Renew an item, search the catalogue or join the library online

Membership of Portsmouth City libraries is free - you don’t even need to live in Portsmouth.

You can join in person at any library, or complete the online application form.

If you’re under 16, we need to check that one of your parents, or your guardian, is happy for you to join the library. 

You can use your library card straight away in all Portsmouth City Council's ten libraries. If you borrow items from one branch, you can return them to any Portsmouth library.

Your card gives you free access to the internet and Microsoft Office on our library computers, and the following discounts in the city:

Looking after your library card

We can email you a reminder that your books are overdue, or let you know that your reservation is ready for collection, if you let us have your email address when you join.

If you change your name, address, telephone number or email address, let us know so we can update your card. 

If your card is lost or stolen, let us know as soon as possible, and we will cancel the card (If you don’t, you may be liable for anything borrowed on it).

Your first library card is free, but we charge £1.50 to replace an adult card, and 50p to replace a child's card.

Borrowing from libraries 

Books are free to borrow. There are small charges for CDs and DVDs which you can see on the Fines and charges sheet below. Age restrictions are observed on DVDs according to their certification.

  • aged 11 and over, you can borrow any 30 books, audio books, CDs and DVDs
  • under 11, you can borrow 20 books, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

If you are housebound, a registered childminder, or run a playgroup or residential home, special arrangements can be made for you. Just ask at your local library, where staff will be happy to help.

You can normally keep items for either four weeks or one week, depending on what you’ve chosen.

Please note that you will not be charged if your books are overdue but your library account cannot be used until the items are renewed or returned.

Loan durationItems

Four weeks

Books, talking books, language packs, although if another borrower has reserved an item, we will only be able to issue it to you for one week, instead of four.

Three weeks

e-audiobook downloads.

One week

DVDs and music CDs cannot be renewed. A hire charge is applied for every 7 days.

Returning library items

You can go to any Portsmouth library to return or renew items or to pay charges. You can download the charges for 2018 below. Please note that you will not be charged if your books are overdue but your library account cannot be used until the books are renewed or returned. Lost or damaged items will still incur a charge.

Any item reserved by another borrower cannot be renewed. The following items can't be renewed:

  • DVDs: the hire charge is applied every 7 days until the DVD is returned to a maximum of £9.00
  • Items that have been renewed five times without being seen at the library. They can, however, be re-issued if you bring them into the library.

Renewing library items

You don't need to take the items with you to renew items in a library. If you can’t get to a library, have your library card number handy and you can still renew your items by:

  • phoning 023 9281 9311
  • emailing your local branch (please see the contact details at the bottom of the page)
  • using the online catalogue - you will need to use your PIN (if you don't have a PIN, bring your library card to the library and we'll create one for you)

Please note that you will not be charged if your books are overdue but your library account cannot be used until the books are renewed or returned.

Requesting library items

If you can't find what you're looking for when you visit the library, or what you want is in another Portsmouth library, then we will try and get it for you. Reservations for items in stock are free. To reserve an item: 

  • pop into your local library and speak to a member of staff
  • phone your library to make a reservation 
  • using your PIN, place a reservation on the online catalogue. (if you don't have a PIN, library staff can arrange one for you)

Items we don't stock in the city libraries we will try to find elsewhere for you, but this may take longer. The usual charge for interlibrary loans is £4.50, which you pay when you collect your item. You can request: 

  • books
  • journal articles (can be uploaded to your email address, if you have Adobe 6 or higher)
  • conference proceedings
  • orchestral sets (additional charges apply - check with library staff)
  • vocal scores (additional charges apply - check with library staff)
  • play sets (additional charges apply - check with library staff).

We don't borrow DVDs and CDs from outside Portsmouth, but it's still worth requesting titles because we may buy them. We will let you know if we decide not buy. We no longer accept requests for theses and dissertations.

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