How Do I?
Checking Out Items
For items owned by Rock Island Public Library, the loan periods are as follows:
- 7 days: “Short-loan” DVDs and Blu-rays, video games, culture and museum passes, mobile hotspots, most Library of Things collections.
- 21 days: books, magazines, audiobooks, music CDs, children’s puppets, STEM kits, puzzles, Launchpads, board games, baking equipment.
- 21 days: “Long-loan” DVDs and Blu-Rays. (3-Week sticker - non-fiction DVDs, PBS, and TV series.)
- 42 days: Book Club kits
All other items not listed above: 21 days
- Loan rules and checkout policies follow your library card. Check with your home library.
- Return dates automatically adjust for Sundays and holidays when the library is closed.
The following item limits apply to holders of a “full access” Rock Island Public Library card:
- Most books, audiobooks, music CDs, magazines: unlimited
- DVDs, Blu-Rays (7 and 21-day loans): 10 per card
- Video Games: 3 per card
- Book discussion Kits: 2
- Children’s puppets, STEM kits, puzzles: 3
- Baking equipment: 20 items
- Board Games: 1
- Culture & Museum passes: 2, no renewal.
- Mobile Hotspot: 1, no renewal. Must be 18 or older.
Special RIPL card types may affect these guidelines. Exceptions include Interstate borrower status, Visitor cards, Temporary/Conditional Housing cards, and Juvenile (My First Library) cards. For questions, please see our Get a Card page.
Patron of another library? Borrowing policies follow your library card. Check with your home library for rules that pertain to your card.
In person: Bring the item to any Rock Island Library location. You must have your library card with you.
By phone: Call the PrairieCat renewal line at 1-888-542-7259. You will need your library card number and the item barcode(s). Items must be renewed before due. Items with a hold waiting will not renew.
Via the online catalog: Log into your patron account with your library card bar code and password. Select "Checkouts" to see see what's on your account. Check the renew button if you want to extend your time. Watch messages carefully. If the item is not renewable, you'll see a red "renew not allowed" message.
If you're on a private device, it's a good idea to always log in when you open the catalog. This will show your local library items first in search results.
PrairieCat Mobile App: Free download to a mobile device from Apple & Google play stores. Sign in, then follow the prompts under My Account to renew. Items with holds may not renew.
See Using Your Card for other ways to manage your account.
Rock Island Public Library cardholders with a valid, non-expired card can check out digital content, online research and learning tools, and paywall free access to online subscriptions.
You’ll need your library card to sign in. Visit our Online Library page for more information. For help, see our online tutorials, or call or visit our locations. Our Reference Department can also help troubleshoot issues.
Your library card has thousands of uses! You will need to have your card with you to check out, renew items, and use a computer. You may keep a copy of your card in the PrairieCat mobile app.
Check out special interest items, such as adult board games, children’s puzzles, learning kits and games. Use our Library of Things collection to stretch your budget by borrowing instead of buying!
Library card holders in good standing can use a library computer for 90 minutes. Guest passes limited to 60 minutes. For more details, see Computers and Wifi.
- Log in with your library card barcode and 4-digit password to access all catalog features.
- If you're using a public library computer, remember to log out.
- If you've already enabled reading history, it will sync to the new catalog.
- If you want to turn this feature on, log in, select "My Bookshelf" and then "Profile," "Keep Reading History."
- You can also opt out here, which will permanently delete the record of everything you've checked out.
- eBook checkouts will not show up in your reading history.
Your Library Account
Effective in 2023, RIPL cardholders enjoy fine-free lending status on most materials. Some item exceptions apply, including mobile hotspots, mobile streaming devices, cultural passes, and Library of Things items. These items are scarce and in high demand, so please return them on or before the due date to avoid overdue charges. For other, traditionally circulated items, RIPL cardholders won't be charged an overdue penalty if they return most items a few days late. Items still have due dates, and you'll continue to get reminders.
For cardholders of non-Fine Free libraries in the PrairieCat system, make sure you return or renew on time to avoid a fine. You are responsible for items checked out on your card. Late fees for non-RIPL cardholders are as follows:
- Most items: 20 cents per day, per item
- DVDs, Culture/Museum Passes, Video Games: $1 per day, per item
- Mobile Hotspots: $5 per day
RIPL also offers a one-day grace period for materials returned one day late. (Grace period does not apply to mobile hotspots.)
Missing/damaged and non-returned items are subject to additional fees, regardless of whether we issued your card, or another library in the PrairieCat network.
My First Library cards (children 5 and under) have fine forgiveness exclusive to Rock Island-only items, at Rock Island Library locations. Damaged/lost item charges still apply.
For reminders about when items are due, sign up for courtesy notices. Notify us if your phone or email changes. You can also check your account online or via the app, or just call us.
Courtesy notices, if selected with email or text message as your notification preference, are helpful reminders sent three days before the item is done and 7 days after the item due date.
To receive text notices, you must opt in via your library account. For more account management features in PrairieCat, please see Using Your Card.
Patrons who have chosen phone or print as their notification preference will not receive Courtesy notices. You are responsible for all items checked out on your card, regardless of whether a courtesy notice was received.
Accidents happen, so let us know if something happens to an item you’ve checked out. There is a charge for lost or damaged materials. Processing charges may apply.
For helpful reminders about when items are due, sign up for Courtesy Notices.
In addition to courtesy notices and friendly reminders, notifications regarding lost/damaged items are sent by mail to the patron’s home address:
- FIRST OVERDUE NOTICE of most materials sent two weeks (14 days) after the item due date.
- BILL NOTICE sent 28 days after the item due date. At this time, the item is considered lost and the full replacement cost of the item is billed to the patron account.
The Rock Island Public Library contracts with a COLLECTION AGENCY. When an item goes to the status of BILLED or if a patron owes more than $10.00 in overdue fines, a patron may be referred to a COLLECTION AGENCY and an additional $10.00 processing fee will be added to the borrower's account. To avoid collection fee charges, return items and take care of any fines or fees right away.
We do not accept copies of lost or damaged items in lieu of payment.
If an overdue item is returned within six months of the lost status, the replacement cost of the item will be reduced to a flat overdue fine of $10.00 per item. All collection agency fees will still be due. If you have paid for lost items, and they are found, they must be returned to RIPL within 30 days to qualify for a refund.
Lost items borrowed from non-RIPL libraries are subject to the owning library's billing policies.
The library is not responsible for any equipment damage that may be caused by the use of library audio/visual materials.
See Policies for more about our Circulation guidelines.
No daily late fine charged to RIPL cardholders for overdue items (with certain exceptions.)
Fine-free lending applies to RIPL cardholders on traditionally circulated materials. This status "follows" RIPL cardholders to other libraries in PrairieCat.
Who Qualifies? RIPL cardholders only. Patrons of other PrairieCat libraries will continue to be assessed for late items.
What Isn’t Fine Free? Mobile hotspots, mobile streaming devices, cultural passes, or Library of Things collections. These are scarce items with high demand. Return these items by the due date to avoid a daily late charge.
Will I Still Get Notices? Items still have due dates, so please return on time. Non-returned items will be billed. Notices for overdue items will still occur:
· Courtesy notice: 3 days before due date
· Friendly reminder: 7 days after due date
· 1st overdue notice: 14 days after due date
· Bill notice: 28 days after due date
Bring items back to keep your account clear. Lost charges, damages, processing, and collection fees will remain on patron accounts until paid.
What About Previous Late Fines? Overdue fines for RIPL cardholders have been waived, see staff for details. Replacement costs for lost items, damages, processing charges, and any collection fees, if applicable, remain the responsibility of the cardholder.
How Does this Apply to Items I Checked Out in 2022? Due to system settings, our checkout system may still apply a late fine to an overdue item that was checked out in 2022. Please notify staff when checking in overdue items from 2022. Please note, replacement, collection, or other fees may not be waived.)
Please contact Circulation for any other questions about your RIPL account.
Library Card Questions
Residents of our library service area, which include both Rock Island and the Milan-Blackhawk Area Public Library District, may apply for a library card. Please see Get a Library Card for card options and details.
To get a library card, please visit any RIPL branch. Please bring a photo ID and proof of current address. Proof can be anything with your name and address on it, such as a bill, piece of mail, or lease agreement. For library card options, visit our Get a Library Card page.
You may also apply or renew online. Your card will be mailed after verification.
Events and Meeting Rooms
Library meeting rooms at our Downtown and Southwest Library are available for booking meetings of an educational, cultural, professional, or businesss nature. Please see our Meeting Room Rental Policy for regulations and pricing.
After reading the policy, visit our Reserve a Room page for self-service booking. Bookings are confirmed after review by the library and payment of related fees.
Individuals and small groups looking for quiet study spaces will find them at our Downtown Library on the 2nd floor and Mezzanine level. These spaces are available at no charge on an as-available basis.
Public WiFi is available at all locations, including the Mobile Library2Go. Rock Island/Milan District #41 students can also use the RockFi signal at all RIPL locations.
Questions about the Library
Volunteers are needed to help set up and pack up our Monthly Book Sale, held on the first Tuesday of the month at our Southwest Branch. To help with the sale, leave your name with desk staff at the Southwest Branch, or contact us via this website. Please see our Volunteer page for additional information.