Note: If you do not find the answer here, simply Ask a Librarian 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How do I get to your libraries?

Visit our library locations page to get directions and hours.


How can I apply for a library card?

Library cards are available at all 14 branch libraries and ECRL’s outreach locations. Any resident of East Central Regional Library’s counties (Aitkin, Chisago*, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine) who meets identification requirements may apply for a library card. Apply for a library card by presenting at any branch library or outreach location your completed patron registration form and identification with your current address information.

Your library card is required for all transactions. You are responsible for materials checked out on your library card. The first library card is free; replacement cards cost $1.00.


Can I use a card from another Minnesota library to check out library materials?

In accordance with Minnesota Library Reciprocal Borrowing Compact, residents of participating library systems may register and use their public library card at ECRL to borrow physical materials. The Minnesota Library Reciprocal Borrowing Compact addresses the loan of physical items only; therefore Reciprocal Borrowers are limited to borrowing physical items only. Apply for library service from ECRL by presenting at any branch library or outreach location your current library card in good standing from an affiliated Minnesota public library and providing the information on the ECRL reciprocal borrower registration form.

Residents of other states or those served by libraries unaffiliated with a Minnesota Regional Public Library system may purchase a ECRL library card at a cost of $11.25/quarter ($45 annually). Applicants must present valid identification.

What are the overdue fines for materials returned after the due date?
20 cents per day per item; maximum $6.00 per item

Persons with more than more than $5.00 in charges and fees will have their borrowing privileges suspended.


What if I damage or lose a library item?

Patrons will be assessed a replacement fee for any damaged item that cannot be returned to the collection. Items will be considered lost when they are 45 days overdue at which time the replacement fee is added to the patron record and a bill is mailed to the patron. ECRL does not accept replacement copies of items.


How can I make payments for my fines or fees?

Make a cash or check payment at any library location.


What’s my PIN and how do I get one?

Your PIN (also known as password) is used along with your barcode number to give you access to computers, online services, and your account information. Users with an email address associated with their library card account can reset or create a password/PIN using the Forgot My Password link, and entering your library barcode number or username.  You will receive an email with instructions at the email address on file for your account. Users may also create or reset a PIN in person at any branch library or by calling ECRL at 763-689-7390.


Can I extend the due date on my items?

Two renewals are allowed for items if  no one else has requested the material. Exceptions: Interlibrary Loan items, Book Club Kits, and reference materials.


Can I renew my materials online?

Start by visiting the catalog and clicking on My Account. You will be asked for your Library Card Number or Username and Password/PIN to proceed. Within My Account you can go to the Items Checked Out section and renew your materials.


How many items may I check out?

Maximum of 50 physical items checked out at one time. Maximum of 10 eBook/eAudiobook items from OverDrive and 10 eBook/eAudiobook items from OneClickdigital checked out at one time.


Where can I use my East Central Regional Library card?

An ECRL card may be used at most public libraries in Minnesota as part of Minnesota’s Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement. These libraries must be part of a regional library system. When using your card in another library system, you must abide by its rules.


Where can I return my library materials?

You can return your library materials to any of ECRL’s 14 branch libraries or outreach locations.  Book drops are available for items returned when the library is closed.

ECRL materials returned to other Minnesota libraries will not be considered returned until and unless they actually come back to an ECRL library.  Most Minnesota libraries participate in the courtesy return process if they are on the Minitex Delivery System, but the items may incur fines during that time.


What is the typical due date for library materials?

Most materials are due three weeks from the day you check them out. Exceptions: Book Club Kits, and reference materials.


How do I request materials from other libraries?

If the item you want is checked out or located at a different ECRL branch, you may request to have it sent to your selected library for pickup. You may do this by selecting the title from the catalog, clicking on the “Place Hold” link, and selecting your pickup location. You will be asked for your Library Card Number or Username and Password/PIN for this.


How do I request materials that ECRL does not own?

Once you have searched the catalog and determined that your selection is not owned by ECRL, you may choose one of several options.

  • Fill out the Purchase Suggestion form for items recently published or yet to be published. ECRL staff will decide to either purchase the item or borrow it from another library. Once the decision is made, the item request will be placed on your account.
  • If the item was published at least 6 months ago, you may place an Interlibrary Loan request from another Minnesota library yourself using the MNLINK. This statewide service allows you to request material not owned by ECRL and have it delivered to your ECRL branch.


How long will you hold my item for me?

Holds are available for seven calendar days, including the day they arrive in the library.


Is there a limit on the number of items I can request?

Maximum of 15 hold requests at one time.  Maximum of 20 active Interlibrary Loan requests at one time. Maximum of 10 eBook/eAudiobook requests from OverDrive and 10 eBook/eAudiobook requests from OneClickdigital at one time.


What are the library open hours?

Library open hours are unique to each of the library locations in East Central Regional Library. Locate your branch library’s open hours.


How do I renew my library card?

Library cards privileges expire every two years. This allows ECRL to keep address and patron information up to date. Library cards can be renewed in person or by phone or email at any branch or Outreach stop. All information will be verified at the time of renewal.


*Taylors Falls in Chisago County is unaffiliated with ECRL.