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  • Getting a Library Card

    Your Santa Monica Public Library card is the gateway to borrowing Library materials, placing holds on items in our Library catalog, accessing premium research databases, reserving Library study rooms, and exploring the World Wide Web on one of the Library's Internet-enabled PCs. 

    Santa Monica residents may apply for a free library card at one of our five locations: Main LibraryFairviewMontana, Ocean Park Branch, or Pico Branch. California residents not residing in Santa Monica must pay a $25.00 annual fee when applying for or renewing a library card.

    California residents who are applying for a new card will need to complete a Library Card Application (versión Española) and present a valid photo ID along with proof of a current California residential address.

  • Acceptable Forms of Identification

    Customers will get a library card upon filling out the application and presenting one of the following valid forms of ID:

    • California ID with their current street address
    • Consular card with their current street address
    • Middle school or high school photo ID

    Customers who do not have one of the above must present separate valid forms of photo ID and current California street address: 

    A. Valid forms of photo ID:

    • California ID with a PO Box or former street address
    • Out-of-state DMV Photo ID
    • Government-issued Passport
    • Government-issued Permanent US Resident Card (Green Card)
    • Consular card without current street address
    • Military Photo ID
    • College or university Photo ID

    B. Valid forms of verification of current California street address:

    • Valid auto registration
    • Proof of current auto insurance
    • Bank statement issued within the past 90 days
    • Credit card bill issued within the past 90 days
    • Rent receipt issued within the past 90 days
    • Utility bill issued within the past 90 days
    • A current lease issued within the last year.
    • Valid Voter registration card or pre-printed voter balloting materials

    NOTE: Photocopied documents are not acceptable as forms of photo ID or proof of residency.

    Types of Cards

    Category Age Eligibility Term Bill Threshold Borrowing Limit Details
    Adult 19+ 1 year $5 50 Adult cards in good standing can be used to borrow materials, reserve study rooms at the Main Library, and use Internet-enabled workstations at any of our five locations. Adult cards must be renewed every year.  Adult cards will automatically be blocked if the amount of fines and fees associated with the account reaches $5.
    Teen 12-18 1 year $5 50 This card is identical to the (Adult) Library Card, but also allows the patron to use Internet workstations in our Teen area.  Teen cards must be renewed every year. Teen cards will automatically convert to Adult cards within 30 days of the Teen's 19th birthday.
    Juvenile 0-11 1 year $5 50 Children in grades 5 or under are eligible for a Juvenile Library card.  Juvenile cards will automatically be blocked if the amount of fines and fees associated with the account reaches $5.  Completed Library Card Applications for children must be signed by a parent or legal guardian and both the child and the parent/guardian must be present at the time of application.  Parents are asked to familiarize themselves with the Library Information for Parents Handout (Spanish version) which reviews issues concerning privacy and the child’s account. Juvenile cards must be renewed every year.

    NOTE: A valid photo ID must be presented in order to renew one's card.  Any outstanding account balance must be cleared prior to renewal.

    Who May Use Your Library Card

    Any person in possession of your card may use the card to checkout items from the Library. Keep your card safe and be aware that you are responsible for everything that is checked out on your account. Notify the Library immediately if your card is lost or stolen.

    Persons who wish to use the Library's Internet-enabled PCs must be in possession of their own valid Library card. Cards cannot be borrowed or shared amongst users for the purpose of using these workstations.

    Renewing Your Library Card

    Library cards must be renewed annually to ensure that the contact information that we have on file is accurate and current. You will need to present a valid photo ID at one of our five locations (Main Library, Fairview, Montana, Ocean Park, or Pico) in order to extend your registration for another term.

    Patrons with outstanding fines or fees on their account are required to pay their outstanding balance in full in order to renew their library privilege. California residents not residing in Santa Monica must pay a $25.00 annual fee when renewing a library card. 

    To keep our records current, we ask you to notify us when you move and to re-verify your address with suitable documentation.

    Lost and Stolen Cards

    Notify any Santa Monica Public Library location by phone or in person as soon as you notice your card has been lost or stolen so that we can block anyone else from using it. We will not hold you responsible for items that are checked out after you reported your card was lost or stolen, but you will be responsible for items checked out before that.

    Stolen cards will be replaced at no charge when the patron presents a valid police theft report documenting the event. Cards that are damaged or worn to the point that they can no longer be read will also be replaced at no charge.

    Lost Card Replacement Fee Schedule

    (Adult)Library Card One free replacement, then $2 per incident
    Teen Library Card One free replacement, then $2 per incident
    Juvenile Library Card Two free replacements, then $1 per incident

    Privacy of Patron Records

    In keeping with the American Library Association's Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records and Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information About Library Users and State of California Government Code Section 6267, Santa Monica Public Library staff will not respond to any informal request by a third party for personally identifiable information about any library user.

    Personally identifiable information may be released only to a law enforcement agency after presentation of an order by a court of competent jurisdiction issued in proper form (a court issued subpoena or search warrant) and/or under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Under some circumstances librarians may be forbidden to disclose that certain records have been requested or obtained.

    Except in cases of lost/stolen items or substantial unpaid fines, where we may use a collection agency, credit bureau, or law enforcement, client records will never be shared with private companies.

    Library staff will collect only the information needed to contact library users, such as mailing address, email address, phone number, etc., in order to ensure the proper notification, lending, and return of library materials and the collection of fines. Records will be retained for the shortest length of time necessary to facilitate library operations.

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