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How Do I?

Get a Library Card/Replace a Lost Card

Library cards are available free of charge, if you are a resident or tax payer of Elgin County or St. Thomas; OR, if you are a member of a neighbouring library system with reciprocal borrowing privileges. Identification is required to get a library card at any of our branch libraries.

You will receive a plastic card, similar in appearance to a credit card, which contains your library account number.  If you lose this card, there is a replacement fee of $1.00.

An adult must sign the card for a child, up to and including a child in grade 8, in order for it to be valid.  A parent or guardian assumes full responsibility for the choice of material which the child borrows from the library and any fees incurred.

Your library membership entitles you to borrow materials, access the online catalogue, place holds, and use our online reference resources. Click here for more information about library membership.

Access My Library Account or Get a PIN Number

In My Library Account, you can see what items you currently have on loan, renew those items (when applicable), and change your PIN (Personal Identification Number).  These options are available by clicking on My Library Account anywhere from within the library catalogue

To access your account, you will first need a PIN. Your PIN can only be obtained in person at any Elgin County Library branch location. To get your PIN, present your library card at the Public Service Desk at your library.  If it is easier to remember, you may wish to ask staff to set your PIN to the last four digits of your telephone number.

To access your account in the library catalogue, enter your full 14-digit library card number. Enter your PIN, then select Submit. 

Change My PIN Number

A patron may change his/her PIN number by following these steps:

  1. Go to the online catalogue
  2. Click "My Library Account"; 
  3. Enter your full 14-digit library card number, followed by your PIN;
  4. Click your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen 
  5. Click "Edit PIN"
  6. Enter your current PIN in the first bar
  7. Enter New PIN in the second bar
  8. Re-enter new PIN in the third bar
  9. Click "Submit"

Your PIN will be changed to the value that you enter in the 2nd and 3rd lines.

Renew Items Online

  1. Go to the online catalogue;
  2. Select My Library Account, and log in with your library card number and PIN;
  3. Select "Checkouts" tab
  4. Select each item to renew;
  5. Click "Renew Marked"
  6. At the prompt screen, click "Yes" (yes, you would like to proceed and renew)

Add My Email Account (so that I may be notified via Email)

  1. Go to the library website;
  2. Select "Branches"
  3. Select your library branch
  4. Click the "Email Branch Staff" link
  5. Inform the library that you would like to add an email to your account and provide your email address, full name, and library card number.

Search the Library Catalogue

You can do a "quick search" by typing in key words or a name in the Quick Search box at the top of any library web page. This will take you directly to your search results (if any) within our online catalogue. You can also click on the menu item on our homepage that says "Catalogue Search." For more information on using the catalogue, please refer to the Help screens once you have connected to the catalogue.

Place a Hold on an Item

If you have already logged into the catalogue with your library card number and password, take the following steps:

  1. Find the material you are looking for;
  2. Click the "Place Hold" button to the right of the title;
  3. Choose a pickup location
  4. Click "Submit" and then "OK"

If you have not already logged in with your library card number and password,

  1. Find the material you are looking for;
  2. Select "Place Hold"
  3. You will be prompted to log in with your library card number (the barcode) and PIN;
  4. Click "Submit"
  5. Choose a pickup location
  6. Click "Submit" and then "OK"

Freezing Holds

If you will be unavailable to pick up library materials you are waiting for or if you are not ready to receive them, you can Freeze your holds.

  1. Log in to My Library Account with your library card number (the barcode) and PIN
  2. Click your name in the upper right hand corner of the catalogue
  3. Click the "Holds" tab
  4. You can Freeze individual holds or multiple holds at once by clicking the "Freeze" box listed next to your hold, and scrolling to the top or bottom of your hold list and clicking "Update List."
  5. ***Warning: you cannot freeze holds older than 255 days, or if you have the status of "1 of 1 holds."  
  6. To unfreeze selected holds, remove the checkmark in the "Freeze" box by clicking the checkmark once more.
  7. Click "Update List"

If you know you will be unable to pick up a hold prior to a specific date, you can contact your branch library to ask that your hold be modified to be unavailable until the date you specify with branch staff.

Request Materials from Other Libraries

You can request to have materials sent from other libraries, if no branch of the Elgin County Library system owns the particular item you are looking for. Patrons can request interlibrary loans by three different methods:

  1. Contact your local branch library and they will take your request, or
  2. Online request through the Info Ontario website, with a library card number and password obtained from our Main Office (519-631-1460). Click here for more information on requesting an item online.
  3. By using the Interlibrary Loan (Request material outside Elgin County) feature here
  4. Supply as much information about the item as possible and click "Submit."

Book a Computer at My Branch Library

Computers are available for public use at each of our branch locations. They can be booked in advance for 1 hour time slots. Patrons need a library card to use the computers in the library and by using their library card they agree to adhere to the Elgin County Internet Policy and Guidelines. Call or email one of our branch libraries to book your computer time.

Find out about Programs at the Library

Our libraries have top quality programs and events for children, teens and adults. There is always something going on at your local library! You can call your branch library, take home one of their flyers, or for a wider perspective, take a look at our Events section for an overview, and our calendar for greater details of what is going on in all ten branches.

Become a Volunteer

Elgin County is happy to have volunteers at branch libraries. We have volunteers who teach computer classes, help maintain the library, and work with the public in other ways. If you are interested in volunteering at one of our branches, click here for more information.

Teens can also complete hours towards their community service requirement by volunteering in a number of ways including reading to young children. If you would like to serve your community through your library, contact your local branch.

Request Help with a Research Question or Get Homework Help

Elgin County Library is a great source for your information needs. We always have help available, usually just a phone call or email away! Reference staff can help you find the information/resources you need for your research topic. They will assist you in finding materials including books, magazines, journals and online resources. You can email your questions to reference@elgin.ca; or call the Reference staff centrally located at Dutton Library (519-631-1460 ext. 454) or Aylmer Old Town Hall Library (519-631-1460 ext. 455).

Use Online Reference Tools

Elgin County Library has an exceptional collection of resources to assist you in your research.  All of these resources are free of charge; however, some will require a library card number or a password, for access. Go to our Online Resources page to view a list of links to all of  our subscription databases.

Find Popular Authors and New Releases

Elgin County Library sends out newsletters to our patrons who signed up for the NextReads service. Patrons can pick which newsletters they want send to their email addresses and in that way keep up with what is new and interesting in the library and book world.

NoveList can help you find the next good book to read. If you have an Elgin County Library card, you can log in to NoveList here. Through its new easy-to-use interface and central search feature, readers can use information such as a favourite author or book as a starting point to locate other authors and titles of interest.  It can also help the reader find the reading order of books in a series.  Other features that will interest the reader are the lists of award winners, book discussion guides, author read-alikes and "BookTalks". 

Download eBooks and eAudiobooks

You can now download books in electronic form, right from the web! Elgin County Library has access to a number of eBooks and eAudiobooks. You can download from home, or come into one of our branch libraries and staff will show you how it is done. A library card is required and first time users need to create an account with each download service.

Book a Meeting Room at a Library Branch

Meeting rooms and facilities within branches of the Elgin County Library may be made available to community organizations and individuals for educational, leisure and cultural activities as outlined in our Facilities Use Policy.

Schedule a Public Library Tour

Library staff can organize a specially designed tour of a library branch for your students, clients, or social group and highlight a specific topic or area of interest. We can also arrange a general walkabout tour of your local branch library for those who wish to become familiar with the facilities. Please contact your local branch library to arrange a tour.

The Elgin County Public Library, (Aylmer Branch) partnered with the Thames Valley District School Board, (Summers' Corners) to create an award-winning blueprint and toolkit for public library tours that improve the literacy of students, especially those at risk, ESL students, poor attendance students, and those with learning disabilities.