Library Cards, Borrowing and Fees

We've Gone Fine Free!

Register for a Guelph Public Library Card

Visit any Guelph Public Library location or register online to get a library card.

How to register for a temporary card online:

How to get a card:

  • Show identification with your name and address. Acceptable identification includes:
    • Driver’s License or Ontario Photo Card
    • Health Card *
    • Passport *
    • Birth Certificate *
    • Social Insurance Card *
    • Credit Card *
    • Utility bill or personal mail with current postmark (no more than two weeks old)
    • Tax or lease receipt
    • Rental agreement
    • Report card or Student ID card

*  A document showing your current address is also required.

  • Guelph property owners should show proof of ownership
  • Children under age 13 must be with their parent to get a card

What you can do with your library card:

  • Borrow library materials
  • Request materials from other library systems through our Interlibrary Loans Department
  • Download eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies and music
  • Search our Online Resources
  • Register for programs
  • Access library computers

By providing an email, you are agreeing to receive Guelph Public Library communications relating to your library account, library services and library program offerings.

If you do not live in Guelph

You can get a free Reciprocal Borrowing membership if you have a library card at Idea Exchange in Cambridge, Wellington County Public Library, and Waterloo Public Library.  Please show identification with your name and address along with your Idea Exchange library card, Wellington County Library card, or Waterloo Public Library card.

If you live outside the reciprocal borrowing areas, then non-resident memberships cost $50 for six months or $100 for one year.

Lost or stolen cards

If you lose your card, contact the library immediately. You are responsible for items borrowed on your card before the library is notified of your card's loss. To get a new card, bring your identification to any library location. There is a replacement card cost of $2.00.


The default password is the last 4 digits of your library card number. You can change the default password online to your own secure password by logging in to your account.


For specific due dates, you can check your account online.

General loan periods are below.
Item borrowedLoan period
Audiobooks 2 weeks
Binoculars 2 weeks
Board Games 2 weeks
Book Club Kit 6 weeks
Books 2 weeks
Cognitive Care Kit

2 weeks

Compact discs 2 weeks
Disc Golf Sets 2 weeks
DVD & Blu-ray 2 weeks
Kill a watt power meter 2 weeks
Knitting needles 2 weeks
Launchpads 2 weeks
Magazines 2 weeks
Mobile hotspots (no renewals) 1 week
Parks Pass  1 week
Pedometer 2 weeks
Playaways 2 weeks
Puzzles 2 weeks
Quick Pick books (no renewals) 1 week
Quick Pick DVD (no renewals) 2 days
STEM Kits 2 weeks
Video Games 2 weeks
View-Master® Virtual Reality Headset 2 weeks

Automatic Renewal of Library Materials

Any library materials borrowed go through an automatic renewal process two days before an item is due. Items will automatically renew for a maximum of 3 times. The following items will not be automatically renewed:

  • Items that are on hold
  • Quick Picks
  • Quick Reads
  • Interlibrary loan materials

Manual Renewal

Manually renew library materials:

  • In person at any library location
  • Phone 519-824-6220
  • Email the Information Department 
  • Renew online. Log in with your library card number and password (default password is the last 4 digits of your library card number)
  • Self-checkout stations are available at all library locations.


Delivery Schedule of Notices
Notice TypeFormatDelivery Schedule
Hold pickup notice Email/text 6 a.m. next day
Hold pickup notice Phone call Same day (after 12 noon)
Almost overdue courtesy Email 2 days before due (3 days between notices)
Overdue notice Email/phone/text 1 day overdue
Overdue notice Email/phone/text 7 days overdue
Overdue notice Email/phone/text 14 days overdue
Replacement item Email/phone/text 21 days overdue
Referral to Collection Agency Mailed letter 30 days after fees exceed $100



Guelph Public Library is Fine Free

Fines can create a barrier that discourages people from using or returning to the library. We strive to be inclusive and equitable, and fines disproportionately affect people based on their background or economic status in a way that doesn’t align with our vision and values.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fine Free

How will the library survive without revenue from fines?
Fine revenue has been decreasing for years and only makes up a small portion of our revenue stream. With digital collection use on the rise, this downward trend will continue. We are proactively making this change now to ensure that we are financially sustainable for the future.
Will I have to wait longer for my holds?
We are implementing a new automatic renewal process. Items that are on hold will not be automatically renewed. We also monitor holds to make sure we purchase enough copies of popular titles.
How will people learn to return books on time?
All items still have due dates, and families can use due dates and library accounts to teach responsibility, but without the added stress and impact of financial penalties.
What will stop someone from keeping books well past their due dates now?
Many other libraries in North America have already gone fine free, and they report that they’re not seeing an increase in late returns. We’re confident that due dates will be largely followed. We are not charging overdue fines, but we still charge fees for items that are lost. We will continue to send reminder notifications about due dates and have introduced automatic renewals to make it easier for you to manage your Library items and account.
If I have exhausted my 3 automatic renewals and the item is now due can I return it and check it out again right away?

Unfortunately, we have a policy that requires us to make the book available to other customers for at least 24 hours before you can check it out again.

I have paid my library overdue fines for years. Will I get my money back?
This is a change we are making moving forward. We will not refund past overdue fine payments.
Can I still checkout if I still have one item overdue?

Yes, you can still check items out as your account will not be blocked from borrowing unless the overdue item is at least 21 days overdue.

I’m returning that book right now, it’s not lost!
When items are overdue for 21 days or longer, our computer system assumes they are not coming back and charges the replacement cost and a processing fee. These charges will disappear as soon as we check-in the item as we just want our items back.
What is a processing fee?
A processing fee is a fee charged by the library to cover the costs associated with the processing of materials – labels, barcodes, plastic covers, etc.
Can I get my money back if I paid for a lost book and then I find it again in the future?
We are willing to refund your replacement fee in most cases.
The library is important to me. Can I still pay you what I would owe?
Absolutely! This is a common sentiment. The good news is, we’ll treat your voluntary fine payment as a donation to the library. Our system no longer calculates fines, so you can donate any amount you wish. Your gift will help build our library collections and services. Visit the Donate link on the Guelph Public Library website for more information about online donation or donate directly at your branch library.
I racked up a bunch of fines a few years ago. Do I still have to pay those?
Welcome back! We cleared old daily overdue fines on our library customer’s accounts; however, charges for lost and/or damage items may still be on your account.

We want people to visit us and use their library more than ever versus wanting people to pay the daily overdue charges for the VHS tape that slid under the cottage couch back in 1995 before finding it in 2012. We just want our items back! Please contact the library to check if you still have charges on your account.

Are there any limitations?

Limitations include:

  • Materials belonging to other libraries may still have overdue fines charged because of their borrowing polices.
  • All items that are damaged will still be charged replacement fee and a processing fee.
  • All items that are lost will be charged a replacement fee and a processing fee.
  • There are still services in the library which may have a cost associated with them including, but not limited to, printing, room rentals, etc.


Replacement Costs and Processing Fees 
Item typeReplacement CostProcessing Fee: All Collections
Audiobooks varies $10
Binoculars $200 $10
Book Club Kit $200 $10
Books varies $10
Cognitive Care Kit varies $10
Compact Discs varies $10
Disc Golf Sets $20 $10
DVD & Blu-ray varies $10
Kill a watt power meter $25 $10
Knitting needles $3 $10
Launchpads  varies $10
Magazines varies $10
Mobile hotspots $200 $10
Parks Pass $140-$225 $10
Pedometer $25 $10
Playaways  varies $10
Puzzles varies $10
Quick Pick books (no renewals) varies $10
Quick Pick DVD (no renewals) varies $10
STEM Kits  varies $10
Video Games varies $10
View-Master® Virtual Reality Headset $25 $10

Lost/Damaged Items

Lost items
Items that are 21 days overdue are considered lost. The library will mail the cardholder a bill including the cost of the item and a processing fee. 
Items returned incomplete or with missing parts
Any multi-part item returned incomplete is subject to replacement costs and processing fees on your account.
Damaged items

Items returned in damaged condition are subject to a replacement cost and processing fee of $10.00.

Lost or damaged CD or DVD case or library barcode are $1.00 each. 

Outstanding accounts and collection

The library uses a collection agency to recover outstanding accounts exceeding $100.00 for more than 30 days.


© 2020 Guelph Public Library, 100 Norfolk Street, Guelph, ON, N1H 4J6, Phone: 519-824-6220

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