Borrowing Privileges

How to Get a Library Card

The Des Moines Public Library issues free library cards to residents of Des Moines, Windsor Heights, unincorporated Polk County, and all cities who participate in the state of Iowa Open Access Program.

Visit any of the six locations to apply for a Des Moines Public Library card and bring a current photo ID and proof of permanent address. A current driver’s license or state ID card with correct current address will meet this requirement.

Acceptable proof of permanent address:

  • Billing statement received at the address
  • A check with printed address
  • Voter registration card
  • Rental agreement
  • Car registration
  • Paystub/Paycheck

Library cards can be used at all seven library sites. The cardholder agrees to pay all fines, abide by the policies of the library, and promptly report loss or theft of the card and any change of name or address.

Certain types of cards may have borrowing restrictions. (See Special Types of Cards)

Adult Library Card Application Requirements

  • Borrowers must apply for library cards in person.
  • Must provide proof of current name, address, and a photo ID.
  • A valid Des Moines Public Library card is necessary to check out materials and access most library services.
  • Library cards are renewed every three years, at which time your account balance must be paid in full.
  • There is a $1 fee to replace a lost card. Promptly report a lost or stolen card. Picture identification is required to replace a lost or stolen library card.
  • The cardholder is responsible for all materials borrowed on their card.

Youth Library Card Application Requirements

  • Children who are at least five years old may get a library card.
  • Those under age twelve must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Cards for children will not be issued to parents/guardians if the child is not present.
  • Parents/guardians library account must be in good standing and account balance must be $10 or less. Parent/guardian account not required for child applying for a library card.
  • Age 12 to 17: Parent or guardian does NOT need to be present if child has own photo ID. If parent/guardian not present child will automatically be restricted to no DVD checkouts. Parent/guardian must be present to grant permission to borrow DVDs.
  • There is a $1 fee to replace a lost card. Promptly report a lost or stolen card. Picture identification is required to replace a lost or stolen library card.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible for the items checked out on their children’s cards.

A library card is not transferrable and the library may refuse use of a card to anyone except the individual to whom the card is issued.

Special Types of Cards

Permanent Resident Cards
Free library cards are issued to residents within the corporate limits of Des Moines. Address information and ID are checked annually.

Temporary Resident Cards
Free short-term cards are issued to residents within the corporate limits of Des Moines. Address information is checked annually.

Open Access/Contracting Area Residents Cards
Residents of contracting areas are issued Des Moines Public Library cards. These cards are revalidated annually to verify address information. The current contracting areas are Windsor Heights, unincorporated Polk County, and Iowa cities participating in Open Access.

Corporate Borrower Cards
A corporation located within the city of Des Moines or in one of the library’s contracting communities is eligible to authorize up to five employees to use this service. Corporate cards are offered on a limited basis if no other method for borrowing materials is available.

A corporate representative must sign the application form and assume responsibility for all materials borrowed on the card(s). Corporate application forms may be completed and issued in the library by the authorized individual or taken to the company office for a signature and mailed to the library. The library will mail the company cards.

Nonresident Borrower Cards
Customers who do not live in Des Moines, unincorporated Polk County, Windsor Heights, or in areas covered by Open Access agreements, may use the DMPL by purchasing a six-month subscription card for $40.00.

Internet Only Cards
Internet Only library cards require valid picture ID and are issued for the sole purpose of accessing public computers within the library. There are no borrowing privileges associated with the Internet Only card and issued only to customers who do not have a permanent address.