San Francisco Public Library

Get a Library Card

See also Privacy Policy

New library cards

We organized a library card design challenge with ImproveSF and the Mayor’s Office of Innovation. At that time, more than 3,500 designs were submitted in five age/grade categories, and then voted on by the public. Five winners were announced and their designs have been turned into Library cards. For the first time ever, in addition to four children’s designs, we also have a design created by an adult artist. We also continue to offer the classic card.

A library card gives borrowing and usage privileges at the Main Library and all branches and provides remote access to the Library's online resources. Library cards are required for checking out materials and for using many library services and materials. Residents of California with identification may obtain a library card for free and, as part of the initiative to provide more access to our users, Library staff will waive the lost card fee and issue a free replacement card through June 2015. Applications are available at the Main Library and all branches and are to be submitted in person. San Francisco residents who are homebound may apply for library cards by mail (residents should first complete an application for homebound services (PDF 37K) and indicate interest in "Books by Mail").

When Your Card Expires

To renew your expired card, present either the original card or current identification with proof of address at any of our libraries and bookmobiles. Once your card is verified, you may use it to borrow materials and access our online resources.
Most San Francisco Public Library cards expire after four years and must be renewed. Having cards expire helps us keep our database current and ensures that all contact information is up to date. The card itself does not need to be replaced, nor is there a fee for renewing your card.