Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to get a Chicago Public Library card?

  • Current photo ID w/Chicago address
  • No current photo ID? Bring two of the following: a piece of mail, utility bill, personal check or voter registration card. One of these must include your name and Chicago address, and one must include your name and photo. And then you’re good to go. 

What if I had a library card and lost it or haven’t used it in a long time? 

  • If your card is lost, stop by a CPL location to get a replacement card for $1.
  • If it’s been a long time since you’ve used your card and you’re unsure of its status, you can check online or by stopping by a CPL location.

Where can I use my library card? 

Where is the library located?

  • There are 70+ locations throughout Chicago.
  • CLICK HERE to find a branch near you.

What are the library’s hours?

  • CLICK HERE for a list of branches and their hours. 

How long can I check things out?

  • Books – 3 weeks
  • Music – 3 weeks
  • Movies – 1 week
  • Museum Passes – 1 week
  • CLICK HERE for more info on our borrowing policies.

Do I have to drop things off where I check them out?

  • Most materials, with the exception museum passes, can be dropped off at any Chicago Public Library location in person or through a bookdrop.

If I don’t live in Chicago, can I still get a Chicago Public Library card?

  • CLICK HERE for a list of libraries participating in the Illinois reciprocal program. If your library is on this list then you can get a CPL card. All you’ll need is your local library card and current ID.

What can I do on the CPL website?

  • Browse the entire library catalog including popular books, ebooks and audiobooks, music, movies and more. 
  • Download available digital media including eBooks, audiobooks, videos, music and magazines.
  • Browse the many events, workshops, and performances offered at the library
  • Place materials on hold and have them transferred to your preferred branch. You will be notified via email or phone when it’s ready to pick up.
  • Access your online account 
  • See your place in line for holds requested
  • Renew materials online
  • Keep a list of titles you want to check out in the future 
  • Keep a list of everything you’ve read 
  • Read reviews by other patrons — and write your own! 
  • CLICK HERE to get started.

How do I check out eBooks and other digital content? 

  • Use your library card to check out eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, music and videos. 
  • CLICK HERE for our eBooks FAQs for help getting started
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