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Frequently Asked Questions

Circulation Questions

  1. How do I get a library card?
  2. How do I get a card for my company?
  3. Can I get a library card if I do not live in Dallas?
  4. How old does my child have to be to get a library card of his or her own?
  5. How long is my library card valid & how do I renew it?
  6. How long can I keep a book out?
  7. Can I return books to any Dallas Public Library?
  8. Can I return my books after the Library closes?
  9. Renewing material by: phone / email / in person / online
  10. Why can I sometimes not renew materials via the Web?
  11. Overdue & Lost Materials
  12. How many books and other materials can I check out?
  13. What does the Patron Account tab offer?
  14. Requesting an Item
  15. How many materials can I place on request at one time?
  16. passwords (formerly called "Personal Information Numbers")
  17. Will I be notified regarding the books I requested?
  18. Why am I not receiving email notifications?

General Questions

  1. Can the Library's catalog or other databases be accessed from my home or office?
  2. When I try to log in, I am sent back to the catalog page but not logged in. Why?
  3. Does the Library have a place where I can prepare a resume?
  4. How can I access old newspaper articles?
  5. Are meeting rooms available at the Library?
  6. Does the library offer any programs?
  7. Does the Library offer classes?
  8. Does the Library have a fax machine for public use?
  9. Where can I get tax forms?
  10. Does the Library accept gift books and magazines?
  11. Does the Library offer tours?
  12. When is the Library's Summer Reading Program, and how can I enroll my child?
  13. How can I make a donation to the Library's Pet Memorial Fund?
  14. How can I request that the library purchase a book, audiobook, CD, or DVD?
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1. How do I obtain a library card?

Library cards are FREE to any City of Dallas resident and City of Dallas employee. Students and certified teachers of public elementary and secondary schools located in the City are also eligible to receive free library cards.

You may register in-person or online. Online registration provides certain immediate privileges. The registration process must be completed, later on, at one of our 27 locations.

Additional details about obtaining a library card may be found here.

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2. How do I get a card for my company?

Any company located in the City of Dallas may obtain a library card by submitting a request on company letterhead (including street address and phone number). State the number of cards desired and name of staff (not to exceed 2) to be using the cards. The letter must be signed by a chief executive officer agreeing to be responsible for any delinquencies that may occur.

These cards are for business-related materials, not for personal use. The company is responsible for keeping track of the personnel using these cards. If the company has 2 cards issued and one is lost, all cards will need to be replaced if the specific card number is not known. If this occurs, the company will be responsible for reporting the card lost/stolen: report the card at 214-670-1740.

Forward all inquiries to Dallas Public Library, Circulation Services, 1515 Young St., Dallas, TX 75201.

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3. Can I get a library card if I do not live in Dallas?

Library cards are available to non-residents for $250 per year for unlimited borrowing. Three limited-borrowing punch cards are also available at $25 for 5 items or $60 for 15 items or $100 for 25 items. Library cards are available free to all residents of the City of Dallas and City of Dallas employees. Students and teachers of public elementary and secondary schools located in the City are also eligible to receive free library cards.

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4. How old does my child have to be to get a library card of his or her own?

Library cards are available for children of any age.

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5. How long is my library card valid and how do I renew it?

All Dallas Public Library cards, including non-resident, education, volunteer, and company cards, are valid for one year, after which time they must be renewed.

Library cards must be renewed in person at any library with photo identification showing a current city of Dallas address. If your photo identification does not have your current address, you will need to provide address verification in addition to the photo id. Acceptable forms of address verification include, but are not limited to, the following: lease agreement, vehicle insurance, current utility bill or other business mail. For further information, please contact Library Customer Service.

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6. How long can I keep a book out?

You may borrow books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, DVDs, records, and many other kinds of materials. Most items can be checked out for 21 days.  DVDs and VHS have a 7 day check-out period.

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7. Can I return books to any Dallas Public Library?

You may return borrowed materials to any Dallas Public Library location. 

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8. Can I return my books after the Library closes?

Night drops are available at all branch libraries, including the Central Library, where the drop off box is located on Ervay St. (the east side of the building).

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9. Renewing by: phone / email / in person / online

If you are having problems renewing via the Web, contact Library Circulation Specialist at librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org please include your library card number and name, Central Library Circulation at 214-670-1740 or circulation staff at any branch library for assistance. Have your library card ready as staff will need it to complete the renewal.

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10. Why can I sometimes not renew materials via the web?

There are also several cases where you cannot renew items checked out to you. Renewals will be blocked if:

Renewal dates are from the date renewed, not the date material is due. (We recommend renewing one day prior to the due date in case there are problems.)

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11. Overdue & Lost Materials

Fines for books and magazines are $.30 cents per day per item with a $12.50 or cost-of-material maximum. DVDs/VHS, CDs, and special reference loans are $1 per day if overdue, with a $20 maximum.

There is a $28 reprocessing fee added to the cost of a lost or damaged item.

The following fees are in effect:

Delinquent accounts of $35 or more may be referred to a third party collection agency; an additional $20 collection fee will be added to referred accounts.

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12. How many books and other materials can I check out?

On a first time application, you may borrow up to 5 items. After the application is processed, you may borrow up to 100 "circulating" items. Within the 100 item limit, there is a limit of 10 DVDs, 10 CDs, 10 Audiobooks and 10 VHS per library card.

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13. What does Patron Account tab offer?

This page, accessible through the Dallas Public Library Web Catalog, provides the following information:

To use this page, you need your Dallas Public Library card number (the 14-digit number on the back of your library card) and your password. If you don't know your password, contact Central Library Circulation at 214-670-1740 or circulation staff at any branch library for assistance.

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14. Requesting an Item

In the Dallas Public Library catalog, requesting an item means asking the system to locate the first available copy of the item you want in order to have it sent to the library unit of your choice for checking out to your account. The process may take several days. The pickup location will notify you when the material becomes available for you.

By following the steps in our online guides, it is possible for your to place a request on an item. It is even possible to request a particular volume such as one episode from an annual television series.

You will need to log in using your library card number and your password number. (A password number is assigned to your library account when your account is created and, along with your library card number, validates your login session. If you don't know your password number, contact Central Library Circulation at 214-670-1740 or circulation staff at any branch library for assistance. You can also change your password number yourself on the web catalog's About My Account tab.)

You will be notified either by email or phone when the material is available at your chosen pickup point. IMPORTANT: To check out the material, you will need to bring the same library card (same account number) which you used to request the material.

Some items cannot be requested. You will not be able to request materials if any of below apply:

Please note that you must ensure that your email provider is not blocking the address we are using to send notifications to you. You may need to add librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org to your email "white list."

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15. How many materials can I place on request at one time?

Effective October 1, 2012 the following request limits will be in place:

There are several ways to manage your requests:

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16. Passwords

If you don't know your password, contact Central Library Circulation at 214-670-1740 or circulation staff at any branch library for assistance. Have your Dallas Public Library card ready, as staff will need this information. You may also request to have your password reset by email (librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org). Please include your library card number and name in the email.

You can also change your password number yourself after logging in to your account.

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17. Will I be notified regarding the books I requested?

You will be notified by email or phone when your requested material is available. If you wish to be notified by email, please contact the circulation staff at any branch library or at central.

Please note that you must ensure that your email provider is not blocking the address we are using to send notifications to you. You may need to add librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org to your email "white list."

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18. Why am I not receiving my email notifications?

Library notices -- alerting patrons to requested items that have come in or alerting them that they have books overdue -- are sent from our circulation computer. Unfortunately, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email programs such as Microsoft Outlook or Hotmail classify the email as spam and automatically delete the email or move it to a "junk mail" folder. Recently, in their effort to combat spam, many ISPs have changed how bulk email is screened, and this has affected receipt of library notices.

Accordingly, you may need to "white list" the library's email address (librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org).

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19. Can the Library's catalog or other databases be accessed by from my home or office?

The library catalog can be searched via the Library website from your home or office computer. Use the Search the Library Catalog link on the Library's home page. You may also go directly to the databases page of the library's website. In most cases, you will need to use the 14-digit number appearing under the barcode on your library card.

Other electronic databases are available only at one of the twenty-five library locations.

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20. When I try to log in, I am sent back to the catalog page but not logged in. Why?

Your Web browser must accept cookies in order for the system to log you in. If you try to log in but cannot, and you know that you are entering the correct library card number and password/pin, check your browser settings to make sure cookies are enabled. If you need assistance checking your cookie settings, consult your browser's help or documentation. You may also contact customer service at librarycustomerservice@dallaslibrary.org or call 214-670-1740 for assistance.

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21. Does the Library have a place where I can prepare a resume?

The Central Library and branches can provide access to Microsoft Word to prepare a resume.

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22. How can I access old newspaper articles?

The Humanities Division, housed on the 3rd floor, maintains older copies of some national newspapers on microfilm.

The Texas/Dallas Division on the 7th floor has microfilm copies of many Texas newspapers.

The Dallas Morning News historical archive (1885-1977) is accessible electronically via the Newsbank database.

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23. Are meeting rooms available at the Library?

Meeting rooms are available for community groups for instructional or informational programs at all branches and at the Central Library for a fee. Please contact the branch at which you are interested in reserving a room, directly, for further information.

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24. Does the library offer any programs?

The branches and the Central Library offer many programs.

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25. Does the library offer any classes?

Classes are available at may branches for preparation for the G.E.D. (high school equivalent) exam and for learning English as a second language (ESL). Computer classes are also offered at most locations. Schedules are on the Library's Services pages under Classes.

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26. Does the Library have a fax machine for public use?

The Library does not have a public fax machine.  The Express Business Center, located in Room ES on the L2 level of City Hall, provides fax, notary and copying services during regular business hours. Fees are charged for these services; the telephone number is 214-670-4567.

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27. Where can I get tax forms?

Original tax forms and booklets--including current and previous years--are available at the Central Library on the 6th floor in Government Information.

Many branches have common IRS forms during the tax season. Please contact individual library branches for availability.

Tax forms are also available at most United States Post Offices or by calling the IRS Tax Forms Hotline (1-800-TAX-FORM / 1-800-829-3676). They are also available online.

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28. Does the Library accept gift books and magazines?

The Library accepts gifts and donations. Although the Library does not provide appraisals for the value of donations, all gifts are tax-deductible. The Central Library and branches accept old and new books and magazines at the circulation desks.

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29. Does the Library offer tours?

Guided tours of the Central Library may be booked as follows: For children 6th grade and under, call the Children's Center at 214-670-1671 For all other tours call 214-243-1141 or 214-671-8366. Tours are available Monday through Friday. Reservations should be made at least three weeks in advance. Please also see the Central Library tours information page.

Contact the branches to schedule tours there.

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30. When is the Library's Summer Reading Program, and how can I enroll my child?

The Mayor's Summer Reading Program begins in May and ends in August each year. Incentives are offered at various numbers of hours read to keep enthusiasm up. Your child can register at any branch library or at the Central Library in the Children's Center.

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31. How can I make a donation to the Library's Pet Memorial Fund?

This fund was established in Dallas as a result of a cooperative between the library and the Texas Kennel Club. It is a lasting way to remember a beloved pet. Animal lovers, pet owners or friends wishing to donate may pick up a form at any Dallas Public Library location or send a check to Pet Memorial Fund, Dallas Public Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas TX 75201. This donation will be used to purchase library materials that provide information and enjoyment for animal lovers of all ages. A $25.00 minimum gift is necessary for acknowledgement in the Pet Memory Book and a bookplate in the book purchased. However, all gifts are greatly appreciated.

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32. How can I request that the library purchase a book, audiobook, CD, or DVD?

Customer Requests for purchase are welcome for items not in the library catalog. If you are unsure about an item’s availability, please check with a librarian. The Customer Request Program is for Dallas Public Library cardholders only. Please include your library card number and preferred pickup location. Due to the high number of requests received each week, we are unable to make individual replies. If we are able to order an item, it will show up on the “Requests” list in your account, generally within two weeks. Please limit Customer Requests to 5 per week.

What can I request through this program?

What cannot be requested through this program?

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