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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the library?

The library can be used by everyone, you are welcome to spend your time in our premises and use our collections and services. If you want to borrow something home or use the equipment of the activity room, you need to register as a reader. A registered reader can prove his right to borrow either on the basis of an ID card or a student card or a reader’s card, i.e. the document with which he registered as a reader.


Where can I register as a reader?

In all our service points. You can also register as a reader online, without coming to the library - register here.


Does it cost to get a reader’s card?

No, you can get a reader's card for free. Issuing a duplicate costs €3.


What is required to register as a reader?

The reader's card is issued on the basis of a document with personal identification number and photo. The document must be valid. An ID card can also be used as a reader’s card, students can use their student card.

To become a reader, you must agree to our reader rules.


I am not 15 years old yet. Can I get a reader’s card?

We also issue reader’s cards for children. Students can use the Tartu student card as a reader’s card.


I already have a reader's card of another library. Can I use it at your place?

No. Only our reader's card is valid in the Tartu City Library and its branches.


Can my child/spouse/parent use my reader’s card?

No. Each reader can borrow only with his own reader’s card. If it is necessary to pick up books requested by another reader, you must provide an authorization. You can download the authorization form to fill in with LibreOffice or to fill in with MSWord or to fill in by hand (pdf).

The Linked Patrons service also simplifies borrowing in such cases. When returning books, it does not matter who returns the books.


Is the reader’s card valid for life?

The reader's right to borrow is valid for one year.

The reader’s card can be renewed by logging into e-catalogue ESTER using ID card or Mobile-ID or SMART-ID or calling the library (736 1380) and providing your personal identification number.


How much can I borrow at once?

We do not have an established limit, but it must be taken into account that if the deadline is exceeded, the fine is calculated separately for each borrowed item (e.g. the return deadline for my 15 borrowed books is 5 days late, my fine payment is 5 days * 6 cents * 15, a total of €4.50).


How much does borrowing cost?

Borrowing is free.


For how long can I borrow?

Depends on what you're borrowing:

  • books - 21 days, except items available for on-site use or with a 7-day loan period,
  • magazines - 21 days, except for the magazines of the last half-year,
  • games - 7 days,
  • music instruments - 21 days,
  • movies - 21 days,
  • music - 21 days,
  • e-readers - 21 days.


Can I renew the deadline for borrowed books?

If there are no other readers waiting for your borrowed books, the loan period can be extended by 21 days. It is possible to renew up to 10 times.


How can I request books or other things I want to borrow?
You can find the requesting instructions here.


I am on the waiting list for a book, but I don't want to borrow it anymore. What do I have to do?

Cancel the request yourself through My Ester or contact the library via e-mail or call 7361380 and say that you are canceling the request.


What happens if I forget to return what I have borrowed?

We will send a reminder email about the return deadline. Reminders will be sent to the e-mail address you have given us as your contact. It should be noted that sometimes e-mails land up in the spam folder and e-mail services may not always work 100%. We calculate fines for the items that are not returned. If the amount of your fines exceeds the permitted limit, your right to borrow will be blocked.


How big are the fines?

For items with a standard loan term (21 days), the fine is 0.06 euros per item for adults and 0.01 euros per item per day for children (up to 16 years of age). Holidays and public holidays are not taken into account when summing up the fines.

For items borrowed for 1 day and 7 days, there is a fine of 0.06 euros per day for exceeding the deadline.


When are the fine-free days?

Tartu City Library does not have regular fine-free days.


How can I pay the fines?

You can pay your fines at any library service point. Cash can be paid in all reading rooms and branches. Bank card can be used on every floor of the main building and in all branches.


Can I pay my fines online?

Debts can also be paid by bank transfer: indicate the recipient of the payment: Tartu City Government
   Account number: a/a EE621010102000178008
   Payment reference number: 2410035991000002 (be sure to include!)
   Explanation: name and reader's card number or personal identification number, whose fines are being paid. (For example, if the parent pays for the child, then certainly the child's name).

If you pay by bank transfer, the fine will be removed from your reader account within the next business day.


What happens if I damage or lose what I have borrowed?

Contact the library (contact the department from which the book was borrowed or send an e-mail to

You can buy the same book to replace the lost book (in a shop or antique shop). If this is not possible, the price of the item must be paid based on three times the price of the library catalog, but not less than 20 euros for adults and 10 euros for children's edition. In the case of newspapers, the compensation price is 5 euros for an individual newspaper for adults and 3 euros for a single newspaper for children. In case of loss or damage of a particularly demanded and valuable publication, the library has the right to determine the replacement price up to ten times the catalog price.

When replacing a lost or damaged publication, a processing fee of 3 euros must be paid.


Why is the use of my reader card or reader account blocked?

The reader's card is blocked if the total amount of fines exceeds the allowed limit. After paying the fines, you can continue using the services. The reader's card is also blocked when it expires. You can renew the borrowing right by logging into the e-catalog ESTER using your ID card or Mobile ID or SMART ID or calling the library (736 1380) and saying your personal identification number.


I have lost my library card. What I have to do?

Notify us by phone 736 1380 or by e-mail at By notifying, you avoid the misuse of your reader’s card.


I haven't used my library card for years. Can I still use it in the library?

If it has been less than three years since you last used it, you are still registered with us and can use the card. You just need to update the contact details and restore the borrowing right.


Do I have to return a loan to the same library I borrowed it from?

No, you can return it to your nearest City Library branch.


Can I order a book from your library to another library?

Yes, we offer Interlibrary Loan service.


What is Interlibrary Loan?

A service offered by libraries, which allows the reader to order a missing item from other libraries. The service is paid.


How can I borrow e-books?

Tartu City Library does not have an e-book lending service. However, we do have a small collection of classic literary works as e-books that can be found in our e-readers, see the list here. We rent e-readers on the third floor of the main building in the reading room of technical literature and in the branch libraries.