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College of San Mateo Library

Borrowing Items

Library Cards

You must have a current Peninsula Library System (PLS) Library Card Account to check out materials and to access most CSM online databases and services. Accounts are free to all CSM students.

Get a Library Card   Get a Distance Education Library Account

You must present a photo identification and proof of current address when applying for or renewing a library card. Acceptable identification may be any of the following:

  • California driver license
  • California identification card
  • Identification issued by the Mexican Consulate in California
  • Check imprinted with name and address
  • Official mail (postmarked with current date)
  • Current bill imprinted with name and address (for example, PG&E, water)
  • Current SMCCCD student ID or other official documentation imprinted with name and address

Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian sign their application and present identification and proof of current address.

You are responsible for all items checked out to your card. Report lost or stolen library cards immediately. There is a fee to issue a replacement card.

The default PIN associated with new accounts used for accessing online resources is the last four digits of your phone number.

Online Account Registration

If you register online as a patron of your city library, you will still need to visit a PLS library to present identification and proof of current address before you receive your card with full borrowing privileges. Online account registrations are temporary, and typically expire in 30 days.

Distance Education students who apply using our online form are provided with an online library card account that allows access to online databases and services from CSM Library only.

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Manage Your Library Account Online

You may manage your Library Card Account online via the Classic Library Catalog or New Library Catalog, whichever you prefer.

Login to your library card account to:

  • Renew your checked out materials
  • Place or cancel holds
  • View what you have checked out and when it is due
  • View which titles you have reserved and what their status is
  • Pay any fines
  • Update your telephone number or email address
  • Change your PIN
  • Change your Library Notice Preference to email
  • View "My Library Account" Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Text Messaging / SMS (Simple Message Service)

Library notifications can now be sent via text message, straight to your cell phone. Your phone must be able to send a text message to an email address. Simply send the text message SIGNUP to and answer a few simple questions to start this convenient service. Please Note: Text messaging charges may apply. Please contact your cell phone provider for more information.

Click here for details about this service.

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Loan Periods and Renewing Materials

Most materials within our circulating collection are loaned to you for a total of 21 days, and may be renewed two times if no one else has requested the item.

Loan period exceptions are:

Collection Loan Period Renewals
Course Reserves Varied (2 hour - 3 weeks) 0
Graphic Novel Collection Varied (2 hour - 3 weeks) 0
Magazines (past issues only) 7 Days 0
Tool Lending Library Varied (2 hour - 3 weeks) 0

Need your item longer? Renew your checkout!

  • Renew online – by logging into your PLS Library Account
  • Renew in person – when you visit or call your local library
  • Renew by phone – when you dial the Telephone Renewal System (TRS), an interactive voice messaging system available anytime day or night at (650) 638-0399

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Placing Holds & Requesting Items from Another Library

You may request an item that is currently unavailable at your Library either because it is checked out by someone else, or is owned by another library.

Place a Hold on Items from another PLS Library

If the item you would like is available from another PLS Library, you can use your online library account to place a "hold." This online request will cause the item to be set aside for you, as soon as it is available.

You can request the item be delivered to the library location of your choice for pickup using the PLS online catalog. Some libraries may charge a "hold" fee per item. However, CSM Library will waive this fee for any item that is delivered to CSM for pickup. Upon notification of availability, held items must be picked up within 10 days.

InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

An Interlibrary Loan request is the process for requesting an item not owned by any of the PLS Libraries. There are no CSM ILL service charges for current SMCCCD students, faculty and staff, however other charges sometimes apply. For further details about interlibrary loan, see our ILL information page or ILL Policy.

Request a Book   Request an Article

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Loan Limits

  • Maximum of 50 total library items checked out on a card
  • Maximum of 18 total media (CD/DVD/VHS) items checked out on a card
  • Maximum of 10 CSM items per day (no more than 5 CSM items within one subject area per day)

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Returning Materials

You can return most borrowed materials to any PLS Library. Book drops are available outside all libraries so that you can return items after-hours.

Exception: All CSM Course Reserve items, Tool Lending Library items, and Interlibrary loan items must be returned to CSM Library.

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Overdue Fines

Items returned after their due date and time will be subject to overdue fines. Library fines may be paid at any PLS Library or online. Fines for specialty tools and equipment vary. Library fines are as follows:

Collection Fine Maximum
Circulating Collection 25¢/day $8.00
Hourly Reserves (2, 3, 16, & 24 hr) $1.00/hour $10.00
Daily Reserves (1, 3, 7, & 21 days) $1.00/day $10.00

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Lost or Damaged Materials

You will be charged for the replacement cost plus a $5.00 processing fee for lost or damaged library items. Please note that unresolved accounts of $35.00 or more may be referred to a collection agency and an additional fee of $10.00 will be assessed. In addition, a financial hold may be placed on your SMCCCD student account for fees associated with lost or damaged CSM Library materials.

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CSM Circulation Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to additional frequently asked questions regarding the checkout of materials, please see the CSM Library Circulation Frequently Asked Questions.

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