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Statewide Library Cards

This is a listing of the states known to have access by every resident to every public library in the state.  Or, at the least a program that attempts to head in that direction by voluntary agreements among participating libraries.    

For every state there is an attempt to answer the following questions:

  • Is there an actual card issue or just state access using many cards?
  • If a card, does the state issue the cards; are they separate from "local" cards?
  • Are libraries reimbursed for service to non-residents, and if so at what rate?
  • How much does the program cost the state?
  • Are there complaints about the program or major problems?
  • Who is a good contact person for further background?

A special thank you to everyone on the Publib listserv that helped compile this listing. Additional links for the states listed or additional states will be greatly appreciated.  thennen@haplr-index.com


The Colorado Library Card Statewide Borrower's Program is a reciprocal borrowing program which allows an individual with a card from any participating library in Colorado to also borrow materials from any other participating library in the state. This applies not only to public libraries but also to school, academic and special libraries.

For information contact:



Connecticard is a cooperative program among the state's public libraries, administered by the State Library under Section 11-31 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, that allows any resident of the state to use the borrower card issued by his or her home public library to borrow from any other public library in the state. For a list of libraries participating in Connecticard see the Public Library Directory. Materials borrowed through this program may be returned to any of the 192 libraries participating in the program. They will be delivered to the owning library by Connecticut's library delivery service, Connecticar.  Libraries receive an annual reimbursement from the State Library for providing this service to non-residents. The 11-year total through 1997 was $7.1 million for Connecticut’s 3.3 million residents. Connecticard circulation totaled 3.7 million for 1997/98.   That was 14.3% of all Connecticut circulation. 

The formula for determining grant amounts to libraries is included in the state statutes. Payments are made annually. One-half of the total funds appropriated is used to reimburse participating libraries for all reported Connecticard loans. The other half is used to make an additional payment to those libraries that loaned more items to non-residents than their resident card holders borrowed from public libraries in other towns. Statutory References are:
Conn. General Statutes (CGS) 11-31a, 11-31b, 11-31c. Regulations of Conn. State Agencies, Sec. 11-31c-1, 11-31c-2, 11-31c-3, 11-31c-4, 11-31c-5.

Eligibility for Connecticard
All public libraries in the state of Connecticut that:

  • have a signed Letter of Agreement on file with the State Library
  • File a record of the number of items loaned to non-residents of the town or towns it normally serves not later than seven days after March 1 and September 1 of each year (or monthly) with the State Library Board
  • Submit by November 1 of each year an Annual Connecticard Expenditure Report

Contact Information for Connecticard
Services Manage: Leon Shatkin (LShatkin@cslib.org)

Connecticard, Connecticut State Library,
231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
Tel: 1-800-253-7412 Fax: (860) 566-7904



The state of Georgia has embarked on an ambitious statewide library card project.  Starting as a Y2K remediation effort last year, 98 libraries installed a shared SIRSI system, merging their holdings into one database, and issuing one PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services) library card which is  honored by all participating PINES libraries.  All Georgia citizens are eligible for a free PINES card, even if their home library is not yet a participant.  The vision is for all Georgia libraries to eventually join the project, when funding is available. The first round was funded by the state, including all hardware, T-1 lines, networking, software, training, re-barcoding...everything!  The contract was awarded to SIRSI on April 12, 1999, and all libraries were operational by Dec. 15,1999.


Julie Walker, Associate Director     

Athens Regional Library System     

2025 Baxter Street                          


Athens GA  30606

706.613.3650 x332

706.613.3660 fax






The state of Hawaii operates a single statewide library system with 50 branches.  All libraries are open to all state residents.

Jo Ann Schindler, HSPLS, can be contacted at jms@hcc.hawaii.edu



Iowa has a statewide library card program called Open Access. Iowa has statewide access using individual cards from participating libraries. Iowa does not issue a single, state card. Libraries are reimbursed at the rate of $.50 per item checked out.  The program costs the state approximately $1.3 million annually.


Open Access is extremely popular with the public.  From the library community's point-of-view, the per transaction funding level does not cover the cost of circulating the materials.  The use of the program grows at a rate of 5% to 9% per year.  The program is never fully funded.  (i.e. In FY99, program funding was depleted early in the 4th quarter of the ye


Contact person:

Sandy Dixon, State Library consultant, administers the Open Access Program.




Is there an actual card issue or just state access using many cards?

•There is an actual (paper stock) card.


If a card, does the state issue the cards, are they separate from "local"


•The cards are issued by the State Library.


Are libraries reimbursed for service to non-residents, and if so at what




How much does the program cost the state?

•The State Library has borne the cost of printing for the cards, promotional brochures, and window stickers to identify participating libraries. No order has been put in since I began working at the State Library over a year ago, so I'm uncertain what expenditures have been.


Pros and cons, complaints... ?

•A. Background

1. In existence from at least 1985.

2. Intended as a standard ID recognized by libraries statewide.

3. Identifies card holder as a responsible user of his/her library.


B. Issues

1. Intended to be used for borrowing from libraries throughout the state, however, not all libraries participate.

2. Intended to be free, but libraries are permitted to charge a processing fee to register non-local borrowers, even those holding a Kansas Library Card.

3. Materials borrowed from participating libraries must be returned to lending libraries.

4. Participating libraries can require Kansas Library Card holders to register for a local library card anyway.


Kansas Library Network Board, is currently examining ways to make the Kansas Library Card more useful in the digital information environment.


Eric Hansen, Executive Director

Kansas Library Network Board

Kansas State Library

300 SW 10th Ave., Rm. 343N

Topeka, KS 66612-1593

(785) 296-3875; (800) 432-3919 (in Kansas)



Maryland has state-wide library access.  It is through use of local cards.  Any public library card from any library in the state may be used at any  other library in the state.  Many of the cards can be used in other  systems "as is."  If not, the user just gets a new library card where they are on the spot, the current card serving as all the identity they need. No one charges anyone anything.  All libraries contribute toward a fund that moves books around the state every day in order to fill ILLs  and transfers.

Patrons sometimes get a new library card from a system. Depending on the system new barcodes are simply attached to the card.  Maryland has a state-wide ILL delivery system that is primarily supported by the state and some local libraries. Patrons may return materials from any system anywhere in the state.

Michael Osborne
Maryland State Department of Education
Division of Library Development & Services
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201






Provision of walk-in access and borrowing privileges is one vital part in assuring that Michigan citizens can obtain the information they need. The need for a statewide library card was reported in Information at Risk: Michigan Libraries in the 1990's, the Library of Michigan Board of Trustees Task Force study of library service to Michigan residents. Representatives of all types of libraries recognized this common area of interest.  Establishment of a statewide library card project and borrowing program was recommended by the Task Force as a method for improving access for Michigan citizens to the resources and information housed in Michigan libraries.  During its 1988-89 session, the Michigan legislature supported a pilot concept and authorized an initial state appropriation for this project. In order to support the local funding of Michigan public libraries, the MichiCard program of expanded access was developed for borrowers in good standing, to be offered only through their local library. Participation is not required but is a decision made by each library. The Library of Michigan administers the program, and a Statewide Library Card Advisory Committee provides assistance in development and implementation of operating policies and procedures.

The voluntary participation of a library in the MichiCard statewide library card program provides a key to resources and information housed in Michigan's libraries for many state residents. Through the increased availability of resources in participating libraries, library users have a "passport" to an expanded collection of knowledge and information. Increased library access and resultant good will helps to enhance the positive image of Michigan libraries, as well as providing improved library services for state residents.

MichiCard Provisions:

·         A Voluntary program.

·         All rules, policies and restrictions normally imposed by the local library will apply to persons presenting the MichiCard.

·         The library will issue the MichiCard card or affix the MichiCard sticker to the individual library cards held by borrowers in good standing who are residents living in the library's legally established service area or attending school in that service area. The library "service areas" are defined as the institution's legally established service area.

·         Libraries MAY NOT issue a MichiCard or sticker to any nonresident who does not live in their service area or provide financial support for the library.

·         MichiCard users must register at each library that they use.

·         MichiCard borrowers will not be charged a non-resident fee when borrowing books from participating libraries.

·         Printed materials will be made available to MichiCard borrowers, unless local library policies also permit the loaning of other types of library materials to nonresidents.

·         The Library of Michigan will provide reimbursement semiannually to participating libraries for lost printed materials only.

·         The Library of Michigan will reimburse participating libraries annually for postage costs associated with returning materials to another participating library. 

Library of Michigan

717 West Allegan Street
PO Box 30007
Lansing, MI 48909-7507



Since 1986, any registered user of a Minnesota public library that participates in a regional public library system may check out materials from other participating public or regional library systems. Policies of the lending library apply. Most public libraries will lend all formats of materials, but some have limitations for nonresidents on some audio and video materials. Materials you borrow are to be returned to the lending library.

This is a statutory mandate, but there is no direct cost to state.  Libraries must absorb cost of providing the service to qualify for public library system services. 


Web site for state library agency: http://cfl.state.mn.us/library/Libdev.htm

Joyce C. Swonger,
Library Development and Services Director



New Mexico

New Mexico has a "reciprocal borrowers agreement". A card from any public library in the state gets you borrowing privileges at any other. In practice, this tends to mean the neighboring library will issue you one of _their_ cards so the differing computer systems don't seize up.

In the old days, if only twelve years ago counts as old, we'd just write their name and for example Albuquerque card number down on the card from the pocket. And since the tiniest libraries around the state didn't even issue cards (knew all their users) we'd call up the other library to confirm that yes, Ms. Visitor was a user in good standing of the Community Library or wherever...


Miriam Bobkoff
personal: mbobkoff@rt66.com
Santa Fe Public Library       
work: temporary: miriambobkoff@hotmail.com



Pennsylvania has a program for statewide cards. Any library that is a member of the statewide card program places a small blue sticker on the library card issued to a patron. Four times a year, a 2-week count is made of how many "Access PA" circulations are made, and the libraries are reimbursed by the state for that quarter based on the number of non-local circulations.  Not all libraries in the state participate. The decision to participate is made at the local level. A patron that has the blue "Access PA" sticker on a card can use that card at any other participating library in the state without paying a non-resident fee.


Sharon Custer
Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library
673 Main Street
PO Box 359
Rimersburg, PA  16248
(814) 473-3800
FAX: (814) 473-8200





The purpose of this policy is to insure uniform borrowing standards that will enable Wyoming patrons to use the facilities of any cooperating library in Wyoming. Individual libraries may approve more lenient policies.

  1. Wyoming patrons may borrow from cooperating libraries regardless of residence, if they meet the following criteria:
    1. Are at least 18 years old (or younger, as determined by the lending library).
    2. Have a patron record in WYLD and a Wyoming library card and/or a photo ID. A photo ID has to be accepted only when the patron has a record in WYLD and is from a library that does not issue library cards.
  2. Patron records in WYLD are owned jointly by all WYLD member libraries, with the patron's home library recognized as having the primary responsibility and right to manage the record in accordance with their local policy. Other libraries may update addresses and phone numbers and edit the existing record when appropriate and in accordance with the following procedures.
  3. When a patron applies for a library card at a WYLD library, and there is already an existing patron record in WYLD, the library processing the new application may use the existing record and edit it with their information if the following conditions are met:
    1. It is critical that the identity of the patron be verified and the staff member is certain they have the correct patron record before it is edited.
    2. The patron must be informed that their library card from their previous library will no longer be valid. The library also has the option of allowing the patron to use their existing card instead of being issued a new one. At no time will any library edit an existing school or community college record. The management of student records in WYLD is unique to each institution and must be respected as such by all members.
    3. The patron must agree to the existing record being edited based on the fact that they do not need or intend to use their old library card at the previous library.
    4. A patron will not be charged a replacement card fee when an existing WYLD record from another library is edited.
    5. The library overlaying the patron's record will e-mail the library whose record was edited informing them that the patron is no longer registered in their library. The e-mail should be sent to the library's circulation mail box and contain the patron's name, previous barcode number, and new barcode number. This will enable libraries to manage their library card applications in accordance with local policy.
  4. WYLD libraries are strongly encouraged to support each other to the utmost of their ability by not issuing new cards and refusing service to patrons who are delinquent with other libraries because of fines, fees or overdue materials. While local policy will affect this mutual support, it is imperative that each library do its best to help other libraries recover materials and fees.
  5. Any WYLD library may collect fines from an NC patron using the following guidelines:
    1. Libraries may collect fines from an NC patron if the amount is $5.00 or less and will not be responsible for forwarding the money to the patron's home library.
    2. If an NC patron has fines over $5.00 the host library may, at their discretion, accept payment and forward it to the library where the fines are owed. If payment is accepted for lost or damaged materials, the host library must make a print screen or record the titles and barcodes of the items being paid for and enclose this information with the payment. It is recommended that this be done when the patron is willing to make out a check payable to the library where the fines are owed and it can then be mailed directly to them.
  6. We agree to lend at least two books to a patron from any other cooperating library. We understand that this is the minimum a patron can expect and actual lending limits will vary library to library.
  7. We accept responsibility for informing our patrons of the minimum standards they can expect to encounter statewide and for informing guest patrons of our policies.
  8. Any WYLD library may update the address and phone number of an NC patron using their library. At the time the record is updated the patron should be told they need to update their registration with their home library. When this information is updated a note will be put in the note field informing the home library of this update so they can verify the information in accordance with their local policies. The note should include the date, initials of the person entering the update and an identification of the library where the update was done. For example: "Address/phone updated, 3/4/98 SNS LCLS."
  9. We will make the patron aware that he/she is responsible for returning materials to the lending library. The Wyoming State Library will supply an initial stock of mailers that can be used by the library or the patron to return materials via mail.
  10. The WYLD office will be asked to help keep statistics on statewide borrowing to be used in reevaluating these policies.
  11. The Wyoming State Library will reimburse any library for unrecoverable materials, in excess of $25.00 per library, that were checked out by a guest patron or patrons. This commitment is reviewed each year and renewal is considered.
  12. Prior to requesting reimbursement from the Wyoming State Library for unrecoverable materials, we will attempt to recover the materials in accordance with our own policies and, if applicable, Wyoming Statute 18-7-105(c) which states "Holders of library cards are responsible for all library materials borrowed on such cards. Whenever library materials are lost, destroyed, or taken from the library and not returned the library board may institute proceedings in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover the materials or the value thereof."
  13. The University of Wyoming (UW) libraries are open to all Wyoming residents. Anyone borrowing materials from the UW libraries must have a CARL barcode which will be issued by the UW libraries.
  14. If a UW library card holder uses a WYLD library and is unable to get a library card in accordance with the host library's policies, then the host library will create a record in WYLD for the patron. The patron class will be NC and the host library will attach the WYLD barcode to the patron's UW library card. This WYLD barcode may then be used by all cooperating libraries.
  15. This agreement will be reviewed annually.

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