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  • Loan Periods and Borrowing Limits

    Your Santa Monica Public Library card entitles you to borrow materials from any of our five locations.  Standard Library Card holders may check out up to 50 items, subject to the limits outlined below.

    Item Type Item Type Limit Loan Period Renewals Allowed*
    Adult New Books 20 2 weeks 2
    Adult Books (not labeled as 'New') 50 4 weeks 2
    Children's Non-Fiction Books 3 of same call number 4 weeks 2
    Children's Fiction Books 50 4 weeks 2
    Large Print Books 50 4 weeks 2
    Magazines 50 2 weeks 2
    DVDs 20 1 week 2
    Adult Audiobooks 20 4 weeks 2
    Children's Audiobooks 50 4 weeks 2
    Music CDs 50 2 weeks 2
    Children's Kits 50 4 weeks 2

    *Renewals are permitted if there are no outstanding hold requests for the title.

    Note: Please see eBooks & Digital Media for loan periods and borrowing limits for e-content (i.e., ebooks, downloadable audiobooks).

    Caring for Library Materials

    Library materials are provided for the benefit of all users. To maximize these benefits, Santa Monica Public Library asks that library patrons treat all library materials with care. Patrons are accountable for lost or damaged materials; therefore it is their responsibility to properly care for the materials checked out to them. Proper care of books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs begins in the library and extends to home and car use. Please refer to our Caring for Library Materials guide for more information.


    • If you need to make notes, use a separate paper or post-it. It is illegal to write in library books. Notations in margins, highlighting, and underlining distract other readers. Folding pages to mark one's place can cause breakage over time. Instead, use a free library bookmark.
    • Teach children to handle books carefully; even very young children can handle pages gently and put books in a safe place where they will not be damaged. 
    • Be careful around food and drink which can cause stains and water damage. 
    • The use of rubber bands or paper clips is discouraged. Both can damage book pages; rubber bands tear pages and fragile covers; and paper clips rust. 
    • Be careful when using writing implements around library books; unintentional marks or ink stains can happen easily. 
    • Do not pull books from the shelf by the head cap, or top of the spine. Push the two adjoining books inward and remove the book by grasping the spine. 
    • Handle AV materials carefully; avoid touching surfaces and handle CDs and DVDs with your fingers around the outer edge. 
    • Keep AV materials in their protective storage cases when not in use. 
    • Minimize the time AV materials are in your car in order to prevent damage and theft.
    • Please report problems with AV materials to Library Staff 

    Returning Materials

    Santa Monica Public Library materials can be returned to any of our five branch locations.  Patrons are responsible for returning materials prior to their due date in order to avoid the assessment of overdue fines.  Library materials may be returned 24 hours per day at the exterior returns located at each of our locations. Branch book drops can accept any library material type, including books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and kits.

    Main Library: Exterior return slots are located at the side of the building on 6th street. A drive-up return bin is also available on the P1 level of the underground parking structure - parking fees will not be assessed for vehicles that enter and exit the structure within five minutes in order to use the drive-up return.

    Fairview Branch: Two exterior return bins are located at the front of the building along Ocean Park Blvd.

    Montana Branch: Exterior return bins are located at the front of the building along Montana Ave. and at the entrance to the surface parking lot off 17th Street.

    Ocean Park Branch: Two exterior return bins are located near the public building entrance along Norman Place.

    Pico Branch: The exterior return is connected to the building, located to the right of the main entrance.

    During Library open hours, materials may be returned to either the exterior returns or the interior book drops located adjacent to the customer service counters. Items returned to the exterior returns must be returned by midnight of the item due date to ensure that no overdue fines will be assessed.


    Renewing Materials

    Materials borrowed through Interlibrary Loan are not eligible for renewal. Other materials may be renewed twice if they are not on hold. There are three methods of renewing your materials:

    In-Person: Staff at our Customer Service desks are happy to assist you with the renewal of on-loan items.

    By Telephone:  If you have a 7-digit library card and 4-digit PIN, you can renew by phone anytime at (310) 458-8704. You can also call the Main Library during open hours at (310) 458-8600. 

    Online: You may access the online renewal function with your Library Card number and PIN. Simply select the Checked Out menu option from the My SMPL tab of the online catalog, input your login information, select the items you wish to renew, and click on the Renew button. The system will calculate the new due date for eligible renewals and also notify you of any items that were ineligible for renewal.


    Placing Hold Requests

    Hold requests allow you to place yourself on a waiting list for titles that are presently checked out, on-order, or awaiting processing before being added to the collection. You may also place a request for items that show as "Available" in our catalog. Patrons who are interested in the same-day pickup of an Available item are encouraged to use our Will Call service.

    There is no charge for placing hold requests. You may have up to 25 total holds (limit of 10 holds on DVDs) at one time. You can be notified that your hold is ready for pickup by phone, email or U.S. mail. You can also use the My Borrowing function in the online catalog to see if your hold is available for pick-up.

    In-Person: Staff at the Main Library Info Desk and second floor Reference Desk can assist you with placing hold requests. Please have your Library Card number available to share with the staff.

    At the branch libraries, please approach staff at the Customer Service desk for assistance with this service.

    By Telephone: Call our Catalog Assistance line at (310) 458-8614 during the open hours of the Main Library to have staff place hold requests.  Please have your library card number available before placing the call.

    Online: You may access the online holds function with your Library Card number and PIN. First identify the title that you wish to request by searching our online catalog. When you find the title you desire, click on the Place a Hold link - the system will prompt you for your Library Card number (or Username) and PIN in order to proceed. When placing a hold for a specific volume in a multi-item set (e.g. a particular episode of a TV series or a specific volume of a circulating encyclopedia), the system will prompt you to specify the volume that you desire.

    Interlibrary Loan: Interlibrary Loan enables Library users to obtain materials that are not in the local library collection from other libraries throughout the country. The Santa Monica Public Library offers interlibrary loan service to Library card holders at the Reference Desk, from Telephone Reference (310) 434-2608, or by Email Reference. Interlibrary loan service is available only for items that are not in the Santa Monica Public Library collection. Some items that are rarely available through interlibrary loan are: print issues of magazines and newspapers (microform copies are usually available); reference books; rare books and manuscripts (unless on microform); DVD; audiobooks; best sellers and books less that one year old; textbooks. There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee to initiate the interlibrary loan request and lending libraries sometimes place an additional fee. For additional information, please contact Telephone Reference (310) 434-2608 or Email Reference.

    Will Call Service:  Will Call requests allow you to have same-day pickup of items that display as Available in our catalog.  Call the branch that owns the item (for the Main Library, call Catalog Assistance at the hold request telephone number at 310-458-8614) and indicate that you'd like to request a Will Call. Upon providing your account and item information, staff will place you on hold in order to retrieve the item.  If the item is located, you will be advised to pick up the material at the customer service desk.  Will Call item will be reshelved if not retrieved within a day.



    There are three Self Checkout stations at the Main Library, two Self Checkout stations at Montana Branch and Pico Branch, and one Self Checkout station each at Fairview Branch and Ocean Park Branch. To use a Self Checkout station, scan your library card, enter your PIN, acknowledge the account information screen, and follow the instructions on the touch screen. DVDs and CDs that are equipped with security cases can be unlocked at the Self Checkout Stations once the items have been successfully checked out.


    Shut-In Services

    The library offers the shut-in service to Santa Monica residents who are homebound because of age or illness. Volunteers select library materials to meet individual interests and deliver them to homebound clients. This service is free, and homebound residents do not need a library card. For information about the shut-in service, call (310) 458-8646, or send an e-mail to: .

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