Update on CPL Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pursuant to Governor Pritzker's order for the State of Illinois to shelter in place, Chicago Public Library is closed from noon March 21 through May 30. See the Chicago Stay at Home Order Frequently Asked Questions for more information about sheltering in place.

Book drops will be locked at all CPL locations. CPL ended use of overdue fines in 2019; effective today, library cardholders with suspensions on their accounts because of over $30 in fees from items marked as "lost" will be able to check out online materials. During this time, physical materials will automatically renew, and accounts will not be blocked. 

CPL will continue to get guidance from Chicago Department of Public Health officials. CDPH continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal, state and local partners to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

You can find local, up-to-date information about COVID-19 on the CDPH website, www.chicago.gov/coronavirus. Additional questions can be directed to coronavirus@chicago.gov or (312) 746-4835. Get national updates on the virus at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Using the Library Remotely

CPL cardholders can access library resources and information, including eBooks, audiobooks, music, video and online resources, 24/7 on our website. 


Don’t have a library card yet? Apply for an eCard to access eBooks, audiobooks and online resources.

Mobile Apps

Patrons with smartphones can access CPL on-the-go with our mobile app on iOS and Android. Other applications accessible with a CPL card include:

  • Brainfuse: Live homework help from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in English and Spanish
  • Hoopla: Streaming and downloadable audiobooks, music, video and eBooks
  • Flipster: Read current and back issues of over 25 of our most popular magazines, including The Atlantic, Better Homes & Gardens, Bloomberg Businessweek, Ebony, Entertainment Weekly, Parents,Real Simple, Scientific American, Shape, Sports Illustrated and Time.
  • Mango Languages: Lessons in 70+ languages, including English
  • Overdrive: Downloadable eBooks, audiobooks
  • RBdigital Magazines: Latest issues of more than a hundred popular magazines.

COVID-19 Closure FAQs

  • Due to demand, we’re unable to increase the limits on checkouts and holds. Checkout and holds limits are:


    • 15 checkouts
    • 12 holds


    • 8 checkouts per month
  • You can hang out, mess around and geek out. All YOUmedia locations have laptops, cameras, music and gaming equipment, and some YOUmedia locations have 3D printers, vinyl cutters and more. It's an open environment where you choose what you want to do and skilled library staff provide coaching and assistance. And of course there are books, too!

  • Physical Materials
    You may have up to 12 "not ready" or "paused" holds on physical materials. This does not include hold requests that are "in transit" or "ready for pickup."

    Digital Materials
    You may have up to 12 holds on OverDrive titles in addition to any holds you have on physical materials.

  • City of Chicago EZ Pay Stations are available at several CPL locations during regular library hours. View the EZ Pay Stations map.

    You can pay the following at EZ Pay Stations:

    • Administration Notice of Ordinance Violations
    • Parking/Speed/Red-Light Tickets
    • Permits and Taxes
    • Utility Bill

    The pay stations accept cash, credit cards, debit cards and personal checks. EZ Pay Stations do not give change for cash transactions.

  • You may choose notification by email or by phone (local numbers only).

    Email Notifications

    We’ll email you when you have physical items ready to pick up or overdue.

    We’ll also send a reminder two days before your physical items are due. If possible, we’ll renew these items for you for a full lending period plus two additional days.

    Please add notices@chicagopubliclibrary.org to your email address book to assist delivery of notifications.

    Phone Notifications

    We’ll call you when you have physical items ready to pick up or overdue.

    Due date reminders are not available by phone, but you can opt to have these sent by email and still receive other notifications by phone. To opt in, add an email address to your account.

    We can only call local numbers. Accepted local area codes are 217, 224, 309, 312, 331, 464, 618, 630, 708, 773, 779, 815, 847 and 872.

  • If you’re a CPL cardholder and an adult resident of Chicago, you may check out a Kids Museum Passport at any CPL location. Each CPL location has a limited number of Kids Museum Passports for each museum.

    Unless otherwise noted, a group must include at least one child under 18 for the Kids Museum Passport to be valid, and a maximum of two adults are admitted with each pass.

  • Yes, please see our events calendar.

    Please call or email your preferred CPL location for information on any additional events.

  • Thank you for considering a gift to the Chicago Public Library. As always, you may make donations through the Chicago Public Library Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to support collection development, program and technology initiatives that connect library users to their community and to the world and ensure that all Chicagoans have the freedom to read, to learn and to discover at the Chicago Public Library.

  • Masks are strongly encouraged at all CPL locations. Thank you for following library guidelines when you visit.

  • Self-check stations are available at most CPL locations. Some materials—WiFi hotspots, Chromebooks and Playaways—must be checked out at the circulation desk.

    To use the self-check, you’ll need to scan your library card or key in your library card number. You’ll also need to enter your PIN; this is the same number you use to log into your account on our website.

    As always, please ask for help if you need it.

  • Book drops are available for returns, or you can return materials at the circulation desk.

    Please continue to return Kids Museum Passports, WiFi hotpots and Chromebooks at the circulation desk inside.

  • CPL cardholders may use Flipster magazines.

    Chicago residents, get an eCard for instant access to our online services.

  • Study rooms may be booked up to two weeks in advance. Due to demand, study room use is limited to four hours per week and one session (of up to two hours) per day.

    Study Rooms for Individuals

    Book an individual study room at HWLC.

    Individual study rooms are available on the 6th and 8th floors.

    Book online or in person at the reference desk on the room’s floor.

    Study Rooms for Groups

    Book a group study room at HWLC.

    Group study rooms are for at least two and no more than nine people, and are available on the 5th, 6th and 7th floors. 

    Book online or in person at the reference desk on the room's floor.


    Check our Study Room Use Guidelines for more information about using these rooms.

  • You can borrow a WiFi hotspot or a Google Chromebook Kit, which includes a WiFi hotspot and a Chromebook, from CPL through our Internet to Go program.

    A WiFi hotspot is a device you can use to connect a mobile-enabled device, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet, to the internet.

    A Chromebook is a lightweight laptop that runs Google’s Chrome operating system. It must be connected to the internet for you to access its features, which are all web-based. The WiFi hotspot connects the Chromebook to the internet.

    The hotspot is portable, so you can connect your device almost wherever you are, like at home, on the bus or in the park.

    The hotspot works in any area covered by the Sprint 3G or 4G LTE network.

  • We offer three services that cover a range of formats:

    Movies and TV