Reference Materials in the Library

A wide variety of materials may be requested at Paging and Reference Desks for use within the Library (these are "Reference" or LIBRARY USE ONLY items). To maintain the collection for the enjoyment of patrons, SFPL requires those wishing to use LIBRARY USE ONLY or "Reference" materials from Paging and Reference Desks to deposit one of the following cards, which will be returned upon the intact return of library materials:

  • Current San Francisco Public Library card (Some reference materials may have additional photo ID requirements to be taken from the desk)

  • Current San Francisco City ID

  • Current California State ID

  • Current California Driver License

  • Current out-of-state Driver License

  • Current military ID

  • Current school-issued ID (student or faculty)

Identification that is not acceptable includes:

  • Alien registration card

  • Bank or ATM card

  • Consular ID

  • Credit card

  • Employee ID**

  • International driver license**

  • Library card from another California library

  • Medi-Cal or health insurance ID

  • Passport (U.S. or other)**

  • Personal items (e.g. cash, keys, MUNI Fast Pass or BART ticket)

  • Social Security card

Library users without acceptable ID at the Main Library may use one reference item at a time at the designated table near the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floor Reference Desks and Page Desks, or the SF History reference desk. Please check with a librarian before taking material to the copier.

Certain collections are to be used only at designated desk locations, regardless of I.D.

** Due to their controlled environments, the San Francisco History and Book Arts & Special Collections Centers will accept current international driver licenses, passports and employee ID from San Francisco city departments.

Library users, please make sure you have received your correct ID when you return reference materials.