Your Library Card

Who can get a library card, how to apply, and how to use your library card.
Applying for a Library Card

You may become a registered borrower if you are a resident of Altoona, rural Polk County or a resident of a community participating in the Open Access program. Cards held by Altoona residents expire in three years, all others expire in one year. Identification with your current verifiable address must be presented before borrowing privileges are approved. Address changes must be reported immediately with verification of your new address. Children under the age of 14 must have a parent’s or guardian’s signature on their application. Cards are renewable as long as there are no outstanding fees or fines. There is a $3.00 fee for the replacement of a lost, damaged or stolen card. Temporary residents of Altoona may apply for a card using government-issued photo identification with a current permanent address along with proof of residency and employment, such as a lease agreement in the applicants name and a letter from the employer stating the terms of employment.


Borrowing Privileges

Your card must be presented each time you borrow materials. You are responsible for all materials checked out on your card. It is recommended that you do not lend your card to others. Borrowing privileges will be restricted if there are six or more items overdue or if $10.00 or more in fines have accrued.


Loan Periods

Three weeks: books, audio books, music, DVD's, and most other library material. Items may be renewed twice if no one else is waiting for that item. New DVDs may be checked out for 7 days, do not have a grace period, and are not renewable.


Limited Check-Out

A/V materials including DVDs, music CDs, and audio books are limited to a combination of ten (10) items per card. There is a check-out limit of 40 items per person.



Library materials may be renewed twice if no one else has placed a hold on the item.  This may be done at the public access catalog stations in the library, online at the library ’s Web site, at the circulation desk or by calling the library.


Interlibrary Loan

If the library does not own the printed material you need, you may request it be borrowed from another library if you are a resident of Altoona or rural Polk County. There is a limit of three items per request. The patron making the request is required to have a current library card.  Overdue fees are $1 per day, and there is a $3 charge for items not picked up. There may be charges from the lending library, particularly for duplicating print articles.



You may return borrowed materials at the circulation desk. An outside drop box is located near the south library entrance and curb side drops accessible from a vehicle for books and audiovisual items. When using drop boxes, please place items in the appropriate drop box as labeled.


Overdue and Lost or Damaged Items

 Fines and Fees

    •     Library materials:  $.10 per item per day for adults, and $.05 per item per day for children's materials.

    •     Lost items:  $2.50 processing fee plus the cost of item

    •     Damaged items:  $1.00 per page/incident for repairable damage

    •     A five day grace period is honored on all items except New DVDs.


Purchase Requests

If the library does not own a book that you need or would like to read, you may make a recommendation or request by filling out a suggestion form located at the circulation desk. The request will then be considered for purchase. Not all requests are filled. Once any requested material is purchased and cataloged, it will be held for you at the circulation desk. A staff member will notify you by telephone when it is available.



If the item you want is currently checked out, you may place your own hold on this item at the public access catalog stations in the library, online, or by making a request at the circulation desk. You will receive notification via phone, email or text (this preference can be set using your account online or at the circulation desk) when the requested item is available. Once you have been notified, it will be held for three days at the circulation desk. If the item is not picked up, the next person on the reserve list will be contacted.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.