Borrowing Materials

Our new library card!Brooklyn Public Library's card is free for anyone who lives, works, pays property taxes or goes to school in New York state. There is a limit of one library card per person.

The NEW Brooklyn Public Library Card

BPL launched a new library card in May 2014, featuring a key ring attachment and the Library’s new branding.

Current cardholders may swap out their old cards at any time free of charge, or may continue using their current card until its expiration.

Read our FAQs about the new library card.

HOW TO GET A LIBRARY CARD

New York Residents

Residents ages 13 and older can fill out the online application and choose to pick up their library cards at Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) or have it mailed.*

All ages can visit any of BPL's 60 locations and apply in person.

If you live outside of New York but work or go to school in New York State, you may apply in person for a free BPL library card.

* You must validate your library card before using it for the first time. You can do so by bringing acceptable ID and your library card with you during your first visit to any BPL location.

Apply here if you live in New York

Library Card Applications in Multiple Languages

Spanish: Solicitud en línea para tarjeta de la Biblioteca

Chinese: 图书卡申请表

Russian: Форма для получения библиотечной карточки

French: Formulaire d'inscription à la Biliothèque

Out-of-State Residents (non-NY residents)

Non-NYS residents can fill out the online application by clicking the link for Out-of-State Residents above. A representative will contact you within five (5) business days with the next steps. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders.

Visiting non-NYS residents can apply at any BPL location, pickup the card and pay the fee at that time.

Our out-of-state customers enjoy benefits such as access to our extensive selection of Articles & Databases and collection of E-Books and more.

Apply here if you live outside of New York State

If you are interested in renewing your out-of-state card, click here.

 

MyLibraryNYC offers book delivery to schools, fine-free borrowing for educators and students, and more!

MyLibraryNYC Registration for All Ages
Use this form if you are a student and have received your MyLibraryNYC card from a participating school.

Children 12 and under need parental consent when completing the online form.

Haga click aquí para registrarse en Español

WHO CAN GET A LIBRARY CARD?

Adults ages 17 and older can apply for adult library cards. Senior cards are available to adults ages 62 and older.

Young Adults ages 13 to 16 can get young adult library cards.

Children ages birth to 12 can get children’s library cards. Parents can choose to allow their children to borrow only children's materials (restricted cards) or to borrow any type of materials the library lends.
 

  • A parent or guardian must accompany children under the age of 12 that are applying for a library card.
  • The signing parent or guardian is responsible for all material checked out on a child’s card.

If you choose to apply in person:

  • Download an adult/young adult application here.
  • Download a child’s application here.

Teachers who would like to use children's materials with their students can now get a Teacher Library Card to use at any of Brooklyn Public Library’s 60 locations.

Homebound customers can apply for Books by Mail, a service provided by Service to the Aging.

Out-of-state customers can apply online. A representative will contact you within five (5) business days with the next steps. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND QUEENS LIBRARY

You can use your Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) card to borrow from the New York Public Library (NYPL)—NYPL will ask you for additional identification upon your first visit. To borrow from Queens Library, you must obtain a separate library card.

You must return material from NYPL and Queens Library to their respective library systems.

NYPL Cardholders

NYPL cardholders can opt to use their library cards to borrow BPL materials. During your first visit, please provide your signed NYPL card along with a piece of ID bearing your mailing address.

You can now use your NYPL card for other services, such as signing up for time on public computers.

Queens Library Cardholders

Queens Library cardholders must obtain a BPL card to borrow materials. You can provide your signed Queens Library card along with a piece of ID bearing your mailing address when applying for a BPL card.

 

RENEWING YOUR CARD

Cards expire depending on the type. You must provide acceptable ID when renewing your library card. Renewing your card is free for New York state residents.

  • Adult and senior library cardholders must renew their cards every three years.
  • Young adult library cards expire on the cardholder's 17th birthday.
  • Juvenile cards expire on the cardholder's 13th birthday.
  • New York State cardholders can renew their card, if expired, by completing the renewal form here.
  • Out-of-state cardholders must renew their card every year to keep access. If you are interested in renewing your out-of-state card, you can contact osbplcard@bklynlibrary.org with your current account # and a copy of acceptable ID. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders.
REPLACING YOUR CARD

Report your lost or stolen library card immediately to the nearest Brooklyn Public Library location. You are responsible for any items borrowed on your card. To replace your card, you must pay a replacement fee and show acceptable ID.

 

ACCEPTABLE ID

Customers must show valid identification in order to obtain or renew a library card.

Anyone can show one piece of identification if it is one of the following state IDs:

  • Current driver's license
  • Current photo learner's permit
  • Current non-driver's identification

Young adults (ages 13 to 16) can also provide the following in lieu of the above:

  • Current school photo ID
  • Current report card (showing mailing address)
  • Working papers (showing mailing address)

Children (ages birth to 12) must have parental consent to obtain cards. A parent or guardian must accompany children that are applying for a library card. Parents/guardians can provide their own IDs if they do not have their children's IDs.

If you do not have one of the above, you can provide two pieces of ID, one from each column:

Column A Column B
Current employee photo ID Current rental or lease agreement*
Current passport Bank statement*
Current photo alien registration card Rent bill*
Current school photo ID Utility bill*
Current NYS welfare ID Telephone, cable, or cell phone bill*
Current Medicare/Medicaid card Tax bill/receipt*
Armed forces ID card Any piece of mail bearing name of applicant or parent/guardian*
Birth certificate  
Social Security card  
Current signed photo ID issued by embassy or consulate in NY bearing expiration date  
Most recent report card bearing name  
Transit pass bearing name  
Professional, vocational, or union ID  
NYS motor vehicle registration  

*(e-bills included) dated within the last 3 months and matching the address on the application

NYC Get Your ID, logo

If you do not have any ID, you can visit the official Get Your ID website to learn how to get other forms of ID such as a birth certificate, social security card, or a non-driver's ID.

BORROWING MATERIALS

You may borrow up to 99 library items at a time on your library card.

You are responsible for the materials you borrow. You will be assessed fees if your materials are overdue, damaged, incomplete or lost.

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) suspends borrowing privileges when your fines and fees exceed the threshold. You can restore your borrowing privileges once your account falls below the threshold.

You can borrow:

  • Most books for three (3) weeks. There is no limit to the number of books you can have on your card, as long as it does not surpass the 99-item limit.
  • Audiobooks for three (3) weeks. You can borrow up to ten (10) audiobooks for one cardholder account.
  • Videos, DVDs, CDs and magazines for one (1) week. You can borrow a combined total of ten (10) video and DVD titles for one cardholder account. You can borrow ten (10) CDs .
 
PLACING HOLDS

You may place a hold request through the catalog or in person at your local library, as long as you have a valid Brooklyn Public Library card.

You may place holds on any circulating item that BPL owns with the following exceptions: items that are reference only, items that belong to special collections, and magazines and journals.

Holds Notifications

The library sends notices to let you know when your hold is ready to pickup. You can receive notices via e-mail, text, or telephone.

Occasionally library users do not receive holds notices because of incorrect information in their accounts. Please make sure that we have your correct contact information.

More information about placing holds and notices can be found by clicking on help.

 
RENEWING MATERIALS

You may renew materials as long as you have no billed library items on your account, you do not exceed the fines threshold and the item you are trying to renew is not on hold by another customer. There is a maximum of 99 renewals for each library item. You are responsible for noting the renewal date of your items. Not all items are renewable, and you are responsible for fees associated with items that were not successfully renewed.

There are three ways to renew:
  • In person at any BPL location
  • Online by going to My Account in the catalog—you will need to enter your 14-digit library barcode and PIN
  • Over the phone by calling 718.230.6700—you will need to enter the barcode numbers on your library card and on the items you want to renew.
 
RETURNING MATERIALS

Return material to any Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) location or book drop. If you borrow items at New York Public Library and Queens Borough Public Library, you must return the items to the respective library system.

Overdue Items

All material is due back by the date indicated at the time of checkout or renewal. You will accrue fines if you return your material after the due date.

The library cannot provide any information about library records over the telephone. Please take care of your overdue concerns in person at your local library.

Overdue Notifications

BPL sends overdue notices by email, text message and telephone. You can also receive courtesy reminders of upcoming due dates by email or text. Failure to receive notices does not excuse overdue fines.

Add donotreply@brooklynpubliclibrary.org to your list of recognized senders to ensure e-mail delivery of your library notices.

Incomplete Sets/Missing Discs

Any material that has multiple parts (e.g. Book & Media, DVD sets) must have all parts in place at the time of return (including returns in book drops.) BPL reserves the right to charge the full amount of the item for incomplete or missing items.

 
E-Books and More

Music, videos, eBooks and eAudiobooks are available for all library cardholders on our website. Loan periods vary by title. For more information, visit our Digital Media Catalog.

 

 

FINES AND FEES

Fines accrue per item, per calendar day, even if Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is closed.

  • Books/Magazines: $0.15/day
  • Audiobooks, CDs and CD-ROM software: $1/day
  • DVDs & Videos: $1/day
  • Interlibrary Loan: $1/day
  • Replacement Card Fee (Adult/Young Adult): $2
  • Replacement Card Fee (Senior/Juvenile): $1
  • Out-of-State Card Fee: $50
  • Replacement Card Fee (Out-of-State): $5
  • Bounced Check Fee: $10
  • Collection Agency Fee: $10
  • Current Fines Threshold: $15

BPL suspends borrowing privileges when your fines or fees exceed the threshold. You can restore your borrowing privileges once your account falls below the threshold.

Borrowers with unpaid balances of $25 or more may be contacted by a collection agency.  A collection fee is placed on accounts that reach this threshold.

Please read our Fines and Fees Policy for more information.

Billed Items

Unreturned material is eventually “billed” to your account. You cannot place holds, renew material or check out new material until you resolve this.

You can return or pay for the billed material. If you return billed material, the amount you owe will reflect this and you will be assessed overdue fines instead.

Lost and Damaged Material

Customers who have lost or damaged library material will be charged the full amount of the library material.

Incomplete Sets/Missing Discs

Any material that has multiple parts (e.g. Book & Media, DVD sets) must have all parts in place at the time of return (including returns in book drops.) BPL reserves the right to charge the full amount of the item for incomplete or missing items.

Paying Your Fines and Fees

You must have your library card to pay your fines. You can pay using the following methods:

  • Cash payments are accepted at kiosks found at every BPL location. Staff does not collect cash from customers.
  • Checks made payable to BPL can be given to the staff at any location. Include the library account number of the account being paid for on the check.
  • Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover) are accepted at all BPL kiosks. You can also pay from home by logging into My Account.

TIPS TO AVOID FINES AND FEES
Receipts

Look at the due dates for each individual item on the receipt provided to you at checkout. If you have any questions, staff will be happy to help you.

Renew

Remember to renew your items before they are due. If you receive courtesy notices, you should renew your items immediately to ensure that the material is not on hold for another patron and that you will not have to return it.

Pay close attention to what you are renewing over the phone. If one of your items has a hold on it, it will not be renewed, even if you choose to renew all of your material. You are responsible for the fees on items that are not renewed.

If you are renewing using My Account, make sure that the due dates reflect the new renewal dates. Print a copy of the renewal for your records.

Responsibility

You are responsible for all material checked out on your card. Do not let anyone use your card and do not divulge your PIN to anyone. Report your lost or stolen library card immediately to the nearest BPL location.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN
What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows valid Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) cardholders to request books from other libraries in the United States. Any BPL cardholder can use the service by submitting an ILL request form to a reference librarian at any BPL location. This service is free to BPL customers; however, fines and fees assessed by the lending library do apply.

Borrowing ILL Books

Any BPL customer with a valid library card can have up to 10 active requests at one time. Patrons who owe more than $15 in library fines or currently possess overdue ILL materials may not use the ILL service.

You can request any book not owned by BPL. Please keep in mind that most libraries do not loan books less than 12 months old, magazines, reference books, textbooks, older and rare books, DVDs, microfilm, videos, software, or compact discs. These materials cannot be requested through ILL.

The lending library sets the loan period for the book; however, three weeks is the standard time. The due date of the item is on both the receipt you will sign and on a band attached to the front of the book. Please note that the loan period begins the day the lending library sends the material and not the day it is picked up.

Requesting ILL Books

Verify that the item you would like is not owned or on order by BPL. This can be done by searching BPL's online catalog. Librarians at the reference desk can assist you in determining if BPL owns the book.

Obtain an ILL form from the reference desk at any BPL location. Fill out the form with as much information about the book as possible. It is extremely important that you print clearly. Your contact information must be complete and match the information on your library record.

Return the completed form to a librarian at any BPL location. The location where you submit the request will be the location where you pick up the book.

You will receive notice when the book arrives, or we will notify you of any problems in acquiring it. Your signature will be required on receipt of the book.

Most books arrive within three weeks, but keep in mind that response times vary. It is important that you pick up the book as soon as possible, as the loan period begins when the lending library sends the book to us.

Returning ILL Books

Books must be returned to the BPL location from which they were picked up; they may not be returned in a book drop.

The fine for overdue ILL books is $1 a day. This fine is assessed by the lending library and is charged to BPL. You are responsible for all overdue fines or lost book charges.

Renewing ILL Books

The lending library decides on a case-by-case basis whether or not to renew. If you should need to renew, you must contact the ILL department or your neighborhood library before the due date on the bookstrap. You will then be contacted regarding the lending library's decision. Lending libraries will not grant renewals for overdue books. Any items not granted renewal must be returned by the due date or they are subject to fines.

Tips to Remember

Plan ahead – The time it takes to fill your request can vary depending on the location of the lending library and the availability of the book.

Be aware of lending rules – The loan period for each book varies, depending on the lending library; it may be less than BPL's standard three-week loan. All due dates are printed on the label that is attached to the book.

Damaged or lost books – You are responsible for any overdue, damage or lost book charges assessed by the lending library. Be aware that the lending library, not BPL, sets these costs and that they may be higher than BPL's charges

RESEARCH, COMPUTERS AND MORE
Research

Articles & Databases at Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) - including encyclopedias, newspaper and journal articles, research and reference works, and books - can be accessed FREE with an active BPL card.

Computer Access

Use your library card to sign up for free computers at BPL. All locations provide free access to computers, including internet access and Microsoft Office. Visitors who do not wish to sign up for a library card or purchase an out-of-state library card can purchase guest passes.

Downloadable Media

Music, videos, eBooks and eAudiobooks all can be checked out and downloaded from our website. Loan periods vary by title. For more information, visit our Digital Media Catalog.

Other Card Benefits

Show your library card and get a discount! Read more about our Community Partners Program.