Applying for a Library Card
Library Cards are free to residents of California. You must, however, have photo identification with your name and current address. Identification can be a California driver’s license or an ID card issued by the DMV. ID cards issued by the Mexican, Argentinian and Korean consulates can be used as the sole ID requirement for obtaining a library card.
If you don’t have a driver’s license or ID card, then present two of the following, one of which must be a photo ID and one of which must have your current address: Passport, school ID card, other government issued photo ID, employee ID card, printed personal check, credit card statement, rental or property tax receipt, or business mail with current postmark.
If you are under the age of eighteen, identification is not required. Your parent or guardian’s signature on the library card application is accepted instead of identification.
To receive a library card:
- Fill out an application in person at any Los Angeles Public Library location, or
- Download the application form (pdf), fill it out and bring it in to any location, or
- Pre-register over the Internet by visiting the Library’s Web Pre-Registration Page.
Residents of the City of Los Angeles can get an e-Card by registering online. An e-Card provides access to online databases and downloadable e-media. It may not be used to place holds on regular library items, nor is it valid for the computer reservation system. Patrons who already have a regular library card do not need an e-Card.
If you apply in person, you are given a library card immediately. If you pre-register on the web, you have 30 days to pick up your library card at any library location. Be prepared to show identification at the time you pick up your card.
If you are a teacher, check with library staff for rules governing the issuance of a teacher’s library card.
Loan Periods /
Limits / Fines / Fees
Most library materials are loaned for 3 weeks. Fines are charged only if materials are returned late. Failure to pay accrued fines may result in the borrower’s account being turned over to Unique National Collections, a materials recovery agency.
There is a loan limit of 10 books, 10 magazines, and 3 DVDs or videos at one time up to a maximum of 30 items on the patron’s record. A teacher using a Teachers Library Card may borrow a total of 50 items, with some restrictions, at any given time with librarian approval. 30 items may be charged at any given time to a Homebound borrower and 500 items to a Depository Loan borrower. Loan limit for print material is 30 items. DVDs and videos are limited to three and other non-print material is limited to 10.
Different loan periods, fines, and fees, may apply to materials not listed below. Ask library staff for details.
|Material: type of item||Loan Period||Overdue Fine (per item)|
|Adult circulating books, magazines, audiobooks||3 weeks||35¢ / day|
|Adult music cassettes and CDs||1 week||35¢ / day|
|Children’s circulating books, magazines, audiobooks||3 weeks||15¢ / day|
|Children’s music cassettes and CDs||1 week||15¢ / day|
|Videocassettes / DVD - entertainment||2 days||$1.00 / day|
|Videocassettes / DVD - documentary||1 week||$1.00 / day|
|Lost or Damaged Material||Fee (per item)|
|Hardback Book (Adult/YA)||$35.00|
|Hardback Book (Juvenile)||$15.00|
|Audiobook or CD||$25.00 ($60.00 for whole set)|
|Processing Fee per lost/damaged item||$10.00|
|Item||Fee (per item)|
|Non-Resident Library Card (Outside of California)||$50 annually|
|Book Reserves Not Picked Up||$1.00 for each item|
|Extramural Interlibrary Loan||$10.00 flat fee plus any charges from Lending Library|
|Replacement Library Card||$3.00|
Returning Library Materials
Items checked out from any Los Angeles Public Library may be returned to any of its 72 branches or to the Central Library. Items may be returned in person or through a bookdrop. At Central Library, bookdrops are located at the Flower and Hope Street entrances and curbside at the 5th Street entrance.
Your Library Record
By entering your 14 digit library card number and PIN on the Patron Validation Screen you have access to your personal library record. You will be able to review items currently checked out on your library card, overdue and lost items and outstanding fines. You can pay your fines with a credit or debit card. You can renew items and review the status of titles you have placed on hold. You can also cancel holds on items you no longer need. Use the Change of Address Form to report changes in your account.
Renewing Library Materials
Most items may be renewed a maximum of two times. Entertainment DVDs and videos may be renewed one time. Reference materials may not be renewed nor items for which there are pending holds or reserves. If the item you renew is overdue a fine will be posted to your record.
You may renew items over the Web by accessing Your Library Record. Renewals may also be done in person at any of the Library’s 72 branches or at the Central Library.
The Library also offers a Telephone Circulation Service. If you have a touch tone phone, you can renew your items by telephone, 24 hours a day, by calling the toll-free number: (888) 577-5275. If you are outside the toll-free area, dial (213) 623-9930. Telephone Circulation also lets you review your library record to find out what you have checked out, when it is due, if items you reserved are being held for you, and if you have any unpaid fines or fees.
You can place a HOLD on an item free of charge from any library terminal, or over the Web by clicking "Catalog" on the Library’s Web Page. After searching for the title you want to reserve, select the library location to which you want the item sent and we will notify you by e-mail, a computer-generated telephone call or a postcard when it is available for pick up. If you need help with the Hold service, library staff will guide you through the process or place the hold for you. The maximum number of holds on a patron record at any time is 30. Placing a hold is free. However, a $1.00 fee will be charged if an item placed on hold is not canceled or picked up by the "Hold Until" date.
If you would like an e-mail reminder before your library materials are due, when they are overdue, and when items placed on hold are available for pick-up, please contact your local library agency. You may also submit your e-mail address online by clicking the link to the Change of Address Form.