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Get a library card

You can get an Ottawa Public Library (OPL) card if one of the following applies to you:

  • You live in Ottawa
  • Pay property tax to the City of Ottawa
  • Have a Sm@rtLibrary membership

Register for a Card

  • You can register at any library branch for a free library card
  • You will need to bring photo identification and proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement
  • Children ages 15 or under need the signature of a parent to get a card

When you get a library card, you are agreeing to:

  • Follow OPL’s rules and regulations
  • Care for the materials you borrow
  • Pay outstanding fines or fees
  • Pay for lost or damaged materials
  • Tell an OPL employee if your card is lost or stolen (the cardholder is responsible for any use of this card)
  • Tell an OPL employee if your name, address or phone number changes

Library cards must be renewed once a year in person at any of the 33 branches. Cards are assigned to individuals, not groups or families.


What you can do with your Library card


Borrow and Return Materials

Library items may be borrowed from and returned to any Ottawa Public Library branch or the bookmobile. For your convenience, book drops are available at all 33 branches.


Renew Materials

  • In person at any branch
  • By touch-tone phone at 613-580-2535 (TeleCIRC)
  • By using our online catalogue. Access your account to renew items, see what’s out on your card or monitor your requests by clicking on My Borrowing


Library materials can be renewed except in the following circumstances:

  • There is a request on the item
  • The maximum renewal limit on the item has been reached
    (These limits include three times for books, one for audio-visual materials and one for Express Collection.)
  • There is an outstanding balance on your account of $50 or more
  • Your library card has expired – library cards must be renewed in person once a year

Request items

If there is an item you would like to borrow that is not available at your closest library branch, you can place a hold on it. A “hold” puts you on a waiting list when the item you want is borrowed by someone else. When it becomes available, the item will be sent to the library branch of your choice. You will receive a telephone message or email to let you know it is ready to be picked up.


You can place a hold on library material in three ways:

Learn about the Library

Getting to Know the Library is a manual developed by the Ottawa Public Library in partnership with the Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy. The manual is designed to introduce adult learners (literacy, ESL/FSL) to the resources and services of the library and to help learners feel more at ease when dealing with the library.

Watch a video explaining the services for newcomers in the following languages