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Frequently Asked Questions


1.What is the history of the Northfield Library?

The Northfield Public Library is one of only 22 remaining Carnegie Libraries in Minnesota. You can find out more about the building here.

2.How can I support the library?

You can support the library by donating directly to the library, joining the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library, or by volunteering. Donations to the library and/or the Friends are tax deductible.

3.When is the library open?

For open hours and dates we are closed click here.

4.Can I schedule a tour of the library?

Yes! Contact our reference staff at 507-645-1802 and they will be happy to help you schedule a tour.

5.Can the library be rented or booked for weddings or other events?

The library is currently unavailable for private events.

6.How do I reserve a meeting or conference room? Are there restrictions on who can book a meeting room?

To reserve a meeting room, please stop by the information desk on the 2nd floor, or call 507-645-1802. The library has one large meeting room. Click here for more information about our meeting spaces and policies. Click here to book the meeting room.

7.Whose artwork is currently being used for the library's branding?

The creator of the exciting painting "Jubiliate" is John Maakestad, longtime Northfield resident and Professor of Art and Art History at St. Olaf College. More information can be ​found here.

8.How do I contact the Library Director or members of the library board?

You can find contact information for the director and board members here.

9.Can I donate materials to the library?

Yes! We accept books, DVDs, CDs, and other items in good condition. We will use them to raise funds for our library or add them to the collection. Receipts are available by request at the time of donation.



Who is eligible for a library card and how can I get one?

Residents of Northfield and Southeastern Minnesota are able to get a library card at no cost. Come into the library, fill out a library card application, and our staff will be happy to issue you a card. More information can be found here.

2.How do I make a change of address?

You can call us at 507-645-6606, or stop in and let us know what your new address is.

Why does my card expire every 3 years?  Do I have to get a new card and number?

Cards expire every 3 years so that we can verify that your information is still current. You keep the same card, barcode, and PIN.

Can I check out material without a library card?

You may check out materials without your library card as long as you have a current photo ID with you.

3.Requesting Material

How do I request materials?

You can request materials online or over the phone. Visit our website and search for the item you want. Once you've found it, click on the button that says "Place Request." It is always helpful to click on the item's title to verify that the item is exactly what you are looking for. Items that say Local Request Only are typically newer items held by other SELCO libraries and cannot be requested. You will be prompted for your barcode number and PIN. Be sure you direct your request to the Northfield Public Library (or another library in SELCO if you want the materials delivered somewhere other than Northfield). We will contact you when the item arrives - usually via email.

What if SELCO doesn't have a book I'm looking for?  What's MNLink?

If the item is new you should make a suggestion for purchase by clicking here. If it is not a new item we can search the college library catalogs to see if the item might be available in Northfield. Otherwise we can search MNLINK, the regional catalog that links most major MN libraries. Items must be available in MNLINK to make a request.

I forgot my PIN! Now what?

Come into the library with your card and photo ID and we can reset it for you. If you want to change your PIN you can do so in your account.


How do I know when I have items to pick up?

We will either send you an email or a printed notice in the mail.

Where can I get my holds?

Our hold shelf is opposite the 1st floor self-check counter near the children's area. Your materials will be listed under your last name in alphabetical order.

How long can I keep materials checked out?

Most Northfield items can be kept for three weeks with the exception of new DVD's, vinyl records, and video games. These have a seven day limit.  Other libraries may have different loan periods. The complete list of loan periods can be found here.

How many items can I check out at once?

Sixty, but there is a limit of ten DVD's.

How do I renew an item?

You can renew items online, over the phone, or at the library. To renew materials online, please visit your account page here. You can also call [507-645-6606] or visit us and we would be happy to help.

Where can I return my materials?

Your materials can be placed in our book drop located on the east side of the building near the front doors. Items can also be returned at any Minnesota library (though there may be a delay of the actual check-in date which could result in a late fee).


What are the overdue fees?

Overdue fees are assessed for late materials. Fees are $.25 per day for adult materials and $.10 for young adult materials. Most Juvenile items do not accrue fines. The fines on items from other libraries may differ. More information can be found here.


1.How can I access databases from home?

You can visit our database page here. Some of these may require you to enter your barcode number and PIN.

2.How can I request the library purchase a new book or dvd?

Can't find a new book that you read about in the paper or saw on TV? You can request a purchase by either calling the library at 507-645-1802 or click here. We honor most purchase requests and encourage you to let us know what materials you'd like to find in your library.

3.Do you have tax forms available?

Current year federal tax forms usually become available after January 1st. The library orders basic forms and instruction booklets. Please note that the State of Minnesota no longer distributes state tax forms to libraries. People can access library computers to print tax forms. Click here for more information on tax forms.

4.How do I download audio or digital books to my device?  Can I get help with that?

The library subscribes to Overdrive (audiobooks and ebooks) and One Click Digital (audiobooks only).  There are HELP buttons for each service offering assistance on installing apps, checking out, downloading and more.  Please call the library at 507-645-1802 to set up an appointment for individualized help from a library staff member.

5.How can I join one of the library book clubs?

We currently have three book clubs run by library staff. More information can be found here