Frequently Asked Questions

For fastest service, see below for a list of our frequently asked questions.


What is my PIN and how do I change it?
PINs are issued with every library card number. They are encoded for your privacy and cannot be viewed by staff. You can reset your PIN using your library card number and email here. For additional help, please contact us by phone or live chat for the fastest service. You can also email us or visit a branch with your library card and/or photo ID.

Why did my account expire and how do I renew it?
Most accounts expire every 3 years so we can verify and update your contact information. The fastest way to renew is to call or live chat with us. You can also email us or visit a branch with your library card and/or photo ID. Those that have permanently moved out of state would not be eligible to renew their account or apply for a new one.

Why is an item I returned still checked out to me?
Items returned to the book drop can take several business days to get checked in. If they are still checked out after that time, or if you returned them to the desk, please call or send us an email for further help. You are welcome to visit the branch to which you returned the items, but in most cases, we can resolve these issues remotely.

Why do I have fines when your library is fine free?
We no longer charge overdue fines, however - we bill for overdue items 3 weeks beyond the due date, and overdue accounts go to collections after 6 weeks. We exchange materials with several nearby library systems who set their own borrowing policies and may still charge fines. Here is our borrowing policy.

How do I apply for a library card?
Residents of our service area can now apply online and receive a full library card number by email. Our service area is Sacramento County, excluding the City of Folsom. Residents of CA living outside of our service area will need to visit a location in person to apply for and receive a library card. Teacher cards can be applied for here.

Why was I told to visit the library in person after applying online?
Our online registration software attempts to verify your residency in our service area. Our service area is Sacramento County, excluding the City of Folsom. Those who live outside our service area, or who have recently moved here, should visit a branch with a photo ID and proof of current address to apply for and receive a library card.

Why is your online registration limited to your service area?
Our digital content licenses are for those living within our service area. Our service area is Sacramento County, excluding the City of Folsom. Those that live outside our service area can still receive a library card if they visit a branch in person because by doing so they are within our service area at the time of application.

How do I recommend a book purchase?
SPL cardholders can recommend titles not currently found in our catalog. To recommend physical items such as books, DVDs, and CD Audiobooks, please visit our Recommend a Title page for more information. You will need access to your account to submit a request.

Sacramento Public Library cardholders can ask to be notified if the library purchases an electronic title through our Libby catalog, such as an eBook or audiobook. Visit Sacramento Public Library’s Libby website and follow the instructions here. You will need access to your account to submit a request. For Hoopla recommendations, please email with the title you would like the library to add. Authors recommending their own work should use the guidance found below.

Will you add a book I wrote to your collection?
We rely heavily on professional reviews to determine our purchase decisions. Generally, a work will not be purchased unless it has been reviewed in a standard source such as Library Journal or Kirkus Reviews. If you’re interested in donating a copy of your book, our selectors will be happy to consider it based on our selection criteria.

Additionally, local authors residing within Sacramento County may donate one copy of their work to be added to the Local Author collection at the Central Library. If you’d like to donate your work, please mail it to the address below. Donated works become the property of the Sacramento Public Library and cannot be returned. Please note that staff are unable to respond to further author inquiries to check the status of their book after it has been donated.

Sacramento Public Library
Collection Services Department
RE: Author Donation
828 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Why am I no longer receiving email notifications?
Sometimes our e-mails are blocked by the spam/trash filters on your ISP or e-mail account. To ensure that you receive e-mail notifications in the future, please add, and to your contacts or address book. If the above doesn’t work, please email us so we can troubleshoot further.


Do you accept book donations?
We accept books, magazines and other media in good condition at all library branches during open hours. Donations larger than 2 medium sized bags should be taken to the Friends Book Den. Some titles may be added to our collection, but most are given to the Friends to sell throughout their bookstores. Here is our donation policy.

May I have some of your old books?
We’re unable to give away library materials that were bought with public funds. Items removed from circulation are given to the Friends of the Library to sell at their bookstores. The proceeds are then used to help fund library programming. You can purchase used materials for nominal prices at these bookstores as well as the Friends Book Den.

May I donate an item to your Library of Things?
We’re not accepting donations to the Library of Things, but we are accepting donations to our Cake Pan Library. Donated cake pans must be clean and in excellent condition with no dents, scratches, holes, rust or damage. We may not add every cake pan to the collection. You’re welcome to drop off donated cake pans at any library branch.


How do I verify my account with Overdrive/Libby?
Overdrive/Libby allows users to create an instant digital card with just their phone number. This provides temporary 1-year access to your local library’s Overdrive/Libby catalog, but requires verification of a regular library account to continue access. Please verify your account by typing in your full 14-digit SPL library card number or apply for one here.

How do I merge my temporary Overdrive/Libby account with my new library card?
After you obtain a full library account with us, we can merge it with titles you still have on hold or checked out on your temporary Overdrive/Libby account. Please email us with the following information: your respective account numbers, phone number, email, and any titles you still have on hold/checked out on the temporary account.

Why is Discover and Go telling me that I have an invalid postal code?
Only residents of our service area are licensed to use Discover and Go. Our service area is Sacramento County, excluding the City of Folsom. Those with residential zip codes outside of our service area should check with their local library system for access to Discover and Go. For more information, please visit our museum passes page.

Why is there a monthly limit on stream-on-demand services?
These are pay-as-you-go services with each checkout incurring a cost. In order to keep digital streaming sustainable for the entire community, we need to cap the number of monthly checkouts per cardholder. Many digital titles can also be found in hardcopy through our catalog, and if unavailable, can be requested through Link+.


How do I book a meeting room?
Many branches have meeting rooms for public use. Generally speaking, events need to be free, open to the public, and not be commercial in nature. An SPL library card is required to make a reservation. Please take a look at our full meeting room policy. SPL cardholders can make meeting room reservations at the top of our locations page.

Do you have study rooms?
Study rooms are available at some locations on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a 1-hour time limit unless no one is waiting. They cannot be reserved in advance by the public and the library does not maintain a waiting list. Availability of study rooms by branch and additional information can be found here

How do I propose a program to the library?
Please fill out our program proposal form.

How do I book a class visit?
You can request a class visit from a librarian or book a class visit to your local library here.

Do you offer passport services?
Our passport office at the Central Library has been closed since the start of the pandemic. There is no current reopening date. Most adult passports can be renewed by mail. Those needing to apply in person can find a local acceptance facility here. For more information, please visit the State Department’s website.


How do I get a job with the library?
Please visit our employment page for more information on job openings, benefits, and labor agreements.

How do I volunteer with the library?
Please visit our volunteer page for more information on volunteer opportunities currently available at the library and how to apply.

Still can’t find what you are looking for? Contact our team using this form.