Borrowing Materials

Borrowing Materials

Browse the catalog here.

Temporary Library Card

An online temporary library card can access most library resources. Once all library locations are open, online library card applicants have 90 days to visit a library location with a current picture ID and proof of current address to transition to a permanent library card, which grants full access to all resources.

Loan Periods

  • Books, MP3 Playaways and Books on CD can be checked out for an initial period of 21 days. 
  • DVDs, music CDs, VHS videocassettes and LPs can be checked out for 7 days.
  • eBooks & Audiobooks on OverDrive can be checked out for up to 21 days. 
  • Streaming video on OverDrive can be checked out for 3, 5 or 7 days.

Item Limits

  • You may check out a maximum of 50 books at a time, 10 DVDs and 10 CDs.
  • You may check out a maximum of 10 digital titles on OverDrive at a time.


  • For physical items, if there is no hold on the item, it can be renewed 10 times (for an additional 21 days each time). If someone has placed a hold on your item, you may not renew it. View all renewal FAQs.
  • When you renew a digital title on OverDrive, it doesn't extend your lending period. Instead, it lets you borrow the title again immediately after your current checkout expires (if there are no existing holds). Learn more about renewing digital titles


  • Customers may place up to 25 physical items on hold. Available hold notifications are sent via email to the email address in the customer's account. Once notified, items will be held at the preferred pickup library for 5 days. 
  • For OverDrive titles, you may place up to 15 digital items on hold. When the hold becomes available, you will be notified via email and have three days to checkout your title or can choose to deliver your checkout later. Learn more about managing available holds with "deliver later".

Returning Items

  • You may return borrowed items at any DC Public Library; it does not matter where you checked them out.
  • All digital titles are automatically returned at the end of their lending period. Learn more about returning digital titles early
  • There are no late fees placed on late returns, but customers will be charged a replacement fee for lost materials after 60 days.

Borrowing History

Opt in to see what you have read, viewed and listened to with your library card. To activate this option you can:
  • Log in to your account at Select "My Reading History" and then select "Opt-In." Please note that titles borrowed prior to opting in will not appear in the list. 
  • If you'd like to keep track of digital checkouts in OverDrive, log into your OverDrive account, visit "My Account," click "Settings" and check the box under "History." 
Please note that if an item has been removed from the library's collection due to loss, damage or missing status, it will be removed from the list. You may opt out of accessing your borrowing history at any time by logging back in to your account. DC Public Library is committed to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of customer library records. You can view the policy here

Inter-library Loans

Inter-library Loan is a way to request books, microfilm, articles and other material not owned by the DC Public Library. The service is available to DC Public Library customers with current library cards in good standing.

Customers assume cost of postage, insurance and handling charges. If the lending library charges a borrowing fee, that must be paid by the requesting customer. Materials cannot be requested from the Library of Congress.

You can find out more information on the Inter-library Loans page