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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a library card?

Anyone five years of age or older may apply for a library card.  If you live within the city limits of the City of Jacksonville, there is no cost for the card.  You must simply show a photo ID and something showing your current address (e.g. driver's license, state ID, check book, lease agreement, recently postmarked mail).  The application form takes about five minutes.

If you do not live within the city limits of the City of Jacksonville, you must show a photo ID and pay a fee of $70 for one year.  This cost covers cards for your entire family living at the same address. You may only purchase a non-resident library card if you live in a district unserved by a library in Illinois and the Jacksonville Public Library is your closest library.

Why do people living in South Jacksonville or other areas outside the city limits of Jacksonville have to pay a fee for a library card?

The Jacksonville Public Library is the City Library of Jacksonville.  Those living within the city limits support the library through property taxes.  If you live in South Jacksonville (a separate municipality) or somewhere else outside of the city limits of Jacksonville, you do not pay any property taxes to support the library.

The fee of $70 was established using a formula provided by the Illinois State Library.  It approximates what the average property owner in Jacksonville would pay in taxes towards the library.  By state law, we may not charge a lower fee than that obtained using the formula.

How can I get an item from another library?

If the item is owned by another library within the Resource Sharing Alliance (RSA) system and that library is willing to lend it, you may call the library (217-243-5435) and have a staff member place a hold on the item or you may log into the RSA catalog and place the hold yourself by searching "all libraries" and simply clicking on a "Place Hold" button.  If you do not know how to access the catalog, please contact the library for assistance.

If the item cannot be obtained from a library in RSA, you may come to the library and fill out an interlibrary loan form.  Our staff will search nationwide for the item and try to borrow it.

What special programs are available for Children?

Throughout the entire year there are story times and lap sits with the Youth Services Librarian and other special programs, events, and crafts.  During the months of June and July, our Summer Reading program takes place.  It is for children of all ages (from toddler to teenager).  Every week there is a movie, a performer, story times, and a craft.  Drop by the library to sign up for the summer reading program.

Do you have any materials to help with my genealogy research?

The Jacksonville Public Library maintains a comprehensive collection of Jacksonville newspapers on microfilm dating back to the first half of the 19th century.  The library also has a Special Collections Room with county histories, city directories, atlases, and other local history materials.

The library also subscribes to two online genealogical databases -- Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest Online.  They are available for in-library use only.