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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does the Library offer free wireless Internet access?
    Free wireless internet access is available at the Downtown Reno, Incline Village, North Valleys, Northwest Reno, Senior Center, Sierra View, South Valleys, Spanish Springs and Sparks Libraries.
  • Does the library have a copy of my high school yearbook, or is it available online?

    Washoe County Library System does not include local high school yearbooks in our collection, either in physical or electronic form. The library or alumni association for your high school may have copies of yearbooks.

    Some subscription-based websites, including classmates.com and e-yearbook.com, may provide electronic access to yearbooks from some local schools, but coverage may be limited and access requires a paid subscription.

    Contact information for local public high schools may be found at www.washoeschools.net.

  • Can I keep my books longer? What happens if my books are late?

    If you keep library materials beyond the end of the lending period, your books will begin to accrue overdue fines. Library items may be returned to any branch of Washoe County Library, regardless of which branch they were checked out from.

    Most branches have an after-hours book drop. Books returned when the library is closed will be checked in as if they had been returned on the last open day. Check with your branch for drop slot availability and location.

    Materials may be renewed twice after being checked out, unless an item has been placed on hold for another patron. You may renew your items online, in person, or over the phone. You will need your library card, but it is not necessary that you bring the books to be renewed to the library.

    Overdue items may be renewed to stop the accrual of fines, but fines will be charged for the number of days that the item is overdue.

    Fines accrue at 25 cents per day per item for adults and 10 cents per day per item for patrons under 18.

  • How can I find local obituaries?

    There are several sources to locate a local obituary, depending on when it was printed.

    Newspaper Archive contains full pages of both the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal for most years from the 1870's through 1977. This database is available only at the Downtown Reno and Sparks Libraries. This database includes other historical newspapers from around the U.S. and the world.

    The library's online catalog includes an index to Reno newspaper obituaries printed from mid-1962 through September 2007. To search for an obituary citations in that index, search the deceased's name as a subject using the advanced search interface. This is an index to help locate an obituary and you will not be able to view the obituary itself in the catalog. When you have a date and page number, you can find the obituary using microfilm, or contact us for assistance. Please note, the index does not include obituaries from the Sparks Tribune.

    Obituaries appearing from 1999 to present are available in full-text with your Washoe County Library card in the Proquest Reno Gazette-Journal database. You can usually find it by simply typing the name of the deceased into the search box. If the name is very common, you may want to limit by date if you know approximately when the obituary would have appeared in the newspaper, to avoid too many irrelevant results.

    Very recent obituaries are available online through the Reno Gazette-Journal by clicking on "Obits" (provided through Legacy.com, a national obituary listing website).

    If none of the options above work for you, the Downtown Reno Library holds a complete collection of Reno newspapers on microfilm. The Sparks Library also holds a significant span of Reno newspapers as well as the Sparks Tribune (1977-2007) on microfilm. These can be used in person any time during normal hours of operation.

    If you require assistance using any of these resources or need help retrieving an obituary, please contact us.

  • What can I do if I lose an item?

    Most of the time, you may replace a lost item by purchasing an item from the library's Amazon Wishlist. Once you've purchased an item from the wishlist, it will be automatically delivered to the library. In order to receive credit for the lost item on your account, print and bring the receipt to any branch of Washoe County Library to have your account updated. Visit www.washoecountylibrary.us/about/support.php to get started.

  • Where can I get something notarized?
    The library does not offer a notary public. Free notary service is available at the City of Reno Clerk's office at City Hall, 1 East First Street. Additionally, your bank may provide free notary service to account holders - contact your bank for more information. Many shipping and copying businesses also offer access to a notary public for a fee.
  • What is the PIN for my library account?
    Unless you specified otherwise, your PIN is the last four digits of the primary phone number on your library account. When entering your library card number, be sure to enter the entire 14-digit number without any spaces. For further assistance please call or visit any library branch.
  • How can I start borrowing from the library?

    All you need to get a Washoe County Library card is proof of Nevada residency and a photo ID. There is no charge. Get a card here.

    You will need your library card or photo ID to check out. You will be given a receipt showing the due date for each item borrowed.

    You may check out as many items as you wish to be responsible for, with the exception of limits on certain smaller collections and audiovisual materials.

    The loan period for most books, magazines, and audiobooks is three weeks. Books from the "Lucky Day" collection and items borrowed from other libraries check out for two weeks. Most DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and music CDs is one week.

    Bags are usually available, but it is always helpful to bring your own if you think you will need it!

  • What is the law on ... ?

    Library staff are prohibited by law from giving any legal advice or interpretations. The Washoe County Law Library is available to the public as a resource for legal research. You may want to consult the Nevada Revised Statutes, Washoe County Code, or the municipal codes of Reno and Sparks.

    Many books about legal topics are available in the library's print and electronic collections, including popular legal titles from Nolo Press.

About the Library

  • Does the library have Accelerated Readerâ„¢ or other reading lists for schools in Washoe County?

    Accelerated Reader™ (AR) is a reading program used by Washoe County School District (WCSD) to monitor and assess the reading skills of students. Other schools in Washoe County, including private schools, may use the Scholastic Reading Counts! (SRC) or other programs.

    Each WCSD school either produces a list of available AR titles, or subscribes to a service allowing students to take a test for any AR title. Some schools’ lists can run 100 pages or more. Students at schools participating in Scholastic’s SRC program will be able to take tests for all titles available through that service.

    Washoe County Library System does not provide or maintain AR or SRC lists, but we do have many of the books available for checkout. Please contact your child’s school directly for a copy of that school’s list.

    Washoe County School District | Accelerated Reader™ Book Finder | Scholastic Reading Counts! Book Expert

  • Does the library offer computer classes?

    The library offers free basic classes that can help you to learn to use a computer, email, and the Internet. Get more information about classes and self-guided learning resources here, or call 775-327-8312.

  • Can I FAX or scan at the library?

    The following Libraries offer free public FAX service to local and toll free numbers only: Downtown Reno, Duncan/Traner, Incline Village, North Valleys, Northwest Reno, Senior Center, Sierra View, South Valleys, Spanish Springs, and Sparks. Long-distance service may be available with a prepaid calling card.

    Document scanning is available at the Downtown Reno, Incline Village, North Valleys, Northwest Reno, Senior Center, Sierra View, South Valleys, Spanish Springs, and Sparks Libraries. You should bring a flash drive to store your scanned documents; flash drives may be available for purchase at the library.

  • Does the Library offer free wireless Internet access?
    Free wireless internet access is available at the Downtown Reno, Incline Village, North Valleys, Northwest Reno, Senior Center, Sierra View, South Valleys, Spanish Springs and Sparks Libraries.
  • How do I donate books or other items to the library?
    Washoe County Library and the Friends of Washoe County Library welcome donations of books and audiovisual materials. Get more information here.
  • How do I get email notification of my holds at the Library?
    You may choose to be notified of available holds by phone or email. Set your notification preferences by logging in to your account and selecting the Messaging tab.
  • Does the library have a copy of my high school yearbook, or is it available online?

    Washoe County Library System does not include local high school yearbooks in our collection, either in physical or electronic form. The library or alumni association for your high school may have copies of yearbooks.

    Some subscription-based websites, including classmates.com and e-yearbook.com, may provide electronic access to yearbooks from some local schools, but coverage may be limited and access requires a paid subscription.

    Contact information for local public high schools may be found at www.washoeschools.net.

  • Can I see a list of all the DVDs/CDs/Books the library owns?

    Unfortunately, those types of lists are too long to print, but you can use the online catalog to generate an extensive list that can be narrowed down by criteria of your choosing.

    Start at the advanced search page in the library's online catalog. Select one or more item types and click Search.

    To view the newest items first, select "Acquisition Date: Newest to oldest" from the sorting menu. To get a list of movies, use the subject search for "Feature Films."

  • Can I keep my books longer? What happens if my books are late?

    If you keep library materials beyond the end of the lending period, your books will begin to accrue overdue fines. Library items may be returned to any branch of Washoe County Library, regardless of which branch they were checked out from.

    Most branches have an after-hours book drop. Books returned when the library is closed will be checked in as if they had been returned on the last open day. Check with your branch for drop slot availability and location.

    Materials may be renewed twice after being checked out, unless an item has been placed on hold for another patron. You may renew your items online, in person, or over the phone. You will need your library card, but it is not necessary that you bring the books to be renewed to the library.

    Overdue items may be renewed to stop the accrual of fines, but fines will be charged for the number of days that the item is overdue.

    Fines accrue at 25 cents per day per item for adults and 10 cents per day per item for patrons under 18.

  • What can I do if I lose an item?

    Most of the time, you may replace a lost item by purchasing an item from the library's Amazon Wishlist. Once you've purchased an item from the wishlist, it will be automatically delivered to the library. In order to receive credit for the lost item on your account, print and bring the receipt to any branch of Washoe County Library to have your account updated. Visit www.washoecountylibrary.us/about/support.php to get started.

  • Where can I get something notarized?
    The library does not offer a notary public. Free notary service is available at the City of Reno Clerk's office at City Hall, 1 East First Street. Additionally, your bank may provide free notary service to account holders - contact your bank for more information. Many shipping and copying businesses also offer access to a notary public for a fee.
  • What is the PIN for my library account?
    Unless you specified otherwise, your PIN is the last four digits of the primary phone number on your library account. When entering your library card number, be sure to enter the entire 14-digit number without any spaces. For further assistance please call or visit any library branch.
  • How do I reserve library materials? Is there a waiting list for popular items?

    When searching the library catalog, just click the "place hold" link in search results or when viewing an item's details. The next available copy will be sent your specified location and you will be notified when your item is available.

    If an item is checked in and you want to pick it up the same day, please call the library with the item and ask that it be held for you at will-call.

    You will need your library card number and PIN to place a hold.

  • How can I start borrowing from the library?

    All you need to get a Washoe County Library card is proof of Nevada residency and a photo ID. There is no charge. Get a card here.

    You will need your library card or photo ID to check out. You will be given a receipt showing the due date for each item borrowed.

    You may check out as many items as you wish to be responsible for, with the exception of limits on certain smaller collections and audiovisual materials.

    The loan period for most books, magazines, and audiobooks is three weeks. Books from the "Lucky Day" collection and items borrowed from other libraries check out for two weeks. Most DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and music CDs is one week.

    Bags are usually available, but it is always helpful to bring your own if you think you will need it!

  • What is the law on ... ?

    Library staff are prohibited by law from giving any legal advice or interpretations. The Washoe County Law Library is available to the public as a resource for legal research. You may want to consult the Nevada Revised Statutes, Washoe County Code, or the municipal codes of Reno and Sparks.

    Many books about legal topics are available in the library's print and electronic collections, including popular legal titles from Nolo Press.

Genealogy

  • How can I arrange a search of Reno telephone books or city directories?

    The Downtown Reno Library has current and historical issues of area telephone and city directories. If you are in the area, you may visit us to use these resources.

    To request a search, call 775-327-8312 or send us a message. Be sure to include your name and preferred contact information, and give us as much information as you can about your request (names, dates, any part of the address you know, etc.).

  • Where can I find genealogy information in the Reno/Sparks area?

    The Downtown Reno Library holds limited resources that may be useful for genealogy research. These include local city directories and telephone books, clipping files, and a complete collection of Reno newspapers on microfilm. Please contact us for guidance on your specific need.

    The Reno Family History Center is a branch of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The Center provides access to most of the microfilms and microfiche in the Family History Library to help patrons identify their ancestors. Also available are subscription databases, print materials, and trained volunteers to assist in your research.

  • How can I find local obituaries?

    There are several sources to locate a local obituary, depending on when it was printed.

    Newspaper Archive contains full pages of both the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal for most years from the 1870's through 1977. This database is available only at the Downtown Reno and Sparks Libraries. This database includes other historical newspapers from around the U.S. and the world.

    The library's online catalog includes an index to Reno newspaper obituaries printed from mid-1962 through September 2007. To search for an obituary citations in that index, search the deceased's name as a subject using the advanced search interface. This is an index to help locate an obituary and you will not be able to view the obituary itself in the catalog. When you have a date and page number, you can find the obituary using microfilm, or contact us for assistance. Please note, the index does not include obituaries from the Sparks Tribune.

    Obituaries appearing from 1999 to present are available in full-text with your Washoe County Library card in the Proquest Reno Gazette-Journal database. You can usually find it by simply typing the name of the deceased into the search box. If the name is very common, you may want to limit by date if you know approximately when the obituary would have appeared in the newspaper, to avoid too many irrelevant results.

    Very recent obituaries are available online through the Reno Gazette-Journal by clicking on "Obits" (provided through Legacy.com, a national obituary listing website).

    If none of the options above work for you, the Downtown Reno Library holds a complete collection of Reno newspapers on microfilm. The Sparks Library also holds a significant span of Reno newspapers as well as the Sparks Tribune (1977-2007) on microfilm. These can be used in person any time during normal hours of operation.

    If you require assistance using any of these resources or need help retrieving an obituary, please contact us.

  • How can I find information about Nevada birth/marriage/death records?

    The Downtown Reno Library has microfiche records listing all divorces and marriages reported to the Nevada State Division of Health, beginning in 1968. The records are complete through August, 2005.

    To request a search of these records, call 775-327-8312 or send us a message. Be sure to include your name and preferred contact information, plus the name(s) you want searched and if known, the date and location of marriage.

    Nevada birth and death certificates are available to qualified applicants from the State of Nevada's Office of Vital Statistics. Please visit their page for more information. For birth and death records in Washoe County, contact the Washoe County Health District.

    For information on marriage certificates (aka Proof of Marriage), contact the Washoe County Recorder's Office. You can also search a limited range of marriage records on their website.

    For information on obtaining a certified copy of a Decree of Divorce granted in Washoe County, please visit the Washoe County Courts website.

    To search or order Clark County (Las Vegas) marriage records, please visit the Clark County Recorder's website.

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