Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get an Essex Library Card?

Remote library card issuance. If you are a town resident and do not have a library card, we would be happy to issue one to you electronically. Please fill out the Patron Registration Form here and take a photo of it or scan it. Submit the form with proof of town residency (driver’s license, utility bill) to us at  We will then be in touch to share your library barcode, which enables you to access our electronic services for cardholders.

In-person issuance when the library facility is open. If you live in Essex, Ivoryton, or Centerbrook, please come into the library with some form of identification such as a tax receipt, driver’s license or utility bill that shows your current street address (a post office box is not considered a sufficient address).  If you live in another Connecticut town, please obtain a card from your local town library and bring that card to Essex – we’ll gladly add you to our system. Please be careful with your library card – the first card is free, however, replacement cards cost $1.00 each. Your library card may be used to borrow materials at any Connecticut public library.

How old does a child have to be to obtain a library card?

A child must be five years old. Parents are responsible for all materials borrowed by their minor children.

How do I renew materials?

Materials may be renewed using our online catalog, in person, or by phone. Please refer to our Renewals and Holds page for more information about renewals and our Circulation Policy page for our lending policies. DVDs may be renewed once. Museum passes and Materials that have been reserved by another patron may not be renewed. Sign up with Shoutbomb Text Messaging to receive text reminders when items are coming due and to renew them with your phone.

How do I reserve materials?

You may reserve materials using our online catalog, in person, or by phone. Please see our Renewals and Holds instructions for more information about reserving materials online.

What if I want materials that the library doesn’t own?

We will do our best to obtain such items for you from another library. Please email, call or stop by.

Do I have to return my materials to the Essex Library when the library is open?

After hours, there is a book drop located in the island across from the front entrance. Our materials may also be returned at any public library in Connecticut. Library of Things materials must be returned to the circulation desk during open hours.

What are the policies regarding circulation and fines?

The Essex Library is a fine-free library. There are no overdue fees for Essex Library materials.

What if I lose material that I’ve borrowed?

You will be charged for the replacement price of the material plus a $2.00 processing fee. The Library does not accept items purchased directly by patrons as replacement for missing materials.

Does the library have computers for public use?

Yes, computers with Internet access and Microsoft Office software are available for public use. You do not need a library card to use our computers. A one hour time limit may be imposed if other patrons are waiting to use one of the Library’s public computers.

How much does it cost to print?

There is a charge of $.20 for each black and white print-out and $.50 for each color print-out.

Does the library have wireless access?

Please see our Internet and Computer Use Policy to access the Library’s complete internet and computer use policy. You are invited to use the Library’s free wireless Internet signal using your own wireless-enabled device. The wireless signal extends to portions of the parking lot, so it may be used even when the Library is closed. The Essex Library has an “open” wireless connection, which means that you do not need a code to access the network. Please be advised, however, that since it is an open connection you should exercise caution regarding sensitive personal information when using the Library’s wireless connection. The Library assumes no responsibility for the confidentiality or security of information transmitted using its wireless connection.

Does the library have a copier / photocopy machine for public use?

Yes. There is a charge of $.20 for each black and white copy and $.50 for each color copy.

Does the library have a scanner for public use?

Yes, for scanning documents to USB enabled devices or flash drives only.

Does the library have a fax machine for public use?


How can I volunteer at the library?

Please complete our Volunteer Application Form and return it to the Essex Library Association to volunteer.