Library Card FAQs

What is a valid Houston Public Library card?

A valid library card is one that has not expired and has a total of less than $10 in fines and fees pending. 

Does my card expire?

Cards expire after three years if not used.  Youth cards automatically expire on the 18th birthday of the cardholder.

How do I renew my card?

Come to HPL and bring a photo ID with your current address. You can also submit the Update MY Link Account form and we will renew your library card once we have verified your address. 

Why is my card blocked?

Card expired?
More than $10 in fines?
Once solved the block will be removed.
You may send an email or call 832-393-2222 for more account information.

What is a PIN and why do I need it?

PINs are codes of 4 or more digits that must be used when logging in to your account or checking items out at a self-check machine.

How do I change my PIN?

You can change your PIN after you log in to your account online or in person at any library location 'photo ID required'.

What If I lose or forget my PIN?

You can visit any library location with your library card and ID and staff can look up your PIN and/or reset it for you. You can also use the “Forgot PIN?” link on the My Account login screen.

How do I update my account info? 

Use this form

How many items can I check out at a time?

50 items at one time. Format limits: DVDs are limited to up to 30 (15 juvenile and 15 adult). Hold limits: 30 items at one time.  

What can I check out with my library card?

Books, e-books, e-audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, mobile hotspots and other devices as available.

How can I see a list of all the items I have ever checked out?

"My Checkout History" Log into your account and check the “Show My Checkout History” box under Preferences. You will be able to see all the items you check out from this point forward. Any items checked out before this option was turned on will not show up on the list.

How long can I keep library materials?

Check-out period is 3 weeks, with the option of three renewal for eligible items, for a total loan period of 12 weeks. Loan periods for e-books and e-audiobooks vary.  Eligible items automatically renew at five days before the due date. Ineligible items include those with holds or that have already been renewed three times.

How do I renew my library materials?

Online through the "My Account" link, which can be found at the top of every page on the website. Items eligible for renewal renew from the due date, giving you full 6 weeks checkout period. It is recommended that you make a note of the new due date after renewing or call 832-393-2280.

What materials cannot be renewed?

  • Items on library cards with fines or fees of $10 or more
  • Items on library cards that have expired
  • Items already renewed three times
  • Items checked out for the maximum loan period of 12 weeks
  • Items on hold for another borrower
  • Items borrowed through our Interlibrary Loan Service
  • Mobile hotspots

Where can I return materials?

Any HPL location. Most HPL locations have book drops for your convenience after hours.
Please return mobile hotspots and other devices at the location where it was borrowed from

How much are overdue fines?

Most items adult items are $0.20 per day and juvenile $0.10 per day.
For all other items, please see the Fines & Fee Schedule.

Can I pay my fines online?

Yes, fines can be paid online through the My Account feature:

  • Non-refundable $0.50 transaction fee is charged for online credit card payments
  • Minimum credit card payment is $1

What if I lose or damage something I borrow?

If library materials are not returned within 30 days of the due date, you will receive a billing notice from the Library. In addition to the replacement cost of the lost item, you will be charged a $10 non-refundable processing fee for each cataloged item or a $5 non-refundable partial processing fee for each uncataloged item that is lost. The same charges apply to items returned with serious damage. We work with a collection agency to send bills and collect fees on our behalf. The library cannot accept replacement items in lieu of lost items. Items returned with damage that warrants withdrawal from the library's collection will be treated as lost.

Do I have to have my card with me to check out materials?

You can present a photo ID with your current address. The address on your ID must match the address in your borrower record. You may also scan the barcode from the HPL mobile app to use at many of our self checkout machines available at most locations. 

What if I lose my library card?

You are responsible for all items checked out and all fines and fees charged to your account up until the day you report to the Library that the card has been lost or stolen. To prevent others from charging materials to your account, report your lost or stolen library card to us as soon as possible. Staff can issue a new replacement card the next time you visit the library. Questions? 832-393-2222.

How do I get a TexShare CARD?

Only staff at the Central Library can issue a TexShare card. You must be a city of Houston resident. You must have an HPL card that is at least 6 months old, valid and no outstanding fines. TexShare card can also be renewed at Central Library.

  • A TexShare card does not guarantee that you will be able to borrow materials from other libraries. You can then get a library card from a TexShare participating library.
  • In most cases, it is a good idea to use library's interlibrary loan service to borrow materials from another library.
  • Texas residents and non-residents with TexShare card must first register as an HPL library card member. More information is available at Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
  • All TexShare cards expire annually on July 31 regardless of when they were issued. 

** Use the following instructions for Texshare card applications. **

Complete the form, then either mail or email it as a PDF along with a quality copy of an acceptable form of identification. 

                    Houston Public Library
                    System Circulation Department (Library Card)
                    500 McKinney
                    Houston, TX 77002