How Do I...?
Get a Library Card
Getting a Chicago Public Library card is easy, and it’s free. Applications are available at any library location. Additional requirements are as follows:
An adult must complete and sign an application and present:
- A current valid ID with photo, name and Chicago address (driver’s license, Illinois state ID, etc.).
- Two pieces of current identification, one of which must include name and Chicago address. Accepted forms of ID are: personal check; current telephone, gas, electric or cable bill; mail with a current postmark (within 30 days) or voter registration card. (Post office box numbers are not accepted.)
A child age 13 or younger, who can write or print his or her first and last name, must present a completed and signed application that includes the signature of a parent or guardian. One piece of identification with home address must be presented at this time.
Anyone without a fixed address may use a letter certifying their Chicago residency from the social service agency where he or she receives mail.
Rights and responsibilities are not transferable. Unauthorized use of another person’s library card number without that person’s permission is expressly forbidden and will be subject to prosecution.
New cardholders may check out up to five items (including two DVDs) on their account during the first 30 days after receiving a library card. For more information, see the Library’s Borrowing Policies.
Illinois residents who are reciprocal library users must present a current valid library card from their local reciprocal library and one piece of ID with name and address. After verification from the home library, CPL will issue a Chicago Public Library card.
|Chicago property taxpayer, nonresident||Current valid ID with photo, name and address; current City of Chicago property tax bill||Self||Free|
|Illinois non-reciprocal residents||Current valid ID with photo, name and address||Self||$100|
|Other visitors||Current valid ID with photo, name and address; verification of temporary Chicago address||Self||Cash deposit equal to value of materials|
|Corporate entity doing business within Chicago||Request on company letterhead accepting responsibility for materials and fines||Corporate librarian or CEO||Free|
Courtesy Card Requirements
Chicago residents without a photo ID can present one item that includes the resident’s name and current address to receive a courtesy card. This card is good for a one-time use to check out up to five items.
Forgotten Library Card
Library cardholders who have forgotten their card may still check out up to five items if they do not have fines/fees exceeding $1, overdue items or lost materials associated with their library card, and can present a current valid Illinois driver’s license or state ID that will allow access to their patron account. A parent or guardian listed in a child’s patron account may check out up to five items for their child using a current valid Illinois driver’s license or state ID to access their account.
Updating Your Library Card
Renewing Your Library Card
Chicago Public Library cards are updated every two years. A library card’s renewal date is located in the cardholder’s My CPL account or may be provided at any library location. Library cards may be renewed at any library location. Current valid ID with name and address is required, and the patron account must be clear of any fines/fees, overdue materials or lost items. Reciprocal borrowers must present a current valid library card from their local reciprocal library and one piece of ID with name and address. After verification from the home library, CPL will renew the Chicago Public Library card.
The renewal date of a library card does not affect the library card status.
Updating Your Personal Information
Cardholders may update their name, address or phone number at any library location. Identification must be provided. Cardholders may update their email address using their My CPL account. Children’s personal information must be updated at a library location.
Replacing Your Library Card
If a library card is lost, please report it to any library location immediately. A library cardholder is responsible for all materials, fines and fees charged against his or her library card until its loss is reported to the Chicago Public Library. If a library card is lost, the cardholder must pay a $1 replacement fee, fill out a new application and present current valid ID to get a new card. Reciprocal borrowers must present a current valid library card from their local reciprocal library and one piece of ID with name and address. If a library card is damaged or broken, CPL will replace the card free of charge if it is brought to any library location.