Library eBooks for Non-Residents: Where to Get eBooks if Your Library is Lacking


Here’s a list of public libraries that offer library cards to non-residents so that you can barrow library ebooks for a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or a multitude of other devices even if your local library doesn’t have ebooks or if it is lacking in selection and availability.

This list comes from the How To Get Free eBooks From Libraries Using Overdrive page. I updated the section about getting library cards for non-residents and added some more libraries to the list and thought it deserved its own post.

Make sure to check what kind of ebook selection each library offers before paying for a library card. Some have more than others, and some have longer waiting lists too.

Library Cards for Non-Residents

Fairfax County Library – Library Card Fee: $27 per year – more info

Free Library of Philadelphia – Library Card Fee: $50 per year – more info

Los Angeles Public Library – Library Card Fee: $50 per year – more info

Houston Public Library – Library Card Fee: $40 per year – more info

Atlanta-Fulton Library – Library Card Fee: $40 per year (it looks like they require you to activate the card in person, however) – more info

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Library Card Fee: $45 per year/$35 for seniors 62+ – more info

Monroe County Library – Library Card Fee: $25 per year – more info

Brooklyn Public Library – Library Card Fee: $50 per year – more info

Austin Public Library – Library Card Fee: $120 per year/$35 quarterly – more info

If you know of another library that offers cards to non-residents please leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

35 Responses to “Library eBooks for Non-Residents: Where to Get eBooks if Your Library is Lacking”

  1. The Austin (Texas) Public Library offers cards to non-residents for $60 a year and non-residents over 65 for $27 a year. Not sure of their online selection though.


  2. Nathan, great post!

    Does non-residents includes non-US residents too? Or is it limited in US only?

    • Good question. I’d assume they are limited to US only but don’t know for sure.

      Thanks, Steve! I’ll check ’em out and add it to the list.

    • I know Houston Public Library will give a library card to any Texas resident and treat anyone who lives outside of Texas as a Non-Resident, regardless of state or country its the same thing, not Texas. for more info you can email questions to

  3. Well, everyone of the libraries in the list above requires state, zip code, county and does not include a question for country. I suppose this means lending is not available outside the US (or maybe they are not updated to reflect ebook lending as it is not very much possible someone outside the US to want to borrow a printed book from a US library)

  4. The Brooklyn Public Library also accepts out-of-state applications for a $50 annual fee.

    • Thanks! I added the Brooklyn Library to the list, and it’s a good one. They have more ebooks than anyone else on the list at over 13,000.

  5. San Diego offers one for $30 a year

  6. Salt Lake City offers non-resident cards for a steep $80/year $20/quarter $10/month

  7. If you live in NY state, you can get a free card from the Brooklyn Library. You do not have to show up in person as stated in their requirements–you will have to fax or email them your NYS ID and a current NYS utility bill with your name on it. After I did that I was set up and an image of the card emailed to me within 15 minutes! (They will also mail your actual card to you).

  8. Two that I’m aware of that aren’t on the list:

    Nashville Public Library: $50/yr, but only for Tennessee residents

    Huntsville-Madison County Public Library: $20/yr individual, $35/yr family (under Membership and Circulation)

    The HMCPL collection wasn’t huge, but they had a different selection than either of my two home library consortiums, so I tried it for a year.

    I think both require in person application s, though.

  9. The Hawaii State Public Library system offers a non-resident card for $25.00, and the card is good for 5 years. Our eBook selection isn’t huge, but it is adequate, and you can’t beat the price for the non-resident card when comparing to other libraries! They also offer a 3-month non-resident card for $10.00.

  10. Sherian Caporossi October 24, 2012 at 6:57 am

    The Austin, Texas Library requires library patrons to apply in person.

  11. The Bell Whittington Library in Portland, TX let me have a library card that I applied for online. I was charged $0.00.

    I did not have to appear in person. This is the way libraries should be working.

    • Most libraries charge a non-resident annual fee that is about equal to the tax bill paid per person in their library district–sounds fair to me!

  12. The Chattanooga public library offers “online patron cards” for $30 per year.

  13. The Austin Public Library does not charge for non-resident cards; neither does the Houston Public Library.

  14. Old info, but in 2012 I checked into nonresident library privileges for the Queens Public Library with reciprocal privileges at the New York Public Library. At the time, the fee was $50, and a phone call confirmed that ebook lending was included (as well as by NYPL). My local librarian, however, suggested that more research was required because ebook lending was sometimes limited to the local tax base. I took this no further, but someone might be interested enough to do more/current research.

  15. The philadelphia public library provides free out of state
    cards to seniors. Since we only use it for e-books, it has worked
    out well for us when we can’t find what we’re looking for at our
    local library.

  16. Free Library of Philadelphia fee is now $50.00 per year.

  17. Martha Greneback November 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Omaha Public Library offers a distance subscription for $75 a year or $25 for 4 months.

  18. Hillsborough County in Tampa, Florida charges $100 for a non-resident library card, as does Fort Worth, Texas.

  19. Alachua county library in Florida has free cards for any Florida resident. Non-residents can get a card for a $40/year fee, but they have to apply in person. Here is the link:

  20. Virginia beach. $35/year. $10/3 months

  21. Houston Public Library offers FREE library cards to all residents of the great state of Texas and the ability to apply by mail. Go here:

  22. Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore MD has a nonresident account for $50 a year; looks like it gives access to the Maryland’s state ebook consortium (which uses Overdrive).

  23. Los Angeles City Library will let you get a non-resident card for $50 annually.

    Also, Santa Monica library allows any Californian to get a card for $25 annually.

  24. New York Public Library offers cards to out-of-state residents free, but one must apply in person, and the cards expire in 90 days. A great excuse to head to NYC!

  25. I have checked a number of libraries that offer non resident library cards but all I’ve checked require coming in person. Anyone know of any that allow it to be done online? I have checked Fairfax/Virginia Beach/Philadelphia/Brooklyn.

    • The Free Library of Philadelphia has an online application.

    • I have a non-resident card from Fairfax County and Philadelphia, and I didn’t have to apply in person to either.

  26. If you reside in Ohio, you can apply to any Ohio Public Library. Free, no annual fee. It is based on how property taxes are distributed to all the libraries in Ohio. Youngstowns/Mahoning was free online for digital loans. They will snail mail my card to me.
    Cincinnati, I applied on-line, received a three week temp card, but then had to drive to a Cinci branch w/ picture ID, current address. Worth it as card is good for five years.

  27. Philadelphia fee for non-residents is now $50