Institutional Cards


Statement of Policy & Text

San José Public Library issues library cards to certain institutions to facilitate access to library materials by their residents. These institutions must agree to assume responsibility for the use of the library card by their staff and residents, including access to computers and borrowing materials.

Need for the Policy

Many residents of institutions in the City of San José could benefit from the facilities and materials of the San José Public Library, but for reasons beyond their control are unable to obtain a library card. This policy will enable them to utilize the library under the supervision of staff from the institutions where they live.

When it assumes responsibility for the use of the library card by approved staff members, the institution agrees to reimburse the library for any lost materials, and to monitor the use of library equipment, including computers, by its residents.

Requirements & Guidelines

1. Card is available to institutions providing 24 hour residential care, including:

  • Group home residential care for children and adults
  • Board and care homes
  • Shelters
  • Programs such as AmeriCorps

2. Not eligible:

  • Day care facilities
  • Public and private schools (unless children live in residence)
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Community colleges

3. Institution must submit completed application and letter of responsibility
4. Institution/responsible party assumes responsibility for all use of the card, including fines and replacement costs for lost materials
5. Delinquent accounts will be referred to the library’s collection agency, following the library’s policies and procedures
6. Only authorized users on the list provided by the institution will be allowed to use the institution’s library card
7. Authorized users may request temporary computer passes for the residents of the institution who are visiting the library
8. Authorized users must show photo ID before being allowed to borrow materials or obtain computer passes for residents
9. Total item limit = 50, including up to 20 Entertainment DVDs
10. Only SJPL-owned items may be borrowed using this card

Institution applies for card by submitting:

1. Completed application for library card
2. Letter of agreement on institution’s letterhead, including:

  • Name, address and phone number of institution
  • Name, address and phone number of primary contact/responsible party
  • Acceptance of responsibility for all materials borrowed, including fines and replacement costs
  • Acceptance of responsibility to monitor internet use by residents during library visits
  • List of authorized users of the card
  • Agreement to inform the library of changes to list of authorized users

Library staff will:

  • Issue one library card when proper documentation is presented by the institution
  • Maintain custody of the institution’s card at all times.
  • Verify identity of authorized users by checking photo ID before lending materials or issuing temporary internet passes
  • Check out material at the desk, rather than referring the customer to the self-check machines.
  • Issue temporary internet passes to residents of the institution who are visiting the library with an authorized user of the card
  • Maintain list of authorized users of the card, using information submitted to the library by the responsible party at the institution. List of authorized users will be kept in the Notes field of the library card record.

Applicable Personnel/Departments

Circulation/Access Services staff members




Reviewed and approved by: Signature/Name Date of Approval
Ned Himmel  Ned Himmel  7/13/09 

History & Dates

Category of Policy & WBS#: User Services
Author(s): Institutional Card Task Force; Gayle Davis, System Support Library Assistant
Authorized by:
Date Written: 6/11/09
Date Effective: 7/13/09
Date(s) of Revision(s):


Institutional Library Card Procedure