Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get a library card?

A: If you live in the Town of Bedford and have a Katonah mailing address, just bring a piece of mail or a utility bill, or something official that shows your name and address, and we’ll issue you a card on the spot. Children under 16 must bring a parent or legal guardian. There is no minimum age for application. If you live elsewhere in Westchester, with the proper identification we will issue a temporary use card and forward your information to your home library in the town where you pay your residential taxes. Your permanent card will be mailed to you within a week. If you live outside of Westchester, but work, own land, attend school, or pay taxes in Westchester, you can obtain a library card from the library supported by your (or your employer’s) tax dollars. If all else fails, the Westchester Library System will provide you with full library service for $75 per year.

Q: How long can I keep this item (book, DVD, audiobook, magazine, pamphlet, CD, etc.)?

A: The Katonah Library circulates most hardcover books, paperbacks, audiobooks, and CDs for three weeks. New fiction and travel books go out for two weeks. Express books (7-day new books), magazines, and DVDs circulate for a week. Many items are renewable, unless someone else is waiting.

Q: Can I return a library item when the library is closed?

A: The Katonah Library has a book drop at the corner of Bedford Road and Parkway in front of the library. The book drop is always open, and you may return any library materials there, including DVDs. The drop is emptied at least twice a day — your library item will be taken off your record immediately.

Q: Can I return a KVL item to another library?

A: All types of library media may be returned to other libraries in Westchester County. Other libraries can accept payment of overdue fines on an item.

Q: My book is overdue. Should I put it in the book drop or wait until I can go in to return it in person?

A: Returning a book in the drop stops the fine. Don’t worry, the computer circulation system will remind you about the fine the next time you check something out.

Q: May I renew an item?

A: Books, magazines, pamphlets, DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks may be renewed one time either by telephone or in person when the library is open, or online 24 hours a day.  Renewals are not available for items on hold for someone else.

Q: What school districts are in the Katonah area?

A: Most Katonah residents with school-aged children are served by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, which is comprised of three elementary schools, John Jay Middle School, and John Jay High School. For those of you filling out college applications, financial aid forms, or income tax forms, Katonah-Lewisboro is School District 316. A small percentage of Katonah’s children attend schools in the Bedford Central School District.

Q: How do I get more information on your programs?

A: Our adult and children’s e-newsletters are sent out twice a month by e-mail. Sign up at one of the circulation desks or send an email to with your name and telephone number. You can also click on Newsletter or Events Calendar links on the website’s Main Page. Local newspapers frequently list the library’s programs.

Q: Does the library have a book sale?

A: Yes, around the third week in October there’s a big sale, which is an important factor in the library’s annual budget (30% or more of the budget comes from donations and fund-raising events like the book sale.) Books, DVDs, CDs, and computer games donated by the public are available at tag sale prices. In addition,  there is often a Mini Book Sale in late spring. And there are two year-round Book Sale tables set up on the main floor of the library — one for adults and one for teenagers. For more information about the book sale click here.

Q: Can I donate books to the book sale?

A: The library welcomes donations large and small, both adult and children’s items, starting in February and continuing through the end of mid-Summer (click here for the date). Call if you wish to bring donations outside of that time. Books may be brought to the Book Sale Room in the Children’s Room any time the Children’s Room is open. We welcome DVDs and CDs in addition to hardcover and paperback books in good condition; we are sorry to say we cannot accept magazines, textbooks, audio or video cassettes,  encyclopedias, LPs, or out-of-date travel and financial books. Please give books the “sniff test” before you bring them in — if they’ve been stored in a basement or garage, they may be unusable. It’s hard to throw away a book, but you can do it as well as we can. For more information about the book sale click here.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: The Katonah Village Library has a Friends of the Library group that supplies the library with help in the form of volunteer shelf readers. The staff is very appreciative of the community members who give a modicum of time every month to help keep the books in order on the shelves. For information about signing up, call 232-3508. Volunteers are also needed for the Book Sale, both year-round and at the time of the sale.There are other volunteer jobs that will add to the library’s services, some one-time efforts, some ongoing projects. Teens who wish to volunteer, please contact the Teen Librarian to learn about doing community service at the library.

Q: Where did you get that clock?

A: The Library’s Grandfather clock is over 8 feet tall. It was probably built before 1895, and must have been an expensive item: the clockworks are intricate, and the cabinet work equally so.
The clock was donated to the Library by a townsperson in the 1920s, and has guarded the readers’ time continually since then. The clock is wound with a key once a week. Called a “planter’s clock, ” it shows the phases of the moon; the Westminster chimes play on the quarter hours, and solemn bongs mark the hours. Generations of children have stood in awe of both the sound and the stern gentleman’s face carved above the lintel.



updated 04.01.15