Borrow & Return

Checkouts & Renewals

Checkout Periods & Renewals for Physical Items
Format Checkout Period Renewals
Most Items 3 weeks 3

SJ Access Devices

90 days 1 (30 days)
LINK+ Items
(for Full Access cards only)
  • 7 days on some media items
  • 21 days for everything else
Lucky Day Items
  • During Limited Services:
    • Books: 3 weeks
    • DVDs: 1 week
  • After Reopening: 1 week
  • Books: 3
  • DVDs: 0
  • 3 weeks (during limited services)
  • 1 week (after reopening)
  • 3 (during limited services)
  • 0 (after reopening)
Videos 3 weeks 3

Note: Checkout periods and renewals for Educator Cards are different. They are 6 weeks with 1 renewal for an additional 6 weeks (automatic renewals unless there are outstanding holds).

Checkout Limits

  • Full Access Cards: up to 100 physical items, including a maximum of 10 videos and 2 maximum of SJ Access devices
  • Limited Status Cards: up to 1 physical item
  • Temporary Cards: up to 20 physical items, including a maximum of 10 videos
  • Student Cards: up to 5 physical items, including 2 maximum of SJ Access devices
  • Educator Cards: up to 100 physical items, including up to 30 DVDs and 2 maximum of SJ Access devices
  • Limits vary for eLibrary items.


  • We will automatically renew most physical items, including books, DVDs, and CDs that are checked out on your account.
  • Each renewal changes the due date to 3 weeks after the original due date, except for hotspots, Chromebooks, iPads, and laptops.
  • Educator Cards get 1 automatic renewal per item for 6 weeks.
  • You can still renew items yourself if you want.
  • An item cannot be renewed if it has been requested by another customer.
  • Learn more about how auto-renewals work.

Hold Requests

Holds Limits

Placing Holds

Place holds on items you want to check out. When you receive a notice your items are ready, pick them up at your selected location.

You can place a hold either from your search results or from the page of an individual title.

  • Select "Place a Hold".
  • If you are not logged in, you will be asked to log in.
  • Once you are logged and have selected, "Place a Hold", you will be asked to select your pickup location.
  • After selecting your pickup location, you need to select the "Confirm Hold" hold button.
  • You will see a popup message at the top of the page that says your hold was requested.
  • If you want to check on your holds, you can select "On Hold" after selecting the "Log In / My SJPL" button in the upper right corner of the page.
  • Wait until the hold status shows "Ready for Pickup" or you receive a notice before coming to the library to pick up your item(s).
  • After your items arrive at your pick-up location, we will hold them for up to 7 days. 

Learn more about holds from catalog help.


  • Return your items at any one of our locations.
  • During our limited services reopening period, we will accept Link+ and Interlibrary Loan returns in the book drops.


  • When you pick up your item(s), a paper receipt with due dates will be provided.
  • You can also check your due dates online or contact us for help.
  • If you have an email address in your account, you will get an email notice 3 days before the item is due.
  • You can add or update your email address under "Account Information" in "My Settings".

Fines, Fees, and Lost/Damaged Items

Depending on when you checked out your items, fines and fees are handled differently.

During Our Limited Services

  • During our limited services reopening period, we will not charge late fees.
  • After an item is 28 days overdue, you will get billed a notice for non-returned items. That amount owed will be removed after you return the overdue item.
  • If you know you have lost or damaged an item, your account will be charged the cost of the item plus a $10 processing fee.
  • If you owe $20 or more on your account, you will not be able to place holds online, and items cannot be renewed. Call us at 408-808-2000, email us, or chat with us for help in placing holds or renewing items if you have this issue.

    Before Our Closure (before March 17, 2020)

    • If you had fines and fees on your account before we closed, those still exist.
    • You can pay those fees online when you log into your account, or pay in person at any library location.
    • Access Programs offer other ways to eliminate your fines.
    • If you owe $20 or more on your account, you will not be able to place holds online, and items cannot be renewed. Call us at 408-808-2000, email us, or chat with us for help in placing holds or renewing items if you have this issue.

    After We Fully Reopen

    When we reopen, our Access Programs such as Read Away Your Fines, Volunteer Away Your Fines, or the Book Replacement Program, will be fully available! These programs offer other ways to eliminate your fines.

    Fines and fees will resume. Educator Cards and Student Cards will never have late fees but can have lost or damaged item fees.

    Here is the breakdown of the fees:

    Icon: zero dollars

    No Late Fees for Children's & YA Items

    Icon: 25 cents

    Daily Late Fee Per Item

    Icon: 5 dollars

    Maximum Late Fee Per Item

    Icon: 10 dollars

    Processing Fee for Lost/Damaged Items

    Using Your Library Card

    Special Note for Student Cards

    If you have a Student Card issued by your school, visit our Student Card page.

    For All Other Cards

    Your library card comes with a number and a PIN code. You can use your library card number and PIN to:

    • Log in to your account online.
    • Check out or access items from our eLibrary.

    Card Expiration

    To check when your card expires, you can go to My Settings, and the expiration date will appear in the first info box, along with your username.

    If your card is expired, it can limit your ability to place holds, check out items, and access some parts of our eLibrary.

    How to Renew Your Card

    If your card expires during our COVID-19 limited services reopening period, you can contact us for help:

    If your card expires after we reopen, you'll need to take your card and a picture ID with your current address on it to any of our library locations. If your ID doesn't have your current address, it's okay to bring a piece of mail that shows the address, too.

    Keeping Your Account Current

    You can update some things on your own when you go to My Settings in your account online, such as:

    If you need to update other information, such as your physical address, contact us.

    Protect Your Account

    • Storing Your Card: Keep your card in a safe place where you know you can find it.
    • Your PIN:
      • Do not share your PIN code with anyone.
      • Select a PIN code that is not easy to guess. For example, do not select "1234".
    • Lost/Stolen Card: If your library card is lost or stolen, please contact us immediately. You are responsible for all charges from items borrowed on your card before the Library is notified of your card's loss. You may be charged a $1.00 fee to replace a lost or stolen card.

    Privacy & Confidentiality

    Using the Catalog

    • Checkouts Are Confidential: What you check out on your library card is confidential. That means no one except authorized staff can see what you place on hold or have checked out.
    • Borrowing History off by Default: Your borrowing history is turned off by default. That means we do not keep a record of what you have borrowed after it is returned, unless you change your borrowing history settings. If you choose to turn on your borrowing history, a list of items you have borrowed will be kept for you in our database.
    • Sharing in our Catalog: Our catalog has some sharing features available, such as Shelves, Feeds, comments, likes, reviews, and more.
    • Catalog Alternative: If you do not want to use our current catalog, Classic Catalog is available and does not use sharing features like our current catalog.

    Privacy Policy

    Learn more about how we protect your privacy and confidentiality by reading our Privacy Policy.

    Need Help?

    For questions about your library account, you can:

    Oops! Mistakes Happen - Before You Pay, Find a Different Way

    Do you have library fines you want to eliminate? When we reopen, you will be able to take advantage of our Access Programs to keep your account clear of fines.

    Lucky Day Collection

    A browse-able collection of the hottest fiction and non-fiction books and DVDs, ready for checkout. For a limited time, items in the collection can be placed on hold!

    Accounts FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions about requesting, renewals, overdues, fines, lost books, lost library cards, and more!