How To Get a Library Card

Your public library is an excellent resource for books, magazines, CDs and movies. A library card allows you to borrow any of these materials for free. Most libraries also offer computers with Internet access and other service, but you'll need a library card to access most library services. Fortunately, a library card is easy to get. Here's how to get a library card:

  1. Contact your local library. If you don't know where your closest public library is, look in the phone book. The circulation desk may be able to explain the library card application procedure to you over the phone, or direct you to their Web site. However, you may need to stop by when the library is open to pick up an application and read the rules.
  2. Read the rules. Although nearly anyone can apply for a public library card, there are some restrictions. In most cases, you'll need to bring two forms of ID and be able to prove that you live in the area where the library is located. They may have special card programs for children, students, or seniors, or nonresident cards for a small fee.
  3. Fill out an application. Fill out the library's card application completely. It is usually a fairly simple form for your contact information. In some cities, the application form may be available online.
  4. Gather your paperwork. Along with a completed application, you'll need to bring your photo ID and proof of residence with you to the library. For proof of residence, you can use a voter registration card, a check with your name and address printed on it, or a utility bill in your name. Your photo ID may be a driver's license, state ID, military ID, or student photo ID. Make sure that both forms of ID show your current address.
  5. Apply in-person or online. Once you have the application form completed and your two forms of ID ready, return your application to the circulation desk. If you're under 18, a parent or guardian may need to accompany you when you apply for a library card.
  6. Receive your library card. The librarian will process your application and hand you a library card. Usually this process is nearly immediate.
  7. Be a good borrower. When you receive your card, ask about the library's borrowing policies, such as loan periods, renewal options and overdue fines. Then, be a good borrower. Take advantage of this free service, but don't borrow materials without returning them on time. If your card is ever lost or stolen, notify the library, or you will be responsible for any materials that are checked out using your card.

A library card is a very useful card, and best of all, it is free! The application process is simple, the card gives you access to computers, books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, and other materials. If you don't have a library card for your local public library, call or visit the library to get started.


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