Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library 

If you or your child grew up in the ’90s then chances are you’re familiar with the iconic song and dance number from the children’s cartoon Arthur on PBS “Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card” (Doesn’t ring any bells? Click the Youtube link—you won’t regret it). And those cartoon kids are right! With just a simple sign up form, a Library card unlocks a whole world. Access to books, movies, music, streaming services, research databases, hi-tech printers, arts and crafts machines, events, educational resources…the list goes on and on. 

September is National Library Card Sign Up Month. If you sign up for a card this month you’ll get entered to win prizes from the Cincinnati Zoo, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Speedway, Frisch’s, The Children’s Theater, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

To get a Library card, all you need to do is be a resident of Ohio or a temporary or transitional resident of Hamilton County. You'll need an I.D. and a proof of address, but if that's an issue we help out. It’s easy!  

But did you know that there is more than one type of Library card? Maybe you just want a card that will allow you to access computers. Maybe you want a card that allows you to check out a ton of books for your classroom. Whatever your personal needs may be, we have a card to match. Read on to find out which Library card is right for you! 

Adult Library Card 

This is the card everyone is probably most familiar with. It’s for people ages 18 and over and allows for unlimited access to all the materials the Library offers. Fines are the responsibility of the cardholder, but other than that, everything is fair game and always free! 

There is also an Adult Only card option that allows anyone over the age of 18 to checkout up to seven print or audiobooks at a time and doesn’t have fines. We never want fines to be a barrier to folks getting access to materials, so if you tend to be forgetful or don't want to risk wracking up late fees this is the card for you!

Teen or Child Library Card 

Kids can take the initiative to get a Library card of their very own with or without a caregiver. This card limits checkouts to seven print or audiobooks, but also eliminates fines so kids feel empowered to come back again and again without being held back by pesky late fees. 

There is also a Dependent Child or Teen card option that can be set to limited or unlimited access. The only difference is that fines on this card are the responsibility of the parent or guardian. 

Download Only Card 

This card is perfect for folks who do all their reading and watching from the comfort of their device. It gives access to our digital content platforms like Hoopla, Overdrive, Freegal Music, and Kanopy. There’s also no fines associated with this card which is a win for everyone. 

Internet Only Card 

If you come to Library to get access to the internet, print, fax, and do other tech-related tasks but really don’t need help with anything beyond that, then the Internet Only card is just the card you need.

Educator Card 

There are a lot of perks that come from having an Educator Card – so many in fact, we wrote a whole blog post about it. Teachers, substitute teachers, daycare workers, homeschool instructors, student teachers, in-home childcare providers can all gain access to 200 checkouts at a time and with no fines!

Military Card 

If you are serving overseas but want to remain connected to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, you can sign up for a Military card to get access to all of our digital materials, online databases, streaming services and more. You’ll also get a virtual card so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a physical copy. 

Book Club Card 

This is a special card for Book Club leaders. It allows you to request multiple holds on the same title (up to three titles) with automatic renewal and no late fees. To sign up for this type of card, simply call your local Branch. 

To learn more about any of these Library cards or sign up for a card of your own visit our website or click here. For a list of frequently asked questions, click here

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