Getting a Library Card

Any person who wants to obtain a library card needs to fill out a library card application form at the Service Desk at the main entrance. Adults must show a photo ID and proof of current residence. Children age five through middle school must have a parent or guardian's signature on their application form, the parent or guardian will be held responsible for materials borrowed by the child.

There is a fee of $2 to replace damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen library cards.

Resident library cards

Residents are those who live within the city limits of Charleston and pay property taxes which support the library. (Those living in rental property within the city limits of Charleston are also eligible for library cards.) Any resident age five and older may get a library card at no additional fee. Library cards are renewed every three years without additional fees provided the library card holder shows proof of residency and is a patron in good standing.

Non-resident library cards and fees

If you reside beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the Charleston Carnegie Public Library, but own property within the city limits of Charleston and pay property taxes, upon presentation of a tax bill bearing your name, one non-resident card per taxable parcel shall be issued at no additional fee; it will be good for one year from the registration date. This may be renewed by showing the tax bill bearing your name upon expiration.
In accordance with the Illinois State Law (75 ILCS 5/4-7(12)), individuals residing outside of the Charleston city limits thereby not paying taxes to support the library, not within the boundaries of another public library, and owning no property within Charleston city limits may purchase a non-resident fee card by paying an annual fee comparable to the average property tax paid by city residents. The annual fee for non-resident cards is established each year by the Library Board. This fee entitles the immediate family to use the Charleston Carnegie Public Library, and participating libraries statewide. Non-residents are expected to apply for a library card at the library geographically closest to their home. 
Charleston Carnegie Public Library will strive to participate in the local Readers' Bridge Program. Readers' Bridge is an independent non-profit that subsidizes nonresident fees for families in need.

Organization Library Cards

If an organization is located within Charleston city limits, it is eligible for one library card recorded under the organization name. A letter on the organization letterhead from the director of the organization must be presented. The person signing the letter from the organization will be responsible for any fines or fees associated with the library card. Three employees may be listed as eligible borrowers, they must show a photo i.d. to check out items under the organization name. The library director will make all final decisions on the eligibility of an organization for borrowing privileges.