Answered By: SAPL FAQs
Last Updated: Dec 07, 2018     Views: 52888

Expired Cards

  • Library cards expire every five years.*
  • Your card’s expiration date is shown when you log in to My Account.
  • When your account is expired, you are not able to renew items or place holds online.
  • Update your account by renewing your card.

Card Renewal

  • Renew your card in person at any San Antonio Public Library Location.
  • You need a photo ID and proof of current address – like your driver’s license.
  • If your photo ID does not include your current address, you can use something like a utility bill if it includes your current address.
  • Library cards cannot be renewed over the telephone, through email, or online.

*As of May 2018. Cards renewed or established before this date are good for 2 years. Cards renewed or established after this date will be good for 5 years.

Comments (55)

  1. Wow, maybe a reminder email that your account needs to be renewed? Especially since you have to renew in person....
    by Brent Becker on Oct 22, 2012.
  2. That's an excellent idea, and one we have been attempting to address. However, it's turned out to be trickier than expected since it's not something directly supported by our computer system. But we'll keep looking for a good answer.
    by Digital Services on Oct 22, 2012.
  3. There should be an option to renew online.
    by Mirna Cabello on Feb 14, 2013.
  4. I would love an online renewal option since I check out most books online.
    by Lori Bauml on Mar 10, 2013.
  5. I would like to second the suggestions of getting a reminder email and being able to renew online. I just found out that my card has expired when I went to check out an ebook online I had placed a hold on. Disappointed since now I may not be able to make it into a branch to renew my card before the 4 day hold status expires.
    by April on May 27, 2013.
  6. On line renewal really should be an option since all my library books are e-books. Now I have to go into a library just to renew which will take 10-20 minutes depending on the wait just to turn around and walk out of the library. Disappointed by your system.
    by Michelle on May 27, 2013.
  7. I agree...there should be an option to renew online.
    by Stephanie on Jun 04, 2013.
  8. Def an online option for renewals would be great! I like the idea of a heads up before your card actually expires as well.
    by James Cantilli on Jun 04, 2013.
  9. Really is annyong to find out that my card has expired and the only way to renew is in person. There should be an online option.
    by tom on Jun 10, 2013.
  10. It sure would be great to have on-line renewal of library card.
    by Joyce on Jun 11, 2013.
  11. i would love to have an online renewal option
    by Autumn on Jun 17, 2013.
  12. The San Antonio Public Library currently requires in person renewals once every two years to provide residence verification. We are happy to be able to offer our services free of charge, but in keeping with that endeavor, there are several contracts that require we ask and verify information that includes identification and proof of residence. These include free access to many of our databases, OverDrive,, and public internet access, not to mention our wide selection of reading materials. We understand that an online option would be more convenient and thank you for your feedback. Please know that the library bases all service decisions on customer needs and preferences and we look forward to using your feedback to provide notification for soon to expire accounts or perhaps investigate an option to implement online renewals. Meanwhile, we thank you for your understanding and appreciate you helping us improve your library.
    by Rolf Laun on Jun 19, 2013.
  13. I'd recommend having an email sent maybe a month before a card is set to expire. The user can also renew online during that time frame. The user would then have to renew in person if past the expiration date.
    by Charles on Jun 24, 2013.
  14. I understand & support the rationale behind the in person renewal policy, but I agree w/comment #13-a quick reminder would. Be VERY helpful. If your system can't generate an email, perhaps a reminder of when your expiration date is when you sign in to your acct. Perhaps you could imprint an expiration date on the actual card. That would be a start...
    by Crystal on Jul 10, 2013.
  15. In this age of electronics it appears that the SA Public Library has jumped on the wagon partially by joining the eBook phase......but why not complete the picture by having online renewal for expired cards?
    by Dan on Jul 11, 2013.
  16. The expiration date is displayed on the My Account area under your name once you log in.
    by Tricia on Jul 29, 2013.
  17. The expiration date is not displayed on my account page. I agree with everyone else that an email reminder a couple weeks to a month out would be extremely helpful.
    by Jessica on Aug 22, 2013.
  18. Yes, I agree an email reminder would be great as I don't log into the system that often.

    And an online renewal option for those who pay for a library card. I am out of the city and do not get a FREE card, so renewing online should be allowed for those who pay.
    by KDM on Aug 24, 2013.
  19. If I email a scanned copy of a bill or my drivers license, can you renew my library card?
    by CH on Sep 16, 2013.
  20. At this time we are requiring an in person visit to the library to verify information.
    by Tricia on Sep 17, 2013.
  21. I also realized at an inconvenient time that my card was expired. If the system does not support an email reminder, then a stamp or sticker with the expiration year on the card itself would really help!!
    by Brooke on Oct 26, 2013.
  22. When I was a kid, the library was an absolutely magical place. I remember trying to wrap my head around it...endless books, story time, other kids, and you could bring your favorite books home for FREE?!! I hope that everyone still brings their children to the library. We have 26 locations in SA. It is not difficult to make an appearance to renew your card. If you're that busy, slowwwww down! ;)
    by KLG on Dec 19, 2013.
  23. I agree with comments 22 & 23. What else in life is free and of such value? My card is expired right now, so I couldn't link my Kindle & library accounts today. That's my fault. I don't need the library to baby me with a reminder email.
    by Deb on Jan 29, 2014.
  24. I was bummed to find that my card was expired all of a sudden. I had no idea that it did so after two years. I understand why it can't be renewed online and I'm very grateful for the free services you provide. I felt a little whiny for a sec, that's been replaced by the realization of what a gift an awesome library is. Thanks, y'all.
    by Umber on Mar 30, 2014.
  25. Ditto to all the other requests for an e-mail remainder when a library card is close to expiration. No need to maintain a separate database of e-mail addresses - the system already has our e-mail address and already uses them very frequently to remind us when a book is due, or to notify us when a held item is available. If the system can do that, it's not a big leap to a reminder that my card is close to expiring. Ditto to # 19 above too.
    by AJA on May 28, 2014.
  26. Yes, prior notification would be very helpful. At the very least the card should contain the exp date. I also appriciate the services and can understand the need to come in for verification. Library hours make that an additional challenge and I would have really liked to know "before" my card expired so I could have prevented it from happening.
    by Michelle on Jun 26, 2014.
  27. Has any headway been made to allow for renewing online? I see that this issue has been addressed in this Q&A string for over 1 1/2 years. Online renewal would seem to be the 21st Century solution. I use e-books and a fuel-consuming trip to the library just to renew the card is an unnecessary inconvenience.
    by mp on Jun 26, 2014.
  28. I travel a lot and really appreciate the great services that SAPL provides in the E-book area. Recently my card expired while on extended travel and I couldn't access any books. :-( I appreciate the need to renew in person to validate residency, however, it would be very convenient to have some advance notification of expiration or temporary reinstatement available. Thanks!
    by Alan Montemayor on Aug 06, 2014.
  29. I just received a notice that a title I requested was available and when i go to add the title to Overdrive, I cant get in because I expired today. I too travel alot and just happen to be overseas when I find out I can't use the system.
    Has anybody ever discussed this with the leadership that runs the other system? This is a serious customer service issue that should be resolved.
    by Doug Dawson on Sep 16, 2014.
  30. There should be a way to re-new online.... or at least send a reminder.
    by Maria on Sep 18, 2014.
  31. I have to agree that a notice should be sent prior to the renewal date. Most companies and government agencies do that and it is surprising not being able to renew on line just because of an expired card. Also having to renew in person is an inconvenience. Even your drivers license can be renewed on line and that is a great deal more important than a library card. I think the library system needs to be more progressive where technology is concerned.
    by April Kulick on Oct 04, 2014.
  32. At this point it is still required that you physically come into the library with a current photo ID to renew your library card.
    by Tricia Masterson on Oct 26, 2014.
  33. An online renewal with updated information, along with a month or two's notice prior to expiration, would be ideal.
    I was in the library a week ago and checked out a book while I voted. THANK YOU for handling the voting, BTW. But I received no notice that my card was expired until I tried to use it online today.

    Very annoying to be told I must appear in person and make a special trip when I was just there, but given no notice.

    It is not true that the Card expiration date appears on my account under my name. I had to login more than three times today to have any explanation at all arrive as to the status of my account.
    by Janis on Nov 01, 2014.
  34. I cannot believe that I got no notification of an expiration date. Also, this is a digital age. I never go to the building. I download. Therefore, I should be able to renew online too. This is poor service... very poor service for the 21st century. Oh, by the way, I'm 67 years old. Get with it SA Library.
    by Den on Nov 08, 2014.
  35. Weeell, it has been over 18 mos since the first comments on this issue & NO action by SAPL. The fact is your computer system already has ALL the information needed to send advance email notices of card expiration with no additional cost to SAPL. You are already maintaining the data base! Each SAPL subscriber account contains the subcribers name , email address and card expiration date. A fairly simple program could be written that would automate the entire process. Additional e-mails would likely cost nothing. So- what is the hold up??
    by CRM on Nov 12, 2014.
  36. It is a freezing, expecting freezing precipitation tonight/tomorrow and I just learned my card (which I haven't used in a year due to online use of #) has expired. Would have been nice to get a notification that it would expire within a week.
    by D.Scott on Jan 09, 2015.
  37. I think if someone only borrows e-books, you should have an option to renew online. If you are borrowing physical books, you obviously have to come to the library anyway and it's easy to show your drivers license or other form of address verification.
    by josephine on Jan 11, 2015.
  38. I can renew my driver's license on line, but not a library card. Doesn't make sense.
    by Marc on Jan 19, 2015.
  39. I never saw where it said that my library card expired when I logged in. I noticed a post in 2013 suggestioning emails sent out to notify when card is expiring. It's 2015 and I did not receive a notification. I love using the library online and have been very satisfied and impressed with so this little set back is a bit frustrating. However I understand the verification process.
    by Leigha Wagner on Jan 24, 2015.
  40. Thank you for your comment on one of our Frequently Asked Questions.

    Comments on the FAQs of the library’s website are read by the front line staff member who wrote the answer to the question upon which you’ve commented. If your comment is about an experience, positive or negative, at one of our library locations or on our website, please “Let us know” by filling out the customer service survey on our website. If you wish for library administration to read and respond to your comment, I encourage you to submit feedback to the Office of the Library Director through our website.

    Thanks again for using ask.mysapl.
    by Tricia on Jan 27, 2015.
  41. We moved two years ago and are in an unicorn rated part of Bexar County. I assumed (incorrectly) that my new home would not be in the SAPL area. I discovered today that I am still eligible for library services! Hooray! But now my card had expired. Bummer. I was hoping to renew online, as most of my reading is now done on "devices". But I am seeing that is not an option. So I shall trudge over to the nearest branch and show ID and get my card renewed today.
    The negative on doing so is that I will be tempted to spend hours there's, browsing the shelves, and will come home with more books than I can read in the time allotted for check out. . What a horrible dilemma!!!!
    There are people in places who would walk 10 miles to be able to check out just ONE book a week. Or month.
    There are people who would walk 10 miles to learn how to read those books that are just sitting there waiting to be opened.
    I am blessed to have a wonderful library, with books and other materials that cover every corner of my imagination, free to read and enjoy.
    To go in person and renew my card is just a minor blip. Maybe I will even meet someone new. an added bonus.
    by TxBookLady on Jun 04, 2015.
  42. How about an email letting cardholders know a week or two before it expires?
    by matt on Jul 11, 2015.
  43. TxBookLady, comment #42, thank you for saying what I was thinking during this post! Yes, having to leave your house and actually (gasp!) interact with humans in an actual (gasp!) brick and mortar library might be an inconvenience, but THAT and only THAT is what will keep them open. Support what we have, people! Or it will be gone.
    by Becky on Aug 07, 2015.
  44. I have to say, the way it looks online when you receive the alert, it looks like my password is expiring, not my card. I was at the library recently to pick up an item and when my card scanned at checkout I never got an alert. It'd be great, in addition to a e-mail notification, for the self-checkout computers to be programmed to provide the same notifications. That way I could have renewed while I was already present.
    by SS on Sep 04, 2015.
  45. Agree with previous comments regarding a reminder.

    We get reminder emails/alerts for everything else (upcoming books due, when a book is ready for pick up or available for digital download, etc). It makes no sense that we can't have a courtesy reminder for this as well.
    by Marie on Nov 30, 2015.
  46. I love my SAPLs! I just wish I could renew online. It seems a little out dated that renewal has to be in person. I hope this is a consideration for a future change!
    by Amber on Jul 23, 2016.
  47. Given what I pay for these services, I'm extremely pleased with what I receive from SAPL. The online access is beyond awesome. I love that I can sit in bet, browse titles, and checkout and begin reading without having to go anywhere...FREE! I tell everyone I know who reads or listens to books about OverDrive.
    Do I wish I could renew online? Of course I do. But am I willing to give anything up that SAPL currently provides so that I don't have to make a trip to the library once every other year? NOPE!
    Keep up the good work SAPL! I'm loving what you do for me and my family!
    by Steven in SA on Aug 05, 2016.
  48. wow, so I am ready to sit down and get back to reading on my down time at 9 pm to help me get through a night shift only to find out my card is expired and have to go in person to renew. great service, thanks for all your help!
    by christy on Dec 03, 2016.
  49. I want to start off by saying thank you SAPL for the free services. I know this is a great investment in our community.

    However I would like to add a suggestion to this issue. Most people would like to renew online, and I will agree with those folks who say that SAPL has the resources to send an automated email that the account needs renewal. We already receive automated emails when our holds are ready for pick up.

    Now, I understand that due to personal account privacy issues we are required to be present to renew our card. People are able to renew a DL online with a hefty fee. I say let SAPL charge a fee for the same service to renew an account online. That way if the user is certain that it is their account, they can pay a fee for that convenience. To cater to the community that doesn't have that luxury, they can renew in person for free given that they provide the necessary requirements. Food for thought!
    by LibraryUser on Jun 20, 2017.
  50. Good News! If you have an email associated with your library card you will now receive an email three months before your card expires: Will I be notified when my library card is about to expire?
    by SAPL Staff on Jun 22, 2017.
  51. I'm glad the issue is fixed. With so many things to remember these days, I started using an online calendar that sends email reminders to me. Free online calendar are available but not all send email messages. I get emails the day I set up to email me my notice. Works great. Just my tip of the day.
    by Joe Corona on Jul 05, 2017.
  52. In response to everyone asking for an online option to renew your library card: I agree it would be more convenient, but I think a trip to a branch every couple of years is a pretty small price to pay for free access to 2.5 million library items and countless ebooks, as well as lots of other digital content. That's not even mentioning the free programs and other services.
    Regarding the question of email reminders, since the library has said they're not able to provide that at this time but are working on it, I would suggest creating a reminder in your personal calendar. If you use Google calendar, you can create an event for the date that your card will expire with reminders at intervals of your choice.
    by Rebecca M on Jul 20, 2018.
  53. I agree with response 52. Seriously, everyone, we pay for convenience for everything from Amazon to Netflix, grub hub to HEB curbside. The library offers a great service and content for FREE. If we have to put in a little sweat equity to go to the library or set up our own reminder, I propose we smile, be grateful and go down to your local library, say hi to the librarian and while we're at it, thank you.
    by Ami S on Oct 08, 2018.
  54. I appreciate and agree with the idea that the library does us a great service and should not be taken for granted. On the other hand, there are always exceptions/reasons why a person can't fulfill specific requirements. For instance, I received this notice halfway into a study abroad in Japan. The online system is a great benefit to me as one of the only ways I can access the English language books I like to read. It would be cool if I could send a photo of my driver's license or something to renew. Maybe someday!
    by S on Jan 08, 2019.
  55. Thanks for the great service. SAPL seems to have got the way to email users a reminder to before their card is about to expire. Thanks for all of the great work!
    by John H on Oct 25, 2019.