Close up of children's hands checking out items at the self-check machine


Your library card opens the door to endless possibilities. Get access to books, movies, music, online resources, cool things to borrow and so much more.

Getting a Library Card

Membership is FREE to people who live or own property within Waterloo Region and to those living in communities with whom Waterloo Public Library has reciprocal borrowing agreements (Kitchener Public Library, Idea Exchange, Region of Waterloo Library, County of Brant Public Library, Hamilton Public Library and Guelph Public Library).

Library cards are also available to those temporarily living within Waterloo Region (like students!) and to local schools, organizations and businesses.  

Sign up for a library card at any WPL location or by filling out the online form. 

Register Online
A staff person checks out a customer at the Information Desk at the Eastside Branch

Membership FAQ

  • Can I get a library card if I don’t live in Waterloo Region or one of the communities that are part of the reciprocal borrowing agreements?

    Yes! Anyone who lives outside of these areas can get a Waterloo Public Library membership at a cost of $20.00 for 6 months or $35.00 for 1 year. 

  • What do I need to get a library card?

    Adults must provide personal identification AND proof of current address when signing up for a library card. Teens accompanied by a parent or guardian can use that parent or guardian’s identification as proof of address.

    Acceptable forms of ID include:

    • Driver’s License
    • Health Card
    • Ontario Photo Card
    • Student ID Card
    • Passport
    • Credit Card

    Acceptable forms of address verification:

    • Driver’s License
    • Ontario Photo Card
    • Recent utility bill
    • Recent rental agreement
    • Recent tax bill
  • Why do I need to sign my library card?

    By signing your Waterloo Public Library card – or your child’s library card – you agree to:

    • Take responsibility for all materials borrowed on that membership
    • Contact the library immediately if your card is lost or stolen
    • Notify the library if your contact details change
  • Can my baby or child get a library card?

    Yes! From the moment you are born, you are eligible for a library card. A parent/guardian must have a piece of ID and address verification to confirm the child’s information. If the child is not present, the parent/guardian must provide ID with the child’s name on it (i.e. birth certificate or health card). Children under 13 years of age must have a parent or guardian sign their library card to indicate responsibility for all materials borrowed on that membership.

  • What should I do if I lose my library card?

    Please notify us immediately if your card is lost or stolen. You must show ID to get a replacement library card. 

    Replacement library cards are $3.00. 

  • How do I renew my library card?

    All Waterloo Public Library members must renew their library cards once a year.  

    To renew your library card: 

    • Visit any Waterloo Public Library location 
    • Phone: 519-886-1310  
    • Email

    Please have your barcode number if renewing by phone or email. You will be asked to verify your contact details and to return or pay replacement fees for any billed materials.

    If your address, phone number, or email has changed, please let us know so that we can update your account. 

We are permanently fine free! 

Waterloo Public Library is a fine free library. This means that customers are not charged overdue fines. By removing financial barriers like overdue fines, our goal is to make it easier for everyone to access library services. 

Note that fees will still be charged for damaged items or items not returned to the library. 

A teenager checking out books at at self-check machine at the Eastside Branch


Discover all the borrowing possibilities with your library card – enjoy the freedom to borrow up to 150 items, ranging from books to ice skates. Conveniently place holds for delivery to your preferred library location and explore a wealth of online resources, all available with your library card.

Borrowing Information

  • Loan Periods
    ItemLoan PeriodLimit on how many can be borrowed at one timeAre renewals allowed (if item is not on hold)Are holds allowed
    Books3 weeksYesYes
    Popular Books
    (as marked)
    14 daysYesYes
    FastReads7 daysNoNo
    Readalong Books - Vox, Wonderbooks & Playaways3 weeks5YesYes
    Magazines3 weeksYesYes
    Vinyl Records3 weeksYesYes
    CDs & Audiobooks
    (Recorded Books)
    3 weeksYesYes
    DVDs & DVD TV Series3 weeksYesYes
    FastViews7 daysNoNo
    Kits3 weeksYesYes
    Board Games & Puzzles3 weeksYesYes
    In-Library Games & Puzzles3 hoursYesNo
    CO2 & Radon Monitors3 weeksYesYes
    Hotspots2 weeks1NoYes
    Explore Nature Kits3 weeksYesYes
    Park & Museum Passes7 days3NoYes
    Basketballs3 hoursNoNo
    Nordic Walking Poles1 weekYesYes
    Ice Skates3 daysNoNo
  • Renewing Items

    Most library items can be renewed if they are not on hold for another customer. Please note that hotspots, Museum and Park Passes, skates, basketballs, FastReads and FastView DVDs are NOT renewable.

    How to Renew Items: 

    • Online via the My Account button in the top right corner of our website 
    • From any self-check machine in library 
    • By calling our staff at 519-886-1310 (please have your library card number ready) 
    • By emailing us at (please include your full name and library card number) 
    • By asking library staff in library 
  • Placing & Cancelling Holds

    If a library item you want to borrow is already checked out, or is available at another Waterloo Public Library location, you can place a hold on the item to have it delivered to your preferred WPL location. Notable exceptions include FastReads, FastViews, skates, basketballs and in-library use only materials. 

    How to Place a Hold: 

    • Online by signing into My Account
    • By calling our staff at 519-886-1310 (please have your library card number ready) 
    • By emailing us at (please include your full name and library card number) 
    • By asking staff in library 

    Once your hold is ready to be picked up, you will be notified by email (or phone if an email isn’t provided).

    You will have 3 open library days to pick up your hold. 

    You can view and manage your holds via your online account. 

    How to Cancel a Hold: 

    • Sign into My Account and select Holds 
    • Under Cancel, check the box(es) next to the item(s) on hold that you would like to cancel 
    • Click Update List to cancel the selected holds 
  • Using the John M. Harper Branch Holds Lockers

    Pick up your holds even when the library is closed! You can request items to be delivered to the Holds Lockers at the John M. Harper Branch and retrieve them using your library card. These small library lockers are located just outside the library’s entrance inside the building we share with the Stork Family YMCA. If the building is open, you can retrieve your holds.

    Watch a Video Tutorial

    How to Use the Holds Lockers: 

    1. Place your holds using our online catalogue or ask staff for assistance. Be sure to select WPL John M. Harper Holds Lockers as the pick-up location when you submit your request. 
    2. Wait for an email or phone call from us to tell you that your hold is ready. 
    3. Visit the library during Stork Family YMCA Open Hours. 
    4. At the locker, scan your library card and select your locker(s). 
    5. Retrieve all your items when the locker(s) open and then carefully close the door. 
    6. Choose ‘done’ on the screen to select your receipt option and end your session

    About the Holds Lockers: 

    • There are 34 lockers that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 
    • Some library items, such as walking poles and select board games, may not fit in the lockers. If you request an item that does not fit, library staff will inform you by email. 
    • It may take staff some time to retrieve your holds and place them in the locker. The lockers are loaded once each day. Please wait to be notified (by email or phone) that your holds are ready. You will then have 3 days to pick up your hold from the lockers, just like regular holds. 
    • To retrieve holds, you must use the same library card you used to place the holds. 
    • When you open a locker door (using your card), all of the items inside it are checked out to you. Please take them all or place items you no longer want in the returns slot in the wall nearby. 
    • Library staff are available to support you during open library hours. 
  • Returning Items

    Borrowed items can be returned to any Waterloo Public Library location (except ice skates and basketballs, which must be returned to where they were checked out). Items borrowed from Waterloo Public Library CANNOT be returned to any other library system within the Region of Waterloo. 

    External book returns are available 24 hours a day and items can be returned inside any location during regular library hours. 

    Please check the materials you have borrowed as many specialty items must be returned directly to staff. These items will be clearly marked. 

    Please allow 1-2 business days for returned items to be removed from your library account. 

  • Fees

    Most items that are overdue for more than 28 days are automatically billed for replacement. Library cards are blocked when a replacement bill is sent to you. Please return late library materials to ensure you can use your library card. 

    Charges are also applied for items returned damaged.  

    If you owe more than $19.99 in fines or fees, your library card will be blocked until items are returned or charges are paid. A blocked card means you may not borrow items, use a public computer, renew or place holds with your library card. Contact library staff to assist you with your holds and renewals. 

    Unpaid library accounts over $50 may be referred to a collection agency. 

    Options for Paying Fees: 

    • Online by signing into My Account. This option is only available for accounts owing more than $3.  
    • In person at any Waterloo Public Library location (cash, cheque, debit or credit card accepted). 
    • By calling our staff at 519-886-1310 (credit card accepted) 

Need help or have questions about your membership?

Our friendly staff are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your library card or using the library.