Library Cards

Waltham Public Library cards are issued free of charge. A library card gives borrowing and computer use privileges at the Library and provides access to the Library's online subscriptions from any Internet connection.

Your library card is valuable: Library cards, card numbers and Personal Identifcation Numbers (PINs) are issued to individuals and may be used only by the person to whom they were issued, whether for borrowing material or using Library computers. You are responsible for all materials borrowed on your card unless you report the card lost or stolen. Parents are responsible for materials borrowed by children 17 years and younger. A replacement card costs $1.00.

As a first-time borrower, you may borrow up to three items when you receive your Library card. On later visits, the Waltham Public Library, as part of the Minuteman Library Network, allows a person to have up to 150 items checked out at one time. A Waltham Public Library card is valid at over 40 MLN Libraries. Policies vary from library to library.

You will be required to show your Library card (or photo identification) each time you borrow Library materials.


  1. Fill out a short application. Stop at the Children's or Main Circulation desk and ask for a library card application, or print out this application, fill it out, and bring it with you.
  2. Show a valid photo identification and proof of your current address. This can be a valid Massachusetts drivers license or a valid Massachusetts state identification card, but we will accept other forms of ID. See below for details.
  3. We will make your card right away. Now you may use and borrow many FREE things at the library!


A library card will be issued to you when one of the following is presented in person:

  • Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License, or
  • Valid Massachusetts State Identification Card

OR, any one identification from EACH of the following two lists:

1. Current Picture Identification (ID) – must include name and photo:

  1. Passport
  2. Alien Registration Card
  3. Government issued cards, such as Military ID
  4. University or school ID
  5. Out-of-state driver’s license
  6. State issued photo ID including welfare, Medicaid or FID card

2. Address Verification – must include applicant’s name and Massachusetts address*

  1. An imprinted bank check or deposit slip
  2. Utility bill dated within the last 30 days
  3. Postmarked first class letter dated within the last 30 days
  4. Rent receipt (confirming 30 day occupancy)
  5. School schedule with your name and address printed on it
  6. Letter verifying residency and mailing address dated within the last 30 days from a social service provider, temporary employer that provides housing, or a short-term residence.
  7. Post card mailed to you from the Library

*a Post Office Box or business address is not sufficient – we must also have your current residential address.

Most Library cards are valid for five years, unless otherwise noted. All Library cards can be renewed easily at the checkout desk by confirming orally that you still live at your current address. If you have moved, you are required to notify Library staff.

If your address is verified by a letter or postcard, as in letters l. and m. above, every 6 months you will be required to confirm your current address. After verification with a driver’s license, state ID or one of the items in letters g through k, the card will be valid for five years.

If you are between the ages of 13 and 17 and cannot meet the ID requirements, you will need your parent or guardian (with their identification and proof of address) to sign the application.

If you are under 13 years old, you will need to have your parent or guardian (with their identification and proof of address) sign your Library card application.

If you are an out-of-state resident and you

  1. work in Massachusetts, or
  2. attend school in Massachusetts, or
  3. own property in Massachusetts, or
  4. are temporarily living in Massachusetts for more than two months,

you may be issued a Library card, with sufficient identification.

Out-of-state residents must provide identification showing their home/permanent address. Property owners must provide verification such as a tax bill, utility bill, etc. for their Massachusetts property. Students must verify their status with school identification and provide their school address. Out-of-state residents working in Massachusetts must provide their work address.

If you are a student at a local college or private high school and have your school identification and photo identification with your home address, you will receive a Library Card. If you are living off-campus, you will also be required to verify your local address. Student cards are valid until the first of May. If you are staying in Waltham for the summer, and can verify your summer address, your card may be extended until the first of September. You will be asked to verify your address again at the beginning of the new academic year.

If you will be leaving the area in less than two months, your card will expire 3 weeks before your departure date, and you will be able to borrow up to 3 items at a time.

If you will be visiting for more than a week, and wish to have computer access only, you may receive a Computer Access Only card, with a photo identification and proof of your permanent address. Your card will expire on your departure date, and will not be valid for borrowing library materials.

Residents of cities and towns with libraries decertified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) may not obtain a library card or borrow items in Waltham. We take this action reluctantly. The Waltham Public Library Board of Trustees cannot ask Waltham taxpayers to make up for the refusal of other cities and towns to properly fund their libraries. Loss of service is one way to help decertified libraries build support to restore their budgets. This policy affects all individuals with a home address in an MBLC decertified municipality.

Printable PDF of Library Card Policy

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees, 9/16/2010

Borrowing Materials

Type of Material How Long Limit
per household
Adult & Children's 3 weeks  
Children's - School Project 3 weeks See Children's Librarian
Children’s – Big Book Kit 3 weeks  
English as a Second Language 3 weeks  
Compact Discs    
Audiobooks 3 weeks  
Boxed Set 3 weeks  
Music 3 weeks  
English as a Second Language 3 weeks  
CD-Rom in a book See books  
Learn a Foreign Language 3 weeks  
Nonfiction (Instructional and Documentary) and Rentals (Feature Films) Nonfiction: 3 weeks
Rentals: 1 week
Only 5 new releases
Kits (Children's Room) 3 weeks  
Magazines 3 weeks  
Puppets 3 weeks  
English as a Second Language 3 weeks  
Nonfiction (Instructional and Documentary) and Rentals* (Feature Films; New Nonfiction) 3 weeks for Nonfiction
1 week for Rentals

*Rental books & movies are paid for by the Friends of the Waltham Public Library.

Renewing Materials
You may renew most items twice, if they have not been requested by another patron.

• By phone at 781-314-3425, ext. 2
• By online catalog using your library barcode and PIN number, after logging into "my account".
• In person

Rental books, DVDs and videos must be brought into the library and renewed in person.

No renewals for:
Express books

Fees & Fines
Late Fees
Adult Materials 10˘ per day
Exceptions Rentals, Speed Reads, High Demand Audio-Visual Items, YA CD-Roms, Learn a Foreign Language CD-Roms: 25˘ per day
Children's Materials 5˘ per day
Exceptions Rental DVDs: 25˘ per day

Lost Material

If an item borrowed on your card is lost or damaged, the current replacement cost is charged. Another option is to replace the lost item with an identical copy; see below for details.

Rules for replacing lost library items:

  1. The item must be exactly the same version, edition and format as the item lost.
  2. The item must be like new: in very good condition without any markings or labels. New, unused items are preferred because of the unpredictability of the amount of prior use and the volume of use that library items are subject to may preclude used items from being functional to the library for an acceptable amount of time.
  3. All replacements are subject to review and approval by the Department Head. Department head will contact the patron with any issues regarding a replacement.
  4. These policies do not apply to items belonging to other libraries. The patron is responsible for handling the lost or damaged items directly with the owning library.
  5. Damaged items stay at the library until the replacements arrive.

You are welcome to reserve library materials in person, by phone, or through the online catalog. For assistance placing a request, contact the Reference, Audio-Visual, or Children's Desks.

When you place a request online, we receive your message the next business day, in the morning. Items listed as "Available" in Waltham at the time you place the online request may not be available the next morning. If possible, request available items over the phone, so that we may check the shelves and set the item aside for you right away.

When your requested items are here for you to pick up, we will notify you by phone or email. Patrons for whom we have an email address will automatically be sent email notices.

We will hold your requested items for 7 days. After that, they are returned to our shelves or to the owning library.

Returning Materials
When returning items to Waltham, please place all items in the book drops by either library entrance, unless the items are overdue. Please bring overdue items to a circulation desk to take care of fines.

All library materials except museum passes may be returned to any Minuteman Network library.

To keep our costs down, please return items to the owning libraries whenever convenient.