Public Library Services to Nonresidents

More than one million people in Illinois do not have access to public library services, because they are not taxed for library service by a local governing agency (see RAILS Resource Sharing Map).

These untaxed Illinois residents are referred to as "nonresidents" in the Illinois Library Laws and Rules.

There are two ways for nonresidents to obtain library cards and other services from public libraries:

  1. Nonresident Cards - Individuals and families may purchase cards from the closest public library where nonresident cards are available. The board of each public library is required by Illinois law to decide annually whether the library will participate in the nonresident fee program, and to inform RAILS within 30 days of board action.
  2. Intergovernmental Agreements - A municipality, school district, or other local government agency may contract with a public library to provide services to its untaxed residents.

The Illinois State Library/Illinois Department of Revenue Library Service Areas Map allows you to look up an address to check whether it's served by a public library, overlay school district boundaries, and view other information. (Documentation for map)