Membership FAQs

Q. What is an eLibrary Card?

An eLibrary Card gets you 24/7 instant access to our  online resources. This is a digital library card, so you won't get a physical card.

Q. What is a Full Access Library Card?

You can use a Full Access Library Card to borrow library these materials:

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Audiobooks
  • SJ Access devices, such as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, laptops, and more

Q. What do I need to get a Full Access Library Card?

  • Be a California resident.
  • Show a valid Photo ID. Examples:
    • California driver’s license
    • Passport
    • Permanent resident ID
    • Employee ID
  • Show proof of your current address in California. Examples:
    • California driver's license
    • Paycheck
    • Mail postmarked within 30 days.

Q. What is a Limited Status Library Card?

Can't show proof of your current address? You can get a Limited Status card. You can borrow 1 physical item at a time. You can also use online learning and streaming services, collections, and more.

Q. How do I apply for an eLibrary Card, Full Access Card, or Limited Status Card?

  • Start by completing the library card application form.
  • You will instantly receive an eLibrary Card number. This number can be used for our online resources.
  • To get your Full Access Card or Limited Status card take your eLibrary Card number to one of our libraries to pick up your card.

Q. How much does a library card cost?

Library cards are completely free. The only time you might be charged is if you keep items late or don't return them. See our Borrow & Return page for more information about fines and fees.

Q. I live in another state. Can I get a San José Public Library card?

We're sorry. Our cards are only available to California residents.

Q. I just got my library card. How do I set the PIN for my new account?

You can create your PIN by logging into your account.

Q. My library card was lost or stolen. What do I do?

If your library card is lost or stolen, please contact us. You can reach us 7-days a week through SJPL's chat service or call 408-808-2000, Monday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. We will give you your card number. You can use your card number to place holds and check out items.

Replacement cards are only available at reopened locations

You will be responsible if someone uses your card before you notify the library.

Q. Why do I need to create a username?

We require all users to select a unique username. This is to protect your privacy when you use the social features of the catalog. Examples of social features:

  • Commenting on books
  • Keeping track of your reading on shelves

Q. What do I need to get an eLibrary Card?

Any California resident can get an eLibrary card while libraries are temporarily closed. This may change when all library locations have fully reopened.

Q. I think I already have a San José Public Library card, but I'm not sure. What do I do?

Please contact us first before completing the application form. You can Contact us 7-days a week through SJPL's chat service or call 408-808-2000, Monday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Q. What can I do with my Limited Status Library Card?

With your San José Public Library Limited Status Card:

  • You may only have 1 item (of any type) checked out at a time.
  • No university materials may be checked out.
  • Items cannot be borrowed through Link+ or Illiad.