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Library Lending

Photo of young library borrower browsing selection in the Central Library Children's Room

In order to borrow library materials you must present a valid San Diego Public Library card.

With a San Diego Public Library Card, you can:

  • check out books, magazines, DVDs and CDs
  • place holds and access your account online
  • access library databases from home
  • download audiobooks and ebooks

Library Card Requirements

Library cards are free to applicants who reside in California or own property in the City of San Diego, and to men and women serving in the Armed Forces who are stationed within San Diego County. For non-residents, the annual fee for a library card is $32.


Preferred Forms of Identification

  • California Driver's License
  • California identification Card
  • Government issued ID Cards (including Military Identification)
  • Passport
  • University, College, School Identification

Verification of Address

If your current address is not listed on your photo identification, please bring one of the following documents:

  • Utility bill (electric, cable, phone, water)
  • Official mail with a recent postmark, i.e. bank statement, insurance bill, etc.
  • Vehicle registration or proof of insurance
  • Checkbook and preprinted checks with your address

Borrower Responsibilities

When you sign your library card you assume responsibility for anything that is checked-out on the card. If you change your address, email address, etc., notify the library on your next visit. If your library card is lost or stolen, it is very important to notify the library as soon as possible since you are still responsible for items checked out on your card.

When an item is lost, you will be charged the cost of the item plus a processing fee.

Library card replacement fee is $1.

Your Library Card may be used at any City of San Diego Public Library location.


Account Renewal

Library card privileges expire every year. In order to renew your account, please present proof of current address at any San Diego Public Library location. You may also renew your card online* though our Book-A-Librarian service.

Library cards with a number beginning in “01336” may be renewed through Book-a-Librarian; temporary online registrations with the prefix "PACREG" must be renewed in person.


Loan Policy and Item Limits

Maximum Items on a Library Card at One Time: 100

Checked out materials may be returned to any City of San Diego Public Library location. Please note that Wi-Fi Hotspots, Interlibrary loans, and Circuit books must be returned in-person to a staff member.

Limits by Material * Item Limit Lending Period
Books, magazines, music scores, audio-visual materials (DVD, CD) 100 total items 30 days
Express Books, Express DVDs 100 total items 30 days
cloudLibrary eBooks and Audiobooks 5 21 days
Portable Electronics (Take Home) 1 90 days
Portable Electronics (In-House) 1 2 hours

*Material may not be transferred from one library card to another.