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Public Library

Library Closure Frequently Asked Questions

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My materials are overdue, but I can’t return them. Will I be charged/billed?

  • The City resumed billing for lost library materials July 15, 2021. Referrals to the Office of the City Treasure’s delinquent accounts program resumed on July 15, 2021. If you have questions about existing billings, please contact the Library at 619-236-5800 or You can also visit us at one of our In-Person Library Service locations. 

Can I return materials to any location?

Yes, you can return materials through our book drops at 36 library locations. Book drops are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Can I place holds for materials and what if I have holds to pick up?

You can reserve most titles online or over the phone. If you currently have holds to pick up, you may pick up these materials at one of our In-Person Service locations. 

Can I download eBooks/eAudio?

Yes! The Library has thousands of eBooks and eAudio titles you can download on your computer or portable device with your library card or temporary ID. Visit SDPL’s eLibrary or search our catalog for available titles.

Do I need a library card to access online resources?

Yes, you need a valid library card to access resources in our eLibrary. Please make sure you type in all the numbers listed on your library card, no spaces. You may also need your library PIN to access certain resources.

Can I apply for a library card online?

Yes, you can apply for a library card online and be assigned a temporary library card number that will expire after 30 days. Apply for a library card here


NOTE: Please make sure to enter your temporary barcode exactly as you see it. (Ex: PACREG123456) and write down your password so you don’t forget it. You will need both to access several of our database and downloadable resources.

How do I renew my  permanent, physical  library card?

You can visit us at one of our In-Person Library Service locations or schedule a video conferencing appointment through our Book a Librarian Service (only available to renew permanent, physical library cards). If you need additional assistance, please contact the Library at 619-236-5800 or

How do I convert my temporary digital library card into a permanent library card to use Contactless Pickup Service?

Customers may convert their digital library card into a permanent physical library card by contacting any of our In-Person Library Services locations. You will need to present a valid identification to be issued a permanent library card. Please see link for specific documentation requirements.

What online resources are available?

If reading isn’t your thing, there are several other online resources to keep you occupied such as:

  • Learning a new language with Rosetta Stone.
  • Practicing and preparing for upcoming tests with the Testing & Education Reference Center.
  • Read a magazine with Flipster and PressReader!
  • Visit SDPL’s eLibrary for a full listing of available online resources.
  • Visit the Library’s homepage and our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for additional activities.
  • Matchbook Reader's Advisory

When are you opening back up to the public?

We are happy to announce most of our San Diego Public Library locations are now open with limited In-Person Library Service. We encourage you to check our website for the most current information regarding operations. Please check the current COVID-19 City Guidelines before visiting.

Can I call the library for help/reference services?

Yes, library staff can answer phone calls Monday & Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday  from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You may call our general number at 619-236-5800 or your local branch. You may also submit your question via the Library’s website or email us directly at with reference questions, questions about services or your account. 

Do you have any information available about COVID-19?

The City of San Diego maintains the most current information regarding COVID-19 on its website. Please visit for information.


The County of San Diego also has resources available on its website.

What resources are available to help my child with schoolwork?

SDPL has several resources to help your child with schoolwork, including live virtual tutoring and distance learning resources. You can access this information at SDPL’s Do Your Homework @ the Library page and select the Homework Resources tab.

What do you have available to keep my children busy?

Are meeting/study rooms available?

Yes! Please use this link to reserve meeting rooms and view study room availability. Study rooms are available on a first come, first served basis and require a library card in good standing. 

When will programs resume?

Check out our Event Calendar for upcoming virtual programs and events.

I have books to donate. Where can I drop them off while you are closed?

Please contact your local Library Location to find out if they are accepting donations. Please do not leave books or other donated materials outside of library locations. We cannot guarantee they will not be stolen or damaged by inclement weather. Thank you for thinking of SDPL for your donations!


The Friends of the San Diego Central Library is accepting most donations, they can be contacted at


The Friends of the San Diego Public Library is accepting corporate or large book donations (15 or more boxes), they can be contacted at


If you would like to learn about other ways to support the Library, your help is needed now more than ever. Please visit Library’s Advocacy to learn how!