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

  • Chicago Public Library offers in-person and online events for all ages at locations across the city. You can search for events by location, age range, topic, language and more. You can also view all online events.

    View our full calendar of events- we look forward to seeing you at a CPL location.

  • Visit chipublib.org/digitalpasses and log in with your library card number and PIN. Once logged in, you can view all attractions and offers available to you.

    You can also search for offers by date, attraction name or location. Information about each attraction and offer is available before making a reservation.

    Using the calendar, you can choose what date you want to make the reservation for and then choose the Reserve option under the attraction. A confirmation box will appear, and you will receive a confirmation email.

    Reservation details:

    • Reservations must be made for a specific date. The digital pass is only valid for the reservation date listed on the pass - attractions have the right to decline a pass if you attempt to use it on a different date.
    • We recommend waiting to print or download your digital pass until you are sure you will be able to use it on the reservation date. Learn how to cancel or change your reservation.
    • You will get a reminder email three days before your reservation.
    • Some attractions will accept a mobile pass or printed pass; others will accept a printed pass only. We encourage you to visit your local library location if you need assistance printing.
    • Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance (specifically, the current month plus the next two full months.
    • The person who makes the reservation must be present and able to provide an ID with the same name as is on the reservation.
    • Make sure to bring your confirmation - the attraction you visit will not be able to look up your digital pass reservation.
  • 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.

  • 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 return 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
  • Your materials will be automatically renewed up to 15 times if no one else has placed them on hold. The new due date will be one standard loan period from the latest due date. That’s the loan period plus 2 days from the renewal date.

    Or you may renew materials yourself at any time by logging in to your account and going to My Borrowing, by calling our automated phone line, (312) 747-4636, or by calling or visiting any CPL location. Material renewed this way will be due one standard loan period from the renewal date and counts toward the 15-renewal limit.

  • Chicago residents who've never had a CPL card and only want to use CPL’s online services may apply for an eCard.

  • CPL cardholders in good standing who live in Chicago may use hoopla. Hoopla is not available to reciprocal borrowers.

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

    To create your hoopla account, you will need your library card number and PIN. You also need an email address. You will be prompted to create a password to log in to your account each time you use hoopla.