New branch hours begin January 2, 2022. Learn More

New branch hours begin January 2, 2022. Learn More

Support & Help

Guest Cards

What are guest cards?

A guest card is an option for individuals who do not live in the eight townships served by the St. Joe County Public Library to utilize SJCPL resources. Guest cards will be available for purchase beginning January 2, 2022. Current SJCPL reciprocal cards will expire on June 1, 2022, and cardholders will be given the option to purchase a guest card.


Fees

Annual fees for guest cards are based on the township in Indiana where the individual lives. Individuals who live outside of the SJCPL service area should obtain a library card from their home library first.

$85Individuals who do not live in Indiana or who live in an area that is not served by a home library, such as Madison Township.
$65Individuals who live outside of St. Joseph County.
$50Individuals who live in a reciprocal service area. These include:
Harris, Penn, Olive, and Lincoln Townships in St. Joseph County;
Center, North, Polk, West and German Townships in Marshall County.
FREEGuest Cards are available for free to teachers and students who live outside of the SJCPL service area but work or go to school in SJCPL’s service area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I be able to access with a guest card?
With your guest card, you will be able to checkout:

  • Unlimited books, magazines, 20 CD audiobooks or music CDs, 10 DVDs, and 1 video game
  • Up to six eBooks or eAudiobooks through Overdrive
  • Unlimited access to thousands of eMagazines through Flipster and Overdrive.
  • Studio 304 equipment, Discovery passes, and launchpads

You will also be able to access public computers, book meeting rooms, and reserve Studio 304 rooms and stations. While many guests can access Hoopla and Kanopy through their home libraries, those two services are not available to guest card holders.

Why did the Library make the change to go fine-free and extend the benefit to guest cards?
Going fine free was so important for patrons, so the Library decided to extend the fine-free benefit to guests as well. You can check out as much as you want and not worry about bringing them all back immediately. In some cases, your annual overdue fees may have actually exceeded this annual charge.
I live in St. Joseph County, why do I have to pay for my library card?
Every public library serves a defined geographical area and is financially supported by taxes from that area. There are four public library systems in St. Joseph County: the St. Joe County Public Library (SJCPL), the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, the Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library, and the New Carlisle-Olive Township Public Library. Residents who live in the eight townships served by SJCPL are eligible for a resident card. Individuals who live in other areas use SJCPL services by obtaining a guest card for an annual fee.

A library card provides a lot of value, and by charging for guest cards, we are able to ensure the highest quality of service for all of our cardholders.

  • A guest card can be used to access material for everyone in a family or home; there are unlimited checkouts of books and magazines for patrons.
  • The fee is comparable to an annual subscription for Netflix or Hulu or other streaming services, and the amount of books, magazines, DVDs and e-content is greater than what anyone can get from an online subscription.
  • This charge can also be compared to an annual museum or zoo subscription.
  • The support provided to the library via guest card fees will assist SJCPL in providing materials, programs and services to its patrons.

Why was the charge for a guest card set at $85, $65 and $50?
The Indiana State Library establishes our per capita cost at $85, which determines the cost of the guest card. A discount is available for individuals who have a library card from their library in Indiana counties outside St. Joseph, and that rate is $65 annually. We provide a further discount for cardholders with which we have a reciprocal agreement with their library, and that rate is $50 annually.

Want to be in the know with the latest library news?