Seattle and King County residents of all ages, as well as others who qualify, can now get a Library card from The Seattle Public Library in minutes, thanks to a redesigned and expanded process for new patrons to apply for cards online. The new process is available at

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to get a Library card and immediately access the Library’s collections and resources,” said Bo Kinney, Circulation Services manager for the Library. “This is a big step forward.”

While the Library has offered an instant card registration option since late March 2020, it has been limited to Seattle residents age 13 and older, and has required patrons to have a mobile phone to verify their information. Now, all eligible patrons can register for a new card online, including children under the age of 13, reciprocal cardholders from other library systems, and non-Seattle residents who work, go to school, or own property in the Library’s service area.

Seattle and King County residents receive instant access, while reciprocal and non-resident cardholders will be asked to provide additional information before their card is verified.

Online Library applications are available at in Spanish, Vietnamese, Amharic, Somali and Chinese, as well as in English; and there is a children’s application as well.

New cardholders can immediately check out digital materials, as well as place holds on physical materials that they can pick up through the Library’s Curbside Pickup Service when the holds become available. They also have full access to all of the Library’s online resources, databases and services (see below).

People who qualify for a card but aren't able to register online have other options for verifying and activating their account. They can apply by mail, in person at Curbside locations or through an alternative electronic option. Call 206-386-4636 or contact Ask Us, the Library’s email and chat service, for help.

A Library card from The Seattle Public Library is free for anyone who lives, works, owns property or goes to school in the Library's service area, which includes Seattle, Bothell and most parts of King County, through our reciprocal use agreement with the King County Library System. Cardholders from several library systems in Washington may also qualify.



Beyond checking out an e-book or e-audiobook, or physical books and audiobooks through our Curbside service, a card from The Seattle Public Library gives you access to many other resources and services.

  1. Get free, personalized one-on-one virtual tutoring through
  2. Reserve a free museum pass to six participating institutions with the Library’s reactivated Museum Pass program.
  3. Place holds on books and DVDs, which you can pick up through Curbside Pickup.
  4. Publish your e-book.
  5. Get help with classes as a K-12 student or an adult.
  6. Borrow, download or stream movies and TV shows.
  7. Download (and keep!) five songs a week.
  8. Learn a new language. We've got over 70 to choose from!
  9. Learn programming, business skills or web design with over 5,000 books from O'Reilly Complete Public Library (formerly Safari Books Online).
  10. Check out a Peak Picks books when you use Curbside pickup.
  11. Get ahead with free online classes.
  12. Get healthy with easy-to-browse health and medical journals.
  13. Save money with Consumers' Checkbook, a guide to Puget Sound services and stores.
  14. Research your purchases with Consumer Reports.
  15. Research your family history.
  16. Participate in Seattle Reads, the Library’s citywide reading program. This year’s pick is Brit Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half.”
  17. Check out a Wi-Fi hot spot for when you're at home or on the go.
  18. Get personalized book recommendations with Your Next 5 Books.
  19. Learn a new language, hobby or skill with a lesson plan from Your Next Skill.
  20. Get inspired with digital creativity. Learn how to use a camera or sell your work on Etsy!
  21. Stream and download music from local bands and musicians with PlayBack.
  22. Dive into online research that's only available to Library cardholders.
  23. Read some comics on Hoopla.
  24. Browse our Exploration Guides on subjects of high interest to learners in grades 3-12.
  25. Host book discussion groups using "Always Available" titles in OverDrive.
  26. Read local, national and international magazines and newspapers.


  1. Find Your Next Job with one-on-one help from a librarian.
  2. Attend a virtual story time with your child or a virtual event that’s just for you.
  3. Listen to an author reading, discussion or presentation with Library podcasts.
  4. Older adults can register for a virtual arts class, from watercolors to dancing.
  5. Call the SPL Lit Line at 206-386-4656 and listen to a story in English or Spanish.
  6. Contribute your pandemic stories to the COVID-19 Community Collection.
  7. Request a one-on-one appointment online to get free help with your small business.
  8. Become an Excel spreadsheet guru with Microsoft Imagine Academy.


Visit the Library’s Road to Reopening page for more information on book returns, Curbside Service and other Library services being offered while Library buildings are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can now place new holds on physical Library materials.

For more information, visit, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask Us.