Get a Library Card

Everyone is eligible for a Library card. However, the kind of card you are eligible for depends on your property tax district. Each card type—resident, non-resident, reciprocal, or special use—has its own registration requirements.

Card Types

Resident Cards (Incorporated Lake Bluff)

Resident Cards are issued to individuals residing at incorporated Lake Bluff properties that are taxed for library services by the Village of Lake Bluff. Incorporated Lake Bluff includes the Sanctuary and Tangly Oaks. Resident cards are issued for periods of three years.

Non-Resident Cards (Unincorporated Lake Bluff & Knollwood)

Non-resident cards are issued to individuals residing at unincorporated Lake Bluff and Knollwood properties that are not taxed for library services by any taxing body. Non-resident cards may be purchased for an annual fee equivalent to what the property would pay in taxes for library services. Payments can be made by cash or check at the front desk or by credit card online.

Not sure if you're eligible for a Non-Resident Card? Look up your street on our list of Library Service Areas by Lake Bluff Address or check your property tax bill. We also have a section about Non-Resident Cards on our  FAQ page. Feel free to contact the Library with any questions.

If you have a child attending Lake Bluff Elementary School, Lake Bluff Middle School, Lake Forest High School, or Forest Bluff School, your child may be eligible for a free library card through the Intergovernmental Agreement Cards program (see that section below).

Reciprocal Cards (Other Communities)

If you have a library card in good standing issued by another Illinois public library, you can register your card at Lake Bluff for reciprocal borrowing privileges. Reciprocal cards are issued for a period of time determined by the home library. You must bring your library card with you to the Lake Bluff Library when you come to register it.

Some unincorporated Lake Bluff properties are taxed for library services by neighboring library districts. Residents of these properties must obtain their library card from the library that their property taxes support. Once the card has been issued, it may be registered at Lake Bluff as a reciprocal card.

Business/Institutional Cards

Businesses and institutions in the Lake Bluff community may register for a business/institutional card if they meet the following requirements:

  • The business/institution owner or authorized representative must provide a letter on official letterhead stating that the business/institution accepts financial responsibility for fines, fees, and replacement costs associated with the card.
  • The business/institution owner or authorized representative must complete a Business/Institutional Card Application.
  • The business/institution owner or authorized representative must provide a list of individuals who are authorized to use the business/institutional card.
  • Business/institutional Cards are valid for one year. To renew them, the business/institution owner or authorized representative will need to confirm contact information and provide the Library with an updated letter and list of authorized employees.
  • Businesses/institutions located in unincorporated Lake Bluff and Knollwood may need to pay a non-resident fee to obtain a business/institutional card.

The following restrictions apply to business/institutional cards:

  • Valid at the Lake Bluff Library only; may not be registered at another library
  • Subject to standard loan periods and fine/fee schedules
Educator Cards

These cards are available to teachers and teacher's assistants who are residents of Lake Bluff, teach in Lake Bluff classrooms, or teach in a public school district that serves Lake Bluff. For more information, check out Educator Services.

Intergovernmental Agreement Cards

To be eligible for an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) card, an applicant must:

  • Be a current student at a District 65 school, a District 115 school, or Forest Bluff School AND
  • Be eligible for a non-resident card from the Lake Bluff Library (ie, reside at an unincorporated Lake Bluff property that is not part of a library district)
  • Bring a valid photo ID and current proof of address; minor applicants (ages 0-17) must have a parent or legal guardian present a photo ID and proof of address on their behalf.
  • Complete an application for an IGA Card.
    • In person: You can download a copy of our Application for an IGA Card at home and bring it with you to the Library. Families with more than one student applicant may complete our Family Application. Copies of the application are also available at the Library. Minor applicants (ages 0-17) must have a parent or legal guardian sign their card application
    • Online: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also offering an online IGA card application. Fill out the form and a staff member will contact you within 2 business days with additional instructions.

IGA cards are subject to the following rules and restrictions:

  • All materials checked out or accessed using an IGA card must be for the exclusive use of the student cardholder. Misuse of an IGA card is subject to consequences up to and including suspension or loss of library card privileges.
  • Cardholders must be present at the library to check out items with their District 65 Student Card.
  • IGA cards are valid at the Lake Bluff Library only and may not be registered at other libraries for reciprocal privileges.
  • Cardholders and their parents or legal guardians are responsible for the payment of any fees associated with the account.

Need more information or have other questions? Take a look at the IGA card section on our FAQ page, or contact us.

What You'll Need

Valid photo ID

Acceptable documents include:

  • Driver's License issued by any US State
  • State Identification Card issued by any US State
  • Student or Faculty ID
  • Passport
  • Illinois Public Aid Identification Card
  • Military Identification Card
  • Photo Identification cards issued by state or federal agencies
Current proof of address

Acceptable documents include:

  • Illinois Driver's License (can serve as both photo ID and proof of address)
  • Illinois State Identification Card(can serve as both photo ID and proof of address)
  • Instructional Driver's Permit
  • Current lease/housing agreement
  • Property tax bill
  • Utility bill (gas, water, electric, cable) dated within the last 60 days
  • Credit card or bank statement dated within the last 60 days
  • Check or paystub
  • Contractual document bearing your name and address
Completed Library Card application

Note: For minor applications (ages 0-17), a parent or legal guardian may present photo ID, proof of address, and application signature on behalf of a minor applicant in their care. Parent/guardian must be present at the Library at time of application.

Lost Your Library Card?

Replacement library cards may be purchased at the front desk for $2.00. Please be sure to bring in a photo ID so that we can verify the account.


Not sure what kind of card you're supposed to have? Contact us! We are more than happy to resolve any questions or concerns you may have.