Get a Library Card

image of CDL library card

image of military library card

Residents of the City of Chelsea, Lyndon & Sylvan Townships, and the Chelsea School District portions of Dexter & Lima Townships support the Chelsea District Library by paying a library millage for library privileges. Residents of Dexter Township who are in the Pinckney School District are also part of the Chelsea District Library.

Residents of Waterloo & Grass Lake Townships who are in the Chelsea School District can receive a courtesy non-resident library card at the Chelsea District Library because they support the Jackson District Library through a countywide library millage.

Residents of Sharon Township, even those in the Chelsea School District, are non-residents as they don’t support the Chelsea or Manchester District Libraries with a library millage and will need to purchase a Chelsea District Library card.

Residents of Freedom Township support the Manchester District Library. Chelsea School District residents in Freedom Township will need to apply for a Manchester District Library card, which can be used at the Chelsea District Library (with the exception of Low Vision equipment, Kindles, Launch Pads & Hot Spots).

Anyone who lives in the library district is entitled and encouraged to receive a borrowing card. Residents of Waterloo Township who also live within the Chelsea School District may obtain a resident borrowing card.

Those living outside of the district may purchase a nonresident card at $125 per year or $31.25 quarterly.

Minor cards:
Anyone under the age of 18 may receive their own library card, but must have a parent or legal guardian register with them to receive a card.  Note, Michigan law prevents library staff from informing anyone but the sole cardholder what is currently checked out, on hold, overdue or lost. Therefore, parents wishing to have access to this information should add all guardian names to the account when they register their child.

Military Cards:
As a gesture of gratitude to active and retired military, CDL offers a military library card. This special card allows the holder to borrow materials without incurring overdue fees and provides $10/year towards printing costs. To apply for a CDL military library card, you must live within the Chelsea District Library service area and provide one of the following forms of military identification: VA card, VA designation on driver’s license or state ID, active military ID, or discharge papers – DD-214.

Business Cards:
If you work in the Chelsea District Library service area you may apply for a non-resident Business card. To receive this library card, please bring confirmation of your employment on business letterhead along with picture ID to the library. You will be required to show proof of employment each year for renewal.

Teacher Cards:
Teachers in the Chelsea School District who need longer check out times for curriculum may get a card that allows this for class room needs. Please contact your school principal for these forms or the “Check Out” Desk at the library. Others that work for the Chelsea School District may get a business card.

Online Library Card Registration:
Not able to make it to the library, but still hoping to access the CDL collection? CDL is proud to offer online library card applications! Click here to apply today for access to thousands of books, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and more! 

Registering for a library card:
To register for a card, you can come in to the library and fill out the application or print one here (click for Adult or Minor applications) and bring it with you when you come in. You will also need need picture id and proof of residency to complete the application. Current versions of the following items that indicate a district address will be accepted:

  • Driver's license / Michigan ID card
  • Utility or telephone bill
  • Rental agreement / property deed
  • Car registration
  • Voter registration
  • Tax receipt

Please report all mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address changes to the library. This will help us contact you about your materials and holds.

Access your Account

Accessing your account:

Go to our catalog and enter your library card number and pin then click on Log In.


When you sign up for a card, you are assigned a PIN  to use when accessing the catalog or using our Internet computers. It is the last four digits of your phone number listed on your account. You can change your PIN after logging into your account.

Items on Your Account:

If you lose your card, please let us know immediately. You are responsible for everything taken out on your card. If lost, we will mark your account so that the next time your card is used we will ask for ID to verify that your card is not being used by anyone other than yourself. 

Library Card Expiration & Renewal:

Resident cards are good for one year. Picture ID and proof of residency are required for renewal of card; current Michigan Drivers License will provide both. All fees must be paid at the time of renewal. 

Using Other Libraries:

The Chelsea District Library belongs to a library co-op, The Library Network (TLN), which includes approximately 50 libraries. When requesting a book from another library please keep in mind that other libraries have different due dates, fines, and renewals. Please check your due date slip, or go online to find out when your items are due. We support TLN policies and procedures. 

Most libraries in TLN will accept your Chelsea District Library card. We recommend calling to confirm. For a complete listing of TLN libraries click here.

Borrow Items

Renewing and Returning Items

Items from our library can be renewed twice if no one has placed a hold on the item. Renewals using the automated phone line or website require a library card # and PIN.

To renew:
Phone (during business hours): (734) 475-8732 x200
Automated Phone Renewal (24/7): (888) 672-8983
Online: Log in and go to your account, click on the Account Activity tab, select the books you want to renew and click Renew Loan.

Auto Renewals:

Items will auto-renew if:
  • The item does not have holds
  • The item has not reached its maximum limit of renewals
  • Your account does not have blocks preventing renewals
  • It is an item that is eligible for renewals
Frequently Asked Questions:
When do auto-renewals occur?
Auto-renewals will occur 3 days before an item's due date. You will still receive your full loan period, as the renewal period is added at the end of the original loan.
What if an item doesn't auto-renew? 
If an item cannot be renewed, you will receive a due date reminder by your chosen notification method (email, text, or phone). Please return items by the due date so that other library patrons can enjoy them.
Please note: Late materials returned to libraries other than CDL may incur fines. Please contact or call 734-475-8732 x200 about having fines removed from your account.

The material drop is in the vestibule and is open 24 hours a day. If you have a damaged or overdue item you'd like to pay for, please bring it to the Check Out desk. E-mail reminders sent from TLN alerting you to that items are due in two days are a courtesy. Items still need to be renewed or returned on or by the due date. Due dates can be printed on a slip at checkout, found online by logging into My Account in our catalog, or by calling the library.

Fine-Free Lending

CDL is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has approved a fine-free lending model. This means there will no longer be any overdue fines on most materials like print and audiobooks, music, movies, and more. The move to fine free corresponds with the Library’s Strategic Plan 2020-22’s commitment to facilitating access by removing barriers to library services and resources.

Here’s some of the fine print on the move to fine free at CDL:

  • Fines will be waived on items checked out from the Chelsea District Library.
  • Fines on patron accounts from Chelsea items will be removed, but fines on items from other libraries will remain. Patrons may have these removed once the library is open. Materials must be returned to CDL for fines to be waived.
  • Fines are different from fees. Fees for lost or damaged items will still be charged.
  • Items not returned within 21 days of the due date will be marked as lost, and a replacement fee will be charged.
  • Items not returned within 60 days of the due date will be sent to collections. 
  • Accounts with collection fees will still be responsible for the $10 fee charged to the library by its collection agency.
  • Those with lost or damaged fees will be blocked from checking out more items until the items are either returned or the charges are paid. Again, you will still be subject to the $10 fee charged to the library by its collection agency.

Loan Periods

Fines, Renewal, & Loan Periods

Items Available to All Cardholders:

Item Loan Period Terms
Books 3 weeks 2 renewals
Books on CD 3 weeks 2 renewals
Digital Book (Libby) Up to 21 Days varies per item
Digital Magazine (Libby) Up to 21 Days ——–
DVD (Adult non-feature) 3 weeks 2 renewals
DVD Older SEries 3 weeks 2 renewals
DVD Feature 1 week 2 renewals
DVD (all others) 1 week 2 renewals
Leveled REaders 3 weeks No renewals
Lucky Day items 1 week
No renewals or holds
Magazine (Adult Print) 1 week No holds
Magazine (Youth Print) 3 weeks No holds
Michigan Activity Pass 7 days from print ———
Music CD 3 weeks 2 renewals
Playaway – Audio 3 weeks 2 renewals

Items Available to CDL Cardholders Only (no SASGUEST)

Item Loan Period Terms
CDL Garage 3 weeks No renewals
Hoopla Varies per item Varies per item
Hotspots 3 weeks No renewals
Kanopy Varies per item Varies per item
Kindle (all) 3 weeks No renewals
Launchpad 1 week 2 renewals
LOw Vision 3 weeks No renewals
Video Games* 1 week 2 renewals

* Video games may be loaned to Chelsea, Dexter, and Manchester cardholders

All materials may be renewed over the phone. To do this, call the library at (734) 475-8732 during business hours or use the 24/7 automated phone renewal system at (888) 672-8983. The automated system requires you to know your library card number and PIN and have a touchtone phone.The limit for the number of items checked out is 100 items per account. 

In compliance with the Michigan Library Privacy Act 455 of 1982, Chelsea District Library does not identify the titles of materials borrowed or on hold by a cardholder to anyone but that cardholder.

Place a hold

Search the catalog and place holds from home! Holds ready for pickup will be held for seven (7) days. If you send a friend or family member to pick up your materials, they must either have your library card OR be designated on your account to pick up your materials. If they do not bring your library card, they will be asked for a driver's license or State ID.

Placing holds:
From our home page:

  • Enter what you are searching for and click on Search
  • Place Hold

If you have requested an item that is not currently available at the library, we will notify you by e-mail, text or automated phone call. E-mail notices are sent to addresses registered with the library. Text notices are sent to phone numbers registered with the library. Automated phone calls will be handled as follows:

  • Your hold is checked in at the library.
  • Automated system calls to let you know the item(s) are in.
  • If there is no answer or the phone is busy, the system will try again, up to three times in 24 hours, to contact you.
  • If all three attempts fail, a paper notice will be sent.

The automated message starts as soon as it hears a voice on the other end, so it will leave the message with whoever answers the phone. It will also leave the message on an answering machine, as long as the greeting message isn’t too long. Please contact the circulation staff at the front desk if you have any questions.

Renew My Library Card

All Chelsea District Library cards are renewed annually with the exception of non-residents who purchase their library privileges.

Patrons must renew in person or online with a picture ID showing the patron’s current address and are also required to pay all fees at the time of renewal. Minors who are 16 or older and have a driver’s license may renew on their own.

Sign up for CDL Delivers!

If you can’t come to the library, let the library come to you! If you have trouble getting to the library because of permanent or temporary illness or disability you can have books delivered to your home.

Who is eligible?

Any library district resident who is unable to visit the library due to permanent or temporary disability or illness. Once we sign you up, you will receive a “homebound” library ID. Please note that purchased card holders & other TLN library patrons are not eligible for the home delivery service.

Is there a fee?

Our service is free to eligible patrons. Also, there are no overdue fines, although you may be held responsible for lost or damaged items.

What materials can I borrow?

  • Books, excluding new books, but including large print and paperback
  • Audiobooks on CD or Playaway MP3 player
  • Magazines
  • Non-feature DVDs
  • Music CDs

How do I sign up?

Call us at (734) 475-8732 and ask for an Adult Services Librarian. We’ll help you complete a registration form that asks about particular materials you would like delivered. You can print the form as a Microsoft Word or PDF file and return it to us by mail, or you can call and leave a message for Gabrielle Hopkins at 734-475-8732 ext 228, or email her at After registration, we will set up a schedule for your book delivery.

Who will deliver the materials?

Materials will be delivered by trained volunteers or library staff.

How often will materials be delivered?

You will determine the frequency of delivery from one-time-only to monthly. All materials will be checked out to you for a four-week period.

Can I renew materials?

You may renew materials once, for an additional four-week period. However, renewals cannot be placed if someone else is waiting for an item.

How will materials be selected?

You will determine our level of involvement, which can range from filling specific title requests to regular staff selections based on your interests. Feel free to call us at any time with suggestions by title, author, subject, or genre.

How many items can I request?

There is no limit. You may check out as many items as you expect to need for a four-week period.

How do I volunteer?

If you would like to volunteer to help deliver books, please call (734) 475-8732 x202 to speak with Linda Ballard, Volunteer Services Coordinator. Learn more about the library’s volunteer program by clicking here.