Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Current photo ID w/Chicago address
  • No current ID? Bring two of the following: a piece of mail, utility bill, personal check or voter registration card, with one of them verifying your Chicago address, and you are 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 under “My CPL” 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. Select your location for its specific 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 and music.
  • 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
    • Check your card status
    • Update your preferred library
    • Update your personal information
    • View holds and their delivery status
    • Check the due date of borrowed materials
    • Renew materials online
  • CLICK HERE to get started.

How do I download digital media online?

  • You’ll first need to download, install, and activate free software to your personal computer. CLICK HERE for the quick start guide.
  • To access the digital media collection, just login to your overdrive account using your CPL card.
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