Your Library Card

Your Library Card

Your library card is your passport to technology, literacy, fluency, community, and so much more.

Getting a Library Card

  • Can’t make it to the Boston Public Library in person? Sign up for an eCard to use our electronic resources. If you want to borrow physical materials, you can upgrade in person. Apply for a library card at the circulation desk in any BPL location. Come with picture ID and proof of Massachusetts residency, which can be either a physical document or an official document available on an electronic device. A Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card satisfies both requirements. If you don’t have a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID, you can bring some other form of ID that shows your picture and signature along with official mail sent to you at a Massachusetts address. Kids ages 12 and under can get a card with the signature of a parent or guardian. If you are bringing a large group of people to the library to register for a card, we encourage you to print and fill out our library card application in advance before coming to the library.
  • An eCard is a Boston Public Library card that you can sign up for online, opens a new window and which provides access to all online resources, including OverDrive and Hoopla.

    eCards are available to anyone who lives, resides part-time to attend school, owns property, or works in Massachusetts.

  • You can get a research card at the Central Library in Copley Square at either the Borrower Services Desk (Level One of the Boylston Street building) or the Delivery Desk (Level Two of the McKim building). This card is free and allows use of materials inside the library. To get this card, you need a photo ID and a document that states your current address. A driver's license or state ID should fulfill both requirements.

    If you are coming to the BPL from far away for extensive research, we encourage you to reach out to our Research Services librarians ahead of your visit to ensure the most efficient use of your time here. You can email our Research Services librarians at ask@bpl.org.

  • Register for an eCard, opens a new window if you meet any of the following criteria:

    • Your primary residence is in Massachusetts.
    • You are living in Massachusetts for most of the year while attending school in-state.
    • You commute to a Massachusetts employer on a sustained and regular basis. (Your primary place of work.) Learn more.
    • You own property (real estate) in Massachusetts. Learn more.

    Other Restrictions
    If you are a short-term resident staying in Massachusetts you are not eligible for an eCard. However, you can visit any of our locations and apply for a research card in-person at the Central Library in Copley Square.

    If you have any other card with the BPL, you are not eligible for an eCard (and don’t need one!)

    Children under 13 years of age are ineligible for an eCard due to COPPA restrictions.

    If you have any questions about eligibility, please email websupport@bpl.org.

  • Yes! If you meet the eligibility requirements and have an email address, you can get an eCard in about five minutes, opens a new window and start using it right away.

    eCards can only be used to access digital resources from the BPL. But if you want to borrow physical items, you can upgrade to a physical library card at any of our locations.

Your BPL Library Card

Community

Your BPL card is your passport to the Community Learning Center, where you’ll find everything you need to feel at home in Boston.

Technology

Your BPL card gives you free access to Chromebook laptops and Wi-Fi routers, along with free computer and technology classes.

English Fluency

Take free English-language classes, and join tutoring and conversation groups to help you practice English with your peers!

Literacy

Your BPL card opens doors for kids to learn to love reading. Children from birth to kindergarten can join the Future Readers Club.

Experience...

Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC)

KBLIC invites media creators, innovators, job seekers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, investors, coders, and makers to its space.

Research Services at the BPL

Research Services staff can assist you with finding collections for your use, for formal education support, or scholarly research, and more.

Special Collections at the BPL

The Special Collections Department fosters public engagement with rare, distinctive, and culturally significant materials held by BPL.

Borrow a Museum Pass

You can reserve museum passes with your BPL card. Whether you're planning a visit to the MFA or Zoo New England, reserve free passes here!

Stream & Download

Managing Your Account

  • Log in with your library card number and your user name will be visible on your dashboard.

    You can always log in with either your username or your library card number.

  • You can renew your eCard 10 days before it expires or later. Just complete the registration form, opens a new window again using the same email address that's in your account. We'll find the expired account and send you an email confirmation of your renewal.

    You cannot renew physical library cards online.

  • Have you logged into our website before and set up an account? If so, reset your PIN online.

    Haven’t set up your online account yet? No problem. Contact us at websupport@bpl.org and we’ll work with you over email to retrieve your PIN in a way that doesn’t compromise your account security.

  • The library will notify you about your account in one of three ways; by phone, by email, or by mail. You may specify which method to use in your account.

    You can do that by signing into our website with your card number and PIN, or by visiting any BPL service desk.

    If you’d like to opt out of any or all types of notifications you’ve been receiving, stop by any of our service desks, or change your preferences on your account.

  • If you have activated your account on bpl.org, you can change your address from your dashboard by navigating to “My Settings” and then to “Personal Information.”

    You can also change your email address at the service desk at any BPL location.

  • You can update your address at any BPL location. Bring proof of your new address, in the form of an updated drivers license or state ID, a piece of official mail, a bill, or a lease.

  • Your card requires renewal periodically to confirm that you’re still eligible for one.

    If you have a physical card (number usually begins with 29999), you can renew it in-person at any BPL location by presenting a picture ID and proof of Massachusetts residency. A Massachusetts driver’s license or ID card satisfies both requirements. Learn more about additional ways you can prove your residency here. You cannot renew a physical library card online.

    If you have an eCard (number always begins with 20000), you can renew it online, opens a new window ten days before the expiration date or anytime later.

    If you have an expired physical card but want to borrow electronic titles before you can come to a branch, follow these steps:

Using Technology in the Library

  • The BPL offers wireless connections to the Library's Internet service in all of our locations. 

    Look for the WiFi network BostonPublicLibrary and connect via your device's procedure for WiFi connection. Launch your browser, accept the security certificate to begin using the network.

  • Our accessible workstations in Tech Central at the Central Library can be reserved in advance by patrons who need them by phone at 617.859.2255.

    Otherwise, we don’t offer off-site reservation of our computers. To get into the queue on-site, use the sign-in station.

  • For help with your device, you can contact your local library to see if you can schedule a one-on-one session or attend a class for help using our services on your device. If you need technical support for your device, we can help you find where to get it.

    To see a list of our upcoming technology classes on particular devices and software, check our calendar for details.

     

  • To borrow a laptop, present your library card. (You can use an ID if you don’t have your library card with you.) Library staff will ask to verify your address, either verbally or with an ID.

    If the address matches your borrower record, the laptop will be checked out to your card. If your address is incorrect in our system, you will be required to provide an ID so we may update it.

    Out-of-state residents and patrons without a library card will be directed to a desktop computer.

  • You can use most of our computers for up to two hours. This time can be extended at the discretion of our staff if no one else is waiting.

    Several locations also have express computers, which you can use for up to fifteen minutes.

Getting Help

  • Online
    Fill out our contact form or email us at ask@bpl.org. Our librarians will be in touch over email within twenty-four hours. Depending on your needs, we might recommend a phone call or visit when we get back to you. If your research need is complex, please indicate in the form that you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your research needs.

    Phone
    We have librarians on-call to help you with research and reference from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. You can reach us at 617.536.5400.

    In-Person
    There is a librarian on duty at all BPL locations who can help you with research. More intensive research help is available at the Central Library in Copley Square in Bates Hall.

    Book a Librarian
    You can also book a 30 minute appointment with a research librarian. After you request an appointment, the Library will get back to you within 2 business days letting you know if your appointment was approved; information about joining the meeting will be sent in a separate email. Appointments must be requested at least 5 days in advance. 

  • For help with your device, you can contact your local library to see if you can schedule a one-on-one session or attend a class for help using our services on your device. If you need technical support for your device, we can help you find where to get it.

    To see a list of our upcoming technology classes on particular devices and software, check our calendar for details.

     

  • This website can be translated by accessing our translate button available in the bottom right corner of every page. We can translate into the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

    translate

  • Questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome by email at ask@bpl.org and 617.536.5400. See our complete list of library offices that can be contacted directly.

  • You can learn how to navigate the new website by watching this short video.

    https://youtu.be/YdxOZDXSg4g#action=share

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