers that convert print into synthesized speech or Braille. Library materials for persons with visual, hearing, or speech impairments and their families include books, periodicals, closed-captioned videos for persons who are hearing impaired and descriptive videos for persons who are visually impaired. The Library's on-line catalog may be searched by subject, title or keyword for items in all formats. For more information on available assistive technologies and services, visit the Assistive Technology page.
Do you have a mobile Library service? The Library System operates four mobile libraries which bring Library services and materials to more than 60 locations every week. For more information and to view the scheduled stops, visit the Mobile Library Service page.
Do you have tax forms? In January, the Main Library, all regional libraries and most branches make available the most commonly needed tax forms for the new tax year. Most branches also maintain a binder with commonly used tax forms which patrons can borrow the forms in this binder and photocopy them for $.25 cents per page. Tax forms available on the Internet can also be printed at Library computers for $.25 cents per page. If you have access to a computer at home, you can search for and print tax forms, including forms for previous tax years, directly from the IRS web site.
Do you offer tax assistance? The Library hosts several free tax assistance programs. For a schedule, visit the Events Calendar.
Do you offer citizenship classes? Citizenship classes are offered at specific branches. For a schedule, visit the Events Calendar.
Do you offer classes for people to learn English? Several branches offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes. For a schedule, visit the Events Calendar.
Does the Library have a meeting space we can use? Most of the larger branches have meeting rooms that individuals and community groups can reserve. Contact the individual branch to inquire about meeting room availability and to make reservations. See the Use of Conference and Multi-Purpose Rooms Basic Policy.
Can Library staff act as proctors for examinations? No, the Library does not offer proctoring services. The Miami-Dade College Testing Department offers proctoring services for students for a fee. For more information visit their web site.