Public Library Non-Resident Service Administrative Rules Illinois State Library

A non-resident is defined as "an individual residing in Illinois whose principal residence is not within the public library service area" [23 Ill. Adm. Code 3050.10]. Non-residents have the option to annually purchase a library card in order to obtain public library service.

Public library boards have the authority to extend the use of the library to non-residents for an annual fee, which must be at least equal to the cost paid by the residents. Selling non-resident cards is optional but most public library boards offer this fee-based service. Administrative rules [23 Ill. Adm. Code 3050] determine where non-residents must go to purchase their non-resident card. These same rules also delineate formula options that library boards should use in calculating the library’s non-resident fee. Once non-resident cards are purchased, the card is recognized as a valid public library card and can be used at other public libraries.


In 2003, the Illinois State Library conducted a survey of public library directors on the issue of non-resident library cards. Public Act 92-0166, effective July 1, 2002 required non-residents to obtain library cards at the "closest" public library. This was a change from the previous requirement that non-residents could buy a library card at any public library but such cards were restricted "local use only", meaning the card could only be used at the library of purchase.

Pursuant to Public Act 92-0166, the State Library proposed administrative rules to implement the new legislation. These rules were approved by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The purpose of the administrative rules for non-resident library service was to clarify the intent of the legislation. Specifically, the term "closest" public library was not defined either in Public Act 92-0166 nor did the legislative debate on the issue give any indication of the intent of the term. The rules also delineated the process of libraries for adopting policies for issuing non-resident cards, the responsibilities of the library systems in relation to non-resident cards, and included the fee formula to be used by libraries for non-resident cards.

In 2021, pursuant to Public Act 101-0632, the Illinois State Library proposed rules to provide clarification about the Cards for Kids legislation. These rules stipulate the procedures and eligibility requirements for waiving the non-resident fee for qualifying students. The rules explain the option for libraries to offer e-resources to a non-resident, and establishes procedures for waiving the non-resident fee due to a veteran’s 70% disability exemption.

Public Library Non-Resident Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Public Library Non-Resident Service Administrative Rules and Related Information

Non-Resident Library Participation and Fees