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 do I need to get an eLibrary Card?

Any California resident can currently get an eLibrary 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.
  • Agree to our Borrower's Agreement.

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. What is "preferred name" on the San José Public Library card membership application?

The term "preferred name" refers to the name that you want us to use for you. It might be different from your legal name.

When you come in to get your physical library card, we will collect your legal name. Your legal name should be listed on your valid photo ID.

If you are in middle or high school, you can use your student ID. If you are younger than middle school, you will need to bring your parent/guardian with you to make the change.


Q. How can I get my preferred name added or changed if I already have a San José Public Library card membership account?

  • Bring your valid photo ID with you. Examples:
    • California driver’s license
    • Passport
    • Permanent resident ID
    • Employee ID
    • Student ID (for students in middle and high school)
  • Visit a library location.
  • Ask a staff member to add your preferred name.
  • They will request to see your photo ID, and then they can make the change.

Note: If you are younger than middle school, you will need to bring your parent/guardian with you to make the change.


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 through SJPL's chat service or call 408-808-2000. We will give you your card number. You can use your card number to place holds and check out items.

Replacement cards are available at any library location

You will be responsible for checked out materials if someone uses your lost or stolen card before you notify the library.


Q. Is my library card expired? (SJPL)

Library cards do expire every few years so that we can make sure we have your most current information. To check to see if your card is expired, log into the catalog and go to your dashboard. If your card is expired or about to expire, you will see a notice below "My Borrowing" and above "Checked Out." If there is no notice, your card is active.

In order to update your card for the full period you'll need to take the card and a picture ID with your current address on it to any of our library locations.  If your ID doesn't have your current address, it's ok to bring a piece of mail that shows the address, too.

Some of our eResources won't let you log in with an expired card, so you may need to know what to do if you get an expired card message. 

Most of our eResources will tell you that an expired card is the problem when you are not able to log in, but others are more general.  Hoopla will tell you give you this message: " Yikes! Something is wrong with your library card.  Please double check your info in settings and if you still have issues contact your local library..." 

If you are unable to log in to one of our eResources and you think the problem is an expired card, just send us an email using the form on our eResources help page and we'll take a look.


Q. How do I get or replace a library card?

Visit our Become a Member page to learn about San Jose Public Library cards.

You can replace your card at any of our library locations. 

If you are unable to visit one of these locations 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 to get assistance with your library card number and resetting your PIN (personal identification number).


Q. Can I use my SJSU Tower Card as my library card?

To check out San Jose Public Library materials, SJSU students will need to get a library card from the San Jose Public Library.

 


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  through SJPL's chat service or call 408-808-2000.


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.

Q. How do I get or reset my PIN?

You can click Forgot Your PIN?to change your PIN.  Please note, you must have an email address listed in your library account to reset your PIN online. 

If you know your current Library PIN, you may change it anytime by logging in to your Library Account and selecting Modify your PIN.

If you encounter any issues resetting your PIN or do not have an email address listed in your account please contact staff via chat or phone us at 408-808-2000.


Q. Where can I use my San Jose Student Library Card?


Q. Are there fines and rules that apply to the San Jose Student Library Card?

  • No late fines for overdue library materials.
  • Lost and damaged items can be resolved by reading or volunteering away fines at the school or at the library, there is also a book replacement program for lost items.
  • Library cards are not transferable and can only be used by the individual registered for that card.
  • Lost or stolen cards must be reported to SJPL as soon as possible to avoid being held responsible for items checked out on the card.

Q. How are the San Jose Student Library Card accounts created?

Using data provided by the Local Education Agency (school or district), the City of San Jose/San José Public Library will create a student account automatically. Local Education Agencies have class rosters that include the library card numbers and PIN. 


Q. Will San Jose Student Library Cards work during the summer while school is not in session?

Yes, the cards are valid all year.


Q. How are San Jose Student Library Card distributed to the students?

Distribution varies by participating local education agencies and schools within the school district. 


Q. Are all students eligible for a San Jose Student Library Card?

At this time not all students are eligible for the San Jose Student Library Card, only those attending a local education agency (school or district) that is participating in the program.


Q. Who do I contact if I do not want a San Jose Student Library Card?

Inform your school that you do not want a San Jose Student Library Card.


Q. What is the San Jose Student Library Card PIN?

Your San Jose Student Library Card PIN is your Birthday Month and Day (e.g. June 1 would be 0601).


Q. What is my child’s San Jose Student Library Card number?

If you received a San Jose Student Library Card from your school, your library card number is located on the back of the card.

If your school instructed you to use your student ID number to access your San José Student Library Card membership, please visit list of participating schools to get the correct preliminary numbers to use along with your student ID number to access your account.


Q. Can my child have a San Jose Student Library Card and regular SJPL library card?

Yes, your child can have both cards. The San Jose Student Library card is only valid as long as your child is attending that district.


Q. How many items can be requested with a San Jose Student Library Card?

5 items can be requested at one time. Link+ materials can not be requested.


Q. What makes the San Jose Student Library Card different from the regular card?

San Jose Student Library Cards are issued to students in participating San Jose school districts. The Student Card is different from a regular card in these ways:

  • The San Jose Student Library Card has a 5 physical item limit. The regular card has a 100 item limit.
  • The San Jose Student Library Card has no late fines on any overdue materials. The regular card has no late fines only on children's and teen materials.
  • Both cards provide free access to library eResources.