Library cards are free to all Texas residents.
Receive temporary access to Houston Public Library resources, including the ability to access library databases, place holds on materials and add your own customer reviews to titles in the catalog. Visit any Houston Public Library within 30 days to complete the application process. *Online registration does not allow access to our downloadable e-books and e-audiobooks.
Apply in person at any Houston Public Library Location
You must provide a valid photo I.D. with your current address. The following types of photo I.D. are acceptable if they are not expired:
- government agency issued identification card
- passports from any country
- any state driver's license
- any state or city identification card
- METRO identification card
- school identification card
If the photo I.D. does not include your address, you will need to provide a separate document that includes that information.
Children under 18
Parents or guardians must sign applications for children under 18; if the child is not present, the parent or guardian must provide one of the following:
- a current identification/document in the child's name issued by a government agency, school, or social services provider
- OR the child's birth certificate
- OR the child's immunization record
For details about acceptable alternative forms of identification, you may call the Circulation Department at (832) 393-2222, M-F 10-6 and Sat 10-5 or email us at email@example.com.
Library cards expire every 3 years and must be renewed in person. Lost cards should be reported as soon as possible, as cardholders will be held responsible for any materials checked out on their card. There is no charge to replace a lost PowerCard.
Print this form in advance and bring it to any Houston Public Library location to sign up for your Power Card and get full access to all library services, including the ability to check out books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs and renew them online.
If you are a Texas resident and unable to physically come to the library to register for a PowerCard, you can register by mail. Please print out the PowerCard registration form and send it, along with a good quality photocopy of your photo I.D. with your current address, to:
Houston Public Library
System Circulation Department (Power Card)
Houston, TX 77002
Computer Use Only Cards
Computer Use Only Cards allow computer access, including Internet access and access to licensed databases. To obtain a Computer Use Only Card, the following is required:
- Photo I.D. that includes birth date
Children under 18
- Birth date
- Name of school (or an indication that they are homeschooled)
Birth date is required to help prevent duplication of records.
Computer Use Only cards must be renewed every year. There is a $1 replacement fee for lost Computer Use Only cards.
If you live outside of Texas, you can obtain a card by paying a non-resident fee of $20/6 months or $40/year. You can apply in person or by mail (see section above).
Search the Catalog and Place Holds
Place your holds from home and get email notification for pick-up.There is a maximum of 15 holds per library card at any one time. Ask any HPL staff member if you need help with this service. Pick-up and check-out your items at the library location you choose. Holds will be held for 10 days. Check-out period is 2 weeks.
ILL requests have a check-out period of 3 weeks and will be held for 5 days.
To renew your own items, view or cancel holds, or update your account information.
Other Ways to Renew Your Books
- Renew items in person at the Central Library or any branch.
- Call the Library's 24-hour renewal line (832) 393-2280.
- Call any hpl location library during their operating hours. (Check our Library Card FAQ before renewing after hours. You must have your library card number to renew by phone.)
Fines and Fees
Non-resident Library Card:
$20/six mos; $40/year
(fee is waived for residents of the State of Texas)
Overdue Items (Checkout Period is two weeks)
- Adult items .20/day
- Young adult items .20/day
- Juvenile items .10/day
- Non-circulating Items $1.00/day
Replacement fee - item cost plus
- Processing fee $10/item
- Partial processing fee* $ 5/item
Laptops and iPads** - in library use only
- Lending Guidelines
- Checkout Period: 2 Hours
- Overdue Fine: $25/hour (or any part thereof)
- Replacement Fee: item cost ($1500 for laptops, $699 for iPads)
- Processing fee: $150
* Items requiring partial processing include uncataloged paperbacks
** iPads available at select locations only at this time
Questions About Your Library Card or Account?