Library Cards & Borrowing

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Get a Norfolk Public Library Card

How do I get a library card?

You can obtain a library card by visiting any Norfolk Public Library location and showing a photo ID and proof of residence in Virginia.  A parent or legal guardian must complete and sign applications for patrons under the age of 18. 

How much does a library card cost?

A Library card is free to anyone who lives in Virginia or works in Norfolk. Virginians who do not live or work in Norfolk may obtain full access to eBooks for a $35 annual fee.  Library cards are not issued to non-Virginia residents.  Additional information is available in our circulation policy.

Do I need a library card to use a public computer?

Yes. Library or Internet cards are required to use a public computer. An Internet card is similar to a library card but does not allow item checkouts. You will need to know your PIN number to be able to log in to NPL’s public computers; your card number is your login ID, and your PIN is your password.

What is a PIN, and how to do I get one?

A PIN is a 4 digit number that provides an extra level of security when using your library card to reserve books or renew items online or by phone or look up your personal information in the online catalog. To obtain a PIN ask for one when you apply for your card, or if you already have a card bring photo ID to any branch and request one. We cannot release PIN numbers without a photo ID and therefore cannot release a PIN number over the phone.

What should I do if I lose my library card?

Report the loss at once to any branch library by phone or in person. You are responsible for materials taken out with the card until the card is reported lost or stolen. A fee of $1 is charged for a new card.

How can I renew my library card?

All library cards must be renewed once a year. Library card renewals must take place in-person at any library location, and you will be asked to verify your address, telephone number, and eligibility for access to eBooks. If you are a non-Norfolk resident and would like access to our eBooks, there is an annual fee.

How do I change my mailing address or request e-mail notification of my holds?

To change your address, bring your card and photo ID to any branch and ask to have your address changed. If you have a PIN, you can make the change online by following this link and clicking on "My Account" and then "Change My Address" after logging in. To receive email rather than paper notices, add your email address to your contact information by following the same steps. Accounts with an email address will automatically receive email rather than paper notices. Please make sure that emails from with a subject line of "Library notice" are allowed through any filters on your email account.

How long can I keep borrowed material?

Each time you borrow an item, a date due receipt or card will be given to you and will indicate the day you should return the items to the library. Please check this date carefully. Due date receipts are a courtesy. You may also check on your due dates by calling a Norfolk Public Library or by viewing your online account.

Book Express books circulate for one week with no renewals.
High Demand items circulate for two weeks with 2 renewals.
Videos circulate for one week with 2 renewals.

Most other items circulate for three weeks with 2 renewals allowed.

Is there a limit to the number of items I can borrow?

Yes. You may check out a total of 25 items out at any one time, and there are individual limits on material formats. For example, only 5 DVDs may be checked out at one time. For a complete list, see under "Material Loan Limits and Load Periods" in our circulation policy.

Can I renew items by phone or online?

Yes. To renew items:

  1. Call any branch Circulation Desk. Please have your card number handy when you call.
  2. If you have a PIN, visit the online catalog and sign in with your card number and PIN, then click in the box next to the title of the item you want to renew, and click on the "Renew Selected Item" button, or click "Renew All Items". You cannot renew items online if you owe $10 or more in fines or have 5 or more overdue items.
  3. Bring the item(s) in to the Circulation Desk of any Library branch.

Renewable items may be renewed twice for the same period as the original loan. Items cannot be renewed if someone else has requested (put a hold on) them or if they've already been renewed twice. 

Renewal requests for Interlibrary Loan items must be placed through the ILL office at (757) 664-7328, ext. 336. Staff will notify you if your ILL renewal is approved.

What if my items are overdue? How much are fines?

If you have overdue materials, the Library will send you two reminder letters or emails. If you think the letters may be in error, please bring them to your local library. Unfortunately, we cannot give you information about your library records or adjust them over the telephone. If you think you're not receiving notices, please make sure your contact information is up-to-date.

If you have items that are 28 days overdue the items will be declared lost, and you'll be assessed replacement and processing fees. If you have unpaid bills totaling $25 for a period of 45 days, your account will be referred to a collection agency.

Fines are charged for materials returned after the due date. Fines [per day, per item] are:


Per day, per item

All items except those below


Videos, Book Express, Book Club Kits, Book Totes, Interlibrary Loan items


Fines are computed per calendar day excluding Sundays, holidays, and any other day the library the item was checked out from is closed.

If you owe fines or fees of $10.00 or more, your borrowing privileges will be suspended.

More details can be found in our Circulation Policy.

Can I pay a fine without coming in to the library?

Yes. You may pay your fines online by using our SmartPay app. Have your library card number and PIN available as you'll need them to log in. 

If you prefer to pay by check, please make your check payable to "City of Norfolk", and clearly write the library account number on the check. Mail the check to:

Circulation Department
Norfolk Public Library
235 E Plume St
Norfolk VA 23510

How and where can I return items I've borrowed?

During regular hours, any Norfolk Public Library item may be returned to any Norfolk Public Library agency regardless of which agency it was borrowed from. After closing, books may be returned to the book return located at each library except Park Place Branch. Audio/visual and electronic materials including DVDs, VHS, audiobooks, wifi devices, and kits may only be returned after closing hours at the Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch, Slover Library, and the Jordan-Newby Anchor Branch at Broad Creek. You will be held responsible for damaged A/V materials returned in an outside book return.

Can I have items transferred from one branch to another, and can I reserve an item for pickup?

Yes. You can ask to have a circulating item transferred to any branch by calling any branch; we call this placing a hold. You can also place a hold on any item that's currently checked out.

To place a hold, you must not owe $10 or more in fines or have 5 or more overdue items.  

To place a hold online:

  1. Perform a search for an item.
  2. When you find the item you want, click on the Place Hold link on the left side of the screen.
  3. Log in if you have not previously done so. This will require a PIN number, as well as your library card number.
  4. The Submit Hold window appears. Select the branch where you want to pick the item up.
  5. Click Submit Hold.

When your items arrive, we’ll send you a paper notice unless you have added an email address to your contact information, in which case we’ll send you an email notice. If you have not given us an email address or you have changed your email, please let us know on your next visit to the library.

Can I check out materials in Storage?

Most materials in Storage are available for checkout, though you’ll need to place a hold on them and pick them up at any of our public locations. Reference materials are delivered to the branch of your choice for use there, and cannot be checked out. To request these items, see previous question.

Can my book club check out multiple copies of the same title to use for meetings?

Yes, we have book club kits that include 10 copies of a book, discussion questions for the book, an author biography and a book sign-up sheet for the leader to keep track of the books. For more information and a list of available titles, visit our Book Clubs page.



For more detailed information, visit our policy page. If you have further questions or need assistance, please visit or call one of your local Norfolk Public Library branches. Our librarians are knowledgeable and happy to help.