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How Do I:  Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a library card?

How do I get or change my PIN?
How do I renew an item?

How do I reserve an item?

How do I return materials?

How do I ask for research help?

How do I find magazine articles?

How do I reserve a computer?

How do I search the internet? 

How do I download an audiobook?

How do I use the library wireless?
How do I locate a library?

How do I support SPL?

How do I donate materials?

How do I volunteer for SPL?

How do I reserve a meeting room?

How do I find a job at SPL?
How do I host an exhibit at the Library?

How do I get or change my PIN?

Normally you sign up for a PIN (Personal Identification Number) when you sign up for your library card. This unique, 4-digit number of your choosing allows you to:

  • Check the status of your account
  • Renew any items which are eligible for renewal
  • Hold (reserve) library materials
  • Use Internet stations in any library branch

Because your PIN is a security number, it must be registered in person at the library. Please safeguard the security of this number as it provides access to your personal library records (books checked out, fines or fees owing, etc.). You may change your PIN by either visiting the library and asking assistance (bring your picture ID and library card) or by logging into the My Account section of our website and then clicking on Profile. Enter your old PIN and replace it with a new PIN. Click Update.


How do I reserve an item?

You may place a hold on most library items - excluding high-demand DVDs, magazines and reference materials. Items can be reserved by looking them up in the catalog and clicking on Request Item. Enter your library card number, with no spaces, and your PIN number. Indicate the branch where you would like to pick the item up. Click on Request.


You can check under My Account, Holds, for a list of current requests. You can also call the library to place a hold for you at 444-5336; just have your card number available. Please note that items are not available immediately when you place a hold on them, even if the item is not already checked out. Hold requests are not processed until the next working day. You will be notified by phone, email or mail when your hold becomes available. It will be held for 5 days from the day notification is sent out. If you need something immediately, call the library where the item is available and have them check the shelf and set it aside for you.


How do I return materials?

Items can be returned to any Spokane Public Library branch. Items returned after the library is closed will be checked in the next working day, but backdated to the previous open date. Items can be returned to the circulation desk or to an outside or inside book drop. Please be careful when placing magazines or media in the bookdrops, as damage can result.


Fees are charged on overdue items and damaged/incomplete items. If you think you are being incorrectly charged for an item you returned, contact Library Circulation at 444-5333. If you have lost an item, you will be charged replacement costs plus a processing fee.


Spokane County Library District items should only be returned to their branches.


How do I ask for research help?

You can fill out our online Ask a Librarian form, email us at, or you can call Telephone Reference at 509-444-5336. Our Public Service Parameters explains our service priorities and limits.


How do I find magazine articles?

The library subscribes to several magazine databases that offer full-text magazine articles, some of which date back to the 1980s. These databases can be accessed from any city library branch; there is an option to print out articles for 10 cents per page, or you can email the articles to yourself for free.


If you live within the city limits and have a valid library card, or if you have PAID for a full service non-resident card, you can access our databases from outside of the library - from your home or office. Just enter your full library card number to access the databases.


The Downtown Library has indexes and other finding tools for older magazine and newspaper articles. Back issues of magazines may be in paper or microform. We have several electronic scanners for microforms, which allow you to print, save to a USB drive, or email your article if you ask reference staff first.


How do I donate materials?

The Library accepts donations of gently used materials. We will evaluate the material to see if it will be added to the collection. Normal collection procedures apply to all donated materials that are added to the library.  Not all donations are added to the library's collection. If items are deemed inappropriate for the collection they will be passed on to the Friends of the Library who sell them in their book sales and book store. Please remember that when we receive items that are not useful for the library or not saleable it is an expense to us to discard the items.

How to donate items: If you have two boxes or fewer they may be brought to any library location. Please mark the box "donations." If you have more than two boxes please bring them to the loading dock of the Downtown Library (Monday through Friday) and ring the bell by the loading dock door so someone can accept the items. If you need a receipt for your donation they must be delivered Downtown and arranged in advance. Please call 444-5307 to arrange a drop-off time so you can receive a donation receipt.


Materials needed: gently used, good fiction, biography, history, or other general topics. The Friends of the Library also accept commercially produced CDs, Videos and DVDs.

Materials NOT accepted: NO damaged materials of any kind, NO textbooks, NO magazines, NO encyclopedias, NO condensed books, NO personally-recorded videos, CDs or DVDs, NO cassettes or eight-track tapes. Donations of these items cannot be added to the library’s collection and do not sell through the Friends; they end up costing the library money since we have to discard them at our expense.

Donating Magazine Subscriptions: The library does NOT accept gift magazine subscriptions without approval from the Support Services Manager.  In order to be eligible for acceptance the magazine must meet specific requirements and be donated for a minimum of three years.  If the library receives unapproved gift magazine subscriptions they will not be added to the library’s collection and will be discarded.  Please contact us (444-5300) for more information.

Donating Materials as a Memorial:  We will add materials to the Library collection as memorials. In this situation we prefer to add new materials that we purchase and we will place a bookplate acknowledging the donation. If you are interested in donating in this way please contact the Library Foundation to arrange (444-5318). 


How Do I host an exhibit at the Library?

The Downtown Library has a display gallery located on the first floor. This space is available for exhibits by members of the public or by groups.

Spokane Public Library’s display gallery is on the first floor adjacent to the Main Library entrance. The display is highly visible from the windows on the street. The dimensions are 14’9” wide by 108’7” long for a usable area of approximately 1,500 square feet. The gallery area has adjustable track lighting. The Library contracts to have on site a security guard during the Library’s open hours. The security guard patrols the entire library every half hour. He can be instructed to patrol particular areas of the library more frequently if necessary.

Please see the Library's policy on use of exhibit spaces for information about use of the space.

Those interested in exhibiting must fill out an application for use of the exhibit space and turn it in to the Library Business Office, 906 West Main Avenue, Spokane, 99201.

City of Spokane


Spokane Public Library • 906 W. Main Spokane, WA 99201 • 509.444.5300


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