Circulation Policy


In order to check out materials from the Duluth Public Library (DPL), you must have a valid library card that is registered in DPL’s computer system. A library card is free to any resident of the Arrowhead Library System region, which includes Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods and St. Louis counties. If you are 18 years of age or older, in order to be issued a library card you must present a government-issued photo identification and proof of current address. Virtual library cards (Port Cards) are issued to enrolled students in participating school districts. Businesses, schools, and other agencies may obtain an institutional library card for use by their employees. A temporary card is issued to anyone temporarily living in Duluth or to anyone without a permanent address.

If you are a Minnesota resident and live outside of the Arrowhead Library System region, you may check out materials by presenting your current library card from your home library as well as acceptable identification. If you live out of state you may check out materials from DPL for an annual fee. A current library card from your home library is required, along with acceptable identification. Other members from the same household may get a library card for an annual charge.

To obtain a library card, apply in person at any Duluth Public Library location. If you are 14 to 17 years old, you must show a photo ID or come with a parent who can show a photo ID. If you are under 14, a parent or guardian must show ID and sign your application.

You may register online for a library card. Online registration will give you a temporary number to use for placing holds. To receive your permanent card, come into the library with acceptable identification to complete the application process.

Library cards expire and can be renewed without charge. Renewing a library card must be done in person. There is a charge to replace a card before it expires.


Lost or Forgotten Cards

If you lose your library card, you should notify the library as soon as possible. You are responsible for anything checked out on your card. If you have forgotten your library card but have a photo ID with you, you may still check out items.


Loan Periods

Many library materials check out for four weeks and may be renewed for two additional four-week periods if no one has placed a hold on the item. Some materials check out for a shorter period of time and may or may not be renewable. For current information about the types of materials available for checkout and their loan periods, ask a library staff member or visit the library's website. The library reserves the right to place additional limits on smaller or seasonal collections of materials.



You may place a hold on an item in person, over the phone or through the library's online catalog. You are limited to no more than 50 holds at one time. The limit may be lower for certain types of materials.

In accordance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, people who reside at the same address may pick up one another's holds. In order to pick up someone else's holds, you must show identification with your current address, and you must have your own or the other person's library card in your possession. If parents share custody of a minor child, either parent may pick up the child's holds. If you do not want your holds released to anyone else in your household, you must notify the library and your request will be honored.

If the item you want is not owned by DPL, you may request it through interlibrary loan. This service is not available to temporary or out-of-state cardholders.


Fees and Charges

Although DPL is Free From Fines, you may receive reminders for overdue items. It is your responsibility to keep track of what you have checked out and to return it by the due date. When an item has been overdue for four weeks you will be billed for the item's replacement cost.

If an item is returned damaged and no longer suitable for the collection, you will be charged for its replacement.

If you have five or more overdue materials or fees from lost or damaged items, you will be unable to check out any more materials or download any ebooks or audiobooks.


Refund policy

Monetary refunds are issued for amounts of $5 or more. Refunds are processed through the Treasurer’s office, are issued by check, and can take up to six weeks to be received.

Refunds for lost, paid for, and then found items

If items are declared lost, paid for, and then found within six months of being declared lost, a refund can be issued. Items must be returned in good condition.
If an item has a replacement cost of under $5, has been paid for, and is returned within six months of being declared lost it is not eligible for a refund.
Lost items paid for and found six months after the items are declared lost are not eligible for a refund. After an item has been declared lost for six months, it is deleted from our catalog and is no longer considered part of the Duluth Public Library collection.

Refunds for money placed on a patron account in Polaris

A refund of money credited on a Polaris account is allowed when the patron closes their Duluth Public Library account. The following conditions must be met for a refund to be issued:
• The amount of credit on the account is $5 or more.
• The patron must close their account in person.
• A government-issued photo ID is necessary to close an account.
• The patron must provide their current mailing address to receive the check.
If the criteria above are met, a monetary refund will be requested from the Treasurer’s Office. If the amount on the account is under $5, the money will be considered a donation to the Duluth Public Library.

Credits on accounts that are to be deleted

Patron accounts are deleted from Polaris in order to remove long expired or inactive patrons from our database. Accounts that are expired and have been inactive one year past the expiration date are considered abandoned and are eligible for deletion. If an account has no charges and/or credits at this time, it is deleted. Accounts with charges and/or credits will remain in the system and be deleted after having been expired for five years. Checking out materials (physical and digital), using digital resources, using public computers, and logging into your patron account are all considered account activity. If an account has been expired for five years and has a credit on the account, the credit will be considered a donation to the Duluth Public Library. Upon deletion, the credits are transferred to the library.

Data Privacy

Under Minnesota law, the information you provide in applying for a library card, except your name, as well as information which links your name with library materials is private. It is available only to you and to appropriate library personnel. This information is required to support library service.

If you are under age 18, information about materials requested, borrowed or kept overdue is available to your parent or guardian. You may ask to have this information withheld by filling out a data privacy request form. However, library staff can only withhold this data from your parents if it is in your best interest to do so.

The Duluth Public Library's policies are subject to change without notice.

Back to Policies

Adopted February 2019
Duluth Public Library Board