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Borrowing Policy

Policy Details

The public may visit any library location, use its in-house resources and access express computers and catalogue stations. A library card is required to borrow materials, access digital collections and resources, use Extended Access facilities and Makerspaces, and to log on to public computers. The Hamilton Public Library Board establishes who may obtain a Hamilton Public library card.
Free of Charge: Library cards are issued without charge to eligible individuals.

Types of Library Cards

Discovery Card (Adult)

Discovery cards are issued to individuals who are residents of Hamilton with identification containing name and address. This card is also extended to applicants who have related identification that indicates they: work, pay taxes in the City of Hamilton or are a student who attends a Hamilton educational institution. Discovery cards are also available to any person who has a Six Nations address in Ontario.

Discovery Card (Youth)

Youth cards are issued to individuals up to the age of seventeen (17) who live or go to school in Hamilton. The library card application form must be signed by a responsible party, if they are not present when the card is created for children under the age of 16.

In keeping with the Library’s The Rights of Children and Teens in the Public Library Policy [1], there is no restriction on the material that may be borrowed by children. Parents and/or those responsible for the child are responsible for the selection, usage and safe return of materials borrowed by their children.

Inspire Cards

Inspire Cards are available to individuals that have limited identification or choose to have more basic borrowing privileges. These cards have limited borrowing privileges for physical materials but full access to digital resources.

Non-Resident Cards

Non-residents can purchase an annual library membership:

  • There is an annual non-refundable fee effective from the date of registration. Cardholders will be asked to verify their address and phone number at that time. (see Fines and Fees Policy [2])
  • Non-resident cards have the same privileges as a Discovery card, except for Extended Access.
  • It is noted that non-residents who are eligible for a reciprocal card may wish to pay the annual fee to obtain access to our full digital and physical collections.

Reciprocal Borrowing Cards

Hamilton Public Library has a number of formal reciprocal borrowing agreements with neighbouring municipalities. Reciprocal borrowing agreements require library board approval. Individuals from outside of Hamilton require a valid library card from a participating library system, along with identification showing their name and address. This card may be used to borrow, but a Hamilton Public Library card is not issued.

Participating Systems:

  • Burlington Public Library
  • Cambridge Public Library
  • County of Brant Library System
  • Grimsby Public Library
  • Haldimand Public Library
  • Milton Public Library
  • Region of Waterloo Library
  • Waterloo Public Library
  • Wellington County Public Library

Community Cards

Staff employed by a Hamilton daycare centre, institution, school, corporation, business, government agency, association, charitable and non-profit organization or group home may apply for a Community card.

A special application form must be completed for this category of library membership. A Community card application requires the signature of an executive or administrator who is authorized to accept financial responsibility for the organization. In the case of schools, the application needs to be signed by the principal. These specialty cards carry additional conditions:

  • Library card must be in-hand to borrow materials
  • The executive or administrator is responsible for all lost or damaged materials
  • Card cannot be used by staff for personal use.
  • The Manager of the lending location reserves the right to impose limitations on the amount and type of material available, or to shorten the loan period if necessary.
  • Community cards are verified annually to confirm all information. Verification may be done by phone.
  • HPL Digital Media, DVDs and Blu-ray are for personal use only. Customers accessing these resources and showing content to anyone outside of their home or a personally deeded residence is infringing copyright if they do not have a public performance license.