To obtain borrowing privileges, applicants must provide verification of identity and eligibility. Full or limited borrowing privileges may be granted, depending on residence and the identification provided.
Full Borrowing Privileges – Resident. Adult applicants who meet residency and property owner requirements and provide photo identification and proof of current address are eligible for full borrowing privileges. These library cards are valid for two years.
Full Borrowing Privileges – Nonresident. Adult and minor applicants who:
- Work in the City of St. Louis and have documentation proving this are eligible for full borrowing privileges, regardless of residence.
- Attend school in the City of St. Louis and live in the Metropolitan St. Louis Area, and have documentation proving this, are eligible for full borrowing
These library cards are valid for one year.
Limited Borrowing Privileges Adult applicants without photo identification or without a permanent address are eligible for limited checkout of two items and computer use. These library cards are valid for one year.
People whose permanent address is outside of the St. Louis metro area and do not qualify for a free card may purchase a membership from the Friends of the St. Louis Public Library.
Below are examples of the types of ID we accept. This list does not include every acceptable form of ID.
|PHOTO IDENTIFICATION||NON-PHOTO IDENTIFICATION||PROOF OF CURRENT ADDRESS|
|Driver’s license||Social Security card||Driver’s license or state ID|
|State ID||Voter registration card||First-class mail sent to home address within the last 30 days|
|Passport||Insurance card||Checkbook with name and current address|
|School ID||School schedule with name, address, and date|
|Employer ID||Report card with name, address, and date|
Individuals under the age of 18 (minors) need permission from a legal guardian to obtain a library card. The legal guardian assumes responsibility for items, fees, and use of the minor’s library card. Exceptions are made for people who are at least 16 years of age and
- are emancipated or no longer live in the home of a parent or legal guardian, and have documentation proving this, or
- are signing as the legal guardian for their child’s library card, or
- are legally married, and have documentation proving this.
A child must be present to receive a library card, and parents must provide identification for themselves. A library card may be issued without a parent being present if the child has appropriate documentation from the parent and the parent’s signature on the library card application. Parents may choose a restricted or unrestricted card for each child:
Restricted: checkout only of juvenile materials, which includes print items, DVDs, CDs, and electronic resources.
Unrestricted: full library privileges, including checkout of all circulating materials and electronic resources.
Full Internet privileges may be granted by the parent for either category of borrowing privileges.
Residency and address requirements
Two-year full-service card:
- Residents and property owners of the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County.
One-year full-service card:
- Nonresidents who are employed in the City of St. Louis. Additional identification showing proof of City employment is required annually, such as the most recent paycheck stub showing city earnings and taxes paid or an employee badge or ID showing the employee name and the business name
- Nonresidents who live in the Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Warren and the Illinois counties of Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair who attend school in the City of St. Louis. Additional identification is required that shows proof of City school attendance, such as student school ID, current report card or transcripts, or a dated letter from school on letterhead
One-year card limited to two items and computer use:
- People residing temporarily in shelters, halfway houses, or rehabilitation centers in the City of St. Louis
- People living in the City of St. Louis who do not have permanent addresses or photo identification
- Nonresidents temporarily residing in the City of St. Louis – up to one year, depending on length of stay.
People who do not qualify for a free library card can purchase a membership to the Friends of the St. Louis Public Library, which entitles the member to a one-year full-service library card.
Other Card Types
- Education/Nonprofit: Employees of schools, daycare centers, senior citizen residences, shelters, and social service agencies in the City of St. Louis are eligible for borrowing privileges designed to provide service to students and residents at those facilities. Some item types may not circulate to these facilities.
- Company: Businesses in the City of St. Louis are eligible for up to four cards for employees per department. Businesses outside of the city will be charged a fee.
- Courtesy: Borrowing privileges may be granted to visitors or guests of the Library by the Chief Executive Officer or a designate, who will determine the expiration date.
- eCards: People eligible for free borrowing privileges who have never had an SLPL library card or those who want access to only digital content and online services may apply for an eCard through the Library’s website. It may not be used for reserving Library computers. These privileges can be converted to a personal library card by showing identification with name and address at any SLPL library location.
- Computer Pass: People not eligible for a free library card may obtain a computer pass for access to the Library’s internet computers. The pass may be used for reserving computer use for up to 3 hours per day.
Most cardholders may borrow up to 50 items. The total includes limits on certain item types. Temporary cardholders may borrow 2 items. Loan periods, checkout limits, and renewals vary according to item type. Materials may only be renewed if no other customer has placed a hold on the item.
|ITEM TYPE||LOAN PERIOD||CHECKOUT LIMIT||RENEWALS|
· Public Performance
· Adult DVDs
· Adult Blu-rays
· Children’s DVDs
· Children’s Blu-rays
|· Plug and Plays||7 days||1||3|
· Audiobooks on CD
|· Tablets||7 days||2||3|
|· Book Club in a Bag||42 days||2||1|
|· Telescopes, binoculars, hotspots||21 days||1||3|
|· Cultural passes||21 days||1||0|
|· Other materials||Varies||Varies||Varies|
|· Hoopla streaming movies, music, eAudiobooks and eBooks (city residents & property owners only)||3, 7, or 14 days||10 per month||n/a|
· Ebsco eBooks
· Open Library
· Project Gutenberg
|No limit||No limit||No limit|
|· OverDrive: eBooks and eAudiobooks||7 or 14 days||10||No limit|
|· RBdigital eAudiobooks||14 days||10||No limit|
|· RBdigital Magazines||No limit||No limit||No limit|
|· Freegal||8 hours streaming daily||5 downloads per week||n/a|
|· Chromebooks*||4 hours daily||1||1|
*In-library use only
The library does not charge overdue fines. Materials checked out will be automatically renewed until (1) they reach the maximum renewals listed in the chart above; (2) they are on hold for someone else; or (3) the customer’s account has a balance over $50.
Lost and damaged items
Fees for lost or damaged items include the cost of repairing or replacing the item. Fees may be forgiven if the loss or damage of library materials was caused by a fire, flood, or theft; a copy of a police, fire, or insurance report that supports the loss is required. Checkout is allowed until charges reach or exceed $50. At that amount, a collection agency is used to recover overdue materials and fees. Having any balance on an account does not result in the loss of any other library privileges.
- Liability for items checked out due to fraudulent use of a lost or stolen library card may be limited to $50 if the owner of the card reports the card lost within 30 days after an item becomes overdue.
- At 42 days late, most overdue materials are assumed lost and the replacement cost is billed to the account. If the assumed-lost materials are returned, the replacement cost will be removed from the account. At approximately 60 days, accounts with charges of $ 50 or more are sent to a collection agency in an attempt to recover lost materials and fees. A $10 nonrefundable collection-agency fee will be placed on the account.
- If assumed-lost materials sent to collections are returned, the replacement cost will be removed from the account, but the $10 collection agency fee will remain.
Lost library card
A $1.00 fee may be charged to replace a lost library card.
- Van Service: The Adult Outreach Department oversees mobile outreach that provides limited library services to residents of senior citizen group residences and social service agencies. Locations may receive monthly or twice-monthly visits.
- Books By Mail: This is a service available to residents of the city of St. Louis who are confined to their homes or residence because of a physical disability, extended illness, or advanced age. The free service is offered to homebound customers who have no one to pick up Library materials for them and who do not live at a Library Outreach delivery site. Up to 20 books at a time can be requested and are delivered to the readers and returned by the United States Postal Service.
- Interlibrary Loan (ILL): Materials not owned by the Library may be borrowed from other libraries through ILL. The service is offered free of charge, and customers may have five ILL requests or checkouts at any one time. Loan periods, renewal policies, overdue fines, and replacement fees are set by the libraries supplying the items.