Library card policy

Click here for a pdf version of this policy.

Policy adopted by the Board of Trustees January 13, 1997

Policy revised February 10, 1998

Policy revised January 13, 2003

Policy revised February 14, 2005

Policy revised September 10, 2012

Policy revised August 11, 2014

Policy revised June 11, 2018

Policy revised and approved June 12, 2023


Any person who resides in the Bethlehem Central School District (BCSD) or pays property taxes to the school district is eligible to receive a Bethlehem Public Library card.


Bethlehem Public Library is a member of the Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS), a Cooperative Library System of twenty-nine public libraries serving Albany and Rensselaer Counties. Any person who resides within either county is eligible for an Upper Hudson Library card. A Bethlehem Library card or Upper Hudson Library System card may be used at any member Library.


A patron may only have one active Library card at a time.  The Library will merge or delete accounts from borrowers with more than one card.


All materials borrowed must be returned on or before the due date. Most items can be returned to any member Library location. Borrowers are responsible for any fines and fees associated with Library items returned past due, damaged, or designated as lost.


Borrowers are responsible for all materials borrowed on their card and any associated charges.


A lost card should be reported to the Library immediately to avoid any charges.


Photo identification and proof of residence are required to apply for a Library card. Post office boxes do not serve as proof of residence.  Post office boxes may be used as the mailing address once proof of residence has been established.


Eligibility Requirements

When applying for a Library card in person, or validating an Online application, an applicant must show photo ID (with full name) and proof of residence (if not shown on ID).


Any combination of photo ID and proof of residence from the chart below is acceptable, provided they are current and not expired. Driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, and non-driver ID cards often function as both photo ID and proof of residence.


Photo ID:

·         Driver’s License or learner permit

·         Non-Driver ID Card

·         BCSD School ID Card or Account

·         Passport

·         Employer ID

·         Permanent Registration or Green Card

·         Visa Travel permit

·         Federal Common Access Card or Uniformed Services ID Card

·         NYS Common Benefit/Electronic Benefit Transfer Card

Proof of Residence:

·         Driver’s License or learner permit

·         Non-Driver ID Card

·         BCSD School ID Card or Account

·         Utility bill*

·         Bank Statement*

·         Rent bill or lease agreement

·         Tax bill*

·         NYS motor vehicle registration

·         Printed personal check

·         First class mail*

*Must be postmarked or otherwise dated within the past two months

Cardholders need to report change of name or address information promptly.


Juvenile Borrowers

  • Borrowers aged 0-13 must have their application submitted by an accompanying parent or legal guardian, who can provide photo ID and proof of residence on the child’s behalf.
  • Borrowers age 14 to 17 who are unable to provide any of the identification listed above, may also have an accompanying parent or legal guardian provide photo ID and proof of residence.
  • Parents and legal guardians assume responsibility for all fees and charges on a child’s card.


Non-Resident/Out-of-System Borrowers

  • Non-residents are people who do not live in Albany or Rensselaer Counties.
  • Non-residents who are employed by a business located within the BCSD or attend a school located within the BCSD are eligible for a courtesy out-of-system card. In addition to photo ID and proof of residence, these individuals will need to provide current documentation of their employment or student status. These cards have a one-year expiration date.
  • Temporary residents who are not working or attending a school within the BCSD may be granted a short term out-of-system courtesy card. Please ask at the Library about appropriate proof of temporary address.
  • Borrowers without a permanent address may be eligible for a short term out-of-system courtesy card. All other non-residents who do not meet any of the qualifications above may pay for an out-of-system Bethlehem Public Library card. For pricing information, please contact the Bethlehem Public Library.
  • A non-resident, out-of-system cards issued by the Bethlehem Public Library are valid at Bethlehem Public Library only. Other restrictions may apply.

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