Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, face coverings are required in all Columbus Metropolitan Library locations:

  • Must be 2 or more layers, cover mouth and nose and fit snugly.
  • May not contain exhalation vents or valves.
  • Children 5 and older are required to wear a face covering.
  • Disposable face masks will be available to customers.
  • If you aren’t able to wear a face covering, use our curbside or walk-up services.

  • Children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by someone age 16 or older.
  • We’re limiting the number of customers in our buildings to ensure effective social distancing. Staff will let you know if you need to wait to enter.
    • Library visits are limited to 2 hours per customer per day.
    • Customers spending 2 hours at a table may not access other library services.
    • Please stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • If you or your family members are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or recently tested positive for COVID-19, please do not visit our locations.
  • Customers spending 2 hours at a table or computer may not access other library services.

  • You may return items through our exterior Returns that are open 24/7. Visit our Locations page for addresses.
  • Returned items will be quarantined for a minimum of 96 hours prior to being checked in and made available to other customers. If you or a member of your household is ill, please do not return items at this time.
  • Due to the volume of returns, it may take up to a week for items to be checked in.
  • If you or a member of your household is ill, please do not return items at this time.

Library items are quarantined for at least 96 hours after being returned. During this time, you may continue to receive notices about the returned items. We ask that you disregard them, and contact us if the items remain on your account more than seven days after being returned.

  • You may continue to place holds for items through the library’s catalog.

  • Your items will take longer than normal to arrive at your requested branch during this time. Thank you for your patience.

  • Holds listed as Ready for Pickup will be held at your pickup location for 5 days.

Ohio residents may apply for a library card in person or online. Once received, the card number can be used immediately to access digital materials and reserve items. Your physical card will be mailed to you. Stop in one of our 23 locations to activate it.

Yes, you can use your library card to check out materials and access services at libraries throughout central Ohio without having multiple library cards.

Participating libraries include:

  • Bexley Public Library
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library
  • Delaware County District Library
  • Grandview Heights Public Library
  • Granville Public Library
  • Marysville Public Library
  • Pickaway County Library
  • Pickerington Public Library
  • Plain City Public Library
  • Southwest Public Libraries
  • Upper Arlington Public Library
  • Wagnalls Memorial Library
  • Worthington Libraries

Services and programs vary, so check with each library before you go.

Loan periods:

  • Books: 21 days
  • Magazines and other print materials: 7 days
  • Fiction movies: 7 days
  • Nonfiction movies: 14 days
  • Audiobooks: 21 days
  • Music: 14 days
  • Video games: 7 days

Borrowing limits (during pandemic):

  • Books, magazines and other print materials: 100 items combined
  • Movies: 30 items
  • Audiobooks and music: 60 items combined
  • Video games: 4 items

Fines on materials: CML no longer charges fines for overdue materials, but there are still charges for lost or damaged materials.

You can pay fees the following ways:

  • At any library location by cash, check, credit or debit card
  • Online with a major credit or debit card: go to My Account and have your library card number and PIN handy
  • By mail (please allow additional time): send check with library card number noted to: Columbus Metropolitan Library, Attention: Circulation, 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Please visit any library location for a replacement card or contact us to have your card blocked. You are responsible for all items checked out on your card, so please report any issues as soon as possible. There is no charge for replacing your card.

Please visit any library location or Contact Us.

Library Card PINs are 4 digits long. The PIN defaults to the last 4 numbers of the phone number associated with your account. You may have also opted to reset your PIN to a 4-digit number of your choosing. If you have registered for an account through our website, you can use the Forgot your PIN? link to be emailed a link to reset it.

Staff at any location can update your contact information when you show your picture ID.  Contact Us if your library card number is available.

Hours vary between locations. Visit Locations for hours and holiday closings.

Visit eContent for help using our digital materials.

Visit Library Services for information.

CML does not provide notary services. We recommend checking with your bank/credit union.

CML does not offer exam proctoring services.

Due to pandemic precautions, all meeting and study rooms are unavailable for public booking.

We appreciate your interest in working for the library. We are unable to respond to inquiries about specific applications. If you have technical difficulties applying, please contact us.

For the latest information about donations, please visit the Friends of the Library.

Please visit our Volunteer page for more information about volunteering.

Due to the volume of newspapers and magazines, and number of requests, the library cannot save these items for individuals. However, you can check with your neighborhood location for possible exceptions.

Please email us with your name, contact information and details of the program.

If you would like to donate a copy of your book for consideration for our collection, you may take a copy to any CML location and ask a staff member to send it to our Collection Services Department. You may also mail a copy to: Columbus Metropolitan Library Collection Services, Attention: Selection Team, 400 W. Johnstown Rd., Suite 100, Gahanna, OH 43230. Due to the number of books we receive, items that are not added to the collection will not be returned, but will be donated to the Friends of the Library.

If you do not wish to send a book or would like more information about our criteria, you can email us. If describing your book, please include the title, publisher, ISBN, date of publication and the intended audience for the book, in addition to any other pertinent information.

For author visits, please contact us.

Still need help?

Visit Contact Us for more ways to get the answer you need.