Get a Card

Library Card


Download and Print our Library Card Application

Library cards are issued free to residents of the Des Moines metropolitan area. Your library card can be used at all seven library sites. The library participates in the State of Iowa Open Access Program, so most Iowa residents are eligible for a library card. Certain types of cards may have borrowing restrictions. Residents of a state other than Iowa are not eligible to receive a library card.

To obtain a card, a borrower must provide proof of current name and 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.

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. Parents may choose whether or not a child can borrow movies or more than five items.

RENEWALS – Most library materials may be renewed twice. Renew in person, by phone (283-4000) or online. Items will not renew if they are requested by another customer, or if your account balance is over the limit.

RETURNS – Items can be returned to any of our libraries in person or through the drive-up book drops. Book drops are available 24/7 for most materials, including media.

OVERDUE NOTICES – Borrowers are responsible for returning library materials on time. As a courtesy, library users may choose to have overdue notices delivered by telephone or e-mail. Those set up for e-mail notices are notified of items coming due three days before the due date.



Checkout Fee....................No fee
Loan Period.......................Three weeks
Overdue Fines..................$.25 per day per item
Maximum Fine per Item.. $8.00 /
Magazines $4.00


Movies and TV Series....................$1.00
Children's Movies....................No fee
Loan Period.......................One week
Overdue Fines..................$.50 per day per item
Maximum Fine per Item..$8.00


Borrower is responsible for replacement cost of item plus applicable late fee.

Cash, check, credit cards, and online payments are accepted for fines and fees.


OverDrive*.....................................Eight title maximum
*You must be a resident of Des Moines or rural Polk County.


OneClick Digital................Eight title maximum for e-audiobooks, unlimited e-magazines
*You must be a resident of Des Moines or rural Polk County.


Download the Educator Card Application and Guidelines »

Guidelines for Educator Cards

The purpose of the Educator card is to allow teachers to check out books for the students in their classes. This program is designed for teachers in public schools, private schools, preschools, daycare centers, home day care providers and home school parents within the city limits of Des Moines, and Rural Polk County. Books are checked out for one month and no fines are assessed. The Cardholder must pay for lost books.

(A book is considered lost when it is forty days overdue.)

  • Cards are made in the name of an individual teacher or caregiver.
  • The cardholder is responsible for lost materials. If a school or daycare is responsible for paying for lost materials, the principal/director’s signature is required on the application.
  • Borrowers must use their personal library card with standard borrowing privileges to check out items for other household members and for recreational reading materials.
  • A maximum of thirty (30) items may be checked out on the card. When returning books, please ask that they be checked immediately if you are planning to check out additional items that day.
  • The loan period is four (4) weeks. Items may not be renewed.
  • Teachers are encouraged to keep all books in the classroom.
  • Audio CDs and audio books may be checked out, but not videos or DVDs.
  • The library cannot provide multiple copies of a single title.
  • The library cannot provide collections of nonfiction books on a single topic.
  • The library reserved the right to limit the number of books borrowed on a single topic.
  • The library reserves the right to restrict or limit the inclusion of high-demand items such as new fiction, audio books, and books on popular topics.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines may result in loss of borrowing privileges.

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