Library Card Policy


Library cards are issued in order to identify eligible users and to determine the level of access to services and resources.


Any resident of Massachusetts is eligible to apply for a Worcester Public Library Card for free as a first time user. A library card gives borrowing and computer usage privileges at the Main Library and branches and provides remote access to the Library's online resources. A library card is valid for 2 years unless otherwise noted.
A Worcester Public Library card is valid for the card holder only and should be treated with great care. Card holders are held responsible for material obtained with their library cards. Card holders should report immediately to the Library:
  • the loss of a card
  • a change in name
  • a change in mailing address
  • a change in phone number
  • a change in email address


You may apply for a Library card in person at any of the Library locations as well as the Mobile Libraries. You may also apply online.
In order to get a Worcester Public Library card you need proof of current address.
Acceptable Proof of Address includes but is not limited to:
  • Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License with current address
  • Valid Massachusetts State Identification Card with current address
  • An imprinted bank check or deposit slip
  • Rent receipt (confirming 30 day occupancy)
  • Utility bill dated within the last 30 days
  • Letter verifying residency and mailing address dated within the last 30 days from a social service provider, temporary employer that provides housing, or a short-term residence
Please note a Post Office Box or business address is not acceptable as proof of residency but may be used as a mailing address.
In the case of children and teens under 18 years of age, proof of address of a parent or legal guardian is acceptable.
If any adult, teen or child is unable to provide the above means of identification and address verification, the Library will mail you a Good News post card. When you return the Good News post card to the Library you will receive a library card.
All Library Cards can be renewed easily at the checkout desk by confirming orally that you still live at your current address. If you have moved, you are required to notify Library staff and will need to re-verify your address by presenting one of the noted address verifications.
Unique Applicants for Library Cards
ARC1faculty, staff and students with a valid ARC card and photo ID may apply for a library card. The library card expiration date will correspond to the ARC card.
Institutions may apply for a library card. A verification letter from the institution (official letterhead) with an Administrator's signature is required for the organization to receive a card. Institutional Library cards are kept in the Library at the Circulation Desk. A list of authorized users must be provided and updated when changed.
Out-of-State Residents with photo I.D. and proof of current address may obtain a Library card for a $10 annual fee. Non-residents working in Worcester may obtain a library card free of charge. Acceptable proof of employment in Worcester includes, but is not limited to, a business card, a pay stub, or a letter from the employer on business letterhead.


1. An individual may have one Worcester Public Library card only.
2. An application process must be completed for each card.
a) Only applicants age thirteen and above may register for a library card online.
b) Children 12 or under need a parent or guardian’s co-signature.
c) An institution is responsible for the use of the Institution Card and all financial obligations incurred.
3. The Worcester Public Library, as part of the C/W MARS library network, allows a person to have 50 items checked out at one time.
4. Borrowing privileges are blocked when library materials are not returned, returned in poor condition, overdue fines exceed $10, the library card expired, or a patron has 50 items checked out. A patron must bring his library card to enable full borrowing privileges.
5. It is the cardholders’ responsibility to inform the Library when any patron information such as name, address, telephone number or e-mail address changes.
6. Cards must be renewed when they expire. Computer access will not be available when the library card expires.
7. The cardholder is responsible for the safekeeping of the card and for all materials borrowed on the card. The cardholder agrees to abide by library lending rules and all policies and regulations. See Library’s Circulation Policies for further details.
8. Parents and/or legal guardians are responsible for debt incurred by children 17 years of age and under.
9. If the cardholder claims to have returned materials, the library will search for the missing items, and the cardholder is encouraged to do so as well. Long overdue items will be billed to the cardholder’s account.
10. There is a replacement charge for lost cards ($.50 for children, young adults and seniors; $1.00 for adults). Lost cards should be reported immediately. The library is not responsible for billed items or overdue fines on lost cards.
11. Patrons are encouraged to always bring their library card with them. A photo ID will be accepted if the card is forgotten. Patrons will still have the same borrowing privileges with photo ID.
12. It is the library policy to discontinue borrowing privileges to residents of communities without certified public libraries and to discontinue interlibrary loans to such libraries, except when a library is not certified because of conditions beyond the community's control such as fire, natural disaster, or other extenuating circumstances as determined by the Board of Directors. See WPL Non-Resident Use Policy and a list of Non-certified Libraries at Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) site.


In compliance with Massachusetts statute, the Library will not provide information about a patron’s library record to anyone except the patron or by court order. See also Worcester Public Library Privacy Policy.
1 ARC stands for Academic and Research Collaborative. ARC is a coalition of academic, public, and special research libraries working together to facilitate the sharing of resources and services for the benefit of their collective users.
2 U.S. Code, Title 15 §§ 6501-6506, P.L. No. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-728. More information may be found at The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA").
Worcester Public Library Policies (Amended)
March 10, 2015 Approved by the Library Board

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