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Talking Between Reads (TBR): Library Gateway Cards



Talking Between Reads* (TBR) is a weekly discussion post where we talk about different topics from books to blogging and anything else we think you guys might enjoy. Stop by on Mondays for new topics.


*Formerly known as What the Feck (WTF)



Gateway Cards:

Getting the most from your library card?


I know not all public libraries are created equally. My city library is small but still has a decent selection but is a little lacking in the audio book department so I get a gateway card from the main state library where I can check out ebooks and audiobooks through their website using Overdrive (a post about Overdrive will come later this month).


So what is a gateway card? Below is a summary of Arkansas’ program.


The Gateway Project


Library patrons who are Gateway cardholders have reciprocal borrowing privileges at any of the participating libraries. Cardholders have access to a 1.5 million-volume collection at no cost. Residents of Arkansas, Bradley, Chicot, Clark, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Montgomery, Nevada, Perry, Pike, Polk, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, and White are eligible to participate in the program.


You must be at least 14 years of age to be eligible for a Gateway card, and you must begin the application process for the Gateway card at your home library before visiting the library for which you wish to obtain the card.


Download a brochure with more information about the Gateway Project.


I am sure other states have similar programs.


The county I live in is part of the program and all I had to do was let  my city library know I wanted a Gateway card. They gave me a temp card that I took to the main Central Arkansas library and then I just had to show them proof that I either owned property in their county (uh, no) or work in the county (bingo!). Bam, that’s it. I got instant FREE access to TONS of books and audiobooks. Seriously I have over 200 books on my “wish list” through the library now.


You use to be able to renew your card online but now I have to go to the library to do it in person because they need to see proof of me working in their county. Since it’s a once a year trip it’s not that big of a deal to SAVE TONS OF MONEY ON BOOKS.


I’ve saved $245.53 on books/audiobooks so far this year using my FREE library card. 


There are even some states that offer out-of-state library cards to citizens of other states for a fee. Check out the list of states I found with this service.


City/State Price Online Application
Philadelphia $50 per year  YES
New York $50 per year YES
Houston Public Library $20/six mos;$40/year YES
Atlanta-Fulton $40 per year NO
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library $45 per year$35 for seniors 62+  
Monroe County Library $45 per year  
Brooklyn Public Library $50 per year  
Austin Public Library $60 per year$20 quarterly$27 per year for seniors 65+