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Library Cards

How to apply for a Bellingham Public Library card either online or in person.


Free if you:

  • Live, work, own property or attend school in the City of Bellingham or Whatcom County. (Either a Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library card will be issued, based on the service area where your address is located) -OR-
  • Live in Washington State (outside Whatcom County) and show your home public library card when applying for a Bellingham Public Library card.

May be purchased if you:

  • Visit Bellingham and would like to enjoy limited, short-term access to materials and services, -OR-
  • Live out of state, (physical material borrowing only, e-materials not available) -OR-
  • Reside in Washington State and are not a member of your home library system.

All borrowers are responsible for materials checked out on their cards. Please call (360) 778-7323 if your card is lost or stolen.

How to Apply


  • Complete our online application for a Temporary Library Card. You will need a valid email address.
  • Once the form is submitted you will receive an email within 2 business days with your temporary card number. The temporary card provides access to eBooks & eAudiobooks, online research tools, and lets you place 3 holds on physical library materials.
  • Your temporary library card number will be valid for 45 days.
  • To complete the application process and receive your physical library card, please bring your temporary card number to any Bellingham Public Library location.
    • Full access account – requires photo ID
    • Limited access account – does not require photo ID (provides access to digital materials and borrowing up to 3 physical items at a time)
  • If you are under 18 years old, a parent or guardian must be present to show photo ID when you come in for a full-access card. A limited-access account is available for youth without an adult present.

Apply Online

In person

What You Need to Obtain a Card

Adult applicants will need to provide photo ID for a full-access card. A limited-access card is available if photo ID is not present.

Youth (under 18):

  • A parent or guardian must be present to provide photo ID for a full-access card. Limited-access is available for youth without an adult present.
  • The parent/guardian will sign the application and assume responsibility for materials borrowed on the card.
  • Youth are welcome to use the library’s entire collection, subject only to the parent’s guidance.

An organization or agency:

  • The applicant will need to be present to sign the application, provide photo ID, and will assume responsibility for the account, and should be an individual who is legally authorized to enter into contractual obligations.
  • A maximum of two cards will be allowed per agency.
  • A card must be present to borrow library materials. The Library will assume the cardholder is authorized by the agency to borrow materials.

Whatcom County Library System Cards

Whatcom County Library System cards are valid at all Bellingham Public Library locations. Bellingham Public Library Cards are valid at any branch of the Whatcom County Library System. (Exception: access to some online services is limited to resources available at the library system that issued the card).