Sonoma County Library

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Library Cards and Accounts

Effective September 15, 2012


The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for issuing and using library cards at the Sonoma County Library.


To qualify to use many of the Sonoma County Library collections and resources (either in person or online), a person must have a library card.  The Library is committed to providing excellent customer service as well as free, convenient, and reasonable access to the Library’s collections and services.  The Library must balance this commitment with its responsibility as a steward of resources paid for with public funds.


  • Rights and Privileges
    1. Library cards are issued free of charge to any resident of California or anyone who owns property in the state.
    2. Library cards may be used at any Sonoma County Library facility.
    3. A person may have only one Sonoma County Library card and account.
    4. A library card entitles the cardholder to full access to the collections, electronic information, and services of the Library without charge.  
      • “Collections” includes the use of all formats, including books, discs (CD/DVD), and other tangible formats.
      • “Electronic information” includes information available via a computer, including but not limited to the public catalog, online reference sources, and downloadable content.
      • "Services” includes, but is not limited to, special collections, internet access, interlibrary loan services, and placing requests.
    5. Temporary cards are issued under the following circumstances:
      1. Out of state residents who are visiting the area;
      2. California residents with no address verification; and
      3. People under 18 without an address or parent’s/legal guardian’s signature.
    6. Temporary cards are good for three months and give people full access to library services, however:
      1. Checkout is limited to 4 items;
      2. Requests are limited to 4 items;
      3. People under 18 cannot renew a temporary card.

  • Rights of Adults & Children
    1. The Library issues only one type of card, which is used by people of all ages.
    2. Adults are responsible, physically and financially, for all materials checked out on their card.
    3. Parents or guardians are responsible, physically and financially, for all materials checked out on their child’s card, ages 17 and younger.
    4. If a parent or guardian wishes to cancel a child’s library card account, the adult should contact a local branch library in writing or in person.
    5. The Library does not provide group library card accounts.  Each person must have his or her own library card account.

  • Cardholder Responsibilities
    1. The Library requires that each applicant for a library card provide information to enable the Library to contact the cardholder about their account.
      1. Adults (people 18 years and older) must provide an acceptable form of identification and proof of address.
      2. Youth (people 17 years old and younger) must provide an acceptable form of personal identification or a parent/guardian with an acceptable form of identification, proof of address, and an application signed by a parent or guardian acknowledging their financial responsibility.
      3. The application informs parents and guardians of their responsibility for resources checked out on their child’s card.
    2. Cardholders are responsible for late fees and charges for lost, destroyed or damaged materials.
    3. Notifications about library services or materials are sent using the contact information supplied by the cardholder.
    4. To ensure that the Library has current information about cardholders, cards expire every two years.
    5. To renew a library card, the cardholder must pay all unpaid fines and fees.
    6. Lost or stolen library cards should be reported to the Library immediately to avoid any fees incurred by an unauthorized user.
    7. Anyone requesting a replacement card must show an acceptable form of identification.
    8. A library card holder’s right to use that card is denied if:
      1. The fines and fees charged to the account are equal to $5 or more.
      2. The cardholder has the maximum number of items checked out to the account.
      3. The library card has expired.
      4. The library card has been reported lost.
      5. The patron has been excluded from using the library under the Library’s Standards of Behavior policy.

  • Confidentiality of Patron Information
    1. California state law requires the Library to protect the confidentiality of library card accounts and checkout records of cardholders of all ages.  (California Government Code, section 6267)
    2. The Library will provide a parent or guardian information only about those items checked out on their child’s library card for which a fine or loss/damage fee is assessed and for which the parent or guardian is responsible.

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