Library Card and Circulation Policies

Library Cards | Acceptable Photo IDs | Acceptable Proof of Address | Lost or Stolen Library Cards | Adult Library Cards | Youth Library Cards | Youth Library Card Responsibility | Group Cards | Checking Out Items & Limits | Loan Periods & Due Dates | Renewing Items | Returning Items & Transferring Items from Card to Card | Placing Holds | Overdue Charges | Paying Fines | Lost or Damaged Materials | Delinquent Accounts | Interlibrary Loan Service | TexShare Cards | Spanish

 

Library Cards

An Austin Public Library Card lets you check out books, music, DVDs and more from 21 locations in Austin. You can also remotely access online databases and download eBooks, audiobooks, and videos to your computer or tablet through our Virtual Library .

You do not need to be an Austin resident, but you must apply for and renew your card in person.

Apply for a free Library Card at any Austin Public Library by presenting a completed and signed Library Card Application in person. In addition, a valid/acceptable photo ID and proof of current mailing address in the name of the applicant / co-signer will be requested. (Digital proof of address is acceptable)

 

Adult Library Card Application Requirements

  • First and Last Name as they appear on the photo ID
  • Current Mailing Address
  • Birth Date
  • Signature
  • Valid/Acceptable Photo ID Number

Youth Library Card Application Requirements

  • First and Last Name of the Youth Applicant
  • First and Last Name of the Co-Signer as they appear on the photo ID
  • Current Mailing Address of the Co-Signer
  • Birth Date of the Youth Applicant
  • Signature of the Co-Signer
  • Valid/Acceptable Photo ID Number of the Co-Signer

 

Acceptable Photo IDs (APL only accepts the following photo IDs)

  • Texas Drivers License
  • Texas Department of Public Safety ID
  • Temporary Paper Texas Drivers License or Texas Department of Public Safety ID (Only acceptable with additional form of photo ID or if the temporary has a photo on it)
  • Non-Texas State Issued License or ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • International Drivers License
  • Non-US Drivers License or permit
  • Credencial Para Votar ID (Mexico voter registration card)
  • Non-US Consular ID
  • Resident Alien Card
  • Austin Police Department ID
  • Texas Offender ID
  • U.S. Federal Government issued ID with an identifying number.

 

Acceptable Proof of Address (back to top)

  • Driver's license, temporary Texas Driver's license or learner's permit
  • Texas Department of Public Safety ID
  • Personalized check, savings passbook, bank or credit union statement
  • Utility deposit receipt or utility bill
  • Current credit card bill
  • Voter's registration or notarized temporary voter's registration permit
  • Vehicle registration or liability insurance
  • Official rent receipt; rental agreement, contract or lease
  • Mail postmarked within the last 30 days (if none of the above is available)

 

Lost or Stolen Library Cards (back to top)

The Austin Public Library is not responsible for any unauthorized use of a library card. To minimize liability, cardholders have to inform the Austin Public Library immediately if their library card becomes lost or stolen. Reporting the card lost or stolen can be done in person at a location or by calling the Customer Service Office at 512-974-7475. Cardholders are held responsible for any items checked out and any fines incurred by the use of their library card prior to the card being reported lost or stolen.

 

Adult Library Cards (back to top)

Adult library cards are issued to applicants 18 or older. To apply for a new or replacement Adult card, the person whose name is on the account must complete and sign an Adult Library Card Application and present it in person at the circulation desk of any Austin Public Library location along with a valid/acceptable photo ID and proof of current mailing address in their name.

As of November 4, 2013, Adult cards issued / renewed with a Texas mailing address are good for 2 years. Adult cards with a non-Texas mailing address are good for one year. To renew an expired Adult card, the person whose name is on the account must go to an Austin Public Library location and present the card, a valid/acceptable photo ID and proof of current mailing address in their name.

  • Adults applying for a new library card or renewing / replacing an existing card, will need to pay all fines owed on their own account and any accounts they've co-signed for.

 

Youth Library Cards (back to top)

Youth Library Cards are issued to applicants who are under 18 years of age with an adult parent/guardian co-signer present. To apply for a new or replacement Youth card, the adult parent/guardian co-signer must complete and sign a Youth Library Card Application and present it in person at the circulation desk of an Austin Public Library location along with their valid/acceptable photo ID and proof of current mailing address in their name. If the youth is not present when applying for a new card, the parent/guardian is required to present the Social Security Card for the youth applicant.

As of November 4, 2013, Youth cards issued / renewed are good for 2 years, or until the borrower's 18th birthday, whichever occurs sooner. To renew an expired Youth card, the parent or guardian listed on the account must go to an Austin Public Library location and present the card, their valid/acceptable photo ID, and proof of current mailing address in their name.

  • Adults co-signing for a new Youth Library Card or renewing / replacing an existing card, will need to pay all fines owed on their own account and any other accounts they've co-signed for.
  • A child can only have one Youth Library Card account. For split household situations, please contact the Customer Service Office at 512-974-7475.

 

Youth Library Card Responsibility (back to top)

  • By co-signing for a Youth Library Card the adult co-signer is agreeing to be financially responsible for any items checked out and any type of fees incurred by the use of the card.
  • Only one adult parent / guardian can co-sign and be listed as the responsible party on a Youth Library Card account.
  • If a different adult wants to co-sign for a child that has an existing account, that adult would need to decide to take over responsibility for the existing account. This requires the adult to fill out an application for the child in care/of themselves and any existing fines owed would need to be paid at that time.  

 

Group Cards (back to top)

The Austin Public Library offers special Group Library Cards for use by educational and service groups, such as public, home and private schools, hospitals, day care centers, group homes, or nursing homes.

Group Cards are used to checkout material for the institution, not for personal use.

The Group Card is issued in the name of an individual. That individual is legally responsible for items checked out on the card regardless of any agreements he/she may have with the school or institution involved.

The individual applying for the Group Card must complete a Group Card Application at any Austin Public Library location and show proof of current employment / affiliation with the institution that the card will be used for. A letter from the director, coordinator or principal of the institution, or a recent pay stub is acceptable current proof of employment / affiliation. Applicants who home school will have to present a letter stating that they home school. (Digital proof of current employment/affiliation is acceptable)

Group cards are good for one year. To renew an expired Group card, proof of current employment or affiliation with the institute is required. (Digital proof of current employment/affiliation is acceptable)

Adults applying for a new Group Card or renewing / replacing an existing card, will need to pay all fines owed on their own account and any accounts they've co-signed for.

Benefits include a 6-week loan period for books and CDs. (DVDs / Blu-Ray have a 3-week loan period) With the exception of DVDs / Blu-Ray, items on Group Cards can’t be renewed.

For additional information and requirements, please ask at any Library location or call 512-974-7475, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

 

Checking Out Items & Limits (back to top)

A valid Austin Public Library Card is required to borrow materials. The actual Library Card, or the photo ID used to sign up for the card, must be presented in order to check out physical materials. Library materials may not be checked out to an account if there are overdue items currently checked out, fees exceeding $10, the account is expired, or if the account has been referred to a collection agency.

Physical materials: A maximum of 50 items can be checked out to a Library card at one time, excluding eBooks. There are limits on the following types of items:

  • CDs and Recordings - Limit of 20 items per Library Card
  • DVDs and Blu-Ray - Limit of 5 Adult Collection per Library Card and 5 Juvenile Collection per Library Card

Downloadable eBooks, Audiobooks & Videos: Limit of 5 items per Library Card.

 

Loan Periods & Due Dates (back to top)

Physical Materials - Books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, Playaways, LPs, Maps

3 weeks, two renewals (unless another customer has placed a hold on the item)

Laptops (for use in the library at select locations once the requirements are met)

2 hours, no renewals

Physical Material Due Dates

Due dates for new checkouts and renewals will not exceed the account expiration date. When items are renewed, the new due date is calculated from the date of the renewal. Library materials are not due on holiday closure dates, but overdue fines do accrue during holiday closures and days that the library may be closed.

Downloadable eBooks & Audiobooks

7, 14 or 21 days depending on Overdrive account settings

Downloadable Videos 3, 5 or 7 days depending on Overdrive account settings

 

Renewing Items (back to top)

When items are renewed, the new due date is calculated from the date of the renewal and due dates will not exceed the account expiration date.

Austin Public Library materials may be renewed twice, except for items that have holds placed on them by other customers and items checked out for 6 weeks on Group Cards. Eligible items may be renewed online by logging into the account through My APL as long as the account is not expired and doesn't owe over $10 in library fines or estimated fines on unreturned items. The library card number and associated PIN/PASSWORD are required for this service.

Eligible items can also be renewed over the phone by calling the Customer Service Office at 512-974-7475, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

 

Returning Items & Transferring Items from Card to Card (back to top)

Austin Public Library materials can be returned to any Austin Public Library location. APL materials will be checked in at the return location and sent back to the owning location. Return slots / boxes are open after hours and during holiday closures. 

As of December 15, 2013 - In order for Austin Public Library materials to be transferred from one card to another, the items have to be presented in person to staff and checked in. If there aren't any holds on the items, they can be checked out by the returning party.

 

Placing Holds (back to top)

Circulating items can have holds placed on them and they can be sent to a specified Austin Public Library location for pickup. There is a 5 hold limit on a valid Austin Public Library card at one time.

Holds can be placed through the online Web Catalog using the library card number and the associated PIN/PASSWORD as long as the account isn’t expired and has less than $10.01 total in library fines or estimated fines on unreturned items on the account. Estimated charges are the charges a customer can expect to pay if the unreturned overdue items were returned that day.

Holds not picked up or not canceled within the 10 calendar day hold period will be assessed a $1.00 fee per item. This policy was implemented to decrease the high number of unclaimed holds and the wait time for Library materials.

If the account the hold is placed on has a valid email address, an email notification will be sent when the item is available at the specified pickup location. To ensure our emails go to your inbox rather than a spam or junk folder, we strongly recommend that you add our notification email address to your Contacts: sirsi@austintexas.gov If there isn't an email address on the account, the notification will be sent through the U.S. Mail.

 

Overdue Charges (back to top)

Library materials are not due on dates the Library is closed for holidays, but overdue fines do accrue during holiday closures and days the Library may be closed.

Adult – Books, CDs, Playaways, LPs, Maps, Kits, USBs, DVDs, Blu-Ray

$ .25 per day / per item

$10 maximum / per item

Juvenile – Books, CDs, Playaways, LPs, Maps, DVDs, Blu-Ray

$.05 per day / per item

$5 maximum / per item

Kill A Watt Energy Detector and Digital Hose Water Meter

$.25 per day / per item

$10 maximum / per item

Holds not picked up or not canceled within the 10 calendar day hold period

$1 per item

 

Laptops

$20 per overdue hour

$1500 replacement fee plus $150 recovery fee if the laptop is lost

 

Paying Fines (back to top)

  • Fines can be paid in person at any Austin Public Library location (except Recycled Reads) with:
    • Cash
    • Credit/Debit Card
    • Personal Checks (for the exact amount)
    • Money Orders
    • Traveler's Checks
  • Credit Card payments over the phone at 512-974-7475
  • Payments can be mailed to:

          Austin Public Library Customer Service Office
          P.O. Box 2287
          Austin, TX 78768-2287

 

Lost or Damaged Materials (back to top)

Charges for lost or irreparably damaged items include the cost of replacing the item plus a $10 non-refundable service charge per item.

The Austin Public Library does not accept replacement copies for lost or damaged items.

Refunds are only eligible for up to 1 year from the ‘Date Billed’ for LOST items that have been paid for in full. In order to receive a refund, you must present the item and a receipt showing payment in full. If you have lost your receipt, a refund will only be issued if record of payment in full is found in the Library system. Fees for missing audio/visual pieces (MEDIARPL) are non-refundable. 

 

Delinquent Accounts (back to top)

The Austin Public Library has contracted with a collection agency to assist in recovering non-returned library material and unpaid fines. Unreturned materials and/or unpaid fines 56 days or more past due will be submitted to Unique Management Services and a service charge of $10.00 will be added to the balance. Unique Management will forward seriously overdue accounts to national credit reporting agencies.

 

Interlibrary Loan Service (back to top)

Some books not available in the Austin Public Library system may be obtained from other library systems using the Interlibrary Loan service. For more information, please visit the Interlibrary Loan page or contact a Reference Librarian online through Ask a Librarian or by calling 512-974-7400 (option 1).

 

TexShare Cards (back to top)

Austin Public Library cardholders who have had their library card for at least 6 months and are in good standing are eligible to apply in person at any Austin Public Library location for a TexShare Card to borrow materials at other participating library systems.

APL cardholders will need to present their Austin Public Library Card along with their photo ID and proof of address in order to apply for a TexShare Card. Cardholders will need to fill out a TexShare Agreement Form and will receive the TexShare Card in the U.S. Mail in 7 – 10 days. The TexShare Card will be good for 1 year.

An APL customer who uses a TexShare Card to obtain library privileges at another library will be required to observe and abide by all the regulations and policies of the lending library.

The TexShare cardholder will assume responsibility for all items checked out on and all library fees (including collections fees) incurred by the use of the TexShare Card.

For more information go to the TexShare Card Program website, or call (512) 974-7400, Monday - Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Information provided on this Web page is subject to change through action of the Austin City Council or the Austin Public Library.

For problems regarding your library card, please email circ.link@austintexas.gov or call the Customer Service Office at 512-974-7475.