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 The New York Public Library, Knowledge Is Power.

Welcome! Apply today for a free New York Public Library card. With a library card, you can borrow books, music, and movies; reserve a computer; conduct research; and more.

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For Adults & Teens in New York State

Physical Library Cards

If you’re 13 years old or older and live, work, attend school, or pay property taxes in New York State, you can apply for a free library card right now using our online card application—then visit your nearest NYPL location to verify your information and receive your physical NYPL card. A physical library card is your key to checking out physical books and materials, signing up for Culture Pass, and more. 

Teens (ages 13 to 17) are not required to provide identification when verifying their applications. Learn more about teen library cards. 

If you prefer to complete the application for a physical library card in person, please visit an NYPL location with proof of ID and address.  Find a location near you.

Digital Library Cards

As long as your location within New York State can be verified, you can receive a free digital library card right now using the online application. With a digital library card, you get free access to the Library’s wide array of digital resources—including e-books, databases, educational resources, and more. Digital library cards do not provide access to Culture Pass.

If you are within New York State but your location cannot be verified via the online form, you will still receive a temporary library card that allows you to place holds on physical items. Please visit a branch or email to complete the process and receive your digital library card. 



For Kids in New York State

Kids 12 and under who live or go to school  in New York State can receive a physical library card by submitting an application signed by their parent or guardian. They can also apply for a digital library card with a parent or guardian through our free e-reader app SimplyE. Note: SimplyE accounts cannot be restricted to only children’s materials. Learn more about how to download and get started with SimplyE for iOS and SimplyE for Android.

Learn more about kids' library cards. 


For Visitors to New York

Visitors from outside of New York State can use the online application to apply for a temporary card that allows them to place holds for physical items for use when they are visiting. This card must be verified in person within 30 days, and does not provide access to e-books, databases, or the Culture Pass program. Upon arrival to New York, this card must be converted to a Visitor Card in person and is valid for three months.  

For International Researchers

If you are an international researcher looking to request research materials ahead of your visit, please use our alternate form.

Renewing Your Library Card

If you currently have an NYPL account and your card has expired, please do not apply for a new card. Duplicate records will be deleted. Learn more about how to renew your card here.


By submitting an application, you understand and agree to our Cardholder Terms and Conditions and agree to our Rules and Regulations. To learn more about The Library’s use of personal information, please read our Privacy Policy.