Answered By: Joe Bond
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2017     Views: 1085

The reinstatement of the non-resident fee was a fiscal decision. From 2008 to 2011, the Austin Public Library received funds from the Lone Star Libraries grant that allowed us to extend free Library Cards to non-residents who do not pay property taxes in Austin. Since that grant program ended, it was necessary for us to reinstate the non-resident fee.  

A fee for a Library Card is charged if you are not a City of Austin resident or an employee of the City of Austin and want full access to Library services. This change began October 1, 2015. Non-resident fees are $120 yearly or $35 quarterly (3 months). 

The $120 fee was determined through a thorough cost analysis that included Library services that we extend to cardholders such as the cost of placing, processing and transporting holds/reserves; the cost of checking materials in/out; technology costs such as our online catalog; customer service; the average cost of materials checked out by the average Library user and the cost for our Virtual Library which includes eBooks, eLearning, streaming videos, online tutoring and more.

Learn how to determine your Austin residency here. The Jurisdictions Web Map is what we'll use to check your address when you apply, and it must say Austin Full Purpose for you to get a free Library Card.

If you are a non-resident and have a TexShare card in good standing from another library, you are eligible for a free limited-access APL TexShare card. Learn more about getting an APL TexShare Card. With it, you get:

  • 10 physical item checkouts (books, DVDs, etc.)
  • 5 holds
  • No interlibrary loan
  • No Virtual Library (no OverDrive, hoopla, databases, etc.)

Non-residents can still use public computers and WIFI, read books, do research, attend Library events and use most of our Online Databases in-house without a Library Card.

Please see our Library Card and Circulation Policies for more information.