How Much Does A Library Card Cost? $196. I Happily Pay It!

There is no public library in my small town. I needed to purchase a non-resident ID card. By researching my local library’s options, I was able to save hundreds of dollars.

Many people across the country pay for their public library cards through their local tax bill. No such thing as a free library card number exists. What is the cost of a library card? Each municipality allots a particular amount of money to its library.

A library card is not free, and the rates and possibilities are not all the same. Before you pay money for a non-resident card, do some research.

When I moved into my new house, I was shocked we didn’t have public library card privileges. In my town, we don’t get a free non-resident library card. I grew up near the Schaumburg Public Library in Illinois that was the second largest library in the state, outside the state capitol. I didn’t realize how good I had it when I was checking out motivational and non-fiction audio during my drives to work.

I can’t live without my library privileges since they are an opportunity cost to me. Will my $196 investment in my local public library pay off? Indeed, it is a resounding yes!

Benefits of Library Card Services Provided To Me Annually

  • I log in to my online library card account and reserve new and old DVD and BluRay movies several months before they are released. After a month, I check the library’s database to see if it’s there.

I also use the Redbox Coming Soon page to compile my list. Finally, I’ll head to the Apple Store’s movie department to look for movies that are coming out soon that I should add to my queue. I’m usually one of the first library clients to obtain new movies because I reserve them so far in advance. Why should I pay even $1 for a movie at Redbox when I can get them for free at the library?

  • Audiobooks – I can only listen to the same songs in my car so many times. When I’m not listening to podcasts, I . I go and the Apple Store’s audiobook section for book ideas. The only downside is they don’t carry some of the non-best sellers. Occasionally, I will need to either supplement by purchasing or get a hard copy of the book.
  • Best Digital Magazines I’m guilty of paying $7-$15 for a few of magazine subscriptions since who wants to spend $10 on two Starbucks coffees for 12 issues of entertainment? Most of those magazines are still available for free! My library is lucky in that it provides members with two options: hardcopy or electronic. I can check out several years’ worth of magazines from my library. Electronically checking out a magazine is the way of the twenty-first century. Zinio is used by my library, and it is fantastic. I tell Zinio which publications I enjoy, and it tells me when new issues are released, which I can then read on my desktop or iPad. I usually save the issues to my iPad so that I may read them in bed or on the go. It’s great for catching up on all your magazines on a plane without having to pay for Wi-Fi.
  • Books (both physical and electronic) – my wife is an English teacher and cranks through a lot of books. I would probably spend $196 or more per month between my wife and kids book selection.
  • Login to your Lynda Library Card – My library has a license agreement with is amazing! They create high quality and detailed learning on multiple topics including web development, business, design, using computer software, photography, marketing, and much more. My prior employer had Lynda so we could teach ourselves Excel and Word tips. A new membership in Lynda costs $29.99 monthly or $24.99 per month if you commit for an annual membership. $24.99 x 12 = $299.88. Because of my library membership, I have my own login to and save over $100 per year on this alone.
  • Top Free Online Databases A few weeks back, I needed a new furnace filter and wanted to see what Consumer Reports had to say about it. They provide a connection to Consumer Reports for limitless access through my online library. offers annual digital access for $35, or $55 if I also want the magazine mailed to me monthly. Aside from that, it’s free with my library card.
  • Many additional resources, ranging from huge media databases to county bankruptcy filings, are provided. Someone approached me about conducting business together, but I put a stop to it when I discovered they had already filed for bankruptcy.

    Tech-Checkout I’m convinced my library is one-of-a-kind, given the wide range of technology I can borrow.

    Benefits of Library Card Services

    • Wi-Fi Hotspot Device for Home – maybe when you travel on vacation or business
    • Before you buy a Nintendo Switch for your child’s birthday or Christmas, let them try it out.
    • Take your old records and put them on iTunes with the Vinyl to MP3 Converter.
    • Portable DVD Player for Kids– for a long car ride to keep the kids entertained
    • Listen to some of your books on tape with a portable CD player while on the go.
    • Take video of yourself bungee jumping with the Go Pro Hero+ with Accessories.
    • Backyard movie night with an LCD projector and screen for a birthday or block party
    • Choose between Chrome and iOS on the Samsung Chromebook 3.
    • Blu-ray and DVD Players can tell the difference in quality between the two formats.
    • See some of their exclusive stuff on AppleTV.
    • See how simple it is to mirror your smartphone using Chromecast.
    • Roku – binge watch Netflix or stream movies for a rainy weekend
    • Have an introductory art student check out the tablet and sketch with it.
    • A Chromebook vs. an iPad Air 2 Tablet comparison
    • Samsung VR Headset I’m interested in seeing how it works.
    • During the next gathering, bring your portable keyboard and play some music.
    • When doing podcasts, the Yeti Microphone is highly recommended.
    • Kindle Paperwhite eReader If you have Amazon Prime, you can get certain free books as part of your subscription. The eReader can be used for up to three weeks.
    • Kindle Fire I’m always debating whether or not I should get my kids a cheap Kindle. It’s worth giving it a shot over the weekend.
    • Kill-A-Watt Energy Meter and Thermal Leak Detector – figure out how many kW your old refrigerator is costing you per month in electricity. Also, use the thermal leak detector in the winter to see where those cold breezes are coming from. Under the windows and doors? How about the outlet covers?
    • Fitbit Zip is a fitness tracker that you can use while on vacation to keep track of how many steps you’ve taken.
    • Work and exercise at the same time with the DeskCycle. That’s exactly what I’m looking for right now.
    • Transform your old mixtapes from the 1980s to digital with the Audio Cassette Tape to Digital Converter.
    • My library has a 3D printer where you can upload a 3D image and have it printed by their in-house printer. You only have to pay for the cost of the plastic material for your individual project.
    • …and more

    If that wasn’t enough, I have one more mind-blowing reason why my library is amazing. Swan Library Services is the owner. It’s a network of libraries that freely share books, videos, audio, periodicals, and other materials.

    According to SWAN, there are 97 public libraries where I can request materials or visit using my library card when I request a movie from my library. Our system is still being expanded to include public libraries. I go to the library at least once a week, and I’m estimating half of the stuff has a label from another library.

    Perhaps this is a silly question, but how did I decide which library to join? Within a 10-minute drive of my home, I have access to 6-7 different libraries. Yeah, they’re all SWAN, which means they’re all available upon request for the same books, CDs, movies, periodicals, and more. The disadvantage is that not everyone has access to the same databases as, nor does everyone have a broad list of technology gadgets to borrow. The advantages of library card services differ from town to town.

    How Much Does it Cost for a Library Card?

    Because they need to verify your address, you can’t apply for a public library card online. There is one other significant difference between all non-resident library cards…price! Library cards for non-residents are not free. I was surprised to learn that non-residents are charged differently at the library. Each has its own application process for obtaining a library card. Some people ask me to bring in my county tax bill, and they charge me based on my home’s assessed worth. Some of the memberships cost well over a hundred dollars. I began looking about and called all of the area libraries until I came upon my current library. The incredible part is that it is one of the cheapest while also being one of the largest with the best amenities.

    My town eventually partnered with a public library approximately 20-25 minutes away for $100 per year, making it virtually the lowest. I didn’t pick that library since it’s small, has a limited collection, and has limited hours, and I rarely go there. The town partnership library is closed on Sundays and has limited hours on Saturdays, whereas my library is open seven days a week.

    Remember that there are no free lunches. Free resident library cards are paid for in some way by the towns that provide them. Other communities in my vicinity are taxed correctly based on their local libraries.

    I’m willing to pay $196 for the privileges of a non-resident library card.

    A library’s resources are incredible and well worth the money. Regrettably, libraries around the country have suffered a downturn, resulting in a reduction in the number of people who use them.

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