Library Services


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Your community library is about a lot more than just books.  You can get access to computers, listen to stories, get a dog license, or take advantage of a multitude of other services which your library offers including...


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Assistive Technology


The Baltimore County Public Library catalog is available in a large text version. This includes information accessed through the Catalog and My Account button on the library's home page.

Materials in enlarged print include Large Type books, digital ebooks and magazines which allow the reader to select a font size. Audiobooks are available on CD, on Playaway, and as digital audiobooks.

BCPL has a small collection of Braille picture books suitable for preschool children. These can be used by a sighted child learning to read assisted by a parent who is blind or a child who is blind learning Braille.

Books and DVDs are available for an adult or child to learn American Sign Language.


Assistive or adaptive technology equipment is available on a first-come first-served basis at all Baltimore County Public Library branches.


  • Optelec, a text/image magnification system


  • JAWS® (Job Access With Speech) that speaks and reads word processed documents, websites, databases, email messages, etc.


  • ZoomText to enlarge text


  • Computer Workstation with large screen monitor


  • MAGic keyboard with bold, high-contrast keys that control screen and text magnification, visual enhancements, provide descriptive narration of typing or screen area, and dedicated research functions


  • FSReader for accessing DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) materials


Each branch has a magnifying glass at the Information Desk for customer use.


Deaf or hearing or speech impaired customers and TTY users can reach Baltimore County Public Library branches and the Administrative Offices through Maryland Relay.


InfoEyes is a question and answer service for people with a visual impairment or other print limitation. Librarians from the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and Maryland AskUsNow and across the country provide the service. You can use it from a Baltimore County Public Library branch or from home, school or work. You can schedule an appointment to talk live with a librarian on the Internet or you can email a question to a librarian. Service is available during normal business hours, Monday through Saturday, except holidays.


Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities planning on attending or who are an integral part of a branch program will be provided upon request. Please notify the branch holding the event eight to ten working days prior to the event.



Book Drops


All Baltimore County Public Library branches have book drops so items can be returned after business hours. All items can be returned to any Baltimore County Public Library branch or BCPL bookmobile stop.

Library materials must be returned or renewed by their due date.  Items put in a book drop by their due date are considered on time if returned before the branch opens the next business day.  Items returned in the book drop after the branch opens will accrue an extended loan (overdue) fee which will be automatically attached to a customer’s library account.



Drive Up Service


For your convenience, BCPL's most recently constructed branches (Arbutus and Perry Hall) have drive up windows to pick up and return materials. The drive-up window is open the same hours as the branch.



Fax, Photocopy, Print and Scan




Six Baltimore County Public Library branches provide for-pay outbound public fax stations: Arbutus, Essex, HerefordLansdowne, North Point and Sollers Point. Faxing is available only to locations within the United States. Please call your desired branch to confirm rates.


In the course of providing library reference services: the branch can opt to fax up to four pages to a home or business within the United States at no charge. If you need a longer document faxed, please ask at the Service Desk about the fees involved. There is no charge for information faxed between branches (including non-Baltimore County Public Libraries) for a customer.




Photocopies can be made on public photocopiers at any BCPL branch with the exception of our Loch Raven branch. Black and white copies on standard paper cost $.15 per page. Color photocopies or the use of special paper are not available.




Black and white and color printers are available from the branches' public computers as well as via the library's wireless network.  Printouts cost $.15 per page for black and white pages and $.30 per page for color pages.




Documents can be scanned using branch photocopiers and saved to a flash drive. Flash drives with 4GB memory may be purchased for $6.00 at the Service Desk, if needed. Documents may also be printed from the flash drive by signing up for a public computer and sending the printout to the branch print station.



Government Applications and Forms


Branch public computers or our Wi-Fi network can be used to print out application forms or to submit a completed form online. When our branches have a paper application form available, it is noted below. The Information Desk can assist in locating a form.







  • Rental Housing Registration
    If you own a building in Baltimore County that contains six dwelling units or fewer that you intend to rent, each rental unit must be registered and licensed or approved for exemption by Baltimore County before tenants move in. Applications available at the library or for online completion and downloading.




Language Line Service


Baltimore County Public Library staff has access to over the phone interpreters or translators in over 140 languages to help any customer who may not be fluent in English. Please call or visit any of our branches.



Licenses and Permits


Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections offers access to some Baltimore County licenses and permits as a convenience through most Baltimore County Public Library branches.


The following license and permits are available at the Accounts Desk at our branches:


Animal licenses for new pets only are available (May through mid-April) at all Baltimore County Public Library branches. Please note that a $2 library convenience fee per license will be applied.  Cash, check, or Visa or Master Card accepted. Renewal licenses and replacement tags CANNOT be issued by the library. Pet owners who apply for a new pet license at the library must supply a copy of the rabies certificate. The copy will be attached to the application and will not be returned.


Find detailed information about annual license fees, required documents, and how to apply for or renew a license. A downloadable license application form [PDF] is available.


  • People who have one licensed pet and want to add a second pet must use the online form or visit the Baltimore County Office of Miscellaneous Permits and Licenses. The county maintains one account for each pet owner. In these cases, the owner is renewing one license and adding a second to their existing account.


Renewal of Licenses, replacement tags, and new pet licenses can be handled:



All library branches have public computers and free WiFi to complete the animal license process online.  The option to print a temporary license certificate is available. A valid Visa or Master Card, a valid email address, and the pet's current rabies vaccination certificate expiration date is needed to apply online.



  • Plumbing permit postcard A for licensed plumbers


Please note that a $2 library convenience fee per license will be applied.





We encourage all of our customers to review their account information to be sure that their telephone number and email address are correct. You can verify and update this information by choosing the My Account button at the top of most pages on our site.


The status of your library account, including items you have placed on hold, is available by calling the Shelf Help Line at 410-494-9063. You can also check the status of your holds and library account online.


Formats for Notices

BCPL sends notices in the following formats:


  • Telephone Notification


  • Email Notification
    Customers can add or change an email address at any time by visiting the My Account section of our catalog.  Log in to your account and then click on the Contact Information and Preferences button to add or change your email address. BCPL will use email addresses only for library purposes and will use them only for the purpose of communicating library information to our customers.

    If you prefer, you can complete the Email Notification Sign Up Form to add an email address and we will add the address to your account. You can also sign up for this email notification service when you get a library card for the first time, or by adding your email address to your library account at the Borrower Services Desk or the Information Desk at any Baltimore County Public Library branch.

    To ensure that you get your BCPL emails, add these addresses to your email address book:





  • Text Notification
    Customers can choose to receive additional notification in the form of a text message.  This can be done by visiting the My Account area of our home page.  Log in to your account and click on the Contact Information and Preferences button to enter your mobile phone number and your carrier.  If the carrier is not listed, please contact your local branch for assistance.


Occasions When Notices are Sent

  • Hold Notices
    Hold notices are delivered by email or by phone to notify customers of holds that are ready to be picked up. Customers may choose to receive additional notification by text message.

  • Reminder Notices
    Reminder notices are sent by email and are not available by phone. Customers who have provided an email address will receive notification 3 days before items become due. Customers may also choose to receive additional notification by text message.

  • Overdue Notices
    Overdue notices are delivered by email or by phone. Customers will be notified when items are 7 and 14 days past due. Customers may also choose to receive additional notification by text message.

  • Fine Notices
    Fine notices are sent when items have been returned late and the overdue fines are unpaid.  Notices are sent by email 14 days after the fines have been assessed and only if the fines total $10 or more.  If email is unavailable or unsuccessful, a paper notice is sent by U.S. mail. Customers may also choose to receive notification by text message.

  • Bill Notices
    Bill notices are sent when an item is 32 days overdue. These notices are sent by email or by U.S. mail. Customers may also choose to receive notification by text message.

  • Collection Agency Notices
    Customers owing $50 or more may be referred to a collection agency. A $15 service charge will be applied. BCPL’s collection agency, Unique Management, will notify customers by U.S. mail and by phone.



Passport Applications


Selected BCPL Branches now also serve as passport acceptance facilities (6:16)

To better serve our customers and to respond to the needs within our communities, three BCPL branches accept applications for new passports on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Passport Service is available at the Arbutus, Towson and White Marsh branches.

The Baltimore County Public Library does not accept or process passport renewal applications (form DS-82). Persons eligible to use this form should mail it to the National Passport Processing Center as instructed on the form. Passport photo service is available separately for customers who are planning to submit passport renewal applications.


If you are planning to travel within two weeks, you must apply for a passport in person at a U.S. Passport Agency or Center. Expedite fees apply.  Those closest to Baltimore County are located in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. You must make an appointment in advance by calling 877-487-2778.



Application Processing and Photograph Service Hours (no appointment necessary):

  • Monday through Thursday – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Friday and Saturday – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Sunday – No passport service



What You Will Need to Apply:

  • The applicant, regardless of age, must appear in person. If a group of family members are submitting applications together, all members must be present before the applications will be accepted.

    • Applicants ages birth to 15 must be accompanied by parents presenting proof of relationship to the minor child; such as a birth certificate or adoption papers. Whoever is listed as the child’s parent must appear. If two parents are listed, one parent may appear with a notarized consent form, DS-3053 [PDF], and a photocopy of both sides of the non-appearing parent’s ID.

    • For applicants 16 and 17 years old, it is necessary for only one parent to be present.

  • Check or money order for Department of State fees. A separate check or money order is needed for each application being submitted.

  • Proof of Identity – valid driver’s license / state ID card / military ID / passport. Learner’s permits are not accepted by the Department of State.

  • A completed application form DS-11 [PDF]. The form must be completed in black ink. Please do not sign the form.

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship. Only these forms of proof are accepted. Photocopies are not acceptable:

    • Government issued U.S. birth certificate featuring parent(s) name(s), an official seal and signature.

    • Naturalization certificate.

    • Previously issued U.S. passport.

  • One 2”x2” passport photo with a white background. Photographs are available at the BCPL passport center for an additional $15. This fee must be paid separately and should not be included in the check or money order that accompanies the form DS-11.



Special Situations:

  • If you have a passport under a different name, please bring evidence to support the name change.

  • For customers requesting ‘hand carry’ service, a letter of authorization and an itinerary are required.

  • For children deriving citizenship through parents, parents’ naturalization certificate, child’s permanent resident card and child’s birth certificate are required. If the birth certificate is not in English, a certified English translation is required.



Department of State Fees:

Amounts vary depending on the product you need. See the chart below. Department of State passport fees are payable by check or money order ONLY. A separate check, payable to the Department of State, is required for each application.



Cost (does not include BCPL fees)

Estimated Processing Time*

  • Passport book – age 16 and over


4-6 weeks

  • Passport book – age 15 and under


4-6 weeks

  • EXPEDITED Passport book – age 16 and over

$170 ($110+$60 fee for expedited service)

2-3 weeks

  • EXPEDITED Passport Book – age 15 and under

$140 ($80 +$60 fee for expedited service)

2-3 weeks

  • Passport card – age 16 and over


4-6 weeks

  • Passport card – age 15 and under


4-6 weeks

  • EXPEDITED Passport card – age 16 and over

$90 ($30+$60 fee for expedited service)

2-3 weeks

  • EXPEDITED Passport card – age 15 and under

$75 ($15+$60 fee for expedited service)

2-3 weeks

*Processing time may vary depending on the season. Visit for actual processing time.


BCPL Fees:

BCPL fees may be paid with cash, credit card (Visa or MasterCard), money order or check in the exact amount made payable to Baltimore County Public Library.

  • $15 for each photo needed.



Programs and Story Times


Most Baltimore County Public Library programs do not require registration. If no registration is required, seating is on a first-come, first served basis. Doors open 10 minutes before the start of each program. Please arrive early in order to be assured of seating.



When Registration Is Needed


A few BCPL events, such as Baby Story Times (birth to 23 months), hands-on technology programs, or art and makerspace activities, do require pre-registration. This is due to limitations on space, equipment, or supplies or to permit the best interactive experience between the presenter and the attendee. "Registration required" appears in the program’s description.


Exactly one week prior to the date of the program, registration starts through our online events calendar or by visiting or calling the branch holding the program. To give equal access to our programs, online registration for a branch program starts at the same time the branch’s phone and in-person registration begins. Registration begins at 9 a.m. for Monday through Saturday programs or at 1 p.m. for a Sunday program.



Online Program Registration


Search BCPL's Online Schedule of Events / Register for Programs Online.


Online registration requires the attendee's name and phone number and for programs targeted to particular ages or grades, the age of the attendee as well. In cases where a parent or guardian must accompany a child, there is a space for that information. If an email address is provided, email confirmation of registration and a registration reminder prior to the program is sent.



Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request. Please notify the branch holding the program eight business days’ prior to the event.



Study Rooms and Quiet Areas


Our branches today are busy multi-use public spaces.  We value our customers and attempt to make every branch a gracious, comfortable and welcoming place.  However, the hushed library of the past is no longer the norm or even possible in the busy community hubs that our branches have become.  


Within the limitations of each branch's physical space, quiet study environments have been created or designated.  Occupants of study rooms or quiet areas must observe the Baltimore County Public Library Rules of Conduct.


Enclosed study rooms are currently available to individuals and small groups at the Arbutus, Cockeysville, Essex, Hereford, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Randallstown, Rosedale, Towson, and Woodlawn branches.

  • Customers must sign up to use a study room at the branch’s customer service desk.

  • Sign up is on a first-come first-served basis, with the option to reserve space for the current business day, when available and at the discretion of the branch.

  • Customers may sign up for a study room in one hour time blocks, with the option to add additional hours, one hour at a time, unless others are waiting to use the room.

  • Customers are given 10 minutes to claim an assigned study room before being considered a “No Show”.The room will then be assigned to the next waiting person or group.

Quiet areas, where available, are open to any customer with no sign up required.  Quiet areas are available at the Arbutus, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Essex, Hereford, Owings Mills, Perry Hall, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Rosedale, Towson and White Marsh branches.  The North Point Branch has a designated quiet zone that is not enclosed. 



Tax Forms


The State of Maryland no longer distributes paper tax forms through libraries. Federal IRS paper tax forms are also no longer available at Baltimore County Public Library locations.


Maryland and federal income tax forms can be downloaded and printed using branch public computers  directly from the Maryland and IRS websites. The print charge at the branch is $0.15 per page. Visit our web page for online access to tax forms and information.



Revised: March 12, 2018