A woman and a man laughing as they through bookshelves.

Get a Library Card

A library card allows you to:

  • Check out, download or stream materials
  • Use a public computer at any branch and access many other in-branch services
  • Borrow video game players and other electronic devices
  • Manage your account from home or on the go, including placing holds, renewing items, accessing online databases and making online payments

Register In Person or Online

Baltimore County residents can register for a free Baltimore County Public Library card in person or online.

  • In Person: For a permanent card with full library privileges, visit the Service Desk at any branch and bring a current photo ID
  • Online: For an e-card with limited privileges, register online. An e-card allows you to place holds on materials and use online research databases and other selected resources. Downloadable materials from cloudLibrary or RBDigital are not available with an e-card. A permanent card is recommended for full access to all materials and services

A current photo ID is all that is required to get a permanent library card. Accepted forms of ID include:

  • Maryland Vehicle Administration-issued ID: driver's license, State-issued ID
  • Government-issued ID: U.S. passport, military ID, Department of Corrections photo ID
  • Employer-issued ID
  • School-issued photo ID: public school or Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) One-card, private school, college or university
  • Bank-issued photo ID: credit and debit cards
  • Shelter photo ID

Unaccepted IDs include shopping club cards (e.g., Costco, Sam’s Club) and check-cashing cards.

Cards for Children and Teens

Ages 14 and older can apply for their own card if they have a current photo ID, such as a current Maryland driver's license or learner's permit, provisional license or school-issued photo ID. Otherwise, a parent or guardian 18 years or older must accompany them and present a current photo ID and sign the library card.

Ages 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian 18 years or older to apply for a library card. The parent or guardian must show a current photo ID and sign the card to accept responsibility for materials borrowed or any charges incurred on a child's card. 

BCPS students can borrow library materials and get access to online databases and collections through their BCPS Student Account. No application or parent signature is required. A student may have both a Student Account and a regular library card. Learn more about Student Accounts.

The guardian—including grandparents, aunts and uncles, adult siblings and foster parents—must live at the same address and be at least 18 years old. The guardian must show a current photo ID that matches the child's address and must sign the child's card. For children in group homes, verification of identity and address by the staff of the home is acceptable.

Permission and a signature from a parent or guardian is required at the time of registration in order for children to use their library cards to check out any DVDs and video games that are not rated for children. If the parent or guardian does not sign and authorize permission, only DVDs and video games for children may be borrowed.

Registration Forms in Other Languages

Registration forms are also available in Korean (PDF), Russian (PDF) and Spanish (PDF). Complete the form and take it to your branch to get a library card.

Renewing Your Library Card

An active card in good standing does not need to be renewed. Inactive library cards expire after a few years. If your card expires, visit the Service Desk at any branch with a current photo ID to apply for a new one.

Lost or Damaged Library Cards

If your library card is lost or stolen, report it immediately by visiting or calling (press 3 for Service Desk) any branch. You are responsible for any items checked out on your library card before the card is reported lost or stolen.

To get a replacement card, visit any branch and show a current photo ID at the Accounts Desk. The replacement cost for a lost library card is $2.

Holds on titles will automatically transfer to your new card, except for downloadable e-books and audiobooks.

If you have placed holds or checked out OverDrive or cloudLibrary downloadable titles, complete a Support Request form to request transfer of your checked out titles and holds to your new account. Please include your new library card number, your old card number and the email address used when placing the holds. It is best to delay getting a new card if you are in the middle of reading any cloudLibrary titles or have titles on hold.

Not a Baltimore County Resident?

No problem. Find out how to register your card from another Maryland library or get an out-of-state library card.

To use a library card from another Maryland public library system, register it at any branch Service Desk or Mobile Library Services bookmobile stop. A current photo ID is required.

Once registered, you may borrow library materials or use subscription research databases. Access to titles in our OverDrive and RBdigital collections will not be available.

A new library card may be issued if your current card's identification number is not compatible with our circulation system. Online registration of another public library's card is not available.

Out-of-state library cards are available for the following:

  • Non-Maryland residents with a current photo ID. An annual fee of $50 applies
  • Students with a current Maryland school ID whose permanent residence is out-of-state
  • Maryland property owners who live out-of-state and can provide a copy of a current Maryland property tax bill

All out-of-state library cards expire one year from registration.