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Frequently Asked Questions

Library Cards & Accounts

How can I get a library card?

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 $65.00 (as of July 2019) 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 $32.50 (as of July 2019) 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.)

Are there any restrictions on a brand new library card?

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.

How often will my library card expire and how do I renew it?

Most library card do not expire. However, library cards are removed from the system after a long period of inactivity.

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 (816.836.52006.5200). To renew by mail or email, please send the following information:

Name (First, Middle, and Last)
Street Address
City, State, and Zip Code
Telephone Number
Email Address
Date of Birth
Library Card Number

  • If renewing by mail, please make your $65.00 check payable to Mid-Continent Public Library and mail to:

Mid-Continent Public Library
Attn: Elizabeth Nelson
15616 E. 24 Hwy.
Independence, MO 64050

  • If renewing by email, you will receive instructions to pay the $65.00 fee with a debit or credit card when we receive your renewal request. Email renewal requests to Elizabeth Nelson at

* 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.

Where can I use my library card?

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.

What if I misplace my library card?

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.

Is there a limit to the number of items I may have checked out at once?

After your new card has converted to full privileges, you are allowed to have up to 200 items checked out at once.

Is there a limit to the number of holds I can place?

You may place up to 400 items on hold at any time, however you are limited to 200 items checked out at once.

How long can I keep library materials?

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.

How do I renew library materials?

If another user is not waiting for your item, you may renew it in person at a branch library, via telephone, or online.

To renew items online, access our Library Catalog.

  1. Log in with your Access Pass number (library card number) and PIN.
  2. Click the blue Username button in the upper right corner of the page.
  3. Select Checked out from the dropdown menu.
  4. Each item has a circular arrow with Renew next to it. Click Renew to renew that individual item.
  5. The status of the renewal process will display at the top of the page.
  6. Not all items are eligible for renewal at all times.


  1. Click the blue Manage Multiple button, if it displays.
    • Check the boxes beside the items you want to renew, or check the box above your first item to select all.
    • Click the Renew Selected button to renew all the selected items. 
  2. The status of the renewal process will display at the top of the page.
  3. Not all items are eligible for renewal at all times.

Items acquired through Interlibrary Loan from other library systems are not eligible for renewal through the Catalog. Contact your local branch to request a renewal of ILL materials.

Where can I return my materials?

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.

What if I keep my library materials beyond the due date?

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 $30.00 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.

What if I lose or damage library materials?

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 $30.00 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.

Online Catalog

Using the Online Catalog

Linking Multiple Library Accounts

Can I access the online catalog from places other than the library?

The library's online catalog can be accessed by clicking on the My Account button at the top of the screen.

How do I access my account information?

  1. Log in with your Access Pass number (library card number) and PIN.
    • Your PIN is your birthdate in MMDDYYYY order.
  2. Click the blue Username button in the upper right corner.
  3. Select My Library Dashboard from the dropdown menu.
  4. On the left pane, your My Borrowing information displays.
  5. Click Checked Out for a list of your checked out items and due dates.
  6. Click On Hold for a list of items you have placed on hold and their status.
  7. Click Fees to see a list of fees and fines that have been assigned to your account.

Why can't I log in with my Library Card Number and Birth Date?

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 or you have a student card, your card number may not have 14 digits)
  • Enter your 8 digit Birth Date in MMDDYYYY format,
    birthdate (PIN) example: September 2, 1963 = 09021963

I use the option to remember my card number and birth date. How can I change this 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.

Instructions for using AutoComplete for different web browsers:

Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 11)

Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

What does 'User BLOCKED' mean?

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.

How will I know when my holds are available?

You can find out if your holds are available one of two ways:

  1. Login to the online catalog and click your username in the upper right-hand corner. Click On Hold. Under On Hold, Ready now will display (in green) with the number of items available now. The item records for these holds will display at the top of your hold list showing the “Pickup by” date and the “Pickup at” location.
  2. 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).

Can you email me when my holds are available?

Yes. To sign up for email notifications, contact your local branch.

Can I change my street or email address online?

Not at this time. For any changes that need to be made to your account information, please contact one of our library locations.

How do I access more details about an item I find in the catalog?

On the search results screen, click on the title of the item. A page will display the item details including availability, a summary, catalog record, and additional content such as alternate formats, reviews and similar titles.

How do I limit my searches to just Videos, Audio Books, etc.?

To limit your search to a specific format, simply add the format to the Keyword search box. For instance, if you want to search for an audio book that is by John Grisham, simply type John Grisham audio book. This will display all the titles by John Grisham in either Audio book on CD or Downloadable audio book format. This works for other formats as well. To see a list of our newest movies, simply type New Movies using the Keyword search option. Once again, you will see only the movie formats displayed with the newest items at the top of the list. Once you have a list of results, limiters are available on the left-hand side of the screen to further limit your search or switch item types.

Why do I get logged out of the catalog sometimes?

After 30 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 30 minutes is also necessary to keep sessions running as efficiently as possible for the users that are still active within their catalog session.

How do I log out?

  1. Click the blue Username button in the upper right corner.
  2. Select Log Out from the dropdown menu.

Customer-Use Equipment

How do I use a copier at the library and how much does it cost?

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.

How much does it cost to print from a computer?

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.

Can I print documents from my mobile personal device?

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. Print jobs are discarded by the system if printing is not completed within 8 hours.

Can I send or receive a fax at the library?

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.


Why are there multiple libraries in Kansas City?

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.

What if my branch doesn't have the book or other material I want?

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.

How do I request that the library purchase a certain book, audiobook, CD, DVD, etc.?

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 refer to our ReadLOCAL guidelines.

Does the library accept donated materials?

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.

Does the library have a used book sale?

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,, 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.

Does the library offer Wi-Fi access if I bring in my laptop?

Yes, all of our branches offer Wi-Fi access.

Which days are the library branches closed?

Most library branches are open seven days a week. All branches are closed on certain holidays. For specific location information, see Locations page.

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