Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a library card?

If you're over 13 and have a photo ID, just bring your ID and proof of address (something that has your name and address, like a learner's permit or report card) to your local library. We'll sign you up and send a postcard home to let your parents know you have a card.

If you're under 13 or don't have a photo ID, you'll need to have a parent or guardian's signature to register for a card. Just visit the library with them (they'll need to bring photo ID and proof of address) or ask a librarian about mailing an application home for their signature.

Find more information about getting a library card, including lists of acceptable ID and proof of address, here: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/usingthelibrary/getcard.html

How do I find a book, DVD, etc.?

The easiest way is to check our catalog. You can search for titles, authors, or keywords. If you're looking for a specific type of item (like a DVD) you can use the "Advanced Keyword" search and limit the "Material Type." You can also change the location you're searching in, so you can search in your local library, in a nearby library, or in all the libraries in Allegheny County.

Once you find what you're looking for, you can have it sent to whatever library is most convenient for you by clicking on the purple "Request This Item" button. We'll send it to almost any public library in Allegheny County for you - and you can return it to any public library, too!

If you can't find what you're looking for in the catalog, try asking a library employee. We're here to help!

I still can't find what I want. What should I do?

You have a couple options:

  • Leave disappointed: This option is NOT RECOMMENDED. If we don't have what you want or need, we'll do our best to get it for you!
  • Place an Interlibrary Loan: Using Interlibrary Loan, you can access materials from libraries all over the world. All you have to do is fill out a little form, and the library will request it for you. We can't guarantee that we'll be able to get it, but we'll try our best.
  • Suggest a purchase: If we can't get it through Interlibrary Loan or it's something very new that we missed, we encourage you to suggest a purchase. After you fill out the form, the information will get sent to the appropriate department. A librarian will review the request and see if it's something that we should add to our collection. And, we'll let you know if we decide to buy the item you request.
What happens if I return something late?

If you return a book after its due date, you'll be charged a fine. The fine depends on what you have checked out and how late it is. If you have an overdue book, you'll be charged $.25/day for every day it's late. CDs, magazines, videotapes and books on tape or CD are also $.25. DVDs and video games are $1.00/day. You'll get charged a fine for every item that's late, so be careful - it can add up fast! The easiest way to avoid overdue fines? Return your book on time.

But what if I can't return my books on time?

Usually we can renew items if you can't finish it before it's due. You can renew items online by logging into My Account or by using the automated telephone renewal services (412-622-1895, 412-622-1896, 412-622-1897). Once the items are overdue you have to actually talk to a library employee -- bring your books to your local library or call 412-622-3114. Make sure you have your library card number and the barcode numbers from the items you want to renew available when you call!

In most cases, you can renew an item twice. However, if somebody else has placed a request on that item it cannot be renewed.

What's happening at the library for teens?

From book discussions and talks with famous authors to video game tournaments and film making competitions, the library has all sorts of great programs for teens. Check out our event calendar for a complete schedule.

I have an assignment due tomorrow that I've barely started! What should I do?

First off, you should start earlier next time! But don't panic. The library has lots of resources to help you:

  • Homework: First, check out the homework section of the website. This area has links to loads of websites and other resources that might be helpful.
  • Live Homework Help from Tutor.com: Did you know that the library offers free, live tutors to help with everything from algebra to editing your English paper?
  • Research Databases: There's a lot of information in books that you're not going to find anywhere else, but did you know you might be able to do a lot of your work at the computer? The library subscribes to tons of databases full of articles from magazines or journals, encyclopedias, etc. The best thing is, you can trust the information you find in databases - they're not like a random internet site. If your teacher says you're not allowed to use "web resources," make sure she doesn't mean research databases - and if she does, ask her to call a teen librarian!
How can I download music, videos or audiobooks?

Check out eCLP! With hundred of audiobooks you can download to your computer, iPod or other mp3 player, dozens of movies, and even streaming audio, you'll never be bored again. All you need to do is download some simple software to your home computer and you'll have books, movies and music at your fingertips.

Do you have RSS feeds?
We sure do! You can subscribe to RSS feeds and be notified of events for different audiences or at different locations. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for our systemwide teen blog by visiting http://clpteensburgh.wordpress.com/. Would you like feeds of different portions of our website? Let us know!
I lost something I checked out. What should I do?

First, check under your bed. It's probably there. Or maybe at your friends house.

If you still can't find it, come into the library and talk to us. You are responsible for everything that's checked out on your card so you'll probably have to pay for it, but if you talk to a librarian we might be able to work out a payment plan for you. Plus, we want to make sure you know that losing a book does not mean you can't use the library. You're still welcome to visit us, read while you're here, participate in programs, etc.

I lost my library card. What should I do?

Did you already check under your bed? Okay, then. Do you see up above, where it says How do I get a library card? Click on that. The process is the same to get a replacement. Before you do that, though, you should call the library and tell us you lost your card. Remember that you're responsible for everything checked out on your card and make sure that we block your card so that if anyone finds it they can't use it.

I owe a lot of money on my card. What should I do?

Next time, return your books on time. That doesn't really help you now, though, does it? Well, here are a couple things that might:

  • Teen Fine Forgiveness: If your fines are from materials checked out from a CLP Library, talk to one of the library staff about the Fine Forgiveness Program. It's an opportunity to volunteer at the library in exchange for waiving some of your fines.
  • Sign up for Teen Summer Reading: The first year you participate, we'll waive all your fines. Any subsequent years, we'll waive up to $10.00. This deal is only in effect during Teen Summer Reading, though, so you might have to wait a few months.
  • Pay off your fines: This might seem obvious, but you might be surprisedif you owe over $10.00, you don't have any borrowing or computer privileges. However, if you get your fine below $10.00 you'll be able to use your card again. Just remember that if you lose your card or it expires you'll need to pay off your entire balance before you can get a new one.