Borrowing materials

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You'll need a library card to check out materials in library buildings or online.


All items (except downloads) – 50 items per account

Download limits:

  • cloudLibrary – 15 eBooks
  • OverDrive – 15 eBooks and audiobooks
  • RBdigital – 15 audiobooks
  • Freegal – 5 songs per week
Loan periods

Most library material can be checked out for 3 weeks.

DVDs can be checked out for 1 week.

Fees and fines are charged for items renewed late, returned late or never returned.

You can place a hold on most items and pick them up at any Hennepin County library. Use the library catalog to place holds online or Ask Us for assistance.


All items (except downloads) – 50 holds (including holds ready to be picked up)

Download limits:

  • cloudLibrary – 15 holds 
  • OverDrive Digital Library – 15 holds 
  • RBdigital – 15 holds 
Manage your holds
  • Log in to your account to view, cancel or pause your hold requests.
  • Set your holds to “paused” status if you want to delay a hold so you won’t miss it. A paused hold will continue to move up the waiting list but will not be filled until you resume the hold or the paused date expires.
  • Use the "For Later" shelf to save a list of items that you may want to reserve in the future.
Changing pickup location for holds

When an item is coming due, an attempt will be made to renew it automatically from the previous due date for another full borrowing period (three weeks for most items, one week for DVDs).

An item can be renewed a maximum of three times, unless another patron has an active hold on it.

  • Interlibrary loans and book club kits cannot be renewed.
  • cloudLibrary titles cannot be renewed but can be checked out again if there is no waiting list.
  • OverDrive Digital Library titles can be renewed three days before the expiration date, as long as there are no holds.
Other ways to renew

You can return items to any Hennepin County library, regardless of where you checked them out.

Book drops

Book drops are available at all locations. Materials returned in the book drops are considered returned on the date that the accepting library was last open to the public. Some materials may not be removed from your library account until the library's next open day.

You can use a book drop without leaving your car at these locations:

Other library systems

Most Minnesota libraries will accept returns of Hennepin County materials. Items returned to libraries outside of Hennepin County will be removed from your account when they are received back at Hennepin County Library. Your account will be updated using the return date from the library that accepted your materials. If you get overdue notices, do not renew them, as this may incur unnecessary fines.

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It is important to keep contact information up-to-date to receive account notifications. Ask Us to update your email address or phone number or to change notification method.

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Due soon notices

Email only. If you would like to turn this notification off or on, please Ask Us.

Three days before you have items due, you will get an email that lists items that are due soon and items that were automatically renewed (with the new due date).

This is an optional courtesy notice. If the email fails to be delivered, you are still responsible for fines on items returned late.

Hold notices

Email or phone. Ask Us if you’d like to change notification method.

You will be notified when a requested item is ready to pick up, including the pickup location and the expiration date (last day to pick up the item).

Overdue notices

Email or phone. Ask Us if you’d like to change notification method. 

You will be notified when an item is about a week overdue. After about 20 days, your account will be charged for a lost item.


If your email address is correct and you are not receiving notices, you may need to set your email account to accept mail from these addresses:

  • (for Due soon notification)
  • (for Requests and Overdue notification)

When an email is returned as undeliverable, a message will be placed in your account, but that notice will not be re-sent. Phone notification will then be used for future notices until the problem is resolved.


An automated phone system places calls and leaves messages. As soon as the system detects that the phone has been answered, the message is played, It does not wait for beeps, chimes etc. It cannot interact with voice messaging systems.

Reasons you may not be receiving phone notifications from the library:

  • Phone blocking software
  • Long outgoing messages on your voice mail
  • Phone not answered
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Fines and fees

Fines are charged for overdue materials.

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All children's and teen items, including DVDs
  • $.05 per day
  • Maximum is $1.00 (per item, per loan period)
All adult items, including DVDs
  • $.30 per day
  • Maximum fine is $6.00 (per item, per loan period)
If your fine balance is:
  • Under $10 - You have full borrowing privileges.
  • $10-$49.99 - You can renew items. If you pay at least 10% of the balance, you can check out up to 2 items.
  • $50 or more - You can renew items. If you reduce the balance to less than $50 (minimum payment is 10% of the total), you can check out up to 2 items.

Fees and fines will not prevent you from using library computers, downloads or other online services.

See the Fee and Fine Policy and the Fee and Fine Schedule for more information.

Log in to your account to determine what fees and fines have been charged to your library card.

Fees and fines can be paid in person by cash or check.

If the balance is $2.00 or more, you can also pay online with a credit card (Visa or MasterCard). To pay online, log in to your account.

Fees and fines of all types remain on your account until paid.

If you think the item may be found, we recommend discussing options with staff before paying the nonrefundable fee.

A nonrefundable fee will be charged for items that have not been returned and are overdue more than 20 days. The fee is based on the average cost for items of that kind, not the exact cost of a particular item.

Instead of paying the non-refundable fee, you may be able to supply the library with a replacement copy (certain rules apply). Please contact library staff before purchasing.

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Interlibrary loan

Use interlibrary loan (ILL) only to request items that are not owned by Hennepin County Library.

If Hennepin County Library doesn't own an item, you can use MNLINK to request an interlibrary loan from academic and public libraries throughout Minnesota. If you can't find it in MNLINK, Ask Us.

There's no charge for interlibrary loan service, except for some microfilm requests that require pre-paid fees.

Request an interlibrary loan

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You can have up to 15 active ILL requests per patron. Requests are active from the time they are placed until the item has been returned to a Hennepin County Library and checked in by the ILL department.

Lending libraries may decline to lend any item and may limit the number of times they will send an item. Items previously borrowed through ILL may not be available again.

Loan period

The loan period is three weeks.

Most requests are filled in two to three weeks. Some take longer due to demand for the item, how widely it is held, and delivery schedules. You will be notified by email or phone when the item is ready for to pick up.

ILL items can sometimes be renewed, at the discretion of the lending library. Please Ask Us by phone, email, text, or in person several days before the item is due if a renewal is needed. Patrons are responsible for any fines and/or fees incurred due to the loss or damage of ILL materials. Fines for overdue ILL items are $.30 per item per day.

You can cancel a request directly in MNLINK (My Account) or you can Ask Us by phone, email, text, or in person.

Formats that can be borrowed through ILL
  • Books
  • Photocopies of magazine or newspaper articles
  • Microfilm
  • Videos/DVDs
  • Cassette tapes/CDs
Formats that cannot be borrowed through ILL
  • eBooks
  • eJournals
  • Streaming video
  • Computer software
  • 16mm films
  • Posters
  • Maps
  • Art Prints

See the items in constant demand list for more information about items that are unlikely to be available.

A request for a magazine article is usually filled with a photocopy or scan of the article, which may be mailed or emailed to you. You may keep these photocopies.

You can also request MEDD (Minitex Electronic Document Delivery) delivery of an article. The article is scanned and you are sent instructions for retrieving the document and downloading.

To request MEDD delivery
  • Search for the item in MNLINK.
  • Fill out the Part Details section.
  • In the Special Instructions box, enter "MEDD" and your email address.

Items on microfilm, especially newspapers, may be requested. Microfilm is for in-library use only at one of the libraries that has microform readers/printers: Minneapolis Central, Brookdale, Ridgedale or Southdale.

Some historical societies require pre-payment for loans.

How to place a request for microfilm
  • Search for the title in MNLINK.
  • If found, fill out the request form.
  • Use 'Create Request' if not found in MNLINK.
  • Indicate "national search" in the Special Instructions box.
  • For the pickup location, choose one of these libraries: Minneapolis Central, Brookdale, Ridgedale or Southdale.
  • Multiple requests may need to be placed if several years are needed.
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