Library Card Sign-Up Month

As part of Library Card Sign-Up Month, the Des Moines Public Library is also partnering with Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART). Between Sept. 22-28, all Des Moines Public Library cardholders – new and old – can ride any DART route for free by scanning their full-sized library card on the farebox when you board a DART bus. 



September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! Even if you already have a card, you may not know everything that you can do with it. Are you ready to start using all the services and resources the Des Moines Public Library offers? With a free library card, you can...


*Residency restrictions apply

Getting Started

Download and Print our Library Card Application

The Des Moines Public Library issues free library cards to residents of Des Moines, unincorporated Polk County, and all cities who participate in the state of Iowa Open Access Program.

Visit any of the six locations to apply for a Des Moines Public Library card and bring a current photo ID and proof of permanent address. A current driver’s license or state ID card with correct current address will meet this requirement.

Acceptable proof of permanent address:

  • Billing statement received at the address
  • A check with printed address
  • Voter registration card
  • Rental agreement
  • Car registration
  • Paystub/Paycheck

The cardholder agrees to pay all fines, abide by the policies of the library, and promptly report loss or theft of the card and any change of name or address.

Adult Library Card Application Requirements

  • Borrowers must apply for library cards in person.
  • Must provide proof of current name, address, and a photo ID.
  • A valid Des Moines Public Library card is necessary to check out materials and access most library services.
  • Library cards are renewed every three years.
  • There is a $1 fee to replace a lost card. Promptly report a lost or stolen card. Picture identification is required to replace a lost or stolen library card.
  • The cardholder is responsible for all materials borrowed on their card.

Youth Library Card Application Requirements

  • Children who are at least five years old may get a library card.
  • Those under age twelve must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Cards for children will not be issued to parents/guardians if the child is not present.
  • Parent/guardian account is not required for child applying for a library card.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible for items checked out on their children’s cards.
  • Age 12 to 17: Parent or guardian does NOT need to be present if a child has their own photo ID. If parent/guardian is not present child will automatically be restricted to no DVD checkouts. Parent/guardian must be present to grant permission to borrow DVDs.


Download the Educator Card Application and Guidelines »

Guidelines for Educator Cards

The purpose of the Educator card is to allow teachers to check out books for the students in their classes. This program is designed for teachers in public schools, private schools, preschools, daycare centers, home daycare providers, and homeschool parents within the city limits of Des Moines and Rural Polk County. Books are checked out for one month and no fines are assessed. The Cardholder must pay for lost books (A book is considered lost when it is forty days overdue.)

  • Cards are made in the name of an individual teacher or caregiver.
  • The cardholder is responsible for lost materials. If a school or daycare is responsible for paying for lost materials, the principal/director’s signature is required on the application.
  • Borrowers must use their personal library card with standard borrowing privileges to check out items for other household members and for recreational reading materials.
  • A maximum of thirty (30) items may be checked out on the card. When returning books, please ask that they be checked immediately if you are planning to check out additional items that day.
  • The loan period is four (4) weeks. Items may not be renewed.
  • Teachers are encouraged to keep all books in the classroom.
  • Audio CDs and audio books may be checked out, but not videos or DVDs.
  • The library cannot provide multiple copies of a single title.
  • The library cannot provide collections of nonfiction books on a single topic.
  • The library reserves the right to limit the number of books borrowed on a single topic.
  • The library reserves the right to restrict or limit the inclusion of high-demand items such as new fiction, audio books, and books on popular topics.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines may result in loss of borrowing privileges.

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