The smartest card. Get it! Use it!

A library card is all you need to borrow loads of free books, DVDs, CDs, and lots more. Free cards are available to anyone who lives in or owns property in Champaign. Even kids can have cards; they’re a great way to spark a love of reading.

Snoopy says get a library card

To get a card

Stop in and we’ll make a card for you right away. If you live in the City of Champaign, get a head start with online self-registration. Save the confirmation number and pick up your card within 15 days. A parent/guardian needs to come with any minor (under age 18) getting a card.

To get a card, show us:

  • A photo ID such as a driver’s license
  • Proof of your current Champaign address, such as a recent (within the last 3 months) bank statement, bill, apartment lease, paycheck stub, or e-statement on your mobile device.

Kids need cards.

We encourage families to get library cards for their children. Kids glow with pride when they have their own cards. Library cards forge a stronger connection between kids and the library. Start as early as you like; even babies can have cards!

  • The child or teen (up to age 18) receiving the card and a parent/guardian must both be at the library when the card is issued.
  • Parents who have their own library cards must owe less than $10 in fees on their cards to get a card for their child.
  • A parent/guardian‘s signature is required to get a card for anyone under the age of 18. By signing the registration form, parents acknowledge that they are responsible for the choice of items that are borrowed with their child‘s card, the condition of those items when they are returned, and any fees that may be charged to the card.

Restricting Children‘s Access to R-Rated Movies
When you get a card for your child or teen, you can choose to not allow movies rated R to be checked out with that card (ratings given by the Motion Picture Association of America).Cards with restricted access look the same as other cards. You may change your child‘s access to R-rated movies at any time.

For details, see our Policy on Library Card Registration.

Champaign Library Cards for Businesses or Organizations

To obtain up to three library cards from the Champaign Public Library for your business or organization, please complete these steps:

  1. Provide a Letter of Authorization from your business or organization, on official letterhead or stationery, signed by an administrative officer. 
  1. Each individual who is authorized to hold a borrower’s card must complete a Registration Form at the library. Up to three cards will be issued per business or organization. The cards will be issued in the individuals’ names. Identification showing name and address is required at the time of registration.

The Letter of Authorization must include the following elements (see a sample Letter of Authorization):

  • The names and titles of the individuals who are authorized to hold a library card for the business or organization.
  • An acknowledgement that the business or organization is liable and financially responsible for all transactions charged to each library card it has authorized, including, but not limited to, charges for overdue, lost, or damaged materials; and
  • The name and title of the administrative officer who has signed the letter.

If your business or organization is located within the corporate limits of the City of Champaign, there is no fee for this service. Otherwise, the standard non-resident fee will be charged, regardless of the number of cards issued.

A Letter of Cancellation is required to void the library cards issued under these regulations.

Live outside Champaign?

If you live outside the Champaign city limits in an area that isn’t served by another local public library, you can purchase a non-resident card. A card costs you exactly the same if you live outside Champaign as it would if you lived in Champaign. The difference is that non-residents pay the fee directly to the library. Champaign property owners pay for library service in their property tax bill. Champaign landlords also pay library taxes; they pass along that cost to their tenants. We ask non-residents to pay for library cards so that everyone who uses the library contributes their fair share. We’ll help you figure the cost of your card.

How non-resident cards work

  • You must get your non-resident card at the public library in your school district (which may not be the Champaign Public Library).
  • Non-resident cards may be used at any library in the Illinois Heartland Library System, including those in Urbana, Mahomet, Tolono, and other nearby towns.
  • Non-resident cards are good for one year; they can be renewed each year.
  • Payment can be made by check or with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express.
  • Additional cards for your household are free.
  • If you prefer, you can pay for your card in two or four installments per year. There is a $4 annual charge for installments to cover the cost of additional paperwork.

Live outside Champaign, but own property in Champaign?
If you live outside Champaign but own property in Champaign, there is no charge for a library card. You’ve already paid library taxes through your Champaign property tax bill. When you visit us to get a card, just bring along the most recent tax bill for your Champaign property as proof that you own the property.

Figuring the cost of a non-resident card.

What’s my PIN?

The default PIN for your library account is the last four digits of the phone number you gave when you got your library card. You can change your PIN in your online account; click on “Change Logon.”

Use your card at most local libraries.

You can use your Champaign Public Library card at all public libraries in the Illinois Heartland Library System. This includes nearby libraries in Urbana, Mahomet, Tolono, Danville, St. Joseph, and Rantoul.

To use the University of Illinois libraries, you need to get a courtesy borrowing card there (available to anyone who lives in Illinois).


Contact Circulation Services at 217/403–2000 or

Dad with kids entering library front door