Thanksgiving Holiday Hours


Wed, Nov 26: Countryside Library is closed; our other library branches are open 10 am-2 pm. Thu-Fri, Nov 27-28: All libraries are closed.

Clearwater Public Library System


LOGIN

City Home > CPLS Home Page > About Us > Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Library Cards

How do I register for a library card?
You may apply for a resident library card if you are a permanent Clearwater resident, permanently reside anywhere within the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative (PPLC) districts, or own property within a Pinellas Public Library Cooperative member district. Resident library cards are valid for three years.
If you are a temporary or seasonal Clearwater resident, you may apply for a courtesy local library card.  The card is valid for up to 6 months, may be used to checkout items and use our computers, and is valid only at Clearwater Public Library System branches. You cannot use this card to place hold requests or access other services provided by the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative.  You will need to provide a photo ID and a document indicating your local address.
Non-resident fees for persons who reside outside the PPLC districts are $100.00 per year per household, or $25 per quarter. Some Pinellas County municipalities will reimburse part of this fee for their residents. Please contact us or your local municipality for more information as these policies change frequently.
How does a child register for a library card?
Applicants under the age of 14 will need a parent or responsible party's signature to obtain a card. Please see our Library Card Application page for complete instructions and an application form.
What if I just want to use the computers?
If you do not wish to apply for a library card or you are not a permanent resident, you can request for a Computer Use Only Card. This card is valid at all five Clearwater libraries.
To apply for this card, you need a photo ID. It is valid for three months and can be extended.
Can I use my PPLC library card at any of the Clearwater Public Libraries?
Yes. Clearwater Public Library System is a member of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative.  PPLC library cards are valid at all PPLC libraries.
I don't live in Pinellas County.  Can I check out materials from your library?
The Pinellas Public Library Cooperative has reciprocal borrowing agreements with many local library systems, including Indian Rocks Beach Library, New Port Richey Public Library, Pasco County, Hernando County, Manatee County, Polk County, and Sarasota County.
To register for reciprocal borrowing, you will need to bring your current, active library card from your home county or city and a photo ID.  We will register that card in our system and you can use it to borrow our materials, place requests in the catalog, and use our computers.  Reciprocal borrowers (except Indian Rocks Beach patrons) are not eligible to download e-books or other digital materials.
Hillsborough County is one major exception; they have declined to honor reciprocal agreements with local counties.  To borrow in PPLC, Hillsborough County residents will need to purchase a PPLC library card for $100.00 per household per year.  This means that all members of one household can pay one fee and all receive a card.  That card will be good at all PPLC libraries for one year and can be renewed annually.
We also have reciprocal agreements with some of the local colleges and universities, such as St. Petersburg College.  This means you may register your college library card at any PPLC library free of charge.  A complete list of all libraries participating in the reciprocal borrowing program is available on the TBLC website.
What should I do if I lose my library card?
Notify the Clearwater Public Library immediately! Until we are alerted that the card is lost, you are responsible for any materials borrowed with your library card. A replacement library card will be issued upon payment of a $1.00 fee.
Do library cards expire?
Yes, library cards expire after three years.  At that time, you will need to provide proof of residency in a PPLC member municipality and clear any existing fines before your card can be renewed.

Borrowing Items

Is there a limit to the number of items I can borrow?
For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, please click here, then click the link to Detailed Circulation and Borrowing Policies.  
How long can I keep an item? Can I renew an item?
For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, please click here, then click the link to Detailed Circulation and Borrowing Policies.  

To renew an item using your Patron Account
Login to the catalog.
Click Items Out.
Click the checkbox next to the items you wish to renew.
Click Renew Selected Items.

What is my fine if I return an item late? What happens if I lose a library item?
For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, please click here. We accept payment by cash, check, or credit card in person. Please call us if you have specific questions about a fine on your account.
Borrowers who lose or fail to return an item will be charged a replacement fee and a processing fee. Borrowers who return items in damaged condition may be charged a repair fee.
When you register for a library card, you agree to abide by Library policies, and pay for any loss of, or damage to, Library materials, and to pay overdue fines accumulated on this card or any additional cards for which you maintain responsibility.
Failure to return overdue library materials and failure to report and reimburse for lost, damaged, or destroyed library materials are violations of Pinellas County Ordinance 96-52 and may result in a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 60 days.
Can I return items borrowed from other PPLC libraries at Clearwater Public Library, and vice versa?
You can return any PPLC item to any PPLC library, which includes Clearwater Public Library.
I read a book a few months ago and now can't remember the title or author.  Is there some way for me to look back at the items I've checked out?
We do not maintain records of items checked out to patrons once they are returned, unless there was an unpaid fine affiliated with the item.  You can choose to maintain a reading list in the future, but you need to agree to a privacy policy before doing so.

To enable a reading list:
Log in to your library account.
Click My Record.
Click Contact Information and Preferences
Click the check box next to Maintain reading list.
Click OK when the privacy warning appears.

You will have a new option on the Patron Account drop-down menu called Reading History, which will keep track of everything you have checked out.  You may choose to cancel this feature at any time and you may also remove individual items from your reading list.

Requesting Items

How can I find out if your library owns a particular item?
Check the online catalog for Clearwater Public Library holdings. The Catalog will indicate if we own an item, which branch has it, and whether or not it is presently available for borrowing. If you see an item you wish to pick up today, please call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3. We will verify it is on the shelf and hold it for 24 hours.
How can I get an item if it is currently checked out?
As long as the item is not reference material, you can request that it be held for you by placing a reserve request. We will contact you when the item is available and then hold it for five days at the Clearwater Library branch of your choice.
How do I request an item?
You can request an item in person at the library, by calling our Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3, or on the Internet using our public catalog. You will need your library card number and password to place a request by any of these methods.

To place an item on hold
Log in to your library account.
Search for and locate the item you wish to request.
Click Place Request.
Choose a pickup library location from the drop down menu.
Click Submit Request.
How will I know my item is here?
You will be notified by the method you prefer.  Most library card users are by default set up to receive telephone notification that their items are available.  They will receive a call through our automated system; the phone number varies, but has an 813 area code. To preserve your privacy, the phone message simply states, "You have items being held at {name of branch}".
Text messaging and e-mail notifications are also available. You will receive notification that holds are here and also reminders that materials checked out to you will be due two days before they are due.  Be sure not to rely exclusively on these reminders; you can check the status of your account at any time by logging into our catalog, http://pals.polarislibrary.com. If you would like to change your notification method, please call us or speak with a library staff member.
How long will it take for my hold to arrive?
Once an item has been shipped, it typically takes 3-5 business days to move between locations. If you are experiencing an unusually long wait time, please call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3.
Does a book request ever expire (if I haven't received the book yet)?
Requests expire exactly one year after you place them.  Hopefully, you won't ever have to wait that long for anything, but occasionally it happens.  If you were to place a hold on a title with only one copy in the county and we are unable to find that item on the shelf, that request would remain unfilled on your account.  If that ever does happen, we'll try to purchase a replacement copy.
Im going on vacation and have a lot of items on hold.  Can my account go on vacation too?
Yes!  You can suspend your requests if you are going out of town or arent ready to read something youre on hold for.  Suspending requests will allow you to maintain your place in the holds queue so you dont lose your place in line for popular items.

To suspend your requests:
Log in to your library account.
Click My Account
Click Requests.  Scroll down.
Click Suspend/Reactivate All.
Enter the date you will return.
Click Submit.
How do I request you purchase an item you don't own?
Please check the catalog to confirm the item is not available in PPLC and contact us using this form. Your request will be addressed by a member of our Acquisitions department.
How do I find items in large print?
Polaris Large Print Icon If you are searching by Keyword, you can choose Limit by: Large Print to make sure these are the only titles you see.

If you are browsing a list of books, look for the Large Print symbol next to the title. The large print icon is located below the Place Request button and resembles a book with LP on its pages.

I need an item ASAP. If you don't have it, where can I go?
Your best choice is probably to go to a bigger library. The largest public library in the Tampa Bay area is Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library, and the largest academic library is the University of South Florida Library in Tampa. Both libraries offer, among many other things, comprehensive business and government documents collections. For legal research, try the Pinellas County Law Library in downtown Clearwater at (727) 464-3411 or Stetson University's Law Library in Gulfport, FL. Be aware, though, that you will not be able to borrow materials from these libraries using your Clearwater or Pinellas Public Library Cooperative card. Each library has its own policies regarding borrowing privileges so be sure to contact them to determine your eligibility. You can also check out Worldcat.org to see if other local libraries own the item.

Access your account by phone

What number do I call to renew my items when the library is closed?
(727) 388-9490 or (813) 200-6188
My password does not work on the phone.  Help!
If you can't remember your password, please call us with your library card number and we will reset it to the password of your choice. Your password needs to be at least 4 characters long. Alpha-numeric passwords are OK.

Research and Reference Questions

Do you have language learning materials available at the library?
In addition to CDs, DVDs, and books for language learning, we also offer an online language learning program similar to Rosetta Stone© called Pronunciator. To access Pronunciator, click the link on our homepage or our Databases A-Z List. Pronunciator is also available as an app for your tablet or smart phone.
Where can I take classes to prepare for the USCIS citizenship exam?
The Clearwater Adult Education Center, which is part of the Pinellas County School Board, offers citizenship classes. They can be contacted at (727) 469-4190. Other local non-profit organizations offering citizenship exam preparation classes include the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas and UMCM Suncoast.
Do you accept book donations?
We accept donations at the Clearwater Main Library on 100 N. Osceola Ave.  For large donations, such as an estate library, please contact the Clearwater Library Foundation at (727) 562-4970 Ext. 5189.  In some cases, our Friends of the Library volunteers may be able to pick up donations.  Please contact the Friends of the Clearwater Library Bookstore for this information at (727) 562-4970, Ext. 5234.  We are happy to provide a receipt for tax purposes.
Do you have yearbooks available?
The best source for local yearbooks is the Pinellas County Historical Society. If you wish to visit, the archives are located on the grounds of Heritage Village at 11909 125th Street North, Largo, Florida 33774. You can call (727) 582-2128 to make an appointment for research.
The St. Petersburg Public Library System has a yearbook collection. Some local and national yearbooks are also scanned and available on Ancestry. You can access this database in any PPLC library.
You could also either contact your school directly to see if there is an alumni association or get in touch with former classmates. Classmates.com and Facebook.com are two popular websites for getting in touch with old friends. You can use either site to search for graduates by school.

Services Available at the Library

How do I reserve a meeting room at a Clearwater library?
Our online reservation service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rooms can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Requests will be confirmed by email or telephone within 72 hours.
  1. Visit http://www.myclearwater.com/cpl/meetingroom-rez.asp..
  2. Read and accept the Meeting Room Policies.
  3. Select a Library.
  4. Select the Date (double click on underlined number).
  5. Select Time and Room.
  6. Complete contact information section and submit request.
Can I register to vote at the library?
Yes, you can apply in person at the library or online on at VotePinellas.com.
What services do you have for blind and visually impaired patrons?
The Talking Book Library of Pinellas County offers books on tape through the mail for those with visual impairment.  You may contact them by phone at (727) 441-9958 or online at www.pplc.us/tbl.
The libraries in the PPLC also offer books on CD, downloadable audio books through Overdrive, and videos with visual description.  All these items can be borrowed with a library card.
What services do you offer for deaf and hard of hearing patrons?
The Deaf Literacy Center of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative is located at the Safety Harbor Library and can be reached by phone at (727) 724-1525 x 120 or online.
Can I rent the Main Library rooftop for my event?
The city has decided to discontinue the rental program at the Main Library.  The City of Clearwater Parks & Recreation Department offers a variety of recreation facilities with space available for rent.  Please click the link for details and contact information.  The Clearwater Community Sailing Center also offers a room for rent with views of the bay area.
Do you proctor exams?
We do not proctor exams in the Clearwater Public Library System.  Safety Harbor Public Library, Palm Harbor Public Library, Oldsmar Public Library, and St Petersburg College all offer proctoring service. Please contact the institutions directly for more information.
St. Petersburg College, (727) 341-4772
Palm Harbor Library, (727) 784-3332, Ext. 3006
Safety Harbor Public Library, (727) 724-1525, Ext. 2
Oldsmar Public Library, (813) 749-1178
Can I charge my electric car at the library?
Countryside Library offers two car charging stations. If you are facing the library, they are located to the left of the library's entrance.

Computing at the Library

Do you have computers or typewriters for public use?
Yes. All Clearwater Public Library branches offer computers, as well as free wireless.  The charge for printing is $.15 per sheet black and white; $.50 for color.
We have typewriters at the Main and East Libraries. To ensure availability, please call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3 to use the typewriter at the East Library. You will need your own paper and correction materials. Paper is also available at the Reference Desk for $.15 per sheet.
Does your Library offer public access to the Internet?
Yes. Internet access is available to the public at all Clearwater Public Libraries. All our computers run Windows XP or Windows 7 with installed Internet browsers as well as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. If you need to hear something through the Internet (music/webinar/movie) you must bring your own headphones; the library does not lend out headphones. Free wireless is available at all five libraries; please request the current password from the Reference department. 
Is there a charge for using the Internet?
There is no charge for using the Internet at our libraries. Print outs cost $0.15 per black and white printed page and $0.50 per color printed page. We also have flash drives ($5.00) available for purchase so you can save your work.
Do you have wireless Internet?
Yes, all five libraries provide free wireless use while the libraries are open.
Do you have wireless printing?
Yes, we offer wireless printing in all five libraries.  To use our wireless printing, click the link for at the bottom of this webpage Wireless Printing under Library Services.   Choose the branch where you are working and follow the directions.  Black and white prints are 15¢ and color prints are 50¢ per page.  You will need to pay for them in cash at the print station.
Where can I take computer classes?
The Clearwater Public Library System offers free computer classes and drop in computer help without an appointment at all five branches. There are several local organizations that also offer computer classes.  We maintain a list of locations, as well as computer skills websites we recommend, on our Computer Help webpage.

Downloadable Library Materials

How do I borrow/download e-books?
For more information on downloadable library materials, please visit our Downloadables homepage. Follow the links for detailed instructions on using Overdrive, 3M, and Axis 360, our e-book lending platforms.  We also offer downloadable magazines through Zinio and mp3s through Freegal.
Learn to use your e-reader or other technology to download library materials at any Computer Help workshop, offered at all five of our branches; here is the link to our calendar.
How do I access Clearwater Public Library databases from home?
You will need to have a current library card to access our databases from a remote site, such as your home.  If you do not have a library card, you may apply for a card online and begin accessing databases immediately.  The computer will immediately issue you a number that will start with PACREG####.  This PACREG number is what you will enter to use the e-resources (or databases) online from home.
Your PACREG number is temporary; it will not work to download e-books or other e-materials.  To access downloadable materials, you will need to complete the registration process by coming into a library and getting a library card.

Services and Programs for Children, Teens, and Parents

My child really enjoyed a particular book. What should s/he read next?
Check out our Books and Authors database for recommendations for all ages. Please note, if you are outside the library, this link will ask you for your library card number and then take you to the correct page.
Do you have any advice on helping my baby learn to read?
Reading to your baby regularly starting at birth is important in preparing your child for lifelong learning.  Our Youth Services Librarians are early literacy experts and can help you get started on the right foot. Sing nursery rhymes, read aloud some Mother Goose books, and have fun with your baby. For further pointers, try The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease or Reading Magic by Mem Fox. Library programs for small children can also help you raise a little reader.  Please check our online calendar for upcoming programs for young children. 
What kind of programs do you offer for children?
We offer a dynamic range of programs designed to suit children and their families. For the youngest children we offer lapsit storytimes (for babies 0-18 months), music-based storytimes, and baby sign language. Toddlers and small children (18 months to 6 years old) enjoy traditional storytimes, puppet shows, and other developmentally appropriate learning experiences which help them develop their early literacy skills. For school age children and their families, we offer a variety of drop in programs, including movies, crafts, and homework help. Monthly teen programs and activities offer a fun, welcoming place to socialize and meet other teens; we also have an active teen volunteer program that provides teens with service hours and work experience in a creative, supportive environment. You can search our online by calendar by age group to find the right program for your children. Many of our events are designed for all ages. You are welcome to call or e-mail a librarian if you have any questions.
Do you provide tutors for children?
We do not employ professional tutors, but we do have teen volunteers working on their scholarships who are available to assist your child with their homework assignments.  Main Library, East Library, and Countryside Library offer homework assistance on a weekly basis; please call us or refer to our event calendar for specific dates and times. Teen volunteers at the East Library also offer an additional weekly bilingual homework help program for students speaking English or Spanish. For additional tutoring opportunities, please contact your child's teacher.
Do you have computers available for children?
Yes! All five of our library branches have computers that children may access with their library card. These computers allow access to the Internet and include Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. At the Main Library, the youth and teen computers are located on the second floor in the Youth Services Department. 
All our libraries also offer an Early Literacy Station (ELS) which features 50 fun and educational software programs for children ages 2-10. No library card is required to use this special kids' only computer and it does not connect to the public Internet.
Do you do anything special in the summer for children?
Yes, the library plans free themed summer programs and activities for newborns through teens. By tracking the amount of time your children spend reading in our reading incentives program or attending entertaining programs we strive to help keep your children’s minds active and able to enter school in the fall ready to learn.   Look in our event calendar for this summer’s activities.
Are there opportunities for teens to volunteer at the library?
We accept teen volunteers who are attending middle and senior high. Many teens find working at the library a rewarding way to obtain their required hours for scholarships programs such as Bright Futures and Junior Honor Society. We also offer volunteer hours for teens looking to give back to their community and gain valuable job experience by assisting the librarians.  Visit our web site for our volunteer application and then call or visit the Clearwater Library branch that interests you to inquire about current opportunities.