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Library Lending

Applying for a Library Card

Image of red library card Image of teal library card Image of orange library card Image of green library card Image of purple library card

Now available! Cards featuring the library's logo are available in your choice of red, teal, orange, green or purple.

When you sign your library card you assume responsibility for anything that is checked-out on your card.

If you change your mailing 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. If the lost item is returned, you will be charged any accrued overdue fines.

Your library card privileges must be renewed every two years.

The fee to replace a library card is $2.00/adult and $1.00/children.

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

NOTE: If you have an expired card or need a replacement card, do NOT apply for a new library card. Instead, please visit your local branch library for assistance.

Patrons younger than 18 years old can register for a library card using the Online Library Card Registration. A parent or guardian needs to sign for responsibility for the card's use. Bring the completed/signed Parental Permission Form (PDF) to any library location. Parent/Guardian needs to check whether permission is granted to borrow video materials.

Los usuarios menores de 18 años pueden registrarse para una tarjeta de la biblioteca usando la Registración de Tarjetas de la Biblioteca en Línea. Un Padre de Familia o Guardian Legal necesita firmar y tomar responsabilidad del uso de la tarjeta. Lleve el Permiso del Padre de Familia (PDF) llenado y firmado a cualquier biblioteca de la Ciudad de San Diego.

Temporary Library Cards

If you are new to the San Diego Public Library, you may register online for a temporary library card. This will allow you to place up to two (2) holds for desired titles and to use most of the online databases (exceptions are OverDrive and OneClick Recorded Books). The temporary card is valid for 30 days. Please see instructions below for how to obtain a permanent library card.

Follow the steps below to activate your temporary access.

  1. I have read and agree to the library's Borrowing Procedures and Lending Policy.
  2. If you agree to the terms and conditions of the online library card, please click on the "Yes, I want a Library Card" button below.
  3. Complete the online registration application.
  4. A Temporary ID will be issued to you by the library system. A confirmation email reminder with instructions on how to get a Permanent Library card will be emailed to you the next day if you entered an email address on your online application. For full access and a Permanent Library Card, bring your Temporary ID # and identification to any San Diego Public Library location.

If you do not wish to apply for a library card online, please complete the library card Registration Form (PDF) / Solicitud de Registro (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the application.

Permanent Library Cards

Bring the printout or email with your temporary library card # (number) and present it at any San Diego Public Library location. You will also need to present a picture ID which verifies your name, current address and signature (or provide other verification along with a picture ID).

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; or
  • preprinted checks with your address

For other questions or concerns, call 619-236-5800 or email

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