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Library Borrowing Policies

Your library card enables you to borrow items, use DPL’s Special Collections, and access the Internet at any Detroit Public Library location.

Only the person issued  the library card may check out materials and use the Internet with that library card.

Who can borrow library materials?

Detroit Residents

Must show valid proof of one of the following:

  • Residence in Detroit or Highland Park
  • Attend a school located in Detroit or Highland Park with a valid school ID or proof of current enrollment.

Non-Detroit Residents

  • Anyone with a valid Bloomfield Township library card is eligible for a free Detroit Public Library library card.
  • Anyone with a valid library card from a MILibraryCard member library is eligible for a free Detroit Public Library library card.
  • Otherwise, any person not residing in the City of Detroit or attending a school in Detroit may apply for a non-resident library card to borrow materials from any DPL location for an annual fee of $100 per person or household.

Restricted Cards

A restricted card valid for 3 months may be issued to persons residing in Detroit but unable to provide proper proof of residence. A restricted card is good for Internet use. Only two items (no media) may be checked out at any time.  

Friends of DPL

Members of the  Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation joining or renewing at the $150 level are entitled to a free non-resident library card.  Please contact the Friends Foundation office for details.

Company Card

Any company located in Detroit may apply for a company card to borrow materials from the Main Library.  Non-Detroit companies may apply for a non-resident company card  for an annual fee of $100. Requests must be submitted on company letterhead to:

Detroit Public Library
Circulation Department
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

DPL Employees and Volunteers

All  have free borrowing privileges.

How do you get a library card?

Library applications may be obtained at any Detroit Public Library location or downloaded from the library’s website. All applicants must present a completed application and either a valid Michigan Driver’s License, Michigan State Identification Card, Detroit Municipal Identification Card, or current U.S. Passport. Along with the U.S. Passport, verification of residency is required. There is no charge for a resident library card, but there is a $1.00 fee for the replacement of a lost card.

Adult Library Card

Any person 18 years of age or older is eligible to apply for an unrestricted adult library card.

Youth Library Card

Any person under the age of 18 is eligible to apply for a library card. Youth applications require the valid identification and signature of a parent or guardian.  1) A Youth Library Card entitles  using the Internet at Detroit Public Library. Parents and Guardians are responsible for monitoring their children’s access to all library materials and online services. See Internet Use Policy for details.  2) Youth Library Cards cannot check out R and X rated video, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. recordings.

How long is your new library card valid?

Personal library cards are  renewed every two years from the date of  issue.  Non-resident and company cards  renew annually.  Restricted cards can be renewed at DPL’s discretion for another three months.  Address verification is required on restricted cards every three months.

What can you borrow?

  • Library card holders may checkout a maximum of 25 items at any one time including:
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Music scores
  • Picture files
  • English as a second language materials
  • Audiobooks
  • Video Games (Limit:  1)
  • Downloadable e-books (Limit:  10)
  • Downloadable music, video, comics and audiobooks (Limit:  25 per month)
  • Music CDs (Limit: 5)
  • Music or spoken word audio cassettes (Limit: 5)
  • Records
  • Videos (limit: 6  – age appropriate ratings enforced)
  • DVDs (limit: 6  – age appropriate ratings enforced)
  • Blu-Rays (Limit 6 – age appropriate ratings enforced)

Cards issued to MILibraryCard holders are not valid for media.

Library card holders with overdue items are prohibited from checking out materials.  Card holders with lost items and/or fines totaling in excess of $10.00 or fines and/or fees older than one calendar year are prohibited from checking out materials until their library account is returned to good standing.

Can materials be renewed?

The usual borrowing period is three weeks, but some materials may have shorter borrowing periods. Library materials that are not overdue may be renewed in person, by phone, or via the DPL website. Popular items may only be renewed one time and/or at the discretion of DPL, providing there are no holds on the item.  You will be prohibited from  renewing materials if you have overdue items on your account.

Where can you return library materials?

All library materials, with the exception of material from other libraries borrowed through Inter Library Loan, may be returned at any library location. Twenty-four hour drop boxes are available at all locations. Interlibrary Loan materials must be returned to Main Library.

Revised 02/19

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