Homework Helpline Pinellas County Library

Library Cards

How do I register for a library card?

You may apply for a resident library card if you are a permanent Clearwater resident, permanently reside anywhere within the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative (PPLC) districts, or own property within a PPLC member district. Resident library cards are valid for three years.

If you are a temporary or seasonal Clearwater resident, you may apply for a courtesy local library card. The card is valid for up to 6 months, may be used to checkout items and use our computers, and is valid only at Clearwater Public Library System branches. You cannot use this card to place hold requests or access other services provided by PPLC. You will need to provide a photo ID and a document indicating your local address.

Non-resident fees for persons who reside outside the PPLC districts are $100 per year per household, or $25 per quarter. Some of these municipalities will reimburse part of this fee for their residents. Please contact us or your local municipality for more information as these policies change frequently.

How does a child register for a library card?

Applicants under the age of 14 will need a parent or responsible party's signature to obtain a card. Please see our Library Card Application page for complete instructions and an application form.

What if I just want to use the computers?

If you do not wish to apply for a library card or you are not a permanent resident, you can request for a Computer Use Only Card. This card is valid at all five Clearwater libraries.

To apply for this card, you need a photo ID. It is valid for three months and can be extended.

Can I use my PPLC library card at any of the Clearwater Public Libraries?

Yes. Clearwater Public Library System is a member of PPLC. Our library cards are valid at all PPLC member libraries.

I don't live in Pinellas County.  Can I check out materials from your library?

PPLC has reciprocal borrowing agreements with many local library systems, including Indian Rocks Beach Library, New Port Richey Public Library, Pasco County, Hernando County, Manatee County, Polk County, Hillsborough County and Sarasota County.

To register for reciprocal borrowing, you will need to bring your current, active library card from your home county or city and a photo ID. We will register that card in our system and you can use it to borrow our materials, place requests in the catalog, and use our computers. Reciprocal borrowers (except Indian Rocks Beach patrons) are not eligible to download eBooks or other digital materials.

We also have reciprocal agreements with some of the local colleges and universities, such as St. Petersburg College.  This means you may register your college library card at any PPLC library free of charge. A complete list of all libraries participating in the reciprocal borrowing program is available on the TBLC website.

What should I do if I lose my library card?

Notify the Clearwater Public Library immediately! Until we are alerted that the card is lost, you are responsible for any materials borrowed with your library card. A replacement library card will be issued upon payment of a $1 fee.

Do library cards expire?

Yes, library cards expire after three years.  At that time, you will need to provide proof of residency in a PPLC member municipality and clear any existing fines before your card can be renewed.

Borrowing Items

Is there a limit to the number of items I can borrow?

For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, please click here, then click the link to Detailed Circulation and Borrowing Policies.  

How long can I keep an item? Can I renew an item?

For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, click here, then click the link to Detailed Circulation and Borrowing Policies.

To renew an item using your Patron Account:
Log in to the catalog with your library card number and PIN/password;
Click on My Account;
Click on Check Outs;
Click the checkbox next to the items you wish to renew;
Click Renew and Yes.

What is my fine if I return an item late? What happens if I lose a library item?

For more information on all PPLC General Policies including loan periods, overdue fines, library card applications and other circulation policies, please click here. We accept payment by cash, check, or credit card in person. Please call us if you have specific questions about a fine on your account.

Borrowers who lose or fail to return an item will be charged a replacement fee and a processing fee. Borrowers who return items in damaged condition may be charged a repair fee.

When you register for a library card, you agree to abide by Library policies, and pay for any loss of, or damage to, library materials, and to pay overdue fines accumulated on this card or any additional cards for which you maintain responsibility.

Failure to return overdue library materials and failure to report and reimburse for lost, damaged, or destroyed library materials are violations of Pinellas County Ordinance 96-52 and may result in a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 60 days.

Can I return items borrowed from other PPLC libraries at Clearwater Public Library, and vice versa?

You can return any PPLC item to any PPLC library, which includes Clearwater Public Library.

I read a book a few months ago and now can't remember the title or author.  Is there some way for me to look back at the items I've checked out?

We do not maintain records of items checked out to patrons once they are returned, unless there was an unpaid fine affiliated with the item. You can choose to maintain a reading list in the future.

To enable a reading list:
Log in to your library account;
Click My Account;
Under Personal Information, click Preferences;
Click the check box next to Show my checkout history;
Click Update.

You may choose to cancel this feature at any time .

Requesting Items

How can I find out if your library owns a particular item?

Check the online catalog for Clearwater Public Library holdings. The Catalog will indicate if we own an item, which branch has it, and whether or not it is presently available for borrowing. If you see an item you wish to pick up today, call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3. We will verify it is on the shelf and hold it for 24 hours.

How can I get an item if it is currently checked out?

As long as the item is not reference material, you can request that it be held for you by placing a reserve request. We will contact you when the item is available and then hold it for five days at the Clearwater Library branch of your choice.

How do I request an item?

You can request an item in person at the library, by calling our Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3, or on the Internet using our public catalog. You will need your library card number and password to place a request by any of these methods.

To place an item on hold:
Log in to your library account;
Search for and locate the item you wish to request;
Click Place Hold;
Choose a pickup library location from the drop down menu;
Click Place Hold and OK.

How will I know my item is here?

You will be notified by the method you prefer. Most library card users are by default set up to receive telephone notification that their items are available. They will receive a call through our automated system; the phone number varies, but has an 813 area code. To preserve your privacy, the phone message simply states, "You have items being held at {name of branch}".

Text messaging and e-mail notifications are also available. You will receive notification that holds are here and also reminders that materials checked out to you will be due two days before they are due. Be sure not to rely exclusively on these reminders; you can check the status of your account at any time by logging into our catalog, https://pplc.ent.sirsi.net/. If you would like to change your notification method, please call us or speak with a library staff member.

How long will it take for my hold to arrive?

Once an item has been shipped, it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to move between locations. If you are experiencing an unusually long wait time, call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3.

Does a book request ever expire (if I haven't received the book yet)?

Requests expire exactly one year after you place them. Hopefully, you won't ever have to wait that long for anything, but occasionally it happens. If you were to place a hold on a title with only one copy in the county and we are unable to find that item on the shelf, that request would remain unfilled on your account. If that ever does happen, we'll try to purchase a replacement copy.

I'm going on vacation and have a lot of items on hold. Can my account go on vacation too?

Yes! You can suspend your requests if you are going out of town or aren't ready to read something you're on hold for.  Suspending requests will allow you to maintain your place in the holds queue so you don't lose your place in line for popular items.

To suspend your requests:
Log in to the catalog with your library card number and PIN/password;
Click on My Account;
Click on Holds;
Click the checkbox next to the items you wish to suspend and click Suspend Holds/Cancel Holds Suspension;
Enter the dates you want to begin and end the suspension;
Click Suspend.

How do I request you purchase an item you don't own?

Please check the catalog to confirm the item is not available in PPLC and contact us using this form. Your request will be addressed by a member of our Acquisitions department.

How do I find items in large print?

If you are browsing a list of books, look for the letters LP next to the call number.

If you are searching for a specific item, please click on Advanced Search and under Additional Limits, choose Large Print from the Format Type dropdown menu.

I need an item ASAP. If you don't have it, where can I go?

Your best choice is probably to go to a bigger library. The largest public library in the Tampa Bay area is Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library, and the largest academic library is the University of South Florida Library in Tampa. Both libraries offer, among many other things, comprehensive business and government documents collections. For legal research, try the Pinellas County Law Library in downtown Clearwater at (727) 464-3411 or Stetson University's Law Library in Gulfport, FL. Be aware, though, that you will not be able to borrow materials from these libraries using your Clearwater or PPLC card. Each library has its own policies regarding borrowing privileges so be sure to contact them to determine your eligibility. You can also check out Worldcat.org to see if other local libraries own the item.

Access Your Account by Phone

What number do I call to renew my items when the library is closed?

(727) 286-6894, option 5 to renew items and check due dates.

My password does not work on the phone.  Help!

If you can't remember your password, call us with your library card number and we will reset it to the password of your choice. Your password needs to be at least 4 characters long. Alpha-numeric passwords are OK.

Research and Reference Questions

Do you have language learning materials available at the library?

In addition to CDs, DVDs, and books for language learning, we also offer an online language learning program similar to Rosetta Stone© called Pronunciator. To access Pronunciator, click the link on our homepage or our Databases A-Z List. Pronunciator is also available as an app for your tablet or smart phone.

Where can I take classes to prepare for the USCIS citizenship exam?

The Clearwater Adult Education Center, which is part of the Pinellas County School Board, offers citizenship classes. They can be contacted at (727) 469-4190. Other local non-profit organizations offering citizenship exam preparation classes include the Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas and UMCM Suncoast.

Do you accept book donations?

We accept donations at the Clearwater Main Library on 100 N. Osceola Ave. For large donations, such as an estate library, please contact the Clearwater Library Foundation at (727) 562-4970 Ext. 5189. In some cases, our Friends of the Library volunteers may be able to pick up donations. Contact the Friends of the Clearwater Library Bookstore for this information at (727) 562-4970, Ext. 5234. We are happy to provide a receipt for tax purposes.

Do you have yearbooks available?

The best source for local yearbooks is the Pinellas County Historical Society. If you wish to visit, the archives are located on the grounds of Heritage Village at 11909 125th Street North, Largo, Florida 33774. You can call (727) 582-2128 to make an appointment for research.

The St. Petersburg Public Library System has a yearbook collection. Some local and national yearbooks are also scanned and available on Ancestry. You can access this database in any PPLC library.

You could also either contact your school directly to see if there is an alumni association or get in touch with former classmates. Classmates.com and Facebook.com are two popular websites for getting in touch with old friends. You can use either site to search for graduates by school.

Do you have back issues of magazines available?

Branches maintain the most recent 12 issues of a variety of popular magazines; the current month's copy is for in-library use only, but back issues can be checked out with your library card.

In addition, the Clearwater Main Library maintains an ongoing archive of selected magazines for in-library use only; some go back to the 1930s-1950s. For more information about our archives and local history collections, visit out Local History page.

Services Available at the Library

How do I reserve a meeting room at a Clearwater library?

Our online reservation service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rooms can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Requests will be confirmed by email within 72 hours.

  1. Visit myclearwater.com/cpl/meetingroom-rez.asp;
  2. Click Create an Account;
  3. Click Reserve a Meeting Room;
  4. Select the Date and Time and click Search for a Space;
  5. Click Pick Me! on the room you would like to reserve;
  6. You will receive an email confirmation when the reservation is approved.

Can I register to vote at the library?

Yes, you can apply in person at the library or online on at VotePinellas.com.

What services do you have for blind and visually impaired patrons?

The Talking Book Library of Pinellas County offers books on tape through the mail for those with visual impairment.  You may contact them by phone at (727) 441-9958 or online at pplc.us/tbl.

The libraries in the PPLC also offer books on CD, downloadable audio books through Overdrive, and videos with visual description.  All these items can be borrowed with a library card.

What services do you offer for deaf and hard of hearing patrons?

The Deaf Literacy Center of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative is located at the Safety Harbor Library and can be reached by phone at (727) 724-1525 x 120 or online.

Can I rent the Main Library rooftop for my event?

The city has decided to discontinue the rental program at the Main Library.  The City of Clearwater Parks & Recreation Department offers a variety of recreation facilities with space available for rent.  Please click the link for details and contact information.  The Clearwater Community Sailing Center also offers a room for rent with views of the bay area.

Do you proctor exams?

We do not proctor exams in the Clearwater Public Library System.  Safety Harbor Public Library, Palm Harbor Public Library, Oldsmar Public Library, and St. Petersburg College all offer proctoring service. Please contact the institutions directly for more information.

St. Petersburg College, (727) 341-4772

Palm Harbor Library, (727) 784-3332, Ext. 3006

Safety Harbor Public Library, (727) 724-1525, Ext. 2

Oldsmar Public Library, (813) 749-1178

Computing at the Library

Do you have computers or typewriters for public use?

Yes. All Clearwater Public Library branches offer computers, as well as free wireless Internet.  The charge for printing is $.15 per sheet black and white; $.50 for color.

We have typewriters at the Main and East Libraries. To ensure availability, please call the Answer Line at (727) 562-4970, option 3 to use the typewriter at the East Library. You will need your own paper and correction materials. Paper is also available at the Reference Desk for $.15 per sheet.

Does your Library offer public access to the Internet?

Yes. Internet access is available to the public at all Clearwater Public Libraries. Our computers run Windows 7 and have several Internet browsers installed as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. If you need to hear something through the Internet (music/webinar/movie) you must bring your own headphones; the library does not lend out headphones. Free wireless is available at all five libraries; please request the current password from the Reference department. 

Is there a charge for using the Internet?

There is no charge for using the Internet at our libraries. Print outs cost $0.15 per black and white printed page and $0.50 per color printed page. We also have flash drives ($5) available for purchase so you can save your work.

Do you have wireless Internet?

Yes, all five libraries provide free wireless use while the libraries are open.

Do you have wireless printing?

Yes, we offer wireless printing (please visit the nearest librarian for instructions). 

Where can I take computer classes?

The Clearwater Public Library System offers free computer classes and drop in computer help without an appointment at all five branches. There are several local organizations that also offer computer classes.  We maintain a list of locations, as well as computer skills websites we recommend, on our Computer Help webpage.

Downloadable Library Materials

How do I borrow/download eBooks?

For more information on downloadable library materials, please visit our Downloadables homepage. Follow the links for detailed instructions on using OverDrive, 3M and Hoopla, our eBook lending platforms. We also offer downloadable movies through OverDrive and Hoopla, magazines through Zinio and music through Hoopla.

Learn to use your e-reader or other technology to download library materials at any Computer Help workshop, offered at all five of our branches; here is the link to our calendar.

How do I access Clearwater Public Library databases from home?

You will need to have a current library card to access our databases from a remote site, such as your home.  If you do not have a library card, you may apply for a card online and begin accessing databases immediately.  The computer will immediately issue you a barcode number.  This barcode number is what you will enter to use the e-resources (or databases) online from home.

Your barcode number is temporary; it will not work to download eBooks or other e-materials.  To access downloadable materials, you will need to complete the registration process by coming into a library and getting a library card.

Services and Programs for Children, Teens, and Parents

My child really enjoyed a particular book. What should s/he read next?

Check out our Books and Authors database for recommendations for all ages. Please note, if you are outside the library, this link will ask you for your library card number and then take you to the correct page.

Do you have any advice on helping my baby learn to read?

Reading to your baby regularly starting at birth is important in preparing your child for lifelong learning.  Our Youth Services Librarians are early literacy experts and can help you get started on the right foot. Sing nursery rhymes, read aloud some Mother Goose books, and have fun with your baby. For further pointers, try The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease or Reading Magic by Mem Fox. Library programs for small children can also help you raise a little reader. Please check our online calendar for upcoming programs for young children. 

What kind of programs do you offer for children?

We offer a dynamic range of programs designed to suit children and their families. For the youngest children we offer lapsit storytimes (for babies 0-18 months), music-based storytimes, and baby sign language. Toddlers and small children (18 months to 6 years old) enjoy traditional storytimes, puppet shows and other developmentally appropriate learning experiences which help them develop their early literacy skills. For school age children and their families, we offer a variety of drop in programs, including movies, crafts and homework help. Monthly teen programs and activities offer a fun, welcoming place to socialize and meet other teens; we also have an active teen volunteer program that provides teens with service hours and work experience in a creative, supportive environment. You can search our online by calendar by age group to find the right program for your children. Many of our events are designed for all ages. You are welcome to call or email a librarian if you have any questions.

Do you provide tutors for children?

We do not employ professional tutors, but we do have teen volunteers working on their scholarships who are available to assist your child with their homework assignments.  Main Library, East Library and Countryside Library offer homework assistance on a weekly basis; call us or refer to our event calendar for specific dates and times. Teen volunteers at the East Library also offer an additional weekly bilingual homework help program for students speaking English or Spanish. For additional tutoring opportunities, please contact your child's teacher.

Do you have computers available for children?

Yes! All five of our library branches have computers that children may access with their library card. These computers allow access to the Internet and include Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. At the Main Library, the youth and teen computers are located on the second floor in the Youth Services Department. 

All of our libraries also offer an Early Literacy Station (ELS) which features 50 fun and educational software programs for children ages 2-10. No library card is required to use this special kids' only computer and it does not connect to the public Internet.

Do you do anything special in the summer for children?

Yes, the library plans free themed summer programs and activities for newborns through teens. By tracking the amount of time your children spend reading in our reading incentives program or attending entertaining programs we strive to help keep your children’s minds active and able to enter school in the fall ready to learn. Look in our event calendar for this summer’s activities.

Are there opportunities for teens to volunteer at the library?

We accept teen volunteers who are attending middle and senior high. Many teens find working at the library a rewarding way to obtain their required hours for scholarships programs such as Bright Futures and Junior Honor Society. We also offer volunteer hours for teens looking to give back to their community and gain valuable job experience by assisting the librarians.  Visit our website for our volunteer application and then call or visit the Clearwater Library branch that interests you to inquire about current opportunities.


This article provides descriptions and links to educational resources available to public library patrons and the general public.

 Hillsborough County Public Library Resources

By clicking the link above, patrons of Hillsborough County libraries have access to the following resources:

  • Lynda.com - Lynda.com is a privately held online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills.
  • Mango Language -  Mango Languages helps students, employees, and kids, learn new languages and connect with new cultures.
  • Educational and documentary films to stream
  • Live homework help
  • Adult education, test preparation and career resources
  • Test and employment preparation
  • Hundreds of online Continuing Education (CE) courses
  • Zinio - The world's largest newsstand

Pasco County Public Library Resources

By clicking the link above, patrons of Pasco County libraries have access to the following:

  • Lynda.com - Lynda.com is a privately held online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills.
  • TumbleBooks - A collection of animated books for kids (or non-native English speakers) to view & read along online! No downloads required. 
  • OverDrive - Ebooks and audiobooks to listen to on your computer or mobile device
  • Axis360 - Bestsellers and a variety of ebooks and audiobooks for children and teens

Pinellas County Public Library Resources

By clicking the link above, patrons of Pinellas County libraries have access to the following:

  • Lynda.com - Lynda.com is a privately held online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills (Available through Clearwater Library resources)
  • OverDrive - Ebooks, audiobooks, and movies
  • Pronunciator - An online language-learning service that covers 80 languages, including English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Zinio - The world's largest newsstand

Public Domain Resources

The following links provide a small sample of free resources to everyone - no library card needed!

  • Project Gutenberg - Project Gutenberg offers over 46,000 free ebooks: Choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.
  • Europeana - Access millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries and archives
  • Digital Public Library of America - The Bookshelf catalog includes over 1.6 million items from institutions such as New York Public Library, Harvard University and the Library of Congress.

Web and HTML Resources


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