Library Cards and Circulation Policies

Who can borrow library materials?

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

Detroit Residents

To borrow materials from the Detroit Public Library or Library on Wheels, a person must show proof of one of the following:

  • Residence in Detroit
  • Attend a Detroit school with a valid school ID

Non-Detroit Residents

Any person who does not reside in the City of Detroit or attend a school in Detroit, may apply for a non-resident card to borrow materials from any DPL location for an annual fee of $100 per person or household.

Restricted cards

A restricted card may be issued to persons who reside in Detroit but are 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. Address verification is required on restricted cards every three months.

Friends of DPL

Members of the Friends of DPL, who join or renew at the $150 level are entitled to a free non-resident card. Please contact the Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation office for details.

Company Card

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

Circulation Department
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI  48202

DPL Employees and Volunteers

All Detroit Public Library employees have free borrowing privileges.

What can you borrow?

Library cardholders may borrow a total of 25 items at a time including

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Music scores
  • Picture files
  • English as a Second Language materials
  • Music CDs
  • Music or spoken word audio cassettes
  • Records
  • Videos (limit 6 videos, age appropriate ratings enforced)
  • DVDs (limit 6 DVDs, age appropriate ratings enforced)
  • Audiobooks
  • Video games (limit 1)
  • Downloadable e-Books (limit 4)
  • Downloadable music, video, comics, audiobooks (limit 10 per month)

New applicants may borrow a total of 2 items at a time until they receive their permanent library card.

Can materials be renewed?

The usual borrowing period is 3 weeks, but some materials may have shorter borrowing periods. Library materials may be renewed in person or by phone. Popular items may only be renewed one time, providing there are no holds on the item. You will be prohibited from checking out materials if you have overdue items on your account.

Where can you return library materials?

With the exception of videos, DVDs, music CDs and cassettes, all library materials may be returned to any library location. 24-hour drop boxes are available at each branch location. Videos, DVDs, music CDs and cassettes must be returned to the originating library.

How do you obtain a library card?

All applicants may obtain an application at any Detroit Public Library location or download an application.

All applicants must present a completed application and either a valid Michigan driver's license, Michigan State 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

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

Juvenile Library Card

Any person under age 18 is eligible to apply for a library card. Youth applications require the valid identification and signature of a parent or guardian. Please note that a library card entitles youth to use the Internet at the Detroit Public Library. Parents and guardians are responsible for monitoring their children's access to all library materials and online services.

How long is a library card valid?

New personal library cards are valid for 2 years from the date of your birthday. Non-resident and company cards expire annually.

Fees and Fines

Catalog & Database Search

Catalog Search
Search books, movies, games and other library materials.

Database Search
Search newspaper, magazine and journal articles.

Catalog Search 

Advanced Search »


Database Search


Popular Books


Today: January 21, 2018
Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 2:00pm
Learn some basic Martial Arts self- defense moves with Sensei Harris, a 5th degree black belt...
Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 2:00pm
It's National Granola Bar Day! Who knew there was such a thing? Learn all kinds of stuff at the...
Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 2:00pm
Join this fascinating lecture and discussion with Dr. John Aerni-Flessner, assistant professor of...
Monday, January 22, 2018 - 10:30am
The goal of this class is to teach intermediate skills for Windows PC’s and Microsoft Word, Excel,...
Syndicate content

Special Services

Resources for making career decisions, strategizing your job search, and finding job listings are available in the Technology, Literacy and Career (TLC) Center at the Main Library.

Services for the blind, the visually handicapped, the physically handicapped, or reading disabled.

Learn to read or improve your reading skills at Main Library or the Parkman Branch. Join the Detroit Public Library’s literacy campaign Detroit Reads!

Welcome to HYPE, the Detroit Public Library's Teen Center.

Library On Wheels (LOW) brings books and other reading materials, audiocassettes and information to Detroit's seniors and schools.

The Detroit Public Library now subscribes to OverDrive Digital Media, which provides access to eBooks and audiobooks on a wide variety of portable devices and e-readers.