Getting a Library Card
Adults age 18 and older are eligible for a fine-free library card.
To apply in person, you’ll need the following:
- Visit any Richmond Public Library branch.
- Present a current picture identification with current address, such as a driver’s license or passport.
- If your current address is different from the address on your photo ID, you will also need to bring in another document with the current address on it (one example is a utility bill).
- Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other eligible adult who has required identification and is willing to assume responsibility for use of the library card and for payment of fines and lost/damaged materials charges.
- If you use a post office box as a primary address, you must still show proof of a current home address.
Getting a Fine-Free Youth Card
Children and young adults age 17 and under are eligible for a fine-free library card.
Young Adult Registration: Ages 14 and older can apply for their own card if they have a current photo ID, such as a current Virginia Driver’s license or learner’s permit, provisional license or school-issued ID. Otherwise, a parent or guardian 18 years or older must accompany them and present current photo ID and sign the library card to accept the responsibility for materials borrowed or any charges incurred on a young adult’s card.
Juvenile Registration: Ages 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian 18 years or older to apply for a library card. The parent or guardian must show a current photo ID, sign the library card to accept the responsibility for materials borrowed or any charges incurred on a child’s card.
- No overdue fines will be incurred once materials are returned.
- All Youth cardholders will be responsible for never-returned and damaged items. Charges for never returned or damaged items will be calculated at list price. Collection Recovery fees will still be charged, as will fees for missing chargers, damaged security cases, lost power cords, etc.
- Youth cardholders who owe $10 or more for never-returned or damaged items will have their borrowing privileges blocked until their charges have been paid or reduced below $10.
- Youth Cardholders who have items overdue will have their borrowing privileges blocked until items are renewed or returned.
- Collections Recovery Agent: the Library uses the services of a collection recovery company to collect money for never-returned and damaged items when the obligation equals or exceeds $25. If an account is referred to a collection recovery company, an additional non-refundable charge of $10 is applied.
Getting an eCard
Residents of the City of Richmond and surrounding areas who have never had a RPL card and who only want to use RPL’s computers or online services may apply for an eCard.
Use your eCard to:
- access our online resources, including eBooks and eAudiobooks
- place holds on library materials
- access public computers and the internet at all library locations
Not all services are available with your eCard. You must convert your eCard to a card with full borrowing privileges to:
- check out physical materials
- request an interlibrary loan
You can convert your eCard at any RPL location. Valid ID with name, photo, and current address is required.
Please be aware that if you change your eCard to a regular library card and you use Overdrive, we will need to merge your accounts to retain access to your holds and checked out items. It may take up to 24 hours to merge your account.
If you lose your eCard number, request it by sending an email to email@example.com from the email address you used to create your eCard. If the email address doesn’t match, we will not be able to process your request. Please visit one of our locations for a staff member to assist you.
If you already have a Richmond Public Library card, you don’t need to sign up for an eCard! Your current card can be used for online services.
Finding my user ID
Your User ID is the 13-digit number on the back of your library card.
Finding my PIN number
Your PIN was set up when you first registered and received a library card. It is often a 4-digit number.
Changing your PIN number
To change your pin you will need to know your current pin number.
- Go to the Richmond Public Library iBistro catalog
- Click on “My Account” on the menu bar
- Click on “User PIN Change”
Recovering my library card number
If you lose your library card, we can replace your card quickly. There is a $1.00 charge to replace the card. Just stop in the library with your picture ID and we will be happy to give you a new card.
If you lose your eCard number, request it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from the email address you used to create your eCard. If the email address doesn’t match, we will not be able to process your request. Please visit one of our locations for assistance.
Using the internet at the library
Public internet access is provided at all branches of the Richmond Public Library. See the RPL’s Computer and Acceptable Internet Use Policy for details about internet use.
Printing or copying at the library
You can print in black & white or color from the printers attached to our computers. B&W prints are $.15/page and color prints are $.50/page.
Copiers are available at each library and only make B&W copies. The cost is $.15/page. You can more about copying here.
Faxing at the library
Fax machines are available for out-going faxing only. Local and toll-free numbers are $.50/page and long distance numbers are $1.00/page. We require a cover sheet but there is no charge to fax that page.
You can learn more about faxing here.
Scanning a document
Our copiers can scan pages to your USB or thumb drive. If you don’t have a USB drive, we can sell you one for $3.00. Scanning is free. You can learn more about scanning here. You can also use your thumb drive to save your documents when you are done using a computer.
Borrowing materials from the library
We have books, audiobooks and music on CD, DVDs, magazines, and downloadable materials, including books, music, magazines, and movies – all available to our registered borrowers.
Knowing my checkout limits
You can check out a total of 99 items, either all at one visit or up to that number of items during various visits. Of those 99 items, 6 may be books on CD and 12 may be DVDs. In addition, you can checkout 25 downloadable books at a time on Overdrive, 8 items/month on hoopla, and unlimited eaudiobooks, ebooks, and emagazines from RBDigital!
Knowing my due dates
All materials in the libraries that circulate may be borrowed for 2 weeks and are eligible for renewal 4 times as long as no one else has placed the item or items on hold. When you check out, you’ll receive a printed receipt with your due dates. Or you can email your receipt if you’ve used a self-check station. You can also check your account online anytime.
Downloadable materials have different loan periods depending on the type of item and the vendor.
Library materials may be returned to any RPL location. If we aren’t open, drop boxes are located at all branches. Interlibrary loan services materials should be returned to your branch library.
Fines and Fees
The use of library materials is free for the stated loan period of the item. As we are now a fine-free library, fines are no longer assessed for items that are returned or renewed after the due date. However, if you damage or lose an item or if the item is over 30 days late, you will be charged for the value of the item plus a $5.00 processing fee.
Downloadable eBooks and downloadable audiobooks do not accrue fines. They usually have a 2-week loan and simply expire at the end of the loan period.
Keeping my borrowing privileges
Borrowing privileges will be suspended for accounts with balances of $10.00 or more. If you damage or lose an item or if the item is over 30 days late, you will be charged for the value of the item plus a $5.00 processing fee. If you find the item within 90 days after paying for it and it is in usable condition, we will refund the associated fee.
RPL does not accept replacement materials instead of the replacement fee.
RPL uses a collection agency for the recovery of non-returned library materials. An account with a value of $25.00 or more and the charges are more than 45 days outstanding will be referred to the collection agency. A non-negotiable service fee of $10.00 will be added to accounts referred to the collection agency. If your account is in collection status, you must pay all fines and fees before you can use your library card.
Fees can either be paid online or at your local branch. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card. Photo ID must be presented when paying by check.
Using word processing and other computer applications at the library
All public access computers provide access to Microsoft Office applications, including Word and Excel. For a complete list of programs available, call or visit your library.
Viewing a file in PDF format
Free Adobe Acrobat Reader software is installed or can quickly be downloaded for viewing PDF files on our public access computers.
Getting notices from the library for holds, renewal reminders, or other services
Patrons who have elected to receive e-mail notices will be sent a reminder 1 day before an item is due.
Patrons who have elected to receive SMS notices will be sent a reminder 1 day before an item is due. Overdue notices will also be sent via SMS messaging.
Overdue notices will be sent 14 days after an item is past due as a courtesy by U.S. mail or by e-mail for borrowers who have elected to receive e-mail notifications.
Failure to receive notices does not waive a patron’s responsibility to return items on time and pay any fees incurred.
After 30 days past due, a bill notice is sent to the address on file listing the replacement cost and processing fee. This notice is sent by U.S. mail.
Signing up for email notices
Tell us your email address when you register for a library card, or stop by any of our locations and tell us you want to add an email address to your record.
Sign up for SMS notices
Visit our SMS notification page to sign up and learn more about this automated service.
Renewing my books and other materials
For your convenience, materials may be renewed by phoning your local branch or Main Library Circulation department at 804-646-4531. Please have your library card ready before calling.
- Items may be renewed up to 4 times, for 2 weeks each time.
- Items will be due in 2 weeks from the date of renewal.
- Items on hold for another patron may NOT be renewed.
Renewing books and other materials online
You may also renew online through the RPL’s iBistro Online Catalog. You will need your library card and PIN number to renew.
- Go to the Richmond Public Library catalog.
- Click on “My Account” on the menu bar.
- Click on “Renew My Materials.”
- Enter your User ID (Library Card Number) and PIN.
- Select the materials you would like to renew or the “Renew All” radio button.
- Click on “Renew Selected Materials” or “Clear Selections” to start over.
- Please review your account after renewing to verify the due dates of each item renewed.
- Items with holds will not be renewed.
- You are responsible for fees on items not renewed.
- Keep a copy for your records.
Placing library materials on hold
- Place a hold on a book or other library materials online in the catalog, in person, or call any library location. Be sure to have your library card when placing item(s) on hold. You’ll also need your PIN to place a hold online.
- You will be notified by email or phone when the item is ready for pickup at the library you designated. If you have provided your email to the library, you will only be notified via email about your hold being available.
- Once your item is available for pick-up, you will have seven days to retrieve the item.
Borrowing or requesting materials the library doesn't own
The library cannot purchase every item published. While you are welcome to recommend items for purchase, you also have the option of requesting an Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Whenever possible, Richmond Public Library will try to borrow items from another library system for our customers. You can visit your local library to request an item through Interlibrary Loan, or you can submit your request with our online ILL form.
You are also welcome to suggest a title to purchase.
- To suggest a title to purchase, please search the Richmond Public Library catalog to see if we own the title before submitting your request online.
- Please suggest only one title per form.
- Your suggestion will be considered for purchase with regard to the Library’s collection development policy, availability of materials, and availability of funding.
- Due to the high volume of requests, we are unable to respond to individual requests or place holds on titles if we are able to purchase them.
What's happening at the library?
There are so many ways to stay in the know about RPL happenings!
Check out our online calendar of events at all RPL locations.
To find out what’s happening at your nearest library:
- Visit the online calendar and click on the blue Branch button to the right of the search bar for a drop-down menu, then select your branch.
- Visit the Locations page and select your nearest branch.
Sign up to learn about events related to topics that interest you here.
Donating books and other items to the library
Thank you for thinking of RPL when you have new or gently used books to give away. The Friends of the Richmond Public Library take great care in sorting the books, adding them to the library collections, or pricing them and putting them in our Big Book Sale!
Twice a year the Friends host a “Drive-Thru” Book Drive at the rear loading dock of Main Library. On occasion, we are able to accommodate special drop-offs at the Main Library loading dock if confirmed in advance. You can do this by contacting us at Friends@RVALibraryFriends.org.
Proceeds from the Friends’ used book sales support programs and projects of the Friends of the Library and Richmond Public Library such as summer reading, early literacy, and library renovations. What’s more, your gift is tax-deductible! Download this form, and the signed copy will be your official record for tax deduction.
For more information, call the Friends’ office at 804-646-3411 or visit the Friends website.
Reserving a meeting or study room
Meeting and study rooms at RPL locations are available for use by individuals, governmental agencies, educational entities, and non-profit organizations.
- Study rooms are available for reservation at the Main Library and West End Branch.
- Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Reservations can be made up to one (1) week in advance.
- Reservations are for a maximum of two (2) hours per day.
- Food and drink are not allowed.
- Attendance is limited to the posted capacity of the individual room.
- You must be 18 years or older to reserve a study room.
- No admission fees may be charged or solicited. No donations of money or other property may be solicited or collected from the audience. No promotions or sales of services, products, merchandise, materials or other items are allowed.
- All meetings must be free and open to the public.
- If your plans to use the study room changes, please cancel your reservation through the online cancelation link. Reservations will be automatically cancelled if more than 15 minutes late.
Use of a study room by groups or organizations shall not in any way constitute an endorsement of the beliefs or affiliations of such groups or organizations. Richmond Public Library reserves the right to further condition, deny, or revoke permission to use a study room, as appropriate and necessary under the circumstances.
Getting a document notarized
Our libraries have notaries on staff most hours we are open. There is no charge to notarize, but please call ahead to make sure the notary is available the day you want this service. Find out more about our notary service here.