To Find A State-By-State List of Where To Get Free Online Library Cards For Non Residents

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Unbeknownst to you, regardless of where you live in a state, many libraries offer the ability to apply online for a free library card that you may use on databases like Overdrive, Hoopla, and others. It’s a really helpful tool, particularly for people who reside in tiny towns with few libraries (or who don’t even live close enough to any libraries to commute easily). Find out where to get free online library cards for non residents!

2023 UPDATE: For the states without something as basic as the Free Library of Philadelphia, I’ve added a few more links. Although it’s not a perfect answer, it ought to assist you in locating a solution that suits your needs.

When I updated a few plugins on my website, I made a mess of the original table of contents. We apologise if you attempted to jump to your state previously and it was unsuccessful. I hope it’s functioning now!

WHERE IN YOUR STATE CAN I GET A FREE ONLINE LIBRARY CARDS FOR NON RESIDENTS ?

I discovered The Free Library of Philadelphia a few years ago. Any resident of Pennsylvania can apply online for a free library card, which they then use to access their digital holdings on Overdrive and other comparable ebook libraries.

In order to locate their local branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia, I looked through every state. I’ve included my findings below.

While other states only have strong “reciprocity library consortiums,” they don’t actually have a statewide choice. To put it another way, you can use a card you have at one location to receive a card at another.

Expanding the table of contents below will allow you to swiftly go to your state. In states where the Free Library of Philadelphia was not even slightly comparable, I made an effort to locate you some other excellent options.

In instances where it required some searching to locate it (some libraries have a clear “digital resources” link, others sort of bury it or label it weirdly), I also gave links to Overdrive collections for library consortiums. That, I believe, takes care of it.

Updated on October 3, 21: We appreciate all of the comments with additional places. They are added below by me. Continue to send them. It’s quite beneficial!

Alabama

You don’t even need to register for the Alabama Virtual Library because it uses geolocation technology, so long as you provide it access to your location.

Alaska

There isn’t actually a simple application procedure for residents of Alaska State Library. On the other hand, according to their SLED (statewide library electronic gateway) page, “Call 1-800-440-2919 for a password if you’re an Alaskan resident with an Alaskan area code. If not, Alaskans can obtain a password by completing our form.

Arizona

To obtain your card, go to Digital Arizona Library and follow the directions provided here. Although they don’t appear to have Overdrive, they do have a wide assortment of e-books available.

Arkansas

Although they do not have an online statewide library that allows you to access Overdrive, they do have a resource called Traveller Statewide Resources that provides a respectable amount of services and books. To use the resources, you must allow it to determine your location, just like Alabama does.

However, you might be able to use one of these Arkansas Overdrive libraries depending on where you live.

California

Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be anything comparable to the Free Library of Philadelphia in a state the size of California (one central library for all citizens). Nevertheless, if you submit your phone number here, a digital card will be assigned to you based on your residence. I’m not sure how it functions beyond that because I don’t have a CA phone number.

Additionally, Alyssa wrote in the comments section below, “It appears that any California resident can use the Nevada County Community Library and the Woodland Public Library.” Alyssa also mentions that the libraries in SF and LA are accessible to all locals, and Janette mentioned that Santa Clara is the same. Perhaps that’s just the way things are in California, and the reason I didn’t see it explained like the Free Library of Philadelphia does is that it’s merely

So, it appears that regardless of where you live in the state, you can obtain a library card pretty much anyplace. But don’t quote me on it.

Residents of Colorado CO can obtain a card from the Denver Public Library to access Overdrive and the majority of other e-reading databases (but Denver residents are the only ones who can access Kopy). To register for an e-card, click this link.

Connecticut

It appears that CT does not allow online card applications. Nonetheless, you can still apply from home if you adhere to these instructions. All you have to do is mail your application. I’m still trying to find an improved web solution. If/when I discover one, I’ll keep you informed.

2023 Update: The list of Connecticut libraries that work with Overdrive is directly linked here, but I’m still unable to locate a better solution.

Delaware

There is a fairly simple online application process for a library card on the Delaware Libraries website. To complete the application, simply click this link. Your card will arrive in a matter of minutes.

Florida

The Broward County Library is the greatest option for Floridians, as it accepts applications online and requires minimal time to complete.

Additionally, your IP address is cross-referenced with “a database of all IPs known to originate within Florida” by the Florida Electronic Library using Geo-IP. You don’t need a card to access digital library resources after your IP has been verified.

Here is a list of Florida libraries that offer Overdrive access if none of those options work for you.

Georgia

A straightforward online application for a PINES card can be found on the Georgia Public Library Services website. It states that it “gives you access to over 11 million library materials across more than 300 public libraries” and is available to all citizens of Georgia.

Hawaii

Apply for your complimentary library card by going to the Hawaii State Public Library System website. All residents of the state are eligible. Nevertheless, it appears that the virtual card has a 45-day expiration date. After that, in order to verify your residency in Hawaii, you must go to a local bank.

Idaho

Sadly, I can’t find anything in Idaho that is comparable to the Free Library of Philadelphia. That might be your best option, as the majority of the library links I clicked on led to the Donnelly Public Library District.

Here’s a list of all the Idaho libraries that offer Overdrive access as well.

Illinois

It seems strange that Illinois, a state home to the third-largest city in the country, does not appear to have a central free library either. However, residents of Chicago are only able to apply online; in order to utilise it, you must be a resident of Chicago.

However, it appears that Illinois has a VERY long list of libraries that are Overdrive partners. The actual connection to that is right here.

Indiana

Every library in Indiana requires its patrons to be residents of the communities they serve. It appears that they do not provide a centralised option. To find out how to apply locally, your best option is to visit the Indiana Digital Download Centre and select the “need a library card” option.

The Indiana partner library list is available here as well.

Iowa Obtaining a free library card online is rather simple in Iowa, however your application must include proof of residency. For instructions, see the State Library of Iowa’s request form.

Kansas You can access the whole online collection of Kansas with something called the Kansas Library eCard. Nevertheless, you must apply for this card at the library in your community. To assist with that, see their FAQs here.

Kentucky

To the best of my knowledge, all libraries in Kentucky have residency restrictions, meaning that you have to be a resident in order to obtain a card. To discover one that offers Overdrive, try entering your zip code here. You can also look through their list of partner libraries here.

Louisiana

Nothing resembling the library in Philadelphia appears to exist in Louisiana either. I’m not even able to locate a central Overdrive database to provide to you so you can look for one nearby. Your greatest chance, similar to KY’s, is to look find one nearby on Overdrive.

Also, I discovered this Libraries Southwest Consortium, which might be useful. When you visit that page, a pop-up window titled “No library card? Not an issue. Signing up with your mobile number and starting to borrow free digital titles just takes a few seconds. Therefore, you ought to try that!

Maine

All inhabitants of the state are eligible to receive cards from the Maine State Library, although if my understanding of the FAQ is correct, it will take them around a day to arrive. Take a look at the relevant information here.

Maryland

At the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System or the Carroll County Public Library, any Maryland resident can obtain a free library card online. In fact, the latter takes inhabitants of MD as well as DC and certain VA citizens (from Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudon, and other surrounding counties, for example).

Massachusetts

The Minutemen Library Network in Massachusetts allows any resident to apply for a six-month card. You will have to go to a real library branch to finish your application after six months. However, it’s useful for using Overdrive to check out books in the interim.

“For Massachusetts, if you live, work, or own property in MA, you can get a library card from the Boston Public Library,” adds Vi in the comments.

Michigan

Michigan is a little unclear. As far as I can see, they don’t have anything like to the Free Library of Philadelphia. They do have something known as the MILibraryCard, though. You can use the card you receive at a local library that is participating to obtain another card at any other branch that is. The Detroit Public Library is one of them, and it offers a big assortment of Overdrive titles.

Minnesota

Though it appears that every citizen in Minnesota has a variety of alternatives, the Red Wing Public Library appears to have the simplest and most direct application process. See their guidelines by clicking this link. Additionally, you may access their Overdrive by clicking the “ebooks” link at the top of the website. A popup will appear asking if you require a card as soon as the page loads.

Mississippi

There doesn’t seem to be a single, central library that welcomes all citizens of Mississippi. Though I’m having trouble locating a library that allows you to apply online regardless of where in the state you live, they do offer an eBook Consortium on Overdrive. The best thing to do is use this “need a card” website to locate your library.

Missouri

It appears that Missouri lacks a central choice as well. However, many of its larger branches allow you to apply online for a library card. The majority offer some form of reciprocity with other branches, so you may obtain a card at one and utilise the online services at another (at least that’s how it typically operates; don’t quote me on that, though).

If you’re in the Kansas City metro area (which includes the five counties in Kansas), give this one a try.

For residents of Clay, Platte, and Jackson County, the Mid-Continent Library is a great option.

A list of reciprocal branches is available at the St. Charles City Library, so you can use any of the others if you have a card at one.

Montana

All Montana residents are welcome to use the Missoula Public Library, and applying online is quite easy. They actually have an online collection, despite the fact that it may not appear to. It is referred to as the Montana Library to Go. I looked at the URL, and sure enough, it leads to Overdrive.

Nebraska

Once more, I was unable to locate a solid Nebraska statewide choice. They do, however, possess NebrasKard. The collaborating libraries are listed here. As stated on their website,

The “brand” name for Nebraska’s reciprocal lending initiative among partner libraries is NebrasKard. Under the terms and conditions of those libraries, the programme enables patrons of participating libraries to check out materials from other participating libraries.

Nevada

There isn’t a single state library in Nevada that is open to all citizens. They do, nevertheless, provide a few decent local choices with online applications.

Residents of Clark County and Las Vegas may apply online here.
Consider using the Washoe County library system if you live in the Reno region.
Try this one in the Carson City area.

New Hampshire

NH appears to have a centralised Overdrive database, even if I was unable to locate a decent option throughout the state. To locate your library, use the “need a card” section. However, not all provide online applications.

New Jersey

I had great expectations for NJ because the other two states in the tri-state area, PA and NY, offer such fantastic possibilities. Regretfully, it doesn’t appear to provide anything comparable with its neighbours. However, they do offer some decent online applications for regional possibilities.

Residents of Jersey City may apply here.

Residents of Ocean County may apply online, however the application states that evidence of residency is required and doesn’t exactly explain how to provide it. Still, it’s worthwhile to try. They have an excellent library of digital resources!

Cherry Hill locals, view this page for their requirements before submitting an application via this Google form to get a card.

Options are available on the Newark library app for anyone who live, work, or attend school in the city.

Additionally, Wamaca states that citizens of New Jersey can inquire with the nearby neighbouring counties. We are able to obtain a card from Camden County in Atlantic County. This is fantastic because Hoopla and Kanopy are in Camden, while Libby and Freegal are in Atlantic County.

New Mexico

Rio Rancho Library appears to be your best option. All inhabitants of New Mexico are welcome to visit the RR website (which is the city’s website rather than the library’s page, which is incredibly confusing). Although you can apply online, the procedure takes some time—you should hear back from someone in between 48 and 72 hours. Here is a link to their Overdrive once you receive your card.

New York

Similar to Philadelphia, New York makes it incredibly simple for every state citizen to apply for a card. Go to the New York Public Library and adhere to the instructions provided on this website. Simple as pie.

Carolina

All citizens are welcome to use the State Library of North Carolina, and your card grants you access to a wealth of digital resources (though, as far as I can discover, not Overdrive). They don’t offer the convenience of “applying online and getting approved the same day.” On the other hand, you can download and send their application.

Furthermore, it appears that every library is available through Overdrive as part of the North Carolina Digital Library. To find out how to apply online in your location, select “need a card.”

North Dakota

Residents of North Dakota may apply online at the North Dakota State Library for a card. Regretfully, the process isn’t quick; receiving your card could take up to two weeks. When you do, the second slide in their slider on the home page has a link to their Overdrive.

Ohio

All Ohioans have access to the Cleveland Public Library, and you can apply online for a card to use on Overdrive and Hoopla (where you can access all of their digital services and collection).

Oklahoma

I discovered at the Woodward Public Library an easy-to-use online application for ALL citizens of Oklahoma, however there might be additional possibilities. They are a part of the state’s primary Overdrive collection, the OK Virtual Library.

Oregon

Despite not having a statewide library, Oregon does offer a lengthy list of participating branches in the Digital Consortium on Overdrive. Additionally, they own an Oregon Library Passport. You are able to use a card from one of their branches at other locations on the list.

Pennsylvania

Register by going to the Free Library of Philadelphia. I needed five minutes to complete it. For access to all of their online resources and libraries, use the Digital Media area. They own an extremely impressive Overdrive collection!

URI

Ocean State Libraries offers free library cards to all citizens of Rhode Island. Although you can apply online, it doesn’t seem to happen right away. They talk about waiting for a call from your home library. But once you have a card, you can use it at any library in Rhode Island (as well as, I suppose, their online resources).

Carolina

It appears that if you don’t already have a card anywhere, you can only obtain a South Carolina State Library card for online use. However, from what I gather, they lack Overdrive.

South Dakota

There is nothing comparable to the Free Library of Philadelphia in South Dakota. It appears that residency requirements apply to all of their libraries. To locate one nearby, you can use Overdrive to search the South Dakota Digital Consortium.

Tennessee

Tennessee does not appear to have a “free library for any resident,” but it does have the Tennessee Electronic Library, which connects all of its online resources. Therefore, you may essentially access what other libraries offer online if you have a card for one of them.

Texas

All Texans are eligible to receive free library cards from the Houston Public Library. Details about the application are available here. After obtaining your card, visit this page to view their extensive assortment of eBook options, which includes Overdrive, Hoopla, and Kanopy.

Utah

Therefore, there isn’t exactly a single statewide way to obtain a library card in Utah, but once you do, you can visit Utah’s Online Public Library, which has access to the Overdrive collection of the Beehive Library Consortium. To locate one nearby, utilise the “need a card” option.

Vermont

While there aren’t any statewide choices in Vermont, there is a central Overdrive. Once more, the easiest way to locate yours is to look through the list of libraries that are taking part.

Virginia

Regardless of where in the state you live, many VA libraries offer virtual cards (for Overdrive and other services) to all Virginians.

The first library I found was the Newport News Public Library. Click the Stream and Download link at the top of their page to access their digital resources. Additionally, there are the public libraries in Portsmouth and Roanoke County.

Washington

There don’t appear to be any libraries in Washington where residents can obtain a card regardless of where they reside. I had assumed Seattle would have a library akin to the one in Philadelphia, but no—you have to be a local. Again, the “need a card” part of the Washington Anytime Library Overdrive page is your best chance.

DC – Washington

Residents of Washington, DC, as well as the MD and VA surrounding areas, can apply online for a card via the DC Public Library. Once your card has been issued, visit their goDigital section.

West Virginia

Even though a lot of WV libraries claim to be open to citizens from all across the state, I’m having trouble locating one that offers a simple online application. It appears that certain residents can only apply online, and those that are available to everyone must register in person. This link to WV Reads Overdrive might be useful to you. Apologies! I looked, truly looked!

Wisconsin

The Hudson Area Public Library offers library cards to any resident of Wisconsin. They don’t appear to be a part of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium on Overdrive, though.

Another option is the Waterford Public Library, which also has Overdrive. With the exception of Milwaukee County, they are available to all WI citizens. This is the location to apply for your free library card if you do reside in Milwaukee.

The Wyoming

It appears that there are local residence requirements for every library in Wyoming. To locate one close to you, your best option is to search the Virtual Library of Wyoming on Overdrive. The collaborating libraries are listed here.

The reasons why owning several library cards is a smart move

I couldn’t find the book I was looking for on Overdrive a few years ago at my local library. You see, each library has an Overdrive stock of its own. They purchase X number of digital copies of a book, each of which can only be checked out by one person at a time, just like with actual books.

Only three patrons at a time may check out a title from Overdrive at your library, for example, if you want to read the newest Stephen King book and there are only three e-copies available. Before you can check it out, someone has to complete reading their copy and return it.

You can access multiple Overdrive collections if you have multiple library cards. That optimises your chances of locating more obscure titles as well as your chances of actually being able to borrow a recent best-seller at some point this century.

ADVICE & SUGGESTIONS

After you receive your free library card, all you really need to use Overdrive and other digital resources is your PC (or smartphone). However, I do have some suggestions for programmes and other items that will enhance the pleasure of reading your borrowed ebooks.

As an FYI, this section contains affiliate links. I receive a tiny commission if you make any purchases through them; there is no further cost to you.

Use Amazon to download your Overdrive library books.
First off, after you check out a book, I strongly advise utilising your Amazon account to “Read Now with Kindle.” It seems quite unlikely that you require Prime, but the free Kindle app—which works with iOS, Android, and Windows platforms—is essential. Here are some guidelines from Overdrive if you need assistance with this.

Purchase a Kindle Fire

Purchasing a Kindle Fire is highly recommended if you intend to read a lot of ebooks. If you’re looking for something about the size of a trade paperback, the Fire HD 8 is a nice option. Because I use the Fire HD 10 (seen above and below) for both movie and TV show streaming, I think it’s better.

Just so you know, Amazon products are frequently on sale. If the full price is beyond of your price range, simply wait a week or so for the next discount.

FAQs

While I was doing research for this topic, I ran across the following frequently asked questions:

Q: Is it acceptable to possess multiple library cards?

Indeed, that is entirely lawful. Just be careful to adhere to each library’s residence restrictions. In other words, don’t misrepresent where you live in order to obtain a card. THAT isn’t allowed.

Q: Is a library card required to use Overdrive?

It is true that using Overdrive to borrow books requires having at least one library card. Your account can have more than one card added to it. It is worthwhile to purchase many copies of Libby as each library (or consortium of libraries) has its own collection.

Q: Is an internet connection required in order to read books from Overdrive?

Once books are downloaded, they can be read offline, even if logging in, browsing, and checking them out all require an internet connection. I suggest getting them from Amazon (see the instructions above).

Q: Libby, what is he?

You will really utilise Overdrive’s app, Libby, to browse and borrow books. It can be downloaded through a web browser or through Google Play, the App Store, or both.

Q: Which is preferable, Overdrive or Libby?

That is a personal question. I think Overdrive is MUCH more user-friendly, particularly when using a desktop or laptop browser. You can access the same information with both. You can locate it on Overdrive if you discover it on Libby, and vice versa.

Q:Is using Overdrive completely free?

Yes, as your library is the one who is funding it (which explains why each library has a different selection).

Q: In my state, how can I locate more free libraries?

Try searching “free library card online in [insert your town/city/state here]” if the preceding search results didn’t yield what you were looking for. For instance, I might look up “free library card online in Pennsylvania.” Another helpful trick is to use Overdrive + your state (or city). For instance, “Pennsylvania Overdrive” or “Philadelphia Overdrive” are the two primary search terms I utilised to compile my list.

Geez, it took me ten hours to create and study this topic! My Around the World in 80 Books piece was probably the longest to write. I sincerely hope that at least one person finds it helpful, and I would be eternally grateful if you shared it. Yes, that was a shameless plug.

Please let me know if you are aware of any libraries in your state that are accessible to all citizens that I may have overlooked (particularly in the areas where I was unable to locate any). If you haven’t commented here before, feel free to do so. However, please allow me a few days to accept it as they are now being reviewed owing to a large volume of spam comments.

Annie Jones
Annie Jones
I'm Annie Jones, Megri contributor, cook healthy food and makeup obsessive. I write for health, fashion and finance sections of the site from past 7 years.

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