Frequently Asked Questions
Library Cards & Accounts
How can I get a library card? Answer
Are there any restrictions on a brand new library card? Answer
How often will my library card expire and how do I renew it? Answer
What is the difference between a MyMCPL account and my library account? Answer
Where can I use my library card? Answer
What if I misplace my library card? Answer
Is there a limit to the number of items I may have checked out at once? Answer
Is there a limit to the number of holds I can place? Answer
How long can I keep library materials? Answer
How do I renew library materials? Answer
Where can I return my materials? Answer
What if I keep my library materials beyond the due date? Answer
What if I lose or damage library materials? Answer
Is there a User Guide that explains the features of the online catalog? Answer
Can I access the online catalog from places other than the library? Answer
Why can't I log in with my library card number and birth date? Answer
I use the option to remember my card number and birth date. How can I change this information? Answer
What does 'No more charges allowed' mean? Answer
How will I know when my holds are available? Answer
Can you email me when my holds are available? Answer
How can I change my street or email address online? Answer
How do I access more details about an item I find in the catalog? Answer
How do I limit my searches to just Videos, Audio Books, etc.? Answer
Why do I get logged out of the catalog sometimes? Answer
How do I use a copier at the library and how much does it cost? Answer
How much does it cost to print from a computer? Answer
Can I print documents from my mobile personal device? Answer
Can I send or receive a fax at the library? Answer
Why are there multiple libraries in Kansas City? Answer
What if my branch doesn't have the book or other material I want? Answer
How do I request that the library purchase a certain book, audiobook, CD, DVD, etc.? Answer
Does the library accept donated materials? Answer
Does the library have a used book sale? Answer
Does the library offer Wi-Fi access if I bring in my laptop? Answer
Which days are the library closed? Answer
There are a number of circumstances which may make you eligible for a Mid-Continent Public Library card:
- If you live, work, own property, or go to school within the Mid-Continent Public Library district service area (Clay, Platte and Jackson Counties, excluding the Kansas City (MO) School District and the municipality of North Kansas City), you are eligible for a library card. Visit any of our locations to apply, or complete our online registration form.
- Also, if you live or own property in a library district with which we have a reciprocal borrowing agreement, you are eligible for a card. Visit any of our locations to apply, or complete our online registration form.
- The following options are available to persons living outside of the Mid-Continent Public Library service area:
- Out-of-District card -- New Out-of-District cards can be issued at any of our locations. New Out-of-District cards will be issued only to Missouri or Kansas residents living outside the MCPL service area. You must be present to register for an Out-of-District card. There is a fee of $55.00 (as of July 8, 2016) and the card is valid for one year. Cards about to expire or expired can be renewed in person or by mail, phone, or email.
- Research card -- Research cards will be issued only at the Midwest Genealogy Center. Research cards can be issued to U.S. residents living outside the MCPL service area (but inside the U.S.). You must be present to register for a Research card. There is a fee of $27.50 (as of August 24, 2015) and the card is valid for six months. Research cards are not able to be renewed. (You may apply for a new card after current card expires, but the same new card rules will apply.)
Yes, there are a few initial restrictions until your address has been verified. Your new library card privileges allow you to have 2 items checked out at a time and place holds on 10 items. The library verifies your address by mailing you a notice. Once you receive your notice in the mail, you may bring it to the library to receive full library privileges. Otherwise, your limited privileges will convert to full privileges 2 weeks after your registration date, assuming we have not received your mailed notice back from the Post Office as undeliverable.
Most library cards expire every two years, allowing us to verify your current contact information when we renew your card. If your card has expired recently* or is about to expire, your card may be renewed by visiting any of our locations or by mail, phone, or email. Please have your library card available if visiting a branch to renew, or if calling your local branch location to renew. To renew by mail or email, please send the following information to your local branch location:
Name (First, Middle and Last)
City, State, and Zip Code
Date of Birth
Library Card Number
* If your card expired more than 18 months ago, it will no longer be in our system and you will need to visit a branch location to reapply.
Out-of-District cards expire after one year. Your card can be renewed* by visiting any of our locations or by mail, phone, or email. Please have your library card available if visiting a branch to renew, or if calling to renew (816.836.5200). To renew by mail or email, please send the following information:
Name (First, Middle, and Last)
City, State, and Zip Code
Date of Birth
Library Card Number
- If renewing by mail, please make your $55.00 check payable to Mid-Continent Public Library and mail to:
Mid-Continent Public Library
Attn: Kay Hoaglin
15616 E. 24 Hwy.
Independence, MO 64050
- If renewing by email, you will receive instructions to pay the $55.00 fee with a debit or credit card when we receive your renewal request. Email renewal requests to Kay Hoaglin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* If you do not reside in Missouri or Kansas and acquired an Out-of-District card prior to May 2010, you have been allowed to continue using your card even though we no longer allow new registrations for residents outside Missouri and Kansas. When your card has been expired for more than 30 days, the card will be removed from the system. You will no longer be eligible for an Out-of-District card once the account has been expunged.
The Mid-Continent Public Library borrower's card entitles its patrons to borrow materials from all branches and to access our Online Resources. Through reciprocity agreements, people living in the Mid-Continent Library District are also eligible for service from the Johnson County and Kansas City Kansas Public Libraries in Kansas, Kansas City Missouri Public Library District, North Kansas City Public Library, Cass County Public Library, Trails Regional Library and Ray County Public Library in Missouri. Contact any of these libraries for more details.
- Johnson County (Kansas) Library
- Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
- Kansas City, Missouri Public Library
- North Kansas City Public Library
- Cass County Public Library
- Trails Regional Library
- Ray County Public Library
If your library card or key ring cards are lost or stolen, please report the loss to the library immediately. A $.50 fee will be charged, and all three cards will be replaced. Please note, you are responsible for any materials checked out before the card was lost or stolen and for all materials if the card is not reported as lost or stolen.
After your new card has converted to full privileges, you are allowed to have up to 200 items checked out at once.
You may place up to 400 items on hold at any time, however you are limited to 200 items checked out at once.
The checkout period of most library materials is 7, 14, or 28 days. Items with a loan period less than 28 days will be clearly marked. For your convenience, a receipt will be printed for you showing the due date for all items checked out. If another user is not waiting for your item, you may renew it in person, via telephone, or online via the Catalog. Items may be renewed twice.
To renew items online, access our Library Catalog.
- Log in to the Catalog using your library card number and PIN (birth date in the format MMDDYYYY).
- Click on "My Account" at the top of the screen.
- Click on the "Checkouts" tab.
- Check the boxes beside the items you want to renew or check the box beside "Select All".
*You will not be able to select items that have been renewed twice already.
- Click on the "Renew" button.
- A Renewal Confirmation window will pop up. Click "Yes". The page will refresh and your item(s) will be renewed for 28 days.
You may return borrowed library materials to any of the locations in the Mid-Continent Public Library System. There is no charge to route these materials back to their "home" branch.
If library materials are not returned on the date due, $.05 per day per overdue item will be charged. The maximum overdue bill for items that are returned is $1.00 per item. If an item is six weeks overdue, it will be assumed that the item is lost and your account will be billed for the item. Borrowing privileges will be blocked if the estimated or actual bills on your account are $10.00 or more. If the total of bills owed exceeds $100.00, the account will be referred to a collection agency. At that time a $20.00 service fee will be added to the total amount owed.
If an item is six weeks overdue, it will be assumed that the item is lost and your account will be billed for the item. If an item is returned damaged, your account will be billed for the item. Charges for replacement of lost or damaged MCPL materials will be determined by the list price of the item as indicated in the item record. Borrowing privileges will be blocked if the estimated or actual bills on your account are $10.00 or more. If the total of bills owed exceeds $100.00, the account will be referred to a collection agency. At that time a $20.00 service fee will be added to the total amount owed.
Charges for lost or damaged materials borrowed through interlibrary loan from other library systems vary and some library systems levy service charges in addition to the actual item cost. Because of this variability, MCPL will charge a standard rate based on an average cost of the type of material borrowed, as determined by national library standards, plus any processing fees, based on average costs assessed by lending libraries.
To find out the amount due on a particular lost or damaged item, please contact your local branch.
A MyMCPL website account will allow you to sign into our website and use these features:
- Viewing personalized recommendations for library materials
- Viewing personalized recommendations for events
In the future your MyMCPL website account will allow you to store your library card number and PIN, and you will not have to type in your library card number and PIN when you want to:
View your checkouts and bills
Create wish lists
Access research databases
A MyMCPL account offers you customized information, based on your preferences, on our website. Your library account is tied to your library card, and this is where your checkouts, holds, bills, etc. are located. You can view your library account details in the online catalog.
Yes, there is a User Guide available.
The library's online catalog can be accessed by clicking on the Catalog button at the top of the screen.
Be sure to:
- Enter your 14 digit MCPL Card Number with no spaces,
card (ID) example: 20000010123456
(if we have registered you in our system using your card from another local library system, your card number may not have 14 digits)
- Enter your 8 digit Birth Date in MMDDYYYY format,
birthdate (PIN) example: September 2, 1963 = 09021963
Users of Internet Explorer, please review how to adjust the AutoComplete feature.
Please read the other possible answer before proceeding.
If this is still not working, there may be an error with your account in our records; please contact your local branch for assistance with your account information.
FIRST: The most common cause of failed logins is an incorrectly stored date of birth in your web browser. Because this is a password field, you will only see ******** on the screen. Try deleting, then re-entering your birthdate in the MMDDYYYY format as described above.
SECOND: Since this is a function of your web browser and not a function of our online catalog system, the library cannot guarantee any results.
The following has been copied from the Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 7) Help screen for the AutoComplete feature:
You can tailor the AutoComplete feature to save and suggest only the information you want. You can choose whether to use AutoComplete for Web addresses, forms, and passwords, or not use it at all. And you can clear the history for any of these.
- On the Tools menu in Internet Explorer, click Internet Options.
- Click the Content tab.
- In the Personal information area, click AutoComplete.
- Select the check boxes for the AutoComplete options you want to use. (You can also try clicking the 'clear' buttons.)
The following has been copied from the Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 8) Help screen for the AutoComplete feature:
You can choose the type of web form information that Internet Explorer will retain and automatically fill in for you. For example, you can choose whether the Internet Explorer AutoComplete feature will remember web addresses, information that you fill out in web forms, or passwords. You can delete this information at any time.
To change AutoComplete settings:
- In Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
- Click the Content tab.
- Under AutoComplete, click Settings.
- Select the check boxes for the AutoComplete options you want to use.
- Click OK twice.
If you would like to delete the names, passwords, or other information that is saved in Internet Explorer, you can do so. Here's how:
To delete the information stored by AutoComplete:
- In Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
- Click the General tab, and then click Delete.
- Do any of the following:
- To delete information from web forms, select the Form data check box.
- To delete passwords, select the Passwords check box.
- To delete web addresses from the Address bar, select the History check box.
- Click Delete, and then click OK.
See also: AOL Help (How do I turn off password auto complete?) from AOL.com and How to Turn Off Form Autocompletion in Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox.
If you try to place a hold or renew items you have checked out and see this message, there is some problem with your account that needs attention. There are a number of reasons that include the card having been reported lost or an invalid mailing address. For assistance with your account, please contact your local branch.
You can find out if your holds are available one of two ways:
- Login to the online catalog and click on My Account. Click on Holds. Any holds that are available will have a green exclamation point on the left side and the "status" will show an expiration date, letting you know how long your item will be held for you.
- The library will also notify you when your holds are available. You will be notified by postal mail unless you have requested to be notified by email (see below).
Yes. To sign up for email notifications, contact your local branch.
Not at this time. For any changes that need to be made to your account information, please contact one of our library locations.
On the search results screen, click on the title of the item. A pop-up screen will appear with the item details including branch holdings, catalog record, and additional content such as reviews, summaries, chapters, and excerpts.
Next to the search box at the top of every page, the first drop-down menu allows you to limit your search to Books, eBooks, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Genealogy, Large Print, Audiobooks, Audiobooks for Download, Music CDs, and Videos. Once you have done a search, additional limiters are available on the left-hand side of the screen.
After 25 minutes of inactivity, the online catalog assumes you are finished with your session and closes it for you. This is a safeguard we have in place so that if you forget to logout after using a library computer, the next user won't have access to your library card information. Automatic logout after 25 minutes is also necessary to keep sessions running as quickly as possible for the users that are still active within their catalog session.
Library copiers print either in black and white for $.10 per page, or in color for $.50 per page. The copiers are also capable of scanning images to a USB drive, and this service is free of charge.
The charge for printing is ten cents ($.10) per page for black and white and fifty cents ($.50) per page for color for items printed outside the MCPL domain. Customers may not bring in their own paper for printing documents (resumes, etc.) due to possible jams in the printer or confusion with the print queue.
Yes! You may print documents from your mobile personal device (such as a laptop, iPad, etc...) at our branches. Follow the directions on our Mobile Device and Remote Printing page. The costs associated with printing from a computer also apply to printing from a mobile personal device.
You can send faxes from the library, but not receive them. The cost for sending a fax is $1.75 for the first page and $1.00 for each subsequent page faxed within the United States. International faxes cost $3.95 for the first page and $3.45 for each subsequent page. Credit/debit card is the only accepted method of payment.
Depending on how you define “Kansas City” there are many libraries that serve Greater Kansas City. On the Kansas side, Johnson County Library, Olathe Public, and Kansas City Kansas Library serve most of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. On the Missouri side, all libraries are independent political subdivisions, not unlike a school district. Serving Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte Counties you will find the Cass County Library, Kansas City Public Library, North Kansas City Public Library and Mid-Continent Public Library. Like school districts, all the libraries have unique boundaries and do not overlap. For instance, if you live in Kansas City north of the river, one does not pay taxes to both KCPL and MCPL.
Kansas City Public Library is the oldest public library in the region and is about 90 years older than Mid-Continent Public Library. Until the late 1980s, Kansas City Public Library was part of the Kansas City School District. Consequently (and with a minor exception) the Kansas City Public Library District still follows the Kansas City School District boundary. This close relationship between the Kansas City School District and the Kansas City Public Library made it very difficult for the two libraries to collaborate.
More recently, the two libraries have grown to develop different strengths in an attempt to complement rather than compete. In addition, the two libraries have worked very hard to eliminate barriers to services so that people living in the KCPL district can use MCPL resources and vice versa. The goal of both libraries is to provide excellent library service, to the people of the region. Over the next few years, the libraries of Greater Kansas City will be working on new cooperative efforts to further strengthen collaboration among the libraries and to provide even better services to the people of the region.
A free of charge intra-library loan arrangement permits you to obtain circulating materials anywhere in the library system which may not be located in your branch. You may also request materials the library does not own through Interlibrary Loan using WorldCat. We will attempt to borrow the material from another library system for you.
Purchase requests can be submitted to your local branch. Please be aware that it usually takes longer for the library to purchase an item than it does to Interlibrary Loan it using WorldCat (see above). If you are a self-published author, please email your request to our Collection Development Department.
Donated materials are accepted at all locations. However, many donated materials are not added to the library collection but instead are sold via online retailers as described below. If you are a self-published author interested in donating your work, please email our Collection Development Department for more information.
Surplus and withdrawn library books, videos, CDs and other material are sold through an online reseller. This company typically makes materials available through online services such as Amazon, eBay, Half.com, Alibris, Abebooks, Barnes & Noble and their international affiliates. Mid-Continent Public Library determined shortly after entering this arrangement that it could create significantly more revenue using this method rather than holding annual book sales or having local sale tables. Revenue from the sale of surplus library material is returned to the library's material funds, assuring that the library can continue to purchase more new materials.
Yes, all of our branches offer Wi-Fi access.
The library branches are closed on Sundays and certain holidays. However, the Midwest Genealogy Center, Woodneath Library Center, and North Independence Branch are open on Sundays. For specific location information, see Locations and Hours.