Online Library Cards – Your Ticket to Free Books, Videos, Music, Video Games & More!

Introducing Online Library Cards

You’re Gonna Love This1

by Lu, OTL City Guides & Seat Fillers

A free public ONLINE library where you can check out books, magazines, music, videos, TV shows, video games, and more?

Yes, the doors are open and you can access them right from the comfort of home. AND, you’ll never incur late fees!

This is really cool – so be sure to keep reading. Everyone I talk to about these library e-cards is surprised and excited. So, if you don’t already know about them, you will be, too.

library, library books

The Emergence of the Free Online Public Library

Don’t let the word library scare you off. If you read, listen to music, stream videos, or enjoy TV, you will want to read this. Pinky swear!

I’ll get to the whole online library cards thing in a minute. But first, let me just say that I’m super excited to share this information. I love, love, love introducing new things that I know people will appreciate, and this is definitely one of them.

When I first learned about the “free public online library,” I felt a bit out of the loop. After all, I try to stay on top of things, so how did I not know about this? However, after visiting about 20 library websites to write this post, I discovered that the whole online library free books, music, TV, and more concept is relatively new. Most locations didn’t launch a full-fledged program until 2020 or later.

Q:  So, why do you want to know about online library cards?

A:  Because they’re game-changers. They’re like free Kindle memberships on steroids!

library catalog, public library

The Modern Free Public Online Library – in Most US Cities and London

Online library cards bring the entire building into your house. I’m talking about stacks and stacks of books, and, no, you don’t need to relearn the Dewey Decimal System. The vertical racks are easy to rummage through and narrow your choices with some keywords – subject, author, title, etc. But ebooks are just the start.

Online Library Cards for More Than Books

It’s exciting that online library cards open up a whole new free world, including:

  • eBooks
  • Audiobooks
  • Music
  • Movies
  • TV
  • Video Games
  • Magazines
public library, online library cards, library e-cards
A few screenshots from the Las Vegas-Clark County online library

No Late Fees

Do you tend to ignore all of the incredible resources in your local library because you don’t want to make the trip, or you’ve racked up some pretty hefty fines in the past? If so, you’ll be happy to know that no trip is required. And, there are no late fees because online libraries feature auto-return!

Let’s say you checked out a book or movie that’s due in two weeks. While you’ll want to take advantage of the entertainment as soon as possible, there’s no need to monitor your calendar. When the two-week mark hits, poof! The items you’ve checked out mysteriously disappear. You can’t be late – even if you try.

So, if you’re stretching your entertainment budget, you’ve now got a free resource for all kinds of virtual goodies. Plus, you won’t bust that budget with library fees. Win-win!, OTL Seat Fillers, seat filling

Get Your Online Library Card Now!

I researched several locations in the US as well as London. But, if you don’t see your city listed, just search “(city) public library e-card.

CityLibrarySign UpMore Info
AtlantaGeorgia Public Library ServiceSign Up More Info 
AustinAustin Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
BostonBoston Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
CharlotteCharlotte Mecklenburg Public LibrariesSign Up More Info 
ChicagoChicago Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
DenverDenver Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
Fort LauderdaleBroward County LibrarySign Up More Info 
JacksonvilleJacksonville Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
Las VegasLas Vegas-Clark County Library DistrictSign Up More Info 
LondonCity of London LibrariesSign Up More Info 
Los AngelesLos Angeles Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
MiamiMiami-Dade Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
NashvilleNashville Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
OrlandoOrange County Library System - for teachers and students onlySign Up More Info 
Portland ORMultnomah County Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
RaleighWake County Public LibrariesSign Up More Info 
San FranciscoSan Francisco Public Library - ecards not issued onlineSign Up More Info 
SeattleSeattle Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
St. LouisSt. Louis Public LibrarySign Up More Info 
TampaHillsborough County Public LibrarySign Up More Info 

Did we leave your library off the list? Send us the info and we’ll be sure to add it.

FAQs – Online Library Cards

What’s an online library card?

An online library card, which is also called an e-card, allows the holder to check out e-books and other virtual resources from home. Most public libraries introduced the concept during the COVID-19 lockdowns and have opted to continue the program.

Can I use my existing library card as a library e-card?

It depends on the public library. Some locations consider physical library cards and e-cards as two separate things, while others combine programs, so one card is good for both.

What can I check out with a library e-card?

While selections vary based on location, public libraries with full-fledged virtual libraries allow cardholders to check out books, magazines, music, movies, TV series, video games, and more.

How do I return virtual items I check out with an online library card?

All of the free resources and entertainment are undoubtedly the most significant benefit of online library programs. However, another perk is that you don’t need to worry about returning items. They automatically return on the due date unless you renew them ahead of time.

What are the fees if I’m late in returning an online library item?

Online library use is different than checking something out from your local public library building. When you borrow virtual items, they automatically return on the due date, so you’ll never incur late fees.

Are there library e-cards in London?

Yes. However, you want to be sure you head to your nearest public libary – the City of London libraries. Other London libraries have similar programs but charge for the service.

Does every US city have virtual library access?

No. While most public libraries have developed or are in the process of launching an online library card and program, it’s not in every US location yet. You will find that e-cards are available in most major markets, though.

How old do you have to be to get an online library card?

Every public library has different age requirements. Many require e-card holders to be 18 or over. While some cities, like Orlando, limit the program to students.

How do I get an online library card?

If your public library has a virtual library program, you can most likely register online and will receive your online card number within a few minutes. However, some cities, like San Francisco, require you to go into the library to register for a virtual card.