How to Borrow

At the Portsmouth Public Library, a world of information and entertainment awaits you with your library card.

View the entire Portsmouth Library Catalog online.

Transaction with patron


Available Materials

The materials you can borrow include...

  • Books, including large print & graphic novels
  • Magazines
  • Audiobooks & music CDs
  • Films & TV series on DVD
  • Video games
  • Kindles
  • Telescopes
  • Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitors
  • Projector
  • Verilux HappyLight
  • Oculus Quest
  • GoPro video camera
  • Metal detector
  • Engraver
  • Youth Activity Kits (magic, yoga, snap circuits, and more!)
  • Ukuleles

From your home or office you have access to our online resources including downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and comics, streaming TV and movies, and research databases.

In addition, check out Museums & More for discounted passes to local and regional attractions! 

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Borrowers' Responsibilities

Library materials are the property of everyone in the community.

  • Please have your library card or picture ID with you when borrowing library materials.
  • The person whose name is on the card is responsible for all materials borrowed with the card.
  • Returning all materials on time and in good condition is expected, and is a courtesy to others.
  • If an item is lost or damaged, borrowers are responsible for paying replacement costs.
  • Cardholders are responsible for giving the Library prompt notice of any change in address, email or phone number.
  • Please report a lost or stolen card immediately. Lost cards can be replaced for a small fee.
  • The library has the right to restrict user privileges of anyone who misuses library materials or violates borrowing policies.

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Borrowing Details

Most items follow these borrowing rules. Read on for exceptions!

  • Checkout Limit: 50 total items
  • Loan period: 3 weeks
  • Renewals: May be renewed 3 times, for 2 weeks at a time, if no one else is waiting for the item.

Temporary Library Cards

  • Checkout limit: 5 items

New & Noteworthy DVDs in the Adult Collection

  • Limit: 5 DVDs
  • Loan Period: 2 weeks
  • Renewals: May be renewed 1 time if no one else is waiting for the item

All Other DVDs (Adult & Youth)

  • Limit: 10 DVDs
  • Loan Period: 3 weeks
  • Renewals: May be renewed 1 time if no one else is waiting for the item

Video Games

  • Limit: 4 games
  • Loan Period: 3 weeks
  • Renewals: May be renewed 3 times, for 2 weeks at a time, if no one else is waiting for the item.


  • Limit: 2 kindles
  • Loan Period: 3 weeks
  • Renewals: May be renewed 1 time if no one else is waiting for the item
  • Must be returned in person, at the desk

Fun Stuff to Borrow (including ukuleles, telescopes, Oculus Quests, and more)


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    Renewing Items

    How to Renew

    • In person at the Circulation Desk
    • By telephone at 603-427-1540
    • Online

    Renewal Rules

    • DVDs and kindles an be renewed 1 time unless someone is waiting for the material. All other items can be renewed 3 times unless someone is waiting for the material.
    • Items cannot be renewed online if fines exceed $20.00

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    Returning Items

    • Most library materials may be returned to the library even when it is closed.
    • For your convenience, the library has provided two book return boxes:
      • One for books
      • One for DVDs, CDs, and other audiovisual materials
    • Book returns are located in the parking lot beside the library.
    • Please do not return audiovisual materials in the return for books, as this causes damage to the AV cases.
    • Kindles and Fun Stuff to Borrow items must be returned in person at the desk.

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    Lost & Damaged Items

    Borrowers are responsible for paying for materials lost or damaged. The borrower will be charged for the price of the materials, as paid by the library.

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    Place a Hold on an Item

    What is a Hold? 
    Placing a hold will reserve items for you to pick up when they are available!

    How to place a hold online:

    1. To place a hold you must have a valid Portsmouth Public Library card.
    2. Log in to your library Account using your library card barcode number and password. Your default password is the last four digits of your phone number.
    3. Conduct a search in the Library Catalog.
    4. To request that the item be saved for you (placed on hold), select Place hold. The system will immediately ask you to confirm the hold. Select Confirm hold. The system will then show you this and any other holds on your record.
    5. The library will notify you by email, text and/or phone when a requested item is ready for pickup. Please contact us if you need to change your notification settings.
    6. The item will be held behind the Circulation Desk. Please give your last name at the desk and we will retrieve it for you! 
    7. Items are held for 7 business days before the hold is automatically cancelled and the item is moved to the next person or returned to the shelves.

    Cancelling or Suspending a Hold: Log in to your library account. Go to Your summary and then the Holds tab. To the right of the title are buttons to click to Cancel or to Suspend your hold. You may wish to suspend a hold if you think it may come to you while you are out of town or otherwise unable to pick it up. You can suspend to a specific date or indefinitely.

    Restrictions: Holds may not be placed on Reference Books and many items in Special Collections.

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    Fines & Fees

    See what charges are on your account.

    How to pay

    • In person at the library with cash, check, or credit/debit cards (additional fee applied)
    • By mail with check
    • Checks should be payable to Portsmouth Public Library
    • Mail to: 
      Circulation Department
      Portsmouth Public Library
      Portsmouth, NH 03801
    • Pay using our online form.

    Nonresident Fee



      Senior (65+ years)

      Full Year



      Six Months



      Three Months



      Lost Library Cards

      • $1.00 each

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