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Materials Lending Policies

Hartford residents or those who pay property taxes in Hartford are eligible to receive a full- service Hartford Public Library card free-of-charge. Use of a Hartford Public Library card is non- transferrable, i.e., it can only be used by the person to whom it is issued. The card must be renewed every two (2) years. Out-of-state residents and students who live, work and study in Hartford may apply for library cards that must be renewed every year.
Users may only have one Hartford Public Library card in his or her name.

Organizations that operate in Hartford are eligible to apply for a Hartford Public Library card free of charge renewable every year. A representative of the organization must sign for the card and be responsible for the timely return of all borrowed materials and the fees associated with lost or late materials.

All materials borrowed must be returned or renewed on or before the due date.  Materials can be returned to any one of the Library’s 7 facilities or to any public library throughout the State of Connecticut.

Fines are charged for items returned after their due date. Additional fees apply for lost items. Cardholders are responsible for all materials borrowed on his or her card, all use of the card and all charges made against it, until the card is reported lost or stolen to the Library.

As protection against identity theft and to facilitate the renewal process, the Library includes a photo in the confidential patron record.

Applying for a Library Card:  Adults

A Hartford Public Library card is an important tool.  With your library card you will be able to:

Borrow books, audio-books, CDs, videos and DVDs downtown and at all 6 branches.
Gain full access to the Library’s e-Resources and other web services.
Renew items and check the status of your library account online.
Gain access to the collections and services of every public library in Connecticut. You can apply for a Hartford Public Library card at any Library location.

Applying for a Library Card:  Youth

For anyone ages 13  and younger to receive a library card a parent or guardian must sign the application form attesting to the validity of the information and accepting responsibility for materials borrowed and materials lost or damaged.
Youth under the age of 14 enrolled in the Hartford Public Schools will automatically receive a Boundless Universal Patron Card valid in any Hartford Public Library and School Library unless the parent or guardian opts out by completing an opt out form.
A Hartford Public Library youth application form must be signed by a parent or guardian. If a parent/guardian is not present, the library card application must be taken home for completion and signature.
Although parents or guardians may register their children for library cards without the children being present, the Library recommends that parents and guardians bring their children to the Library to participate in this important event in the lives of their children.

Email address:

If provided with an e-mail address, the Library will send account information, information on Library programs and services, special events, announcements and other note-worthy news.


Am I eligible for a Library card?

If you live, work, attend school or pay property taxes in Hartford you are eligible to receive a Hartford Public Library card free of charge. You must be age 14 or older to receive a full-service card.

What will I need to apply for a Library card?

When applying for a Library card in person, you must show proof that you live, work, attend school or pay property taxes in Hartford.

Only one form of identification is necessary if it is one of these current and unexpired forms of identification:
                Connecticut driver’s license
                State of Connecticut ID card
                Hartford Municipal ID Card

If the identification types listed above are not available, you may provide any two of the following forms of identification; one must have a photo and the other your current address:
                Valid passport
                Check cashing courtesy card
                School ID card with photo
                Employee ID with photo
                Green Card
                Current month's utility bill
                Mail postmarked within the past 30 days 
                Printed personal check
                Lease or rent receipt (within past 60 days)
                Tax bill or receipt
                Valid car registration or car insurance

PLEASE NOTE: Any rent receipts or statements from a homeless shelter used for verification of your identity must be dated no more than two months prior to your application.

Without a photo ID you are not eligible for a full-service library card. If you have a photo ID but cannot verify your address, we can send a postcard for proof of address to your home/residence. When you receive the postcard, bring it back to the Library with your photo ID and we will issue a new card.

If unable to provide photo ID or verify address, the Library will issue an E-Card that provides access to the Internet and the Library’s online resources. E-Card are issued at all Library locations. Without a full-service card, however, users are not able to borrow books or other materials. The E-Card must be renewed every two years.
Can I have a Hartford Public Library card if I live in another city or town in Connecticut?
In accordance with State of Connecticut residence and reciprocity regulations, if you live in another city or town in Connecticut you must obtain a card in the town where you live; it can be used in any public library in the State. We will honor the expiration date of the issuing library, if it is known. When an out-of-town card is used for the first time, you will be asked to provide photo identification and fill out an application. Your card will then be valid at Hartford Public Library.

If you live in another state, but work, live and/or study in Hartford, you may obtain a full-service Hartford Public Library card with proper identification and verification of address. The card can be used in any public library in the State.

Can I have more than one HPL card?

No. Only one card will be issued per person. Multiple cards to access services at the Library are not necessary.

What are the borrowing periods for books and other materials?

New books may be checked out for two weeks and renewed twice for two weeks per renewal for a a total of six weeks with proper renewal, if item is not placed on hold for another user during that time.

Books and audio books may be checked out for three weeks and renewed twice for three weeks per renewal  for a total of nine weeks with proper renewal, if item is not placed on hold for another user during that time.

CDs may be checked out for three weeks and renewed once for three weeks per renewal for a total of six weeks with proper renewal, if the item is not placed on hold for another user during that time.

DVDs may be checked out for five days and may be renewed once for a total of 10 days with proper renewal, if the item is not placed on hold for another user during that time.
Boundless cards are subject to the lending policies and borrowing periods of the institutions the materials checked out on the card belong to.

How often do I have to renew my card?

Your Hartford Public Library Card expires after two years and must be renewed to ensure uninterrupted access to Library materials and services.
To Renew: Present a current photo ID from the list above. If the address is the same on the ID and matches with the information in our database, then no further verification of address is necessary. If there is a change in the address, then further verification will be required by providing any of the supporting documentation listed above.

How many books may I check out at one time?

You may borrow up to 25 books from the Library’s collection. There are no limits on borrowing audio books.

How many DVDs may I check out at a time?

With an adult full-service card you may borrow five) DVDs or a combination of five  DVDs from the primary media collection or from the youth media collection. With a full- service youth card you may borrow one DVD at a time.

How many CDs may I check out at a time?

An adult full-service library card allows the holder to borrow five CDs from the media collection. A holder of a youth card may borrow one CD at a time.

How do I request a renewal?

You can call the Downtown library or any branch to renew your items by telephone. A list of locations and telephone numbers can be found here.   You can also text the Library with your request and you can also "renew your items online.” Books and CDs may be renewed twice; videos and DVDs may be renewed once. If materials checked out in your name are overdue you may not be able to renew items online without first paying the accumulated fine. NOTE: if another customer has placed a hold on an item it is not renewable. Please call the Library for service at 860-695-6290.

What are the overdue charges on materials?

For each day that materials are overdue, charges are:

5 cents  (Adult books, CDs, audio books)
50 cents  (DVDs)

Can I borrow new materials if I owe the Library for overdue materials?

Adults who incur $15 or more in fines, or anyone who has been billed for an item that was not returned to the Library, will not be able to borrow books and other materials until the outstanding bill is paid or the book/material is returned.  
Payment is accepted at all library locations and may also be paid online.

What can I do if the item I want is already checked out?

When a book, audio book or CD is already checked out you may place a hold on it online using your library card, or by calling the Downtown Library or any branch, or in person. Your Library card must be active in order to place the hold. Holds can be placed on DVDs after those items have been in the collection for one year after acquisition.

What if I my card is lost or stolen?

When you register for a Hartford Public Library card, you accept responsibility for all items on the card, all use of the card and all charges made against it until your card is reported lost or stolen.  The Library must have a record of your card having been reported lost or stolen, or it will not be considered lost or stolen. Therefore it is to your benefit to report the loss or theft of your library card immediately to avoid fraudulent use of your card.

The cost of replacing a library card is $1for adults and 50 cents for children.  This fee is assessed at the time the card is reported lost. Please report lost cards by phone or in person at any Library location.

What should I do if I move or if my name changes?

It is your responsibility to report changes of name and address. Please call or visit the Library in person to update your records.

How will the Library communicate with me about my account and events and programs at the Library?

Hartford Public Library provides a notification service for held items, overdue materials and other service-specific reasons.  Notices are available via telephone or e-mail; the method by which you receive them is chosen at the time you apply for a card.  It is the responsibility of the borrower to notify the Library if any contact information changes.

You may also receive notices from the Library occasionally about events and programs. You can choose not to receive this material if you prefer.

Note: If you receive notices by e-mail, please make sure that e-mails sent from are allowed through any filters you may have in place on your computer. If you do not receive a notice, you are still responsible for fees or fines associated with any outstanding borrowed items

Revised June 2010

Adopted by the Library Board of Directors: September 2010

Revised February 2018

Adopted by the Library Board of Directors: February 2018