Get a Library Card

Get a Library Card

How Do I Get a Card?Who Can Get A Card? | What Do I Need?
What If I Lose My Card? | Does My Card Expire?
What If I Need to Update My Info?
How Can A Library Card Help With School? | Questions?

 Adult Learning Department

DC Public Library has got you covered, all library card expiration dates have been extended through October 1, 2021. All you have to do is enjoy the Library.

How do I get a card?

To get a library card, you can:

  1. Apply online. (Strongly encouraged)
  2. Fill out a form at any DC Public Library location.
  3. Download, print and fill out your form and take it to any DC Public Library location. 
Note: If you apply online, you will receive a temporary library card that can access most digital library resources. All current temporary cards are available for use through October 2021. After that time, 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.

Who can get a card?

Anyone who resides, works, pays property taxes or attends school in the District of Columbia can get a card. Library cards expire after three years. Library cards can only be renewed in person at any DC Public Library branch. We ask you to renew in person to make sure that we have all of your current contact information.

If you are a resident of one of the following counties or cities you can get a DC Public Library Card for free:


  • Frederick
  • Montgomery
  • Prince George's


  • Fairfax
  • Loudoun
  • Arlington
  • Prince William
  • Falls Church
  • Alexandria

If you live elsewhere, you can apply and pay for a nonresident card.

Please note:  The DC Public Library is not permitted to issue cards online to those outside of our service area (D.C., Maryland and Virginia). If you live outside these areas, you may apply for a regular library card by visiting any library location in person. The cost is $20 and the card is good for one year. 

What do I need to get a card?

Adults must present two current forms of traceable identification, one to prove identity and one to prove place of residence. Examples include:

  • driver's license
  • rent receipt
  • utility bill
  • bank book
  • apartment lease
  • letter on letterhead from a shelter
We also ask for your e-mail address, which is used to provide you with library information ONLY, including notice of items on hold or due, and information about library services and activities.

What if I lose my card?

Please report the loss at once to any branch library, by phone or in person. You are responsible for materials taken out with the card until the card is reported lost or stolen. The library charges a small fee for a new card.

Does my card expire?

Online registrations expire after ninety (90) days; otherwise cards expire after three (3) years. If your card has expired, please visit any library location to renew. Library cards can only be renewed in person at any DC Public Library branch. We ask you to renew in person to make sure that we have all of your current contact information.

What if I need to update my info? 

If you need to update your account information, please visit any library location and staff will help you. If changing your address, make sure to bring identification with you that proves identity and place of residence (see examples of accepted identification). If you have forgotten your PIN, please visit this page to reset it.


How Can a Library Card Help with School?

A DC Public Library card can access everything you need to have a great school year. Take self-paced online classes and search databases to help with school projects and more. Read more

Use your Student DC One Card as a library card.


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