Borrowing, Fees & Charges

young person wearing a backpack and holding stack of books

Facts About Borrowing

Essential borrowing information every library member needs to know.

Loan periods for various items:

  • Most library items may be borrowed for 21 days, including DVDs, CDs, eBook readers (eReader), books-on-CD, and Launchpads.
  • Hot Picks new, trending, and popular books & DVDs and high-demand items: 14-day loan if there are holds on the item.
  • Lucky Express book & DVD collection: 7-day loan; no holds or renewals.  
  • Community Access Passes: 7-day loan
  • Print magazines: 7-day loan
  • Video games: 7-day loan
  • Book Club kit: 60-day loan; may be renewed if there are no holds.
  • Tech Lending collection: Loan period vary. Please check Tech Lending Info for details.

Burlington Public Library no longer charges daily overdue fines—but we do charge a replacement fee for items that are lost, damaged, or overdue for 30 days or longer. If the lost item is part of a set or kit, you may have to pay to replace the individual item.

Borrow Responsibly

Automated notifications are sent by email or telephone if requested:  

  • 2-day advance courtesy notice (email only, no telephone notification)
  • 1st overdue (7 days)
  • 2nd overdue (14 days)
  • 3rd overdue (21 days). Overdue reminders stop after 21 days. 
  • Bill notice (30 days overdue)

Please return items on time and in good condition. If no one is waiting for an item on loan to you, try to renew it. Most print and audiovisual items can be renewed up to 10 times.

If you can't renew the item, please return it promptly as a courtesy to others waiting for it. Items that have yet to be returned 30 days after the due date are considered lost and you will be billed a replacement fee—see our list of current replacement fees.

We are grateful to customers who return items on time. This gives everyone faster access to our most popular items. We understand that life happens. If you are unable to return an item on time, you may wish to make a small donation to the library in place of a late fee. Our Pay It Forward campaign gratefully accepts monetary donations that help us grow our collection and reduce wait times. 

Fees for Lost or Damaged items

Our first aim is to have overdue items renewed, returned, or replaced. We don't want anyone to have to receive a bill from the library. 

  • An item is considered lost when it is 30 days overdue.
  • A non-refundable replacement fee is billed to your account for each lost or damaged item, and your account is blocked from borrowing physical items.
  • If you find the lost item before paying the replacement fee, we will accept the item, remove the fee owed, and unblock your account.
  • If you find the lost item after paying the replacement fee, you can keep the item.
  • When you owe more than $0 on your account: You can no longer borrow physical items, such as hard or softcover books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, etc.

When you owe more than $50, and your item is still unreturned 59 days after the 30-day bill notice is sent: A collection agency will contact you to collect the missing item or the replacement fee. The agency will not credit report, but they will charge you $15 for their services.

The replacement fee is equal to the retail price of the item when it was purchased by the Library.

Like-for-Like Replacement

In some cases, we can accept a like-for-like replacement for a damaged or misplaced item that you borrowed. Please ask staff before purchasing a replacement. It must meet these conditions:

  • Item must be in brand new condition.
  • Item must be in the same format as the original item (for example, hardcover, paperback, large print, DVD, Blu-ray, specific video game platform).
  • ISBN/UPC must match that of the lost/damaged item.
  • DVDs/Video games/Books-on-CD/CDs must be in original plastic-wrapped packaging to be considered new.

  • Up to 75 physical items may be on loan from the library at any one time, and 100 items may be placed on hold. 
  • BPL's OverDrive/Libby collection: You may borrow up to 10 eBooks for up to 21 days and place 20 holds at any one time.
  • Age-related borrowing restrictions may apply:
    • Mature (M) video games can be borrowed by persons aged 17 and older.
    • Restricted DVDs can only be borrowed on an adult card.
  • Other borrowing limits may apply based on the high demand for limited items such as puzzles, Cognitive Care Kits, Community Access Passes, Yoto Mini Players, DAISY discs and readers. Please read the catalogue descriptions for details.

Most print and audiovisual items may be renewed up to 10 times. That is for 21 days from the date of renewal and then again for another 21-day loan period, and so on. There are three handy ways to renew library items:

  1. Online through your My BPL library account
  2. In person at any branch or by phone during open hours at 905.639.3611.
  3. If you have five or fewer items to renew, call our Touch-Tone Telephone Renewal Service at 905.333.3701 and have your library card and the item(s) you wish to renew within reach. 

Some items cannot be renewed: 

  • items with outstanding holds (another customer is waiting)
  • Lucky Express collection items
  • seasonal items

We expect library members to return items on time and in good condition. And we count on you to borrow responsibly as a courtesy to others and the Library. And since we no longer charge daily overdue fines, we are always happy to accept your Pay It Forward voluntary contribution to the library!

When it’s time to bring borrowed items back, you can return them to any BPL location. All branches have an outdoor 24-hour drop box. If you return an item from another public library to BPL by mistake, we will contact that library system to let them know, but we will not return the item for you. 

  • All technology and kits must be returned in person to a check-out desk, not in a library drop box.
  • An item is considered lost when it is 30 days overdue. Your account will be billed a non-refundable replacement fee and blocked from borrowing physical items.

If an item you want to borrow is currently not available, you can reserve it by placing a hold. You can place a hold on any item in the library’s collection using our online catalogue or by phoning us, except for:

  • Lucky Express books and DVDs
  • Popular or bestselling items that have not yet been released or published. BPL automatically acquires new, popular, and bestselling items in all available formats, so please do not submit requests for these titles. Please wait until the items are On Order in our catalogue and then place your hold.
  • In Library Use Only items
  • Items belonging to Kilbride School or Hayden Secondary School.

Customers from our partner libraries who have borrowing privileges at BPL may borrow a total of eight items and place two holds.

Holds Notification

When your hold item becomes available, you will be notified by email or telephone if requested.

  • Holds notice by email. Please make sure your inbox is BPL-friendly so our emails do not get blocked or filtered. Follow our troubleshooting guide if you are not receiving email notices. If you have given us permission to do so, the library will email:
    • a pickup notice when your holds are ready at your local branch
    • a due date reminder two days before your items are due;
    • overdue notices
  • Holds notice by telephone: Our automated telephone notification system will call you to let you know that your hold item is ready for pick-up and at what location.

If you do not pick up your hold by the expiry date, unfortunately, there is no record kept of the hold you've missed. As a precaution, do not delete your email notification message until you pick up the item so you can keep track of your holds.

Pausing Holds

You can pause your holds through the catalogue if you're not yet ready to enjoy them. When you're ready, simply return your holds to active status. You cannot pause holds on items that are available on the shelf.

When Your Hold is Cancelled By BPL

Sometimes the Library may cancel a hold on your account without notification. This can happen for various reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • when the only copy of the item has been lost, gone missing or was damaged
  • the title is out of print and cannot be repurchased
  • the title is old/information out of date,
  • the title no longer meets the collection development policy criteria,
  • the publication of the title has been cancelled
  • the hold was placed on a non-holdable item

You can set up an online login to manage your borrowing and account information on our website. Once you set up your My BPL online account, you can place holds on and renew library items, keep a borrowing history, and create wishlists of items you want to borrow.

You need your library card number, PIN (last four digits of your phone number), and just a few minutes to create your My BPL account. You will be asked to create a user name during the account set-up process. Please do not use your library card number as your username. We recommend something short and easy to remember.

It’s also useful to have access to your My BPL account so that you can keep your contact information up-to-date and find your library card number if you ever need it.

Our Tech Lending collection includes a wide array of items such as Fitbits, Chromebooks, iPads, Digital Radon Detectors and more. Check the tech web page for loan periods and other item details.

We have multiple partnerships that allow Burlington Public Library members to extend their borrowing to other libraries. Visit our More to Borrow page to learn about your physical and digital borrowing options.