FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I get a library card?
All Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County residents are entitled to a free library card. To receive a City Library card, you must visit a City Library location with the information listed here:Official photo ID with name, birth date, and current Salt Lake County address is required for either a Basic or an Expanded Library Card.
An official and current piece of mail, such as a utility or credit card bill, may be used along with photo ID to provide the correct residential address.
An Introductory Card, with a four-week expiration date, may be issued using photo ID that lacks a current address. A second form of ID with the correct residential address must be presented prior to the expiration date; a patron may then choose either the Basic or Expanded option. A library card is issued on the spot and can be used immediately. Patrons under the age of 18 must obtain a parent's or legal guardian's consent.
What are the different types of library cards? What is the difference between Introductory, Basic, and Expanded cards?
The City Library offers several types of library cards based on your address and check-out needs. You may only have one card at any given time. (See "How do I get a library card?" for requirements.)
You may check out up to 13 items with a limit of 3 CDs and 3 DVDs. An Introductory card expires four weeks from when it is issued. Official proof of residency in Salt Lake County is required to upgrade to Basic or Expanded card.
You may check out up to 13 items with a limit of 3 CDs and 3 DVDs. A Basic card does not expire. Official proof of residency in Salt Lake County is required for a Basic Card. A Basic card is a good option for people who wish to limit the amount of items they are responsible for. Parents can select this option for their children.
You may check out up to 100 items with a limit of 30 CDs and 10 DVDs. An Expanded card does not expire. Official proof of residency in Salt Lake County is required for an Expanded Card.
Businesses, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies within the legal boundaries of Salt Lake City may apply for an Organizational card with The City Library. These groups agree to be responsible for all items checked out by anyone using the card. An Organizational card is a good option for businesses whose employees live outside Salt Lake County but wish to check out City Library materials. Applications are available at all City Library locations.
An Internet card allows you to use The City Library's public computers but does not allow you to check out materials. Anyone with current photo ID can get an Internet card, regardless of address. An Internet card is a good option for people visiting Salt Lake City or for residents who don't wish to be responsible for library materials.
What is a PIN and how do I get one?
A PIN is a four digit personal identification number. It is a security code for using your library card online, and it is necessary to enter when logging into any of our public PCs or your library account online.
If you received your library card before December 15, 2011 then your default PIN number should be the last 4 digits of the phone number you have on record with the library. If you received your card after December 27, 2011 you should have been asked to supply a PIN at the time you signed up for your card.
If you don't have a PIN, or don't remember what it is, call 801-524-8200 with your library card number and birth date ready, or come in to any City Library location with your library card or valid photo ID.
How long do my items check out for (i.e., loan periods)?
The City Library has two check-out periods based on the type of material you are borrowing.
- Music CDs
- DVDs (exluding Children’s and Feature Films)
- Art Prints
- Language Learning Resources
- Literacy Kits
- Children’s and Feature Film DVDs
- Lucky Day Collection
A few items, like Book Club Kits, have special checkout periods and are marked with their loan rules.
What should I do if I lose my library card?
If you have lost your library card, please contact The City Library right away. You can call us at 801-524-8200 or walk in to any City Library location. You are responsible for all materials checked out on your library card, so treat it as you would a credit card. Once the lost card is cancelled, a new card may be obtained with photo ID.
Where can I return my items?
Any items checked out from a City Library may be returned to any City Library location. Book drops are located at all City Library locations as a convenience for patrons to return materials. The City Library is not responsible for items left in book drops. The City Library does not accept returns of Salt Lake County Library materials, and the Salt Lake County Library does not accept returns of City Library materials.
How do I renew my items? How many times can I renew them?
To renew your materials, please log in to your "My SLCPL" account, navigate to your "Items Checked Out" section, check the boxes next to the items you wish to renew and press the green "Renew" button. You may also renew materials over the phone by calling The City Library at 801-524-8200.
Most materials can be renewed for up to three additional loan periods. Items on reserve for others may not be renewed. (See "How long do my items check out for (i.e., loan periods)?" for more information about loan periods.)
How much are overdue and lost item fines?
Overdue Fines for All Materials except DVDs/Videos
· 20 cents per day per item
· Maximum fine of $6.00 per item per loan period
Overdue Fines for DVDs/Videos
· 50 cents per day per item
· Maximum fine of $10.00 per item per loan period
· Non-Salt Lake County residents may purchase a library card for $80.00 per year
· Damaged items, if repairable, are charged a $2.00 fee
· Lost or non-repairable items are charged the cost of the item plus $3.00
· Returned checks are charged a $10.00 fee
· Lost large art print folders are charged a $35.00 replacement cost
Can I get a City Library card if I don't live in Salt Lake City?
Anybody with proof of address in Salt Lake County can receive a free City Library card. If you live outside of Salt Lake County, you may purchase a City Library card for $80.00 per year ($20 for three months; $10 for one month). The purchase of a non-county card allows any other residents of your household to also receive a card. All other rules for obtaining a City Library card apply to those living outside Salt Lake County.
Is The City Library closed on holidays?
For a complete list of upcoming holiday closures, click
All City Libraries are closed on the following annual holidays:
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King. Jr. Day
Day after Thanksgiving
All City Libraries close at 6pm the day before Thanksgiving Day and on New Year's Eve.
What is "My Easel"?
MyEasel (on our Kids page) is a web application designed to spark the creativity of Salt Lake City. MyEasel is an intuitive and simple collage program intended for children. Every few days, The City Library will update MyEasel with a new prompt, asking kids to create new pictures of their favorite food, animals, people, and more. Kids can save their creations on their computer and email them to friends and family. The latest MyEasel creations are featured in a gallery at the top of the application.
Teens and adults can get in on the fun, as well! Creative-types are invited to create new picture elements and submit them to The City Library through the LibLab. The City Library will review submitted picture elements and add the very best to the MyEasel image libraries, giving kids even more shapes to play with.
How can I give The City Library feedback?
The City Library only gets better through the feedback we receive from the people who use our services. Please let us know your thoughts by filling out our Online Contact Form.
How can I book or rent a meeting room at The City Library?
The City Library offers meeting rooms for community use at all locations. To use a meeting room at one of our neighborhood branch locations, please contact the branch directly. (Visit the Locations and Hours page for contact information.)
To reserve a meeting room at the Main Library, please visit our Meeting Room Reservation page to submit your application.
Can The City Library email me when my items are due?
The City Library can send you an email (or SMS text message alert, if you prefer) a couple days from when your items are due back, helping you avoid overdue fines. You can modify your Contact Preferences by logging into your Library Patron account and updating the "Contact Information and Preferences" section, or by speaking with a librarian at any City Library location. You can change your email address in your catalog account at any time.
How can I show my art at a City Library location?
The City Library sponsors art exhibits throughout the system as a source of ideas and inspiration that support and advance our mission. Exhibits are chosen by a staff committee according to the needs and interests of the community, the variety of shows, the artistic quality of the works, and the suitability of format for each library’s physical space. Artists interested in exhibiting are invited to submit a portfolio to the City Library location where they most prefer to exhibit. Portfolios should be submitted within the two-week period prior to the following deadlines: April 10 and October 10.
For full information, please visit our Art Exhibit Call for Entries page.
I own property in Salt Lake County but I live outside the County; may I get a free City Library card?
Yes, you will need to present your property tax statement and the card will expire annually for updated proof of property ownership. All other rules for obtaining a card will apply.
How do I let the Library know I have moved or changed my phone number?
Let us know in person at any City Library location, by calling us at 801-524-8200, or by using our Online Contact Form.
What should I do if I returned a DVD or CD case and forgot to put the disc in it?
When any DVD or CD is returned to The City Library, we check the case to make sure that the discs are undamaged and in the correct case. If you forgot to include the disc in the case, please bring the disc to any City Library location, and we will see that the disc is put in the correct case. If the disc is returned undamaged and by its due date, there will be no fees.
What should I do if I lose or damage an item owned by The City Library?
Over the course of being a City Library user, you may end up damaging or losing a book, CD, or DVD. We understand that accidents happen to all of us. If you lose or damage an item checked out on your library card, you will be charged the replacement cost for the item, plus a $3 processing fee. Please call The City Library (801-524-8200) or talk to a librarian at any City Library location to report the item lost or damaged. You can pay your fees at any City Library location. If you find an item that you have already paid the replacement cost for, you may receive a refund of all but the processing fee.
Why isn't my library card working? Why can't I place a hold?
There are a few situations where your library card will no longer be able to place holds, check out items, use the online resource databases, or other functions. To find out the specific reason for your card, please contact The City Library at 801-524-8200 or visit any City Library location.
Possible causes for your card not working:
- If your account has more than $25 of total fees, you may not be able to place holds, use our online resource databases, check out items, and perform other functions at the library. A staff member at any City Library location is happy to set up a payment plan to allow you to check out more items while paying off these fees.
- If the address on your library card account is not up-to-date, your card may stop working.
- If you have a conditional card (out-of-county card, for example), your privileges may have expired.
Does The City Library have a document scanner I can use?
Yes, The City Library has a few computers in the Main Library's Technology Center that have access to scanners. The Main Library is the only location with this service.
My child attends high school in Salt Lake City but we live outside of Salt Lake County. Must I purchase a card so that she can check out City Library materials?
Children attending Salt Lake City schools (K-12) may obtain a City Library card for free. Proof of attendance must be provided annually. In this case, free cards are only available to students; those living outside Salt Lake County who aren't K-12 students can purchase a City Library card for $80 per year. (See "Can I get a library card if I don't live in Salt Lake City?" for full information.)
Does The City Library have color printers or copiers?
The City Library does not currently provide color copiers or printers for public use.
Does The City Library have a public fax machine?
No, The City Library does not have a fax machine for public use.
How do I use The City Library's public computers?
All City Library locations have computers for public use. All public computers have Internet access and the Open Office suite of programs. At least one computer at each City Library location has access to the Microsoft Office suite of programs.
Anyone with a City Library card can use our public computers. If you do not have a City Library card and do not living in Salt Lake County, you may get an Internet Card by showing photo ID to a library staff member.
The City Library uses a reservation system to ensure equitable use of our public computers. If you approach a computer that says "Available" in green, you may use the computer right away. If the computer says "Reserved," it is not available for you to use. You may place a reservation for a computer using the Reservation and Print Release Station at any City Library location. (The Main Library has Reservation and Print Release Stations on all floors.) Once you place a reservation, you will receive a receipt identifying the computer that is reserved for you and the time it will be available. If you do not log in to the computer within five minutes of the assigned time, your reservation will be cancelled. This will count as one of your computer sessions for the day.
Each day, you are entitled to two sessions on The City Library's public computers. Each session may last up to one hour. If you log in to a computer and log out before one hour has passed, you have used one session.
For additional clarification on using computers at The City Library, please call us at 801-524-8200 or visit any City Library location.
Can I print from City Library computers?
All public computers at The City Library are connected to a printer. Printing is 10 cents per page and only available in black-and-white (no color printing is available).
Every cardholder receives $1.00 in free printing each month (10 free pages a month). If you do not use your $1.00 credit in a given month, the remaining amount does not transfer to the next month.
When you set a document to print, the print job is sent to the Reservation and Print Release Station in that location. To finish printing your document, you must log-in to the Print Release Station and select your item to print. Any items you do not select to print will be removed from your print queue.
How do I create a Flickr Set as a portfolio for my City Library Art Exhibit Submission?
The City Library now accepts electronic submissions to our semi-annual Art Exhibit Call for Entries. Part of the electronic submission is to create a Set on Flickr where City Library staff can review your artwork.
How to create a Flickr Set as a portfolio for consideration:
1. You must have a Flickr account to create a Flickr Set. Accounts are free and can be created by clicking "Create Your Account" at flickr.com.
2. Once logged in to Flickr, upload your images clicking "Upload Photos & Video" and following the instructions. Each item must be given a description that includes the title of the piece, medium, and size.
3. To create your Set, click on "Organize & Create" at the top of the page to access Flickr's Organizr. In the Organizr, click the "Sets" tab, then click "Create a New Set" directly below the tab.
4. Your images are available at the bottom of the page. Click-and-drag the items you wish to include in your set from the bottom of the page to the middle of the page. Once dragged to the middle of the page, you can reorganize the images by dragging them to a new location or remove them by dragging them to the bottom of the page.
5. Give your Set a name and description on the left side of the page. When done, click "Save" in the lower-left corner of the page.
6. In order to share the Flickr Set with the library, return to your Photostream and select the proper set from the right-hand column. When viewing the set, copy the URL from your browser's address bar or click "Share This" then "Grab the Link" from the right side of the screen. Paste the link into the proper field in the library's Art Exhibit Online Submission Form.
Click here for full information about the Art Exhibit Call for Entries and to access the electronic submission form.
What is Library Elf?
The City Library now subscribes to Library Elf, a virtual assistant to help busy library users keep track of when their items are due and when their holds are ready to pick up. A perfect solution for families with multiple library cards, Library Elf allows users to consolidate their accounts to see all the materials checked out, due, and on hold on several cards.
Library Elf keeps you connected with text message, email, or RSS alerts when your items are due or when your holds are ready to pick up (or about to expire). To sign up or learn more about Library Elf, visit libraryelf.com.
The City Library subscribes to Library Elf, so anyone with a City Library card can take advantage of premium services free of charge.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Frequently Asked Questions
What is Interlibrary loan?
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the process of borrowing materials from libraries across the nation and making those materials available for your use. It is used for materials not owned by the library and that fall outside the scope of our collections. Most commonly requested items are out of print book titles. The City Library is pleased to provide this service at no or minimal cost to our patrons.
Check Our Collection
Materials Selection Policy
What can I request through InterLibrary Loan?
The City Library does not lend audiovisual material or books published in the last twelve months therefore we do not borrow these items from other institutions. As a general rule, The City Library does not request materials that are available from the Salt Lake County or Murray Public Libraries.
How do I submit an ILL request?
To request an item through ILL, please email full information about your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your library card information, contact information, and specific details about the item you would like.
Patrons who do not have a computer or an email account may call the ILL department at 801-322-8143. Five requests may be submitted at a time and no more than ten requests should be in process for a patron at any given time.
How much will it cost?
The City Library will always search for free lenders first. Some libraries charge a processing, shipping, and handling fee, ranging from $10.00 to $25.00. Patrons with accounts that have been sent to a collection agency need to settle their account before submitting a request.
How long will it take?
Interlibrary loan staff will request an item, from up to fifteen institutions if necessary and available. This process takes approximately 2 to 6 weeks. Patrons will be notified that their materials have arrived by either email or telephone.
How long may I have a book?
The initial loan period for your ILL item depends on the institution the item is borrowed from (often 2 to 4 weeks).
Patrons may request renewals by calling 801-322-8143. Please make your renewal request a minimum of 4 days prior to the item due date. Because we must honor loan periods set by the loaning institution, some renewal requests may be denied.
What else should I know?
The City Library complies with federal copyright law and guidelines established by CONTU (the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works).
What is the Community Exploration Card?
About the Community Exploration Card
The City Library opens doors to the community with the Community Exploration Card! Library cardholders can visit a number of Salt Lake City’s cultural centers for free by checking out a card from any branch of The City Library. With the Community Exploration Card, four people will be admitted to Discovery Gateway, The Leonardo, Natural History Museum of Utah, and Red Butte Garden.
The Community Exploration Card is valid for general admission but not for special events or exhibits. A limited number of cards are available for check out at the beginning of each month and must be used during that month. To provide equitable access for everyone, cards are limited to one per household in a 12-month period.