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 do I get the message 'Session has timed out (15 min.)' when I try to log in? Answer
What does 'The OPAC is currently unavailable. Please try again later.' mean? 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 the message 'Webpage has expired' when I try to use the Back button in my browser? Answer
Why do I get a Logout Confirmation screen sometimes? Answer
Why does the HELP button refer to some feature I cannot find? 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 one of our 30 branches for details and to fill out a registration form.
- Also, if you live or own property in a library district in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area with which we have a joint borrowing agreement, you are eligible for a card. Visit any one of our 30 branches for details and to fill out a 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 30 branch 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 $40.00 (as of July 1, 2012) 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 $20.00 (as of July 1, 2012) 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 30 branches 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 30 branches 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 $40.00 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 $40.00 fee with a debit or credit card when we receive your renewal request. Email renewal requests to Kay Hoaglin at email@example.com.
* 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 30 branches and to access our Online Resources. Through a reciprocity agreement, 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.
If another user is not waiting for your item, you may renew it in person at a branch library, via telephone, or online via the Catalog.
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 "Review My Account".
- Click on "Checkouts".
- Check the boxes beside the items you want to renew or select "All" at the top of your checkout list.
- Click on the "Renew Selected Items" button and wait for a response. The Renewal Results page will show the status of your renewal requests. If items renewed successfully your new due date will be listed. If an item is unable to be renewed because someone else is waiting for it, or it has already been renewed twice, the page will include this information.
You may return borrowed library materials to any of the 30 branches 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.
Your browser (AOL, Internet Explorer, etc.) is caching the old login page which causes the 'session has timed out' message to appear. You need to force your browser to reload the new page; try holding down the 'Shift' key while pressing the browser's 'Refresh' or 'Reload' key. Also check the Settings: Preferences: Internet Properties (WWW) in AOL (Tools: Internet Options in Internet Explorer) to make sure the browser is set to 'Check for New Pages Automatically'; sometimes this is set to 'Never'. You might also try deleting Temporary Internet Files; it should be located in the same settings screen.
Q. I am still getting old pages and I am certain that the site has been updated, how do I clear my BROWSER CACHE?
A. Even though AOL's Proxy cache is updated every 24 hours, a member can clear their Browser Cache and force the reload of a page. This is done by either reducing the browser History to "0" and manually clearing all pages in history by deleting the files in the temporary internet files folder located in the Windows Directory or PC users can force a refresh by holding down the CONTROL key on their keyboard and mouse clicking on the AOL browser reload icon. The latter will completely clear all items in history.
The catalog is not available between 12:10 AM and 12:55 AM for nightly backups. You will see this message while the system is temporarily unavailable.
If the error occurs during normal operating hours (Monday-Thursday, 8am-9pm; Friday, 8am-6pm; Saturday, 8am-5pm) you may call 816-521-7232 for assistance.
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 be listed in the section "Ready for Pickup" at the top of the screen. Next to the title it will show "Available" and an expiration date will also appear, 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, login to the online catalog and click on My Account. Click on the Update My Email Address and Notification Method link to request this service and to give us your email address.
Login to the online catalog and click on My Account. Use the links to Update My Address and/or Update My Email Address and Notification Method to request the necessary changes to your account.
On the search results screen, click on the title of the item. The initial page, "Item Information" has the basic item details and branch holdings. If available, added content like reviews, summaries, chapters and excerpts, can be accessed by clicking on "A Look Inside". Click on "Catalog Record" to view the full cataloging record with links to subject headings, added authors, titles, etc. (If you are using Internet Explorer, you may have difficulty using the "A Look Inside" link and the "Catalog Record" link. This is a known issue that our catalog vendor is working to correct. In the meantime, you can refresh or reload the page to activate the link. Another option is to use another browser, such as Firefox.)
The Advanced Search option available on the main Search/Home page provides for additional material limiters, such as Videos, Audio Books, Large Print, Juvenile, and much more. Also, there is a similar set of limiters available at the bottom of most Search Results pages, if the "Limit Search" button appears in the toolbar at the top.
When using the online catalog, it is recommended that you use the "Go Back" link directly underneath our logo in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Using the catalog's "Go Back" and "OK" links instead of the Back button in your web browser can avoid this issue.
This is a warning message specific to Internet Explorer, and generally you can restore the "expired" page by clicking the browser's Refresh or Reload button. Other web browsers may simply prompt for a confirmation to resend or repost the information from the previous page.
After 15 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 15 minutes is also necessary to keep sessions running as quickly as possible for the users that are still active within their catalog session.
The catalog software was delivered with many features the library chose not to activate at the outset in order to keep the interface as usable and responsive as possible. As a result, the help files may refer to some feature or function that is not currently available. The library will continue to update these help files over time to better reflect our system's configuration.
If you have a question or comment regarding some other area of the website besides the catalog, please use the Contact Us page.
Send technical questions and other log in problems to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the text of any error messages you are receiving. If you are having trouble logging in, you must include your Library Card Number (ID) and Date of Birth (PIN) or we cannot lookup your account status.
Library copiers print in black and white and cost $.10 per page. The copiers are also capable of scanning images to a USB drive, and this service is free of charge.
You can send faxes from the library, but not receive them. The cost for sending a fax is $1.50 for the first page and $1.00 for each subsequent page faxed within the United States. International faxes cost $4.95 for the first page and $3.45 for each subsequent page. Credit/debit card is the only accepted method of payment.
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).
Donated materials are accepted at all 30 branches. However, many donated materials are not added to the library collection but instead are sold via online retailers as described below.
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.