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 passwords/PIN numbers 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.

The Waltham Public Library, as part of the Minuteman Library Network, allows patrons 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. The best way is to get a card is by filling out an online application. You will be assigned a temporary number and be allowed to place a small number of holds. You can also 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. Lease agreement
  6. School schedule with your name and address printed on it
  7. 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.
  8. 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 verbally confirming that you still live at your current address. If you have moved, you are required to notify Library staff.

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.

Students of colleges or private high schools in Waltham can obtain Waltham Public Library cards. You will be required to verify your local address whether you live on-campus or off-campus. These cards follow the policies and guidelines of regular WPL cards.

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

Rules for Borrowing
Adult Materials

Material Loan Late Fee Renewal Notes
Books, Audiobooks, Magazines 3 Weeks 10¢/day 2
Express Books 3 Weeks 10¢/day 0 No requests/renewals
Music CDs 3 Weeks 10¢/day 2
Feature Films 1 Week 25¢/day 2 NEW Requestable by WLM residents only for 3 months
Express DVDs 1 Week 25¢/day 0 No requests/renewals
Nonfiction DVDs, TV Shows 3 Weeks 10¢/day 2 Includes Teaching Co, NEW TV Series requestable by WLM residents only
Laptops 2 hours $10.00/hour 0 No renewals, prorated fines: see chart
Library of Things, Rokus, Equipment 3 weeks $1.00/day 2 Library of Things items are requestable by WLM residents for WLM pickup only

Youth Materials

Material Loan Late Fee Renewal Notes
Books, Audiobooks, Music, Characters, Learning Kits, Puppets, Magazines 3 Weeks 5¢/day 2
DVDs: Fiction 1 Week 25¢/day 2 NEW Requestable by WLM residents only for 3 months
DVDs: Non-Fiction 3 Weeks 25¢/day 2
Console Games 1 Week 25¢/day 2 Requestable by WLM residents only, WLM pickup

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

No renewals for:
Express books or Express DVDs

Fees & Fines
Late Fees
Adult Materials 10¢ per day
Exceptions Feature Films and Express DVDs: 25¢ per day
Children's Materials 5¢ per day
Exceptions DVDs and Video Games: 25¢ per day

Lost Material

If an item borrowed on your card is lost or damaged, the current replacement cost is charged. Staff will look at current pricing for that item on Amazon.

This policy does not apply to items belonging to other libraries. The patron is responsible for handling the lost or damaged items directly with the owning library.

You are welcome to reserve library materials in person, by phone, or through the online catalog. For assistance placing a request, contact the Reference 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.

Patrons for whom we have an email address will automatically be sent email notices when the items are ready for pickup. Patrons without an email address will be notified by phone the day after an item's arrival.

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.