Borrowing Services

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Determine Your Eligibility

All Newark residents are eligible for a free public library card. Certain Non-residents, including students, workers, and property owners may also be eligible for a free card.  Additionally, if you are not eligible for a free library card, annual memberships are available for purchase. 

Apply

Download and complete the Library Registration Form and bring it to your local library along with appropriate and current forms of ID such as a driver's license, NJ State ID Card, rental or lease agreement, utility bill, etc.

Enjoy the Benefits

Your new library card provides you with a wealth of benefits and resources including access to thousands of books, dozens of databases, and the services of New Jersey's largest public library.

Types of Membership

Newark Residents

Non Residents

Other Non-Members and ReBL

The Newark Public Library (NPL) issues a library card at no charge to those who live in Newark.

Applicants over the age of 14 must present identification, with proof of their stated address.

Appropriate forms of identification include current:

  • School identification card
  • New Jersey ID card
  • New Jersey driver’s license
  • New Jersey motor vehicle registration
  • New Jersey State Senior Citizens’ ID
  • Rental or lease agreement
  • Utility bill addressed to the applicant
  • Bank statement addressed to the applicant
  • Credit card statement addressed to the applicant
  • Other U.S. mail addressed to the applicant, delivered within the preceding 30 days

No identification is required of applicants under the age of 14. Cards are issued immediately to children only when they are present and accompanied by a parent or guardian who presents appropriate identification. Otherwise, they are mailed to applicants’ parents.

Residents of shelters are considered temporary residents. The Library issues temporary cards to them if they present a letter from a shelter, confirming their residency. Temporary cards must be renewed every three months.

The Library issues cards to nonresidents who work, attend school, or own property in Newark, if they provide proof of their employment, enrollment, or property ownership in addition to the proof of identification and home address that is required of resident applicants.

Appropriate proof of employment includes:

  • Employee identification badge
  • Letter from employer
  • Pay stub with work address

Appropriate proof of school enrollment includes:

  • Student identification card
  • Printed class schedule
  • Report card
  • Letter from school

Appropriate proof of property ownership includes:

  • Tax bill
  • Water bill
  • Title, deed or other proof of ownership

Most libraries in Essex County participate in the ReBL (Reciprocating Borrowing and Lending) program and will issue ReBL stickers to their borrowers in good standing. Cards with ReBL stickers may be used at the Newark Public Library.

The Newark Public Library also issues cards to nonresidents for an annual fee of $50.00.

All cards (except the temporary cards) are valid for one year from the date of issue. Borrowers who have no overdue items or unpaid fines in excess of $15.00 may renew their cards by presenting identification of the kind that initial applicants must present at any Newark Public Library location.

Patron Services, Privileges, and Responsibilities

Borrowing Privileges

Library Fines

Loans

Renewing Your Library Card

All cards (except the temporary cards) are valid for one year from the date of issue. Borrowers who have no overdue items or unpaid fines in excess of $15.00 may renew their cards by presenting identification of the kind that initial applicants must present at any Newark Public Library location.

Lost and Stolen Cards

Borrowers are responsible for all items borrowed with their cards until they inform the Library that their cards have been lost or stolen. Those who cannot find their cards are advised to notify the Library immediately. The charge for a replacement card is 25¢. Newark Public Library cards are not transferable.

Lost and Damaged Items

Cardholders are responsible for all items borrowed with their cards and liable for the cost of repairing or replacing items that are lost or damaged. Items that are overdue 60 days are considered lost, and borrowers will receive bills for them. Payments for lost items will be refunded if these items are subsequently returned.

The Library will accept a new copy of the same edition of a lost item, in the same format, as payment for the lost item, but will charge a $10 processing fee.

Suspension of Library Privileges

Borrowing privileges of those who owe fines in excess of $15.00 will be suspended until the fines are paid. The Library will temporarily restore the privileges of those who make reasonable partial payments.

Confidentiality

Because library records are confidential, the staff will not divulge information from borrowers’ records over the telephone. Borrowers can check their own library accounts online, or obtain information from staff in person at any NPL location.

The Library’s policies and procedures regarding library cards, fines, and loan periods are subject to periodic review and revision.

Overdue Notices and Fines
The Library sends overdue notices by email (if possible, otherwise by mail). The Library charges overdue fines (based on the type of material borrowed) to encourage prompt return of materials and thereby increase their availability to the public.

For each day that the Library is open borrowers are charged:

Item Type
Per Day
Maximum Fine
Adult Videocassette or DVD
$2.00
$10.00
CD
$0.30
$10.00
Other adult item
$0.15
$10.00
Children’s Videocassette or DVD
$1.00
$5.00
Other Children’s item
$0.05
$5.00

Holds/Reserves

Cardholders may reserve up to three titles at catalog.npl.org or in person for pick-up at any NPL location. The Library will notify them by e-mail (if possible, otherwise by mail) when reserved items become available and will hold the items for them up to 7 days. Holds may not be placed on videocassettes and DVDs.

Interlibrary Loan

When the Newark Public Library does not own an item that a cardholder in good standing (those with no overdue items and/or fines under $15) wishes to borrow, the Library will attempt to obtain it from another library through interlibrary loan. Borrowers are charged $1.00 per day for each overdue interlibrary loan item. Borrowers may submit requests for interlibrary loans in person, by fax (973-733-5648), by e-mail (ils@npl.org,), or by telephone (973-733-7767). Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library.

Checkout Limits

Borrowers who have no overdue items or unpaid fines in excess of $15.00 may borrow (or have checked out) up to a total of 50 items including books, magazines, and audiovisual materials. Specific limits by type of material are up to: 5 music CDs, 5 audio books, 5 videocassettes, and 3 DVDs.

Books and magazines may be returned at any Library location. Audiovisual materials must be returned to the location that they were borrowed from.

A book drop is available at the Main Library for after hours returns.

Loan Periods

7 Days
14 Days
30 Days
  • Videocassettes and DVDs
  • Magazines
  • Children’s materials
  • New adult books
  • Test preparation books
  • Music CDs
  • All other books (except reference)
  • Spoken recordings (audiocassettes and CDs)

Rnewals of Loans

Videocassettes and DVDs are not renewable. Other items may be renewed up to three times either in person (at any NPL location) or online through the library’s catalog at catalog.npl.org. Items may not be renewed by telephone.

Loans may be renewed even if borrowed items are overdue; but borrowers will still be liable for fines accrued before renewal.

Reciprocal Borrowing

Click here to learn more about reciprocal borrowing with neighboring libraries.