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Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t know or can’t remember my Library card number or barcode. Can you look it up for me?

Yes, we can easily look up your Library card number. Please contact us and provide your full name, street address, and birthdate so that we can confirm your identity. We will then look up your card number for you. If you have not used your Library card for several years, we may have removed your account from the system due to inactivity. We can check that for you as well.

What should I do if I lost my Library card?

It’s important to contact us right away to report a lost Library card so we can deactivate it. You may be responsible for any items checked out on a lost card. When you contact us, please include your full name, street address, and birthdate so we can confirm your identity. There is a $1 replacement fee for a new card.

What should I do if I forgot my PIN?

You can reset your PIN online. We can also easily reset your PIN for you. Please contact us and provide your full name, street address, and birthdate so we can look up your account. Please also include the 4-digit number you’d like to use as your PIN so we can reset it. If you have not used your Library card for several years, we may have removed your account from the system due to inactivity. We can check that for you as well.

Why can’t I access online resources and digital media with my new Library card number?

If you signed up for a Library card online, you will need to visit us in person to pick up your card and get full access to e-books and other online resources. Please bring picture ID and proof of address.

I returned a book or other item but it’s still showing up on my account. What do I do?

Please contact us and provide your library card number, the title you returned, the branch where you returned the item, and the date you returned it. We will try to locate the item and will not add any late charges for the missing item to your account while we look for it.

What happens if I return a Seattle Public Library item to a King County Library System (KCLS) location (or vice versa)?

KCLS delivers our items that were returned to them once per week, and vice versa. The item will remain checked out to you until it is checked in by the owning library, but the owning library will adjust the return date to reflect the date you returned it.

How do I reserve a Library meeting room or event space?

We have two meeting room reservation systems: One for the Central Library, located downtown, and another for the meeting rooms in branches. The meeting rooms and event spaces at the Central library are available to rent for private events for a fee. The meeting rooms in our branches are free to use if your event is free and open to the public.

Submit a request to find meeting room availability at the Central Library. We will get back to you within two business days.

You can reserve a branch meeting room online. You can choose from the rooms available at the time you request.

How can I get free Museum Passes?

We have passes to local museums and attractions that you can reserve. Passes are available one month in advance, and new passes are made available each evening at 9 p.m. Passes to popular museums go very quickly when new ones are released. Visit our Museum Pass page for a full list of museums and attractions, and instructions for reserving passes.

Will you look up an obituary for me?

Yes, if you have a Library card, you can use our online resources. You can find links to online tools to help you locate obituaries and other records on our genealogy page.

If you don’t have a Library card, you can apply for one online. If you don’t qualify, you can ask the Seattle Genealogical Society to look up information for a fee.

Whether or not you have a Library card, you can email us to make a request. Please provide as much information as you can:

  1. Your library card number (if you have one)
  2. Full name of deceased (including maiden name)
  3. Approximate date of death
  4. Approximate date of birth or age at death
  5. Location of death

Our genealogy librarians will use our databases and other online resources to assist you. If we cannot find the information for you, we can tell you how to order newspapers on microfilm from other library systems to look up the obituary.

How do I donate books?

We accept donations for the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sales, which help support the Library. You can drop off up to three boxes or bags at any Library location during open hours. If you have four or more boxes, please email the Friends of the Library to make an appointment to drop off your items or call them at 206-682-7567. Learn more about donating materials to the Friends on their website.