Get a Library Card

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All-Access Library Card

If you live within city limits and pay taxes to the City of Columbia, you can get a free library card. 

With a library card you will have access to Columbia Library’s collection of over 30,000 items, five different digital libraries, 6,200+ online courses, and through interlibrary loans you can borrow items from over 500 other library collections or with WorldCat borrowing can happen from around the world! 

You will gain access to books, audiobooks, Playaway’s, movies, TV shows, music, magazines, Wifi hotspots, fun activity kits for all ages, and more.

Bring a governmental photo ID (ex. driver’s license, state ID, military ID) as well as proof of residency (ex. tax bill, utility bill, imprinted check, voter registration card) to the circulation desk. If your governmental photo ID does not have your current address, please bring a second proof of residency.  You must pay taxes to the city of Columbia in order to get a free library card. These cards expire every three years. If you are not eligible for a free card, you may purchase a non-resident card for your family. Currently the yearly fee is $88.00 — ask us about our Friends of the Library discount program!

Items from different libraries have different checkout periods, but if you check out items belonging to Columbia Public Library, this is how long you may keep them:

Books and Audiobooks: 2 weeks

TV Shows: 2 weeks

Children’s movies: 2 weeks

Adult films, Music, and Magazines: 1 week

If you know you won’t be able to return things by their due date, you may be able to renew the items up to two times. This is dependent on whether someone is waiting for the item and the rules of the library that owns the item. Renewals are never guaranteed. You can either renew your items in person, from the online catalog, or by calling us during open hours at 618-281-4237 ext. 0.

Items from different libraries may have different late fees. DVDs that belong to the Columbia Public Library are .50 per day when late, and books and other items are .20 per day.

To use the library (including, but not limited to checking out items and using computers), patrons must have less than $5.00 in fines or fees on their library account.

If there are extenuating circumstances (ex. theft, unexpected hospitalization), please contact the Library Director.

The last 4 digits of your telephone number unless you specified otherwise when registering for your card. You will need it to create and manage your account on the online library catalog. If it does not work, please call us so we can reset it to the PIN of your choosing.

Temporary Library eCard

Columbia Public Library residents that reside in the city limits of Columbia, will be permitted to apply for a temporary card online.  Resident must be 16 years of age? 

  • Card will be valid for thirty days after day of activation for residents.
  • Card will allow use of e-resources only until residency has been verified. 
  • Columbia Public Library has purchased six digital platforms:

    • Cloud Library: eBooks and eAudiobooks
    • OverDrive: eBooks & eAudiobooks
    • Hoopla: eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, etc.
    • NewsBank: Newspaper archives, includes Republic-Times, Belleville-News Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Clarion Journals, and much more.
    • Lynda.com:  professional skill building courses.
  • Card applicant must provide the Columbia Public Library within thirty days the following information.
    • Governmental photo ID and one additional item that shows your current address. If Photo ID does not have current address, two additional items with current address will be requested.
  • If after thirty days the account has not been verified, the account will be suspended. 

Non-Resident Student Card Program

Columbia Students (K-12) that reside in the Columbia Unit #4 School District, and live outside the city limits, may now be eligible for a library card at no additional cost to the household. This opportunity was made possible by the passing of House Bill 2096 “Cards for Kids Act.” 

We look forward to having you as our newest member of Columbia Public Library. 

This application must be completed by parent or legal guardian. 

A release form will be signed by a parent or legal guardian, to obtain income information with Columbia Unit School District #4. 

If another school is attended or student is homeschooled, another form of verification on income will be needed. 

  • Prior year’s tax return
  • Social Security statement of benefits
  • Retirement/pension statement of benefits
  • Unemployment/workman’s compensation statement of benefits

Non-Resident Library Card Program

If you live outside the city limits and would like a library card, the Friends of the Library may be able to help. 

Our Friends group is a local not-for-profit organization committed to library access for all.

The group will now pay 90% of the $88.00 non-resident library card fee, which will allow households that reside outside of Columbia city limits to check out library materials for one year.  This is a first come first served sponsorship program as funds allow.

To qualify for the Columbia Library Card Program, participants must,

  • Live outside of Columbia city limits.
  • Live within the Columbia Unit 4 School District.
  • Pay 10% or $8.80 of the non-resident fee.
2,500 NEW JUVENILE AND YOUNG ADULT TITLES IN CLOUD LIBRARY! THANK TO THE ILLINOIS HEARTLAND LIBRARY SYSTEM!