Library Circulation Policy

Revised February 29, 2019



Any permanent resident of Cheltenham Township is eligible to register for a free borrower’s card, renewable every 3 years. The library requires photo identification containing the name and current mailing address of the applicant for new registrations. There is no minimum age requirement to join the library. Children under 14 years of age will be issued a library card with the signature and identification of a parent or legal guardian. Minors between the ages of 14 and 18 may obtain a library card without a parent or guardian provided they provide adequate identification. In order for a new library card to be issued, the person named on the registration form must be present in the library.

All permanent residents will receive an ACCESS PA sticker on their library card that enables them to borrow materials at other public libraries in Pennsylvania.



Pennsylvania residents who do not reside in Cheltenham Township should obtain a library card from their home library with an ACCESS PA sticker. Identification is required to register ACCESS PA borrowers in our computer system.

Non-residents of Pennsylvania, may obtain a Cheltenham Township Library System library card for a fee of $25 for six months or $50 for one year. Non-residents do not receive an Access PA sticker on their card.

Employees of Cheltenham Township, Cheltenham Township Library System and Cheltenham Township School District and Cheltenham Township business owners who are not Pennsylvania residents may obtain library cards that are renewable annually upon presentation of identification that indicates their permanent address and eligible status as a Township or School District employee or Township business owner as described above. These cards are not eligible for Access PA privileges.

Non-residents may not access online resources or borrow certain collections that are licensed or restricted for residents’ use only.



Full-time students at educational institutions in Cheltenham Township and residing in the Township during the school term may obtain library cards without Access PA privileges that are renewable annually. Identification that indicates their permanent address and eligible status as a student is required.



Organizations located in Cheltenham Township may request an organizational library card by submitting the following information on letterhead, signed by an individual authorized to act on behalf of the organization:

  1. A statement indicating that the organization accepts responsibility for any fines and/or replacement of materials, and
  2. The names of all individuals who are authorized to use the card.

Organizational cards will be issued for one year and are not eligible for Access PA privileges.


Acceptable Forms of Identification

Photo identification that contains the name and current address of the applicant is required for new cards. If the photo identification does not have a current address, the applicant must provide one additional piece of identification with that information.

Acceptable forms of identification include: driver’s license; first class mail from a business source; government identification; utility bill; lease in applicant’s name; property tax bill; magazine subscription; bank statements, CSD student ID or ID from another educational institution in Cheltenham Township. To renew a card, the cardholder or representative must provide staff with the library card barcode number, birthdate, address and phone number.

The library system does not accept voter registration cards, imprinted checks, credit cards, social security cards or birth certificates for identification purposes.



Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to participate in and monitor their child’s library use. Library staff members do not restrict a child’s access to library collections. Parents or guardians are legally responsible for the fines/fees for minor children under 18 years of age.


Online Applications

Cheltenham residents may apply for a library card online at Cards obtained online may be used to access online resources that require barcode authentication. In order to borrow physical items, each card must be activated. Adults are required to present identification and children under the age of 14 require the signature and identification of a parent or legal guardian. Applicants between the ages of 14 and 18 need to present identification or require the signature and identification of a parent or legal guardian to activate their card.


Borrowing Materials

A library card is required to borrow materials. If the individual does not have his or her library card, identification will be required to access their account. Virtual cards on mobile devices will be accepted provided that the individual verbally confirms registration details associated with that barcode number. Holds may only be checked out with the card used to reserve them.

Cards that are reported lost or stolen will be blocked until the owner appears at a branch with identification.


Extended Borrower’s Privileges

A borrower’s card is valid at any of Cheltenham Township Library System libraries:

  • East Cheltenham Free Library
  • Elkins Park Free Library
  • Glenside Free Library
  • La Mott Free Library

A registered borrower at a Cheltenham Township Library System library is also entitled to use their library barcode number to access library databases including the POWER library from home, to check their library borrowing record, to place holds themselves (when available) and to use interlibrary loan services to request titles not held locally.

An ACCESS PA card is valid at any participating Pennsylvania library and allows the cardholder to borrow materials directly from a library located in another municipality. Please note that local library policies such as loan period, where materials may be returned, etc. may differ from institution to institution.


Returning Materials

Bookdrops are available at each library for the return of materials. Borrowers are responsible for materials that are left when the bookdrop is full or not functioning. Materials returned before the library opens will be considered returned on the previous date. Materials returned after the library opens will be considered returned on the current date. Some items such as iPads and museum passes may not be placed in book or A/V drops.

Materials borrowed from any public library in Montgomery County may be returned to any other Montgomery County library unless the owning library otherwise restricts returns. IPads and museum passes borrowed from CTLS must be returned to the branch from which they were borrowed.

Interlibrary loan items (items CTLS borrows from other libraries outside MCLINC) must be returned to the branch where they were checked out. This information is located on the borrowed item.

Materials borrowed directly from libraries outside Montgomery County must be returned to the lending library.



Please see the full text of Cheltenham Township Library System’s “Confidentiality of Library Records” policy adopted on January 28, 2004.


Block or Revocation of Library Privileges

Borrowing privileges may be revoked by the Head Librarian, System Director or the Board of Library Directors for violation of library policies. Borrowing privileges may also be suspended when there are accumulated fines of $10 or more, unless the borrower pays a minimum of $1 to reduce the overdue amount below $10 or arranges an acceptable payment schedule. Borrowing and hold privileges are also blocked when a borrower has 5 or more overdue items.


Lost Card

A fee of $2.00 is charged to replace a lost or damaged card. Lost or stolen cards should be reported promptly to the library.


Circulation Periods

  • 3 days
    • Museum passes
  • One Week
    • DVDs, Playaway Views, magazines, literacy kits
  • Three Weeks
    • Books, music CDs, audiobooks, Playaways, Playaway book packs, computer software, Kill-A-Watt meters, video games, games and DVDs exceeding 180 minutes in length.

Please note that items borrowed from other libraries may have a different loan period and overdue fines which we are required to honor.


Special Circulation Items (See Specific Policies for Additional Details)

Museum Passes

  • Borrower must be a resident of Cheltenham Township with a library card without blocks.
  • Available on a first come, first serve basis for a 3 day (museum passes)
  • Cannot be renewed or may be reserved one hour in advance
  • Limited to 1 per household
  • Late charges are $5 per day, maximum fine is $85
  • Must be returned to the branch from which it was borrowed
  • Cannot be returned to a book or A/V drop


Vacation and Other Extended Loans

Extended loans on certain low-demand titles may be made at the discretion of the ibrary
staff. The number of such loans may be limited.


Limits on Circulation

CTLS may limit the number of items loaned in a subject area or by format when such
limitations are warranted by demand.

A limit of 2 Readers Express items per card.
A limit of 2 Video Express items per card.
A limit of 2 video games per card.
A limit of 1 museum pass per household.
A limit of 1 literacy kit per household.
Hoopla users are limited to 5 loans per month.
The current issues of magazines do not circulate.
Reference materials do not circulate.



Most library materials may be renewed in person, online or by telephone. The borrower’s barcode number will be required for telephone renewals. Material may be renewed if there are no requests for it or the subject it deals with. Renewals are made at the discretion of library staff. There may be no more than 2 additional circulations for an item and no more than 1 additional circulation for videos of all formats, video games and literacy kits. No renewals are permitted on Readers Express or Video Express items or museum passes. Please note that we may not be able to renew materials borrowed from other libraries.


Reserves or Holds

Reserves or holds are taken on all library materials except Readers Express, Video Express, and museum passes. Holds on some items are limited to Cheltenham residents. Holds can only be checked out with the requester’s library card.



  • All adult library materials except magazines and DVDs – 25 cents per day per item (maximum $7.50, not to exceed the replacement cost of the item)
  • All children’s library materials except magazines, videos and DVDs – 15 cents per day per item (maximum $7.50, not to exceed the replacement cost of the item)
  • Magazines – $0.20 per day per item to a maximum of $3.00
  • DVDs, Playaways, Playaway Views, Kill-A-Watts and video games – $1.00 per day to a maximum of $10.00
  • Museum and other passes – $5.00 per day to a maximum of $85 or replacement cost


Lost or Damaged Materials

The cost of replacing lost materials is list price plus a processing charge of $5.00. If an item is no longer available for purchase, the Head Librarian will determine the cost. An additional out-of-print charge of its fair market value may be assessed for items that cannot be replaced new. The cost to replace a children’s magazine is $5.00. The cost to replace a magazine from the adult collection is $10.00. The New York Times Magazine replacement cost is $5.00.
Library will not accept replacement materials purchased by the customer unless special arrangements are made in advance with the Head Librarian.

When lost and paid materials are subsequently found the following limitations apply:

  1. No reimbursement will be made after 6 months from the original due date.
  2. Maximum fines (if applicable) and processing/handling fees will be deducted.


Replacement Charges for Lost or Damaged Accessory Items

Barcodes, DVD cases, book jackets: $2.00
Audiobook, Playaway cases: $3.00 to $10.00
iPad accessories: $2.00 to $50.00


Have questions?

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215 S. Keswick Avenue

Glenside, Pennsylvania 19038

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215 S. Keswick Avenue

Glenside, Pennsylvania 19038

Contact Us.


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