Library Cards

Everyone is welcome to visit the library, attend programs, and use the many onsite resources. Having a library membership gives you the additional benefit of borrowing books, movies, music and more to take home. Members of the library, with the exception of reciprocal borrowers, also have access to MeLCat, databases, and additional electronic services, such as free e-books, streaming media, and downloadable music.

Who Can Get a Library Card?

  • Residents

    If you reside within the City of Portage (or the portion of Texas and Pavilion Townships within the Portage School District), you qualify for a free Portage District Library Card. If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, contact the Checkout Desk of the Library for clarification.

  • Businesses/Property Owners

    If you own property or a business within the City of Portage (or the portion of Texas and Pavilion Townships within the Portage School District), you qualify for a free limited-use Portage District Library Card. If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, contact the Checkout Desk of the Library for clarification.

  • Educators

    If you are employed as an educator at an educational facility located within the Portage Library District boundaries and do not qualify for a resident or reciprocal membership, you can get a free limited use membership by providing appropriate documentation of employment.

  • Portage Public School Students (Library P.A.S.S.)

    Regardless of in-district residency, every student enrolled in the Portage Public Schools will automatically be provided limited membership access through their student number, unless their parent/guardian selects to opt out of participation in this program. Physical library cards are not issued as part of this program unless requested in person with identification at the Youth Information Desk. Find out more about the Library P.A.S.S. Card program.

  • Residents of a library with reciprocal access

    Don’t reside or own property in our district? You can qualify for a free card if you live in, and have a resident membership, with a library district that has arranged for reciprocal access with the Portage District Library. We have agreements with most libraries in Kalamazoo County. Find libraries that qualify for reciprocal borrowing privileges.

  • Non-residents

    For the ability to checkout library materials as a non-resident of our district, you may purchase an annual membership card at the library. If you are 62 years of age or older, you qualify for a 50% discount on a non-resident membership. Check our fee schedule for current rates.

  • Visitors

    We offer a free internet access card to individuals visiting the community.

How do I register for a Library Card?

Registration can only be done in person. Library cards for resident and reciprocal members are valid for two years before they must be renewed in person. Non-resident membership types are valid for one year at a time.
  • Residents

    Bringing a valid driver’s license or state ID or Kalamazoo County ID with your current, in-district residential address on it is the easiest way to begin the registration process at the Checkout Desk of the library. With appropriate documentation, library cards are issued and available for use immediately. Minors who come with a parent who is able to demonstrate identity and current residence within the Library district can also be issued a library card.

  • Businesses

    Businesses in the Portage library district are required to present other documentation, and/or a letter of intent from the business owner or a financial officer, if the owner is not making a direct application for membership. Please call the Checkout Desk Supervisor for more information about the necessary documentation requirements. Business memberships may not be immediately available.

  • Educators

    In addition to documenting identity and current residential address, teachers need a letter from an authorized school administrator documenting proof of employment at an in-district institution in a position as an educator. The letter should include the name, position and institution of the applicant and the name, title, and signature of the authorized administrator on the organization’s letterhead.

  • Portage Public School Students (Library P.A.S.S.)

    Regardless of in-district residency, every student enrolled in the Portage Public Schools will automatically be provided limited membership access through their student number, unless their parent/guardian selects to opt out of participation in this program. Physical library cards are not issued as part of this program unless requested in person with identification at the Youth Information Desk. Find out more about the Library P.A.S.S. Card.

  • Residents of a library with reciprocal access

    Aside from documenting identity and current residential address, reciprocal borrowers must also show an in-district library card in their name from a participating library. Find libraries that qualify for reciprocal borrowing privileges.

  • Visitors/Non-Residents

    Proof of identity is still required, even for those who are only seeking internet usage. A current residential address must be provided for registration. However, paying members or those getting an internet access card only can provide this information verbally if it is not documented on their proof of identity.

What other documentation can I use to get registered?

  • Alternative Photo ID Types

    Those who do not have a valid driver’s license or state ID can also use one of the following items for identification but will need to provide additional proof of residential address.

    • Passport
    • Military ID
    • School ID/Skyward Acct
  • Additional Proof of Address

    If you haven’t changed your address on your valid driver’s license or state ID or you are using an alternative photo ID, you will need to provide additional documentation to prove your current residence by showing one of the following that has your name and current residential address on it:

    • Voter’s registration card
    • Property Tax receipt or bill
    • Gas/Electric/Water/ Sewer bill
    • Lease Agreement/ Registered Land Contract
    • Current vehicle registration

Is there any other way to get a library card?

To qualify for a free membership we must have some proof of residency in the library district in addition to proof of identity. Students with only a school id or minors in special circumstances may be offered an alternative form of registration. In these cases, the library card will be mailed home and will not be available for use until received.

Additionally, we recognize that even adults may be in unique circumstances, such as living in alternative or temporary housing situations, or care facilities and may not be able to register in the standard way. While we still require proof of identity, we will work to find an alternative way for these individuals to provide proof of their current residential address in the library district. Depending on the situation, this may include a limited membership type and/or mailing the library card. Library cards that are mailed may not be used until received.